Is there a connection between anger and autism?
Yes. absolutely. One of the most pronounced emotional characteristics of many people with autism is their anger.
Anger often develops due to constant frustration, disappointment and the inability to control the world.
Discerning the Real Issue
Anger is the easiest and most highly developed emotion most people with autism display.
In high functioning individuals on the autism spectrum, at first glance it can be the most prevalent problem that the individual seems to face.
But typically addressing the anger will not result in a global resolution of the difficulties an individual with ASD experiences. Anger management therapy alone will not address the functional issues of someone with Autism.
Anger is a Symptom
Anger is a symptom of autism, not the underlying issue.
So when anger management strategies are ineffective in resolving the difficulties of the individual, consider the possibility that autism is the real issue that needs to be addressed … and the anger is a symptom rather than the core issue. (Click here to learn more about the Steel Trap Syndrome.)
Why are people with autism so angry?
Imagine for a moment that things never went the way you wanted them to, or expected them to go. EVER!
Would that make you angry?
If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is yes.
We all like it when things go “our way” or as we expect. But those of us without autism can better ride the waves of life, being flexible with the ups and downs.
Individuals with autism typically have a very rigid and clear – often bordering on a one dimensional, black and white perspective of how their life should unfold. (Click here to read about how Autism Needs a Witness Protection Plan.)
And when that vision does not match reality, it can be very difficult for them to process the actual scenario and adapt.
That can result in a great deal of anger.
Besides, anger often works to achieve the goal of someone with ASD – which is to be left alone!
Setting aside today’s zero-tolerance policies, a kid at school who is prone to punching another kid in the nose, will get a much wider berth in the line at the water fountain.
A co-worker who always responds with an angry tone will be avoided more than one that is welcoming.
Sometimes individual with ASD learn that anger is a means to an end.
This drive for control is a common part of the autistic personality makeup, and when control is not possible to achieve it can create anger.