Living with a person with autism can mean very little verbal interaction and a reduction in intimate time and space. It can also open a can of whoop-a** on ya.
When our son Joey was a little guy, he would have violent meltdowns. These could come from frustration because we didn’t understand something he tried to get across to us or anxiety because he couldn’t understand something we tried to communicate to him.
One incident left Melissa with a scratched cornea. I was flogged with a rope dog toy. Another time it took both of us plus our older son to pin Joey to the floor until the fury subsided. He would kick, bite, punch, throw objects – we couldn’t ignore a single appendage if we valued our safety.
I caught this very good video on Twitter. It’s less than four minutes long and worth a viewing. It’s specific to caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s, but describes a hazard faced by many kinds of caregivers:
You have to fight your own nature as well as the person beating on you. You have to stay calm and gentle while under assault. It is a physical ordeal and emotionally exhausting.
It is freaky to face a physical attack by someone you love and are struggling to care for. The emotional wounds can linger longer and more painfully than the bodily bumps and bruises.