As many people in the Asperger’s Community understand, aspies often have trouble dealing with emotions. The emotional intelligence of a child’s mind is not much different from an aspie’s mind. Unfortunately, without useful tools, this emotional thinking carries into adulthood and can lead to poor decision making.
If an adult aspie has a low EQ (Emotional Quotient), then impulse control, critical thinking, voice control, behavior self-modification, and problem solving fail to appropriately play their roles. In school, this means a bad reputation for the aspie with ramifications that make it worse for everybody. A low EQ could affect the relationship of the aspie student with the school faculty and also result in peer bullying. In the workplace, this usually means a write-up or an immediate layoff. At home, it means family tension.
Indeed, negative emotions and behaviors are contagious. They always create toxic environments and habits in the aspie’s life.
Ideally, everybody would like to get on top of this important issue in order to establish a solid foundation of peace. What sort of step-by-step process is necessary to do this? The answers vary depending on the aspie’s age, personal dilemmas, comorbidities, learning schema and environments, mentalities, and general life satisfaction.
In adulthood, the amount of contributing factors significantly increases. The main reason for this is that many professional life aspects are added to personal life aspects.
The good news is that even with a low EQ, aspies have a high IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Aspies can use their IQ to discipline their own minds and to break down each complex and difficult situation.
A 9 step process for the aspie to break down difficult emotions and avoid all definitions of a breakdown
- Acknowledge the specific feelings and accept that they are initially difficult to manage
- Get the aspie into a calm state of mind and speak to them once they begin to pay attention; this is how you know they are listening
- Adopt an active, thorough, thoughtful approach (all sides) so that everybody considers everything that impacts the situation
- The person helping the aspie should ask thought-provoking questions every time a difficult situation arises so that the aspie gets into the habit of using strategic, rational thinking, rather than resorting to emotional thinking
- After asking those questions, briefly reflect
- Sort out what is true from what is not and understand what each truth means to the aspie, to everyone involved, and to the situation itself
- Commit to searching for solutions, rather than arguments
- Eventually, the aspie must be able to identify the best solutions to apply in every unique situation
- Show integrity and be respectful and non-judgmental
- A true resolve means to not create any more complications. If no true resolve ends the situation, other situations will arise and escalate into vicious cycles that will repeat until someone adopts an effective approach to break them
- Be diplomatic, not punitive. Do not enforce consequences unless it is absolutely necessary (e.g. the aspie is acting unreasonably out of defiance or does something simply to seek attention or approval)
- Reflect on the situation carefully and remain true to positive personal values
- Learn about the different verbal and non-verbal cues to prepare the aspie to look for personal and interpersonal red flags the next time a complicated situation ensues
IQ + EQ
This nine-step process encompasses how to foster an aspie’s Emotional Quotient (EQ), and can be used for non-aspies alike.
The most important lesson to remember is:
The aspie has the ability break down abstract details of relationships and learning experiences through the use of their high intellect and concrete thinking.
Eventually, they will constantly refine their thought processes to take responsibility and cultivate healthy habits. This strategy will allow the aspie to manage stress, cope with change, and embrace challenges that will increase the quality of their lifestyle.
By Reese Eskridge
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