2 Big Tips to Tackle The #FASD Anger Monster by R.J. Formanek

FASD SURVIVOR TEACHERS  From Left to James Gideon, Myles Himmelreich. Emily Travis, Tanya and R.J. Formenak
FASD SURVIVAL STRATEGY TEACHERS – Thank you – We look forward to hearing real wisdom from our guest bloggers in 2014!
From Left to James Gideon, Myles Himmelreich. Emily Travis, Tanya Northcott and R.J. Formanek

Special thank you to guest blogger
— From R.J. Formanek –

R.J. is one of our beloved FASD Survival Strategy Teachers

Learning how FASD affects each of us individually can make a huge difference in understanding and managing our anger.

  1. We can learn what our sensory needs are and how to take care of them.
  2. We can learn how to deal with people in public so as not to be embarrassed by our own actions or words…

But, and here’s the BIG BUT!
first we need to accept and understand.

Many ignore the fact they are living with FASD, and this is one case where what you don’t know can hurt you, but once the light is turned on and we begin to understand ourselves… not through someone else’s eyes but through our own hearts and brains we can learn to lose that anger. We can calm down… but understand that we may always have ‘short fuse’ at certain times, and that we may remain a ‘work in progress’ for some time.

Anger can take on many forms and for many reasons.

  • If we are talking reactive anger to a perceived threat or insult that can be one thing, generally emotionally based.
  • If we are talking frustration based that can be addressed short term as many have stated above; long term – sensory needs, past trauma as well as any lingering secondary mental health conditions caused both directly and indirectly by FASD need to be checked as well.

Now RAGES… that is a whole different monster.

And I do mean monster. These are the total meltdowns that get us in trouble, the ones that destroy things and hurt people. These are the ones that give us such a bad name with many.

What ever the immediate cause, RAGES are the result of physical brain damage. Short and simple. Many of the “higher learning” centres in our brains are scrambled at best, destroyed at worst and there is almost no way of knowing which ones will still work, and which won’t. But our brains are amazing things, because underneath those higher learning centres is a base… an “animal” or “reptilian” brain that is largely in charge of the functions we don’t even think of… temperature control, physical needs (hunger, thirst, water etc) and defense.

When we feel threatened our brains which may or may not be able to understand fully what is happening may revert to the base “fight or flight” syndrome and react accordingly.

This can often be the end result of too high stress levels, emotional trauma, or pain of some sort… or actual physical danger. It’s the same thing that makes people scream and jump when they see a spider dropping towards them from the ceiling… we all have it built in… but it just serves our FASD brains a lot more than a neurotypical persons’ might.

Understanding rages is very important so steps can be taken to minimize the number of them, and understanding how to recognize the signals and take steps to head off this oncoming rage can make a huge difference.

Sometimes, a punching bag is a great investment.

And remember – When you know one person with FASD you know ONE PERSON with FASD! – That’s it! Alcohol destroyed different parts and connections in each of us…. Yes, we are a big puzzle!

5 thoughts on “2 Big Tips to Tackle The #FASD Anger Monster by R.J. Formanek

  1. R.J., thank you for the insights in the blog! My daughter and I created a small book – she titled it “My Mad Monster” to help her begin to deal with her anger stuff – and concentrate on the skills she needs to get to a better understanding. She made friends with her monster – things like painting it’s toenails pink because, after all, who can be mad with pink toenails??? Anyway – thank you for the blog and the reminders. Good for all of us!

  2. Oh RJ! as you know I had a brain injury a few years ago, and found this is my ‘saved’ area. I am so overwhelmed at the content of this message, you are brilliant don’t ever feel any other way! And you are so kind and considerate as a human being, doing good work everywhere! Love you…Mary Jane Monnot

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