Master Michael: There are times when I wake up and the Aspie bucket is about the size of a shot glass, and the events of the day that fill up the bucket are about the size of giant boulders. That fills the bucket up pretty quickly and the day is not usually too pretty. (For more about my Aspergers “bucket theory”, go here.)
So today has been one of those days and it has been rough, but it used to be worse, a lot worse, when these days would happen in the past. Before I was diagnosed, I had a lot of confusion over why these days would go so poorly. I wouldn’t be able to explain to my slave what was going on. I would end up reacting badly, she would struggle with that, we would struggle with each other and it would become messy.
After diagnosis, and after reflection and observation, I began working on tools that would help us both. It came down to a lot of communication and protocol.
That gives her the knowledge of what I want her to do. She’s to stick to the basics. Keep her inputs to me to a minimum. Be aware that the bucket is tiny and the Master is cranky, so allow us both the room and cushion to allow things to be a bit crunchier than usual. In the evening, or when I’ve emptied the bucket enough, we’ll talk about what happened. It’s a way of reconnecting and of finding out what we could do to improve the situation.
Interestingly, telling her this also gives me more tools, rather than setting myself up to be seen as vulnerable. Owning my own shit, taking care of my own issues, now that I recognize and acknowledge them. I can rely on my own rules that I set up. I find myself more aware when I might be having an overwhelmed, overstimulated, bucket-overflowing moment and I can take that step back, say “This isn’t what it is, this is more of a reaction” and go do some self-care.
Having that closure and reconnect sets up a positive feedback loop, as slave angie can now understand what is going on and have confidence that these tools work. That leads to trust the next time, so that she can give me the space to empty the bucket, and hang in there until the day passes or things get better. Less stress on us bumping heads means that things get better quicker. Unfortunately, that part is not as predictable, but it generally takes just having a bad day and then sleep and I have a better day tomorrow.
So this morning, I warned slave angie that the bucket was tiny and the boulders were huge. Tonight, in talking to her about the day, I found out that while things went as well as they had been, the way the day started had reminded her of times when things didn’t go so well when I had small bucket days. These days can be hard on the NT (neuro-typical) partner. I give her a lot of credit for having stuck with it to learn and grow and figure out how to navigate these sorts of days. So it ends well, not necessarily as fun of a day as we hoped, but more trust built up that we can get through these days together.