Behavior is Communication. This was one of the tenets of autism I learned early on. I remember sitting in a workshop with my then-husband, who really just didn’t get it, and this was the key piece I walked away with – I already knew it, but the workshop had reinforced it, and I had hoped my then-husband would have an a-ha! moment, but it never came.
The ex has now cancelled on The Boy for his week of visitation next month, and I broke it to The Boy late last week. He had equated this planned trip to his dad’s to the escape plan of the tank fish in Finding Nemo, and would talk about how he was looking forward to seeing whether or not the escape plan would work.
Well it didn’t.
And at first, The Boy seemed OK. “I guess the escape plan didn’t work. I guess we’re stuck in the tank,” he would say. I knew he didn’t really feel like he was stuck here with us, but that the plan fell through.
As the weekend wore on, and we began to witness more teenager-y behavior (refusal to do things we asked, etc.), it took my mom pointing out to me that this behavior was probably coming from the cancellation of plans. And I had a Doh! moment. I should know better, because of that basic rule, BEHAVIOR = COMMUNICATION.
Of course, that explains why he was being such a jerkface this weekend!
It’s still a sore subject, but figuring it out has helped The Man and me gain a little perspective, and retain a little more compassion for him right now. Sometimes it’s hard to be compassionate to someone who is being a jerkface, but The Boy is still just a kid, and a kid who has been cancelled on again by his dad.
“I knew this escape plan wasn’t going to work. Do you remember me telling you that before?”