Remembering the Onset of My Temper Outbursts

I have been a member of groups on the topic of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) for the past year or so. DMDD was introduced to the psychiatrist’s manual with DSM-5 in 2013. It is a condition in which a child or teen is irritable or angry most of the time and has severe temper outbursts on average at least three times a week for a period of at least twelve months. The diagnosis cannot be made in a child under six or a person over eighteen. This being the case, I’m not in these groups because I currently think I may have DMDD, but because I think I may’ve had it as a child.

According to my parents, I was just a little immature emotionally until the age of around seven. I switched schools, transferring from mainstream Kindergarten to a school for the visually impared, when I was nearly six in 1992. In 1993, I started to learn Braille. This is around the time my temper outbursts started. According to my parents, I wasn’t even regularly irritable up to that point. They describe me as a relaxed, cheerful child.

My own memories are hazy. Of course, I remember temper tantrums from before age seven, but what child doesn’t have those at times? Between the ages of seven and nine, my mood got worse and worse. I remember being suicidal at around the age of eight.

So was this DMDD? We will never know, as the diagnosis didn’t exist back in 1993. Was it, like my parents believe, a way of expressing my frustration with the fact that I was going blind? Was I being manipulative, also like my parents think? Trying to elicit care from my parents and professionals by acting out? Or was it a form of autistic burn-out? Had neurotypical developmental expectations overwhelmed my autistic brain?

Like I may’ve said, my parents don’t believe I’m autistic. They believe I have some traits, but not enough to impair my functioning or warrant a diagnosis. They say I’m just blind and of genius intelligence. And oh, the rest is just me trying to manipulate people for attention. They don’t seem to realize, then, that I, too, suffered from my irritability and anger outbursts.

8 thoughts on “Remembering the Onset of My Temper Outbursts

  1. That’s so sad and must have been very frustrating for you that your parents don’t get or don’t want to accept the seriousness of your issues, it’s awful they think it’s all for the sake of manipulating others, I bet it had to be very painful for you as a child even if you didn’t fully realise what’s going on.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It seems hardest to convince our parents of our issues. I was often accused of having a bad attitude or being miserable. I wonder if they believe it reflects negatively on them as a parent. But, in these moments, it’s not about them, is it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I definitely feel that in my case, yes, it was probably that it’d reflect negatively on them. They had a certain image of me that I clearly didn’t conform to, so to hide that, they made it about my “bad attitude”.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Firstly, so sorry you have been invalidated for so long with all of this by your parents I can’t imagine how hard that has been.

    As a parent of a teen with HFA formerly known as Aspergers, he received the diagnosis of DMDD at the age of 12. I think it was and is still is an appropriate Dx for him. I still grapple with understanding how best to talk with him about matters involving emotions as he can go from zero to rage very quickly. His emotional world is still something that is difficult to talk about for him and something he avoids at all cost. Then again there are plenty of neurotypical people that avoid processing their feelings. That said, I have been a staunch advocate for him and got him testing and a diagnosis by age 7 when I realized there were sensory processing issues that seemed to me, to go beyond the scope of PTSD. He also had trauma (like me) My ex, his father was physically abusive to me until I left into a domestic violence shelter. He continued to be verbally and physically abusive to our son until I learned of it. My son was too young to tell me what was happening on those court ordered visits.

    The fact that you were going blind does throw another variable into the mix but only insofar as to add more stress and loss into your life.

    Oh and just for the record, people who manipulate for attention? It’s always because they need it, aren’t getting it, and lack the tools in their tool belt to know how to get it appropriately. Raises hand.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for validating me, Lexicon. I’m so sorry your son has been through so much. I am older than your son, so not as much was known about mental illness and “high-functioning” autism (I don’t like functioning labels, for the record) in children when I was young. However, Asperger’s was added to the DSM when I was eight and it had been suggested to my parents that I may have it, but my father “disputes that this is a ‘serious illness’ (sic)”.


        1. I get that. However, I was referring specifically to functioning labels in autism (HFA vs. LFA). These are problematic on several levels, particularly because they’re used by parents who advocate “curing” autism as a tactic to split up the autistic community (“You are not like my chid”, etc.). Also, functioning labels limit the child/adult deemed “low-functioning” and burden the child/adult deemed “high-functioning”.

          I say this because I for one, and many autistic adults with me, do value my autistic identity and as such, it’s not just an insurance code. I could write more on this and I may do so. I don’t mean any offense to you, of course, but just wanted to clarify some things.

          Liked by 1 person

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