Finally lost it

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I have a lot of patience when it comes to my kid. I mean, I've never raised a hand to him and I'm very cautious about the things I say. I one of those big "positive reinforcement" people. With his autism, I've had so much coaching and for the most part, raised a kid who thinks well of himself. But today I lost it.

We got ten inches of snow here in the Midwest No big deal. I had prepared and we had plenty of food and games and movies. But last night my son bought a game from one of those used game places (I warned him to buy new but he has the hardest head I know) and naturally, it didn't work. He was just furious. Autistics can get obsessed and can become really emotionally and physically difficult if things don't get straightened out right away. Well, it was 10:00am, 20 degrees and with 10 inches of snow, I wasn't going to move heaven and earth to get the damned game returned when one more day would make things considerably easier. Shoveling snow for me is sheer torture and he has crummy muscle structure, again due to the autism, so melting was going to pretty much be our only way out of this.

Next thing I know, he's throwing on this mixed up bag of clothes and is going to walk to the store to switch out the game. I can't get this kid to walk downstairs and bring up a load of laundry but he can go the mile for this dumb game. Me, thinking this will never happen, lets him leave. Okay, ten minutes later it's obvious he's gone to the store. Now I have to shovel the driveway because I can't have him wandering the streets in 20 degree weather without even gloves.

Skip ahead and I'm in horrible pain from scooping and the wheezing in my lungs has started again. I get in the car to go find him. Make no mistake, I'm mad as hell when I find him. Then he starts in..."I rule this house! You can't do anything. What you have is worse than cancer so how are you going to stop me from doing what I want to do..." There were a couple of implied threats so the minute we walk in the door, I call 911. We've been down this road before, many years ago, during another psychotic break but now he's 6 ft tall an 224lbs. I am NOT going to have any child tell me that he runs my house or threaten me in my home, no matter how much I love him and realize he's sick.

So the officers show up and they are outstanding at scaring the hell out of kids. By then I'm wheezing, have the full malar rash, am crumbled against a wall - no need to fake any drama here - so the officer points out that he'll be happy to come back any time my son needs reminding on just how good he has it. Then they promptly sent him out to scoop more snow. God bless the police! Anyway, for the first time in16 years, some of them very, very hard years, I couldn't take it anymore. I just couldn't deal with the idea of a night in the ER due to my wheezing or if I screwed up my back even more. My son, more than anyone else, has watched this disease eat me alive and to snarl out threats over how weak and helpless I am, it was just too much!

I called my folks and told them that he would be staying with them for a few days and if that was inconvenient, I would take him to the local psych ward. My mom immediately starts minimizing everything and for the first time ever I literally growled that I do not deserve to be treated this way and while he may just be 16, he knew exactly what he was saying. She's always smuggling him money (something that is a trigger for his condition and causes restlessness and irritation) and part of the problem today was he just HAD to spend the money she'd given him the night before. She kept trying to interrupt and I was so tired of being made to feel insignificant and overreactive. Not to mention, the pain literally had it's very own pulse in my body by that time. I ended the conversation firmly (because, God forbid, we don't smooth everything out so that I'm the nutjob) and called a cab to take my son over to their house.

Things have calmed down by now. My son's at my parents - petitioning for a foster home for the love of God. No half-ways with him! I've calmed down enough to probably stay out of the ER tonight. Believe me, I thought the psych ward might be a welcome change for me this time! I'm tired of trying to work magic when there just ain't none left. I just needed to get this all out of my head because no matter what, I feel guilty. I feel guilty because couldn't pop out and scoop the driveway in the ten minutes it used to take. I feel guilty because I totally went off on my son who has never had that happen to him (from me anyway) in his life. And I feel guilty because I have NO intention of picking him up tomorrow. Saturday, maybe, but not tomorrow. I can't. I'm not strong enough. My mom wants me to call his dad to come get him for awhile. This is a man who hasn't seen my son in nearly ten years, smokes pot like cigarettes, gave him wine at the age of 8 and allowed him to be molested by an older child over the period of two years. Yeah, that will definitely give me the restful break I need! Needless to say, there are countless alternatives before that one.

Thanks for making the space for this tonight. If I didn't write it, I would've screamed it and my chest hurts enough.

Take care all. Susan
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  1. rob's Avatar
    I guess I spoke too soon-I'm sorry you have had a totally f-ed up day. I wish I lived nextdoor to you, I'd come over with my snowblower and take care of that driveway for you. For what it's worth, I think you were right to stand up for yourself, and your authority as a Mom, and the head of the household. I'm glad you got some help from the police-I know you didn't call them to be mean. Teenagers, Autistic or not, sometimes need a wakeup call like that. Let them know that threats and disrespect will not be tolerated under your roof.

    I know the stress is tearing you up. Just know that I'm thinking of you. If you want to talk, you can always PM me.

  2. Linda From Australia's Avatar
    Susan I know exaclty what living with an autistic teenager is like.

    We went on a holiday 2 and a half hours away from home one time. My autistic teenage daughter sulked all the way home, I can't remember why, but it was only a little thing. When we got home she got worse. I had enough, was sick and said "FINE, I will drive you all the way back and continue with the holiday". Sometimes, we give in because we cannot handle the abuse and tension an autistic person can create over tiny little things. I was 5 minutes away from our destination when she realised how stupid she was, and then I had to put up with all the over the top sobbing and howling the whole 2 and a half hours back home. And it coninued into the night. When she realised how innapropriately she acted, she was devistated.

    I was at the shops at the time, the very rare times I finally had time on my own. My younger daughter phone up and all I could hear was howling in the background. I said "What did you do to your sister?" Apparently my autistic daughter found a wild mouse in the house and decided to keep it as a pet. (YUK) She kept it in her pocket stroking it from time to time. She forgot about it and when she went to stroke it, it was dead. So of course she thought she killed it. For an animal lover, that is the worst thing that could happen. She was out the front of the house howling and sobbing, so loud. My other daughter took the phone out to her and I said, trying to make sure the other shoppers couldn't hear me "for goodness sake, what would the neighbours think. It was only an old sick mouse, you are acting as though someone close to you died. She wouldn't stop howling, at the TOP OF HER VOICE!!!! I told her to get inside and shut herself in a room in the middle of the house" (so no one would call the police thinking that something really bad was happening). And by the way, I had some lovely clothes I wanted to buy myself, they fitted really nice and made me feel so good. I just dumped them on the nearest shelf and took off as fast as I could to go home to sort out my daughter, which took weeks!!

    Another time, I HAD ENOUGH of her selfish and insensitive behaviour (no fault of her own, just being typically autistic). I said I am driving her to hospital for teenagers with mental health problems and dumping her there because I couldn't handle her behaviour anymore. She said "GOOD". So again, after driving 45 minutes, when she saw the hospital she realised that I was serious, I was going to dump her there. Then the howling and sobbing started again when she realised I would not be staying with her. She threatened that she will run away from hospital every chance she could get and bite and kick the nurses until they let her come home to me. Stupid me drove home with her, and her behaviour didn't change.

    Another time I phoned an emergency phone line on weekend and told them I couldn't handle my daughter's behaviours and wanted emergency respite. They said there was no room. When i told them that I felt like harming her and that I if I started I probably wouldn't stop. I was worried for her life. All they could offer me was someone to come into my house and watch her. I told them that was not good enough because I didn't want her here with me, I wanted her out of my house. But no - they didn't even worry about th threats I made. I have a feeling that they think mothers of autistic children are angels and would never harm their beautiful helpless autistic children. I never got any help, they just told me to phone her psychiatrist on Monday.

    I also have 2 other teenagers, and there is a HUGE difference between 'normal' teenagers and teenagers who have autism. She is 23 years old now, and OH BOY - being autistic, just makes the teenage years stretch out to an eternity. We have had 10 years of teenager behaviour with her (13 - 23) and she is behaving at a 14 year old at the moment, so you do the maths, how many more teenage nightmare years am I in for??

    To some it up - having a teenage autistic child really SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And being sick at the same time - really ______ _______ (oh I don't sware, so you fill in the blanks) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Updated 01-21-2011 at 11:18 PM by Linda From Australia
  3. Linda From Australia's Avatar
    OK, so that wasn't a very postive comment was it? Sorry about that, but I just wanted you to know that I know exactly how you feel.
  4. BonusMom's Avatar
    What a nightmare for you to endure! Raising teenagers is difficult enough, but special needs kids are even that much more of a challenge. I'm sorry you're having to do this without the support of your family or your son's father.
  5. serand4's Avatar
    Thanks so much for both of your support! Man, that was a hard and horrible day! I did end up in the ER because I felt like I'd been kicked right in the middle of my chest. Truth be told, I was just so tired I wanted to be admitted and taken care of but instead I got some intense pain medicine, a little sleep and some perspective. My parents kept my son for the following day but I did go get him that night. For the first time in my whole life, my mom knew enough not to give her "two cents" on my parenting. I was already getting sick (I am SO sick right now with a chest cold) and I wasn't going to back down about his behavior. He and I are walking on egg shells but when I'm sick like this, I can't talk anyway and can barely breath so there won't be much arguing.

    And Rob, I wish you lived next door too! A snow blower would be one hec of a welcome addition to the neighborhood! I'll just have to figure out a different way to handle these type of things. As you guys know so well, being sick just puts such a different spin on everything and I remain convinced that my doctors have missed something. The Shrinking Lung Syndrom was an original diagnosis that suddenly vaporized when my ANA score went down. The problem is, if I do have that, it needs to be treated now -- yesterday actually! Anyway, thanks for your kind words and I will work on my perspective. God bless and I hope you guys have sunshine where you're at!