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How do you “Accept” the reality?

EveryoneLies's picture

I have heard over an over lately that "accepting the reality" regarding who my SS12 is and his condition will make my life easier. I have a hard time understanding this concept of "accepting."

My SS12 is high-functioning Austistic. Because of the pandemic we are stuck at home with him 24/7 and it's been taking a toll on both DH and I. Our doors are constantly left unlocked (this is after telling him many times he can't do this because there were home invasions nearby very recently). My fairly new car was scratched by SS (many times) when it's PARKED INSIDE THE GARAGE. His arguing is just a daily occurrence. Once in a while we will also have to listen to his "genius theories about atom and particles." Mind you, he doesn't really understand how things work, he just thought he does. His monologues are probably not the worst part, and I can actaully just tune out and keep my mouth shut. There's no way to escape his voice because he's just loud. You can hear him no matter which room you are at in the house.

So the reality that I will have to accept seems to be this:

  1. SS12 is forever a selfish a-hole because his needs are always more important than everyone else's.
  2. Better not to own expensive and nice things because they can break when SS has the "Need" to exam and fidget them
  3. Get ready to be put in danger because a family member won't lock the door 
  4. He might never launch - and we might have to have him forever?

I might fail to see any positivives because it's been really frustrating the past few years living with this kid. But seriously the reality is so sad I'm having a hard time accepting it. 

My biggest fear is to be stuck with this selfish prick forever. I don't like to pay for his anything. I don't like to hear his voice, and I don't like to see his face. At the same time I also don't know if this will ever end. I don't think things will fix itself when he turns 18. I also don't think kicking him out at 18 will actually happen. 

fml.

Comments

BethAnne's picture

It's ok to leave if your marriage isn't working out how you want it to. Accepting reality can mean many things, realising that things will not get better and that this situation is not for you is one option. 

As to your four points. Point 1 and 4 are things that your husband should be working on. He should make sure there is space so that you can be prioritized sometimes. He should also be working so that he is setting his kid up to be able to be independent. I don't know your ss's situation but it may be a few years after 18 if he is very limited by his disabilites, but that doesn't mean a plan shouldn't be in place. 

Point 2 - fit a lock on the door that locks automatically when the door is closed. You will have to make sure that you have a key on you any time you leave the house but at least the door will always be locked. 

Point 3 - You can have nice things, you will just have to take your ss's clumsiness/vandalisim (you didn't specify)  into consideration. So you will have to keep things out of his reach or keep him out of their way and you might want some good insurance coverage.

EveryoneLies's picture

DH and I both are trying hard to make sure he understand no one would be given him 1000 chances and tolerate his lying habit like nothing has ever happened. We explained to him to no ends but I have no clue how much SS actually understand. I don't think he's stupid, although he really acts stupid sometimes -_-.

#2 We actually just ordered a auto lock door...hopefully that can at least ease my anxiety a bit. He's 12 but we don't feel safe for him to just go home by himself when schools were still open because of his lack of common sense. It's not really too far fetched that he might burn the house down (not intentionally, but could happen)

#3 He didn't intentionally scratch my car. It was him not being careful with other people's belonging. He scratched my care multiple times (and being told to be careful not to do it again) when he brought his bike to the garage. Having no intention of damaging anything is better than having the intention to harm...but it still doesn't change the fact things are damanged -_-. I'm just mad at the fact that my car was scratched when it's parked in the garage. I am waiting for my car cover to come, and I will try to buff the scratch off (DH said he will make SS work on it, I don't trust SS though lol). I'm just hating the fact that we have to spend on extra stuff because he can't (?) learn to be careful.  

BethAnne's picture

I am glad that you got the lock ordered, hopefully it will solve the issue.

I have adhd and clumsiness is a symptom. I don't have nice things or if I do have them I have to accept that I may well break them one day. I got better when I started working in a laboratory and I would break all of the glasswear at first. It took a lot of effort to train myself to try to think through how I had everything set up around me so that I could minimise accidents. I am still accident prone though and I have to calculate it into my life, it is just a thing that I have to accept - if I beat myself up everytime something got broken or lost I would hate myself.  I understand the desire to want nice things, but for it to be impractical to have them. I would suggest that the bike is stored somewhere outside of the garage if it is too tricky for your ss to put it away without scratching your car. Or perhaps there is a blanket or something that you can put over that side of the car to protect it? Your ss may make some progress at being more careful as he ages but he will probably always be more clumsy than average. 

EveryoneLies's picture

I guess I can learn to accept his clumsiness. I do know that's part of ADHD. It (his clumsiness and not taking care of things) annoys me to no end because growing up I've always taken great care of my stuff. My book bought years and years ago all still look new. (Yes I do read them). I don't like it when he breaks his own things but I can learn not to be bother by it. But breaking my stuff would be a different story....

We are waiting for the locks to arrive, hopefully that will cross one item off the list lol

Gimlet's picture

((hugs)), OP.  This is tough.

Is your SS getting help?  Therapy?  Coaching?  It's unfair to both you and SS if you are being expected to do the heavy lifting.  He needs professional help.

I understand how you feel to a degree.  My YSS19 is mentally ill and has been here full time since March and was with us most of the time the past year.  He's in counseling and on medication and my DH is working on getting him into an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) because he needs so much more than what we can give him.   It's exhausting and on my bad days, I really just want him to get better, move out, and be done with it.   It's so much harder when it isn't your own kid. 

How are you getting support?  

P.S. - LoverofReality is right.  You didnt know how hard this was going to be.  I never in a million years thought I would be stuck with a mentally ill teen with whom I have a weird, polite relationship because his mother made sure of that.  

EveryoneLies's picture

School is doing remote counseling once a week. I don't know if that helps at all. We are trying to get his ABA/Social Group therapy going again, but right now this is it. SS is on med for his ADHD. DH and I both work hard for SS. I only mention how frustrated I am because I feel myself better. On a few rare occurrence DH also mentioned how frustrated he is and that there's no escape. 

We had him in therapy last year, but the provider was not really good. SS's therapists kept changing and he ended up regressing. I'm hoping this time around it would be different.

I had tried to talk to my doctor about my depresssion, but ...haven't been doing so since COVID19. I personally don't feel my doctor understand me. Sometimes I think something is wrong with me 

I really appreciate your kind words. I hope you and your family can get through this without you sacrificing your mental health.

Gimlet's picture

There is nothing wrong with you.  What you are doing is HARD and lots of people have been feeling depressed since all this happened.  I'm seeing my therapist once a week via video.   It's helping and I need the support.

It sounds so frustrating and so exhausting.  I personally would not blame you if you decided it was too much.  I know I won't have to live with YSS forever because we're going to do our best for him, but DH will find him a place to live that isn't here, even if he has to help him financially for a while.  Or he can live with his mother, which I am sorry to hear is not an option for you. 

Hang on there and be kind to yourself. 

tog redux's picture

Yes, this, OP - how is the quality of the professional help you are getting for him? A lot of what you describe is not really autism. Some is just 12-year-old boy, and some is poorly behaved 12-year-old boy, and some is autism.  Depending where you are, there may be additional services for him based on his autism diagnosis, to help build skills and to give you respite from him.  If he doesn't have a therapist and psychiatrist, please get one.

And ignore the initial poster who blamed you for your situation. None of us know what it will be like when we become stepparents.

Willow2010's picture

Most tween and teens are selfish A-holes. 

Boys are awful in confined spaces.  My son would have driven me bat crap crazy if we were in isolation... due to him being a bull in a china closet.  He could look at something when he was that age and it would break.  And he was loud at that age.  I mean loud.   haha. 

Get a door knob that stays locked if you walk outside.  You can turn handle from the inside but not the outside.   

Most of your complaints are normal IMHO for a boy that age.  I am sure it is magnified ten fold if he is autistic.  And twenty times being a skid.  lol.  But the one thing that sticks out to me is that you think he may not launch.  I could not deal with that.  I would have DH looking into types of school to teach SS how to live in the real world.   Or rethink living with your DH in the same house.  

EveryoneLies's picture

Haha, your comments make me laugh. Before I met DH it was just my daughter and I, and although no kids are angel, DD is really not as handful as any boys lol.

I probably should mentally prepare myself better when SS actually becomes a "teen." He's not there yet but that day can come any day from now. 

We fear he wouldn't be able to launch because of his non-discriminative arguing nature --- by that I meant it doesn't matter who you are, he would argue with you to death. So now think about that arguing with his boss, who's going to tolerate that? He's still sort of small for his age right now, but I don't think things would look pretty for him when he grows to a 6-ft tall man. 

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

Day 46 of lockdown.... today has been particularly brutal! Kids now in bed (phew). Mother of a very bored autistic girl here (due to lockdown). I fully sympathise, they have their own unique set of challenges. However it can also be very rewarding. 

My daughter is my daughter, she happens to have autism but that doesn’t fully define her as a human being.

parents just ‘accept’ their kids whoever they happen to be pretty much. I try and find absolute joy in small achievements which tends to makes other stuff easier. My ASD daughter isn’t as much of a challenge as my 21 year old son who got stuck here during lockdown..... ughhh!

EveryoneLies's picture

I have full respect towards parents to autistic kids. What I really can't feel is the unconditional love towards my SS. I think that's the defining difference between bio and step parents. At least it is, for me. I don't want to drag other amazing stepmoms down just because I can't do it. Haha.

Stuck at home with a 21yo has gotta be hard, good luck to you!

advice.only2's picture

I have a friend whose son is high functioning Autistic and she even has been very candid about how hard it is, even being the child's mother. She has said there are days when he is with his BF that she doesn't want to go pick him back up.

Now add the stress of being a step parent on top of that and the reality is you are in a very tough situation. The difference is you have the ability to walk away if this is just to much for you.

EveryoneLies's picture

Thank you for the kind words. The shelter in place at least get DH to see how SS treats me (or actually, most female figures in his life) very differently than he does to male figures. DH is working on correcting that kind of behavior right now. 

I applaud your friend's honesty of the reality and difficulties. I was kinda tired to hear some other people trying to confort me or other bio parents to autistic kids by saying..."At lease he can talk no problem!" Or "He is already a lot better" or that SS can't change because that's who he is. (I don't believe in that last one at all) I think words like that really dismiss how the person in the situation really feels.

I know it's really selfish for me to say this. But I do think bio parents should still have the right to have an out. No, I don't know what their kids will be or who will be taking care of them. I guess it also sounds unfair to ask the society to bare the responsibility as a whole. But parents are also human, and humans have limits. If the parents have done all they can, they should at least be able to enjoy the lives in the way they want. 

But---as a parent myself, it's really a mom's job to worry, so I know it's impossible to happen. I hope your friend have enough support to help her through.s

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

I used to hide my door keys from my kids when they were little and I have got a keysafe with a number code on it (works for now till she can outsmart me). They would always be in reach distance from me in case of an emergency though. 

I have an insurance policy with an understanding company (though I am not sure they will always be understanding...)

And every now and again worrying where she will live as an adult keeps me awake at night....

 

EveryoneLies's picture

Some other users have suggested me (on my other posts) to find a group home for SS.

I can understand how hard it must be for a bio parent, because even for me to think about it, I can feel the judgement coming my way. I think the society puts a lot on parents' shoulders. At one point a child should be fully responsible for his/her own actions, but we still constantly see parents being criticized for their adult children's failure. (I guess for some parents like bad BMs who don't even bother to try deserves to be criticized)

I hope you have support to help you through this. 

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

I just re read your post. 

Is he breaking items because he can or is he deconstructing them in an engineering  like’ like way ‘trying to figure out how it works (which is what my daughter does). 

When she goes into the garden she will check the nuts and bolts on the fence then play with toys, then pick flowers. 

Sometimes I’m in her world and sometimes she in mine (if that makes any sense to you at all. 

I would get a lockable cupboard and put away anything you are very fond of, and try some mechanix construction/deconstruction sets. Also, these days people are never too old for Lego. 

If there are signs of high level anxiety eg aggression, stimming, intentionally breaking stuff out of anger, in the U.K. they would consider possibly putting them on anti anxiety medication. This may also have a knock on effect on schooling and homework. 

Autistic people can have back to front melatonin levels (day and night reversed) which also may affect sleep and concentration levels. 

May daughter is currently in melatonin tablets so she sleeps better at night and therefore is less tired and grumpy during the day. 

She would wake hourly or two hourly, then get up at  4am. Everybody was suffering from lack of sleep. 

She now sleeps through to approx 5.30am which is a huge treat for me lol!

 If he suffers from light sensitivity (some modern lighting, new TVs, computer screens and phones can all emit more types if light than they used to. I have to have regular ‘light detoxes’ throughout the day help her concentration. Eg The tv gets switched off at regular intervals throughout the day. I also have to go round switching lights off during the day because she thinks she needs them on even when the sun is shining through the living room window

EveryoneLies's picture

His breaking stuff is a combination is many reasons. Sometimes it is the "wanting to figure out how things work." I was like that when I was younger so when that's the reason it doesn't bother me. However, the difference is that at least half of the time he wasn't able to put stuff back together, he then lost interest and now the thing is broken. (Had we know at the point he gave up we might be able to help fixing. But usually the small parts get lost in his messy room and never to be found lol)

although I don't like him breaking things, if he decides to break the stuff he own I am completely fine. He has allowance so he can choose to buy a replacement for his belongings he broke. He once broke an after school classmate's machenic pencil because "he found it on the table and wanted to see what's inside." That happened to be something you can only buy from Asia and was of sentimental value to that classmate of his. I was lucky to be able to find an exact same pencil online and got it in 2 weeks, but I think you can feel why I'm frustrated.

Other times though, he broke things because he needs to fidget. And whatever happen to on the scene can just fall victims. And there are also times things break because he's rough with them or simply "not seeing them," like the times he bumped his bike into my parked car in the garage. I understand he didn't mean to, but doesn't change the fact that my car was still repeatly scratched. 

My frustration comes from the repeated teaching just didn't get through him. 

Stapteverr's picture

I live with a similar situation. SS here is 20 and we are really struggling with getting him out of our home. His father and I have reached breaking point. Sadly, unlike the US, we cannot throw him out here, it is illegal to make someone homeless here and he could take us to court if we did. 

I hate to confirm your fears but no, he will not launch, they don't. I have found SS to be super dependent and entitled.

I don't know what solace I can offer you. Person ally I am on the edge of a breakdown living with his behaviour and living with someone I have come to hate. No I will not leave. I want to be with my DH. I certainly never signed up for this tge way it turned out. The BM used to have eowe, and we at least got a break. Then she got a new bf and literally threw SS away (probably because of the trouble he cause with her bf's kids) and even went to the judge to have a paper made to say he shouldn't go to her any more. SS since then stopped speaking to her and so we get his BS 24/7.

What I really want to say is that  a lot of the problem with hi func auto is that people capitulate to them, parents are often just allowing the behaviours because they get worn down by the 'melt downs', society is saying 'he can't help it he's autistic' and that we should pander to their wants. I am only talking about kids on the high function end, those more severely affected are something I cannot comment on.

Step parent comes along (applies to all step kids not just asd) calls BS on some of the bad parenting and the bio makes changes but... The kids have been brought up in a different way for their most formative years, they rebel, ignore etc and the BM certain y will support them. You are on a hiding to nothing. The situation will never change. You have been given some very good advice here. 

SS here is a terrible thief and food glutton amongst other things. We have to lock every thing up. It's not fun living in a jail and having to carry keys everywhere. I would definately lock up your garage. If he will not stop damaging your property then it's time to lock it up against him. 

The only good thing in my story is that SS has been working and wants to work but he's already lost one job because he 'didn't learn' and couldn't get on with people. Before covid he had agency work and were on the point of him moving into a small apartment then lock down came.. No work, no apartment and it seems he's the last on the list for going back to work. 

All of these things have taken his father pushing him, him being argumentative and difficult with us and us having to force him to contact for work and all official things. He just ignores everything and would rather be on his computer or sleeping. When he was about 14 and stopped seeing is mother things started to improve, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then after a couple of years it stopped, things actually deteriorated and have got worse since. I si cerely hope that it does not turn out that way for you. Can you get any help at all? 

 

EveryoneLies's picture

Sorry you are in such a difficult situation. :( 

It does sound a lot like what my SS does though. The arguments, the forcing him to correct his work, the rude remark, the impertinence. My DH has said repeatedly that once SS's 18 he's out (especially when DH's mad at SS), but when I asked DH, "out where? Where do you think your son can go?" DH had no answer. If my conscience is no a concern I would LOVE to kick SS out once he's an adult. But knowing this kid has no survival skills (like keep his living space clean, shop and cook for himself, financially budgeting..etc), if we kick him out he's not going to survive. (And I think he will just stand or sit outside of our home if that actually happens)

Right now I don't think SS can get in to college, he's turning 13 and he's struggling in every subjects. He thinks he can become a particle scientist---- I say that's a long way to go. I am not confident SS can find a job, or keep a job. He is mostly unable to follow instructions, and he blames others when he did things wrong. I don't think these are the desirable qualities any employers are looking for..

We haven't gotten to the point to lock our pantry..but he's not allowed to go straight home after school (so he goes to after school--that was before the pandemic of course..) because we don't trust him to have self control on sweets, and that he will definitely not be able to finish his hw by himself.

We are starting his therapy (ABA and social groups), I hope this will help. We just have to let time tell.