I've only read a few posts, but I'm amazed that there are so many other families here who are having similar experiences. I'm torn between feeling sad that other families are having difficulty, and feeling selfishly relieved that our family is not the only one. (I'm sorry!) Our 28-year-old son has major anxiety issues stemming (we think) from past traumatic events with teachers (1 elementary, 1 college) and also from various "friends". He seemed to be doing very well through high school and college. He got good grades, had friends, and participated in a lot of extra-curricular activities he really enjoyed. If he had anxiety issues then, he masked them well. Or maybe he just managed them well. I'm not sure. He came home after graduation to work and save money while he looked for a better job. He dropped out of his extra-curricular activities after having an argument with a friend; the friend behaved badly, and it was understandably traumatic for our son. It was sometime during the next several months that he seemed to fall apart. He got a good job offer, and turned it down because he didn't feel he could handle it. After a year at home post-college, he moved to an apartment that we pay for (because we feel that it's important for him to have some independence and his own space), and we pay almost all his bills. He was getting massive anxiety attacks at work, so now he only works part-time. He's been in therapy ever since that year. He changed to another therapist a year ago when his original one moved out of state, and my husband and I both worry that he seems more unhappy now than before. He seems fixated on assigning blame rather than on moving forward with his life. He blames us for certain decisions we made -- for example, we didn't request to have him switched from a classroom with an unreasonably harsh and inflexible teacher. who "punished" him (mildly -- he had to bring home a yellow card saying he'd misbehaved, that was the punishment). The situation was that another child was bullying him, and after it went on for a while, our son screamed at the other child to leave him alone. The other child had no consequences. We did meet with the teacher AND the principal and quietly insisted that this could have been easily avoided, and that the teacher was both wrong and harmful to our child, and things did improve after that. We've apologized to our son, We do understand that there were plenty of warning signs before this, and we should have moved him before this every happened. This teacher had a reputation of being very rigid. When we inquired about moving him, we were told by the principal that both teachers from his previous year (whom he loved) felt strongly that he would do best with the rigid teacher. We later learned from one of the past teachers that this was not true at all, and that they had recommended the other teacher. But there is nothing we can do about that now. We keep explaining that we always made thoughtful decisions based on whatever information was available to us at the time, and that yes, some of them turned out to be the wrong decisions. That doesn't seem to be the right approach, because he still seems to obsess about past hurts, even asking about innocuous things that happened in toddlerhood, like when we didn't buy a toy he wanted because we were trying to stick to a careful budget, but he wants to know now if we were trying to punish him. In fact, he seems to be delving through ALL his past memories with the idea that everything he remembers "explains" why he has problems functioning now. That wouldn't bother me so much, except for two things: A. he's not processing the memories, letting go of them, and moving on with his life. He's obsessing about them. He seems to spend all his free time reliving them. B. some of his memories are completely different from how my husband and I remember things, and always in a specific way. We know that many kids with autism suffer from parents who tell them they are "broken" and need to be "fixed," or who tell them that they are misbehaving when they're having sensory issues, or who tell them they must learn to play "appropriately" with age- or gender-appropriate toys instead with things/in ways that interest or comfort them. BUT WE DIDN'T DO THAT. We made lots of mistakes, yes, absolutely, but not THOSE mistakes. So we are wondering where these "memories" come from, and how to address them? It's very painful to be accused of something we didn't do, especially when so much of HIS pain comes from being accused of something he didn't do. And that makes it very difficult for us to relate to him and to help him. We're happy to apologize for things we did do, but apologizing for things we didn't do seems like a terrible way to build a relationship. For the last 2 years, we have had very little contact with him except when he asks us for money, or calls me to ask about past evens. He doesn't want us to call him. We're very grateful to find this community, and especially Danny Raede & co, and we're really looking forward to starting the course. We are open to suggestions and advice!

Posted by mamakat at 2024-02-10 19:11:25 UTC