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what resources are available to parents whose child(ren) no longer speak to them?

My son was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury when he was born. He had a seizure at birth and a brain bleed. He was my first child. Throughout his childhood he had physical therapy, mental therapy, medications for a seizure disorder. In his elementary school years, he had a period of episodic paralysis which created the need for an aide at school. I was never present for these episodes, but school officials witnessed them and called me to the school many times. This lasted all of 3rd grade. He had hand tremors and I tirelessly advocated for a writing aide (when small) and a laptop when older. By the time he was a tween, he was obsessing about our neighbor, a college student, and keyed her car, put tacks on her doorstep, and peed on her porch-- all because he did not want her to date. He had trouble keeping friends because he would get jealous and retaliate by dumping out their backpacks in the coatroom.He was then diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His first year of middle school he attacked the principle because she put away his comics after an aide took them away and he called 911 to report an adult stealing from him and abusing him. As a teenager, he would be truant more often than not, told stories about his dad having to move out because he broke my son's nose by punching him (he never lived with his dad and barely knew him), He threatened his ex girlfriend on the internet posing with a (fake) gun and writing threats, He physically went after his younger (six years difference) sister until the school called and told me that she was confiding in a school counselor.
He also coerced her into posing for genital photos when she was 8 and he was nearly 14.
He was diagnosed with Aspergers by then, and we sent him to a diagnostic center for one month.
After that, he lived next door (I own a duplex) with his other adopted parent per the recommendation of the school and the diagnostic center so as not to have my daughter removed from our home.
He was constantly in trouble but also constantly seeing a therapist and psychiatrist.
We somehow got him through high school (5 transfers) and on a mix of medications. He told people he was an exorcist, he told people that he went out crime fighting each night, He told people he was raised by dogs. None of these things were true.
He also liked to tell girlfriends that he had had a psychotic break. Again, not true and when one girlfriend asked me about it, I said "that never happened" and he was furious.
He WANTED to be "CRAZY" according to several girls he dated.
Now keep in mind, he looks like a model so girls will come around no matter...
Finally, he met a girl who started living with him and his adopted parent next door. She is odd herself and seemed to be okay with his quirks.
He got worse and we started arguing.
He didn't remember to take his meds, started and stopped drinking many times, couldn't hold down a job and made each job about someone else, was obsessive about his girlfriend, often accusing her of all kinds of things.
I had made the mistake of always giving and doing and giving him everything...
When I watched him, at 24, treating his other parent and those around him with contempt and anger, I withdrew some of the carte blanche excuses and started challenging his ideas and actions.
Maybe too little, too late.
Please know that at the time, he was where my Sun rose and set. It was not easy to ask or tell him what I saw.
It was hard to finally set boundaries or hold him accountable and oh boy, when I did, that was the straw that broke the camels back.
He eventually moved out with the girl, has just had his first child, and I have not spoken to him in six months. The six months before that, he wasn't speaking to me either, but there were a couple of times when he said he wanted to get together and talk.
His story is that I was emotionally abusive. Toxic and by now, I think that I have heard rumors that he gets the story bigger and bigger as time goes on. Sexually abusive? Physically abusive? I don't actually know because there are only whispers on the wind because he no longer speaks to any of our family as most of the relatives that were constantly there while he was growing up, have told him "that didn't happen".
Even his sister is angry and she believes the whole thing happened after she introduced him to a boyfriend of hers that was getting disability.
My son and his girlfriend asked him how he was getting disability when, my son had tried to get disability for Aspergers and they turned him down. My daughters boyfriend had said that he was getting it for panic attacks and PTSD because of childhood emotional abuse.
The next thing we all knew, my son was having panic attacks and PTSD. he is now getting a monthly check from the government.
Oh, and the paralization episodes during 3rd grade? He spontaneously admitted when he was 21, that he had faked those, as well as the seizure he had to avoid being arrested by the police for shoplifting and the seizures he had whenever he didn't like the job he worked at....

yes, I know he is a piece of work. Intellectually.  And yet I am so sad that I have lost the sweetness part of him that I chose to see. I would love to know of groups or resources for parents that are going through what I am.
I know I helped create this by always making his disability his excuse, by bailing him out of every situation, etc.
I've been in therapy for a year-
I would just love to connect with people who are further along in the process than me.
My granddaughter was just born 4 days ago and he vows neither he or she will ever see me again.
How do you navigate this?
4 Responses
134578 tn?1614729226
I think you navigate it by staying in therapy. Your awareness of your wounds (though they have happened over the years) is too new to try to just think yourself out of it. You're still getting well.

Also, I hate to say, the sweetness of a little boy is almost impossible to find in an adult son, even if the son has no mental issues and is not a piece of work. Children are biologically programmed to separate from their parents. I heard a woman say that her adult son told her, "You're going to have to face it, Mom. The little boy who wanted to go with you everywhere is gone forever." He was trying to get her to accept the reality that a child grows up and no longer makes his mom the center of his existence. It's a sad loss when moms come to it, but it is the deal we make as parents.)

When talking with your therapist, it might help to work on two or three different tracks, one being the sadness over the damage your son suffered from his physical challenges, one being your grief over the loss of the loving boy, and one being the stress of having to deal with the lies he is putting out into your world about you. It seems like it might be more straightforward to make plans to deal with the last topic than it is easy on the heart to deal with the sadness of the first and the grief of the second. Seems like your goal has to be emotional separation, but maybe the alertness required to fend off his lies is mixing the issues and making that hard.
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Oh my gosh.  Your post speaks to me.  The sadness you must feel. And frustration.  And hurt!  And regret.  All mixed up into one.  I parent a child with challenges as well.  And through that, know other families that have had severe struggles.  One in particular really rings similar to your son and his story.  He was just diagnosed with high functioning autism after setting a bathroom at school on fire.  I'm glad they have a diagnosis but that will not end the behaviors at this point, I fear.  So sad.  

I'm sure you did the absolute best you could at the time with what you knew, felt and had.  This is how I feel now.  My son is still a teenager.  I get an inkling now and again of things I've done throughout the years that were not good and mistakes.  The writing is on the wall.  I hope it turns out alright for him to be a functioning adult and us to have a relationship.  But I can't go back in time.  I can just conquer today.  So, stay focused on today.  

I had a difficult relationship with my dad.  One thing that a therapist recommended to me was to keep lose contact.  Send a no strings attached update of "I'm doing X.  Would love a note back (email, maybe) of how you are doing.  and would love to know my grand daughter if you ever think that would be okay.  You are the boss".  Something like that.  Just loose and easy letting him know you are open to anything he'd be willing to have with you.  Even a picture of his daughter only.  A note about what they named her. Etc.  Don't try to confront and fix it all.  Just try to move on.  

My son shared a poem with me that really moved me to think about things.  It was a sad poem about choices people made.  The character in the poem didn't take responsibility for their flaws or mistakes.  When simply owning it is healing to the people in our life.  It has made me not make excuses for the things I do wrong with my child but to say "yes, I did that.  I'm sorry.  Might not have been the best choice and I am sorry."  In doing that more with my son, he seems grateful.  More forgiving.  

I know that I could never walk away from my child.  I never will.  But you need some TLC for you which a therapist may provide.  And weathering through this with no fights, escalating matters or drawing lines in sand is good.   Because time can heal.

Maybe send him a short note or email that you heard he had a child and want him to know how happy you are for him.  What a blessing a child is.  And ask if it is alright if you send a small gift for the baby.  And then send one.  Olive branch.  Letting him know you are there.  Ready for a new relationship.

He sounds to be very troubled over the years.  And perhaps even a sociopath of sorts.  But he's an adult now.  Move past any judgment of how he lives his life as long as you don't foot the bill for it.  And hopefully things can mend.  Hugs to you.
Avatar universal
The therapy is a great start.

You are his mother and will always love him and desire a relationship. It can be hard to grasp the fact that he doesnt want that and there is nothing you can do. What I can tell you is dont blame yourself. No matter how much you did wrong, everyone makes mistakes. There are people who went through way worse then your son, and are dealing with similar dxs, but turn out great and overcome their disability. He is old enough to make his own choices.

While it might be hard. You should try to focus on things that you can do for yourself, and be there for your daughter. Dont allow herself to be upset or blame herself for what her brother is going through either. You both need to hold on to each other and enjoy life together. Nothing will ever make you forget your son, but being positive and having positive things in your life can help you move on.

In addition if and WHEN he comes back into your life. Dont allow him to manipulate you or for the old bad habits to come back. You can be there but hold him accountable for his actions. Make him aware that you cant make excuses for him any longer, and how much he hurt you and the entire family. Look up articles on wording because I know it is hard when someone has Aspergers to get them to see past their own lives.

Continue with Therapy, and remember dont beat yourself up for anything. No one is perfect we all do the best we can, and in the end we control our own lives. This goes for your son too, no matter what his past looked like.
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Keepsakes, I hope you come back. We care and want to be here for you.  Talk to us any time!
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