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Old 10-18-2009, 02:31 PM
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Unable...

...to fix things for my son and need to loosen my death grip!!!!

Can't decide if my behaviour and feelings are codependent, ACOA or just plain frustration at both my son and lack of appropriate social services.

For newer posters, my son (17) has recently been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, he has dropped out of school with mental health problems and I have given up work to become his carer.

So I'm not posting about the self-induced alcoholism of my AF and brother but the genetic Autism of my son. However, the similarities from my side of the street are frighteningly similar.

On the one hand I need to stop being such a control freak but on the other hand, I am my son's only advocate. At times I feel like I am trying to move mountains and failing.

He has three options:
1. Return to mainstream education / find employment
2. Join a small support group set up for more severe, lower functioning autistics
3. Stay on social security benefits and stay at home with Mum

None of these options "fit". He wants to be part of a small group of young people like him who have very high functioning autism but none exist in our area. So until our social services provide appropriate services he is stuck isolated at home.

I am part of two local support groups and people are campaigning for more services but these things take time.

In the mean time, I am so frustrated and this is where the similarity to codependency kicks in. This is a chronic genetic condition, I cannot fix this, I cannot take away my son's emotional pain, we are doing the best we can, we have exhausted EVERY possibility in our local area but still I feel "If only I did this, if only I spoke to this person then I could help make things right for him and make him happier." I can't pass the responsibility to him because of his social and emotional immaturity (part of the Asperger's) - although 17 and very intelligent, he probably has the social maturity of a 12 year old.

If you are still reading, many thanks. Any insight as to how I continue to be a responsible parent but detach from this unhealthy need to fix an "unfixable" situation gratefully received.

Many thanks, IWTHxxx
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Old 10-18-2009, 03:16 PM
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Hi Iwanto,

I understand your worry for your son and how he is going to "fit in" to society and I hope both of you are well.

I think you show great insight insight about "detaching" from an un-fixable situation.

It is the wanting to "fix" isn't it? Pretty normal reaction to want the best for your son. But hard.

I just hope for the best for you both.
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Old 10-18-2009, 03:28 PM
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Iwanttoheal
first, it Is sounds like you are doing a great job of caring for your son. You are not panicking and it looks like you have done a good job so far of identifying the options.

You have also done something caregivers have a hard time with, which is to ask how one care's for one's own self and sanity. This is really important for ACOA's, since there is nothing quite so attractive and dangerous as having someone dependent on you, someone you think you can manage.

Your son is part of the solution. He has choices to make of the options available. I am not familiar with autism or what services are available on your side of the pond, but he still has his own will and he will need to learn how to function with the tools he has. You have to make sure he is well informed. The solution may not be ideal, at least in the short term.
There may also be support groups for parents with autistic children.
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Old 10-18-2009, 04:41 PM
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That sounds like a really tough situation. I want to echo grewupinabarn--it's really great that you're thinking about how to care for yourself in this situation. How can you get the support that you need for yourself and for your son? Something that sometimes helps me when I get into that ACOA trap of thinking about how people or situations are totally dependent on me, or I'm solely responsible for something overwhelming is to visualize my "team." For example, the parent support groups that you attend are definitely part of your team! Are there others who do/can help you with advocacy, or exploring your options, or caring for your son? Alternately, I sometimes make lists of what parts of a situation aren't my responsibility--what (it doesn't matter how small) can you pass to him or to others?

Keep up the good work!
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:56 AM
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Thankyou

A big thank you to you guys for your support, it means a lot.

Originally Posted by stone View Post

It is the wanting to "fix" isn't it? Pretty normal reaction to want the best for your son.
My need to "fix" things is overpowering at times - exhausting. Thanks to what I have learnt on SR, when I feel this strongly I work hard to take a step back and think "Am I acting for my son or for me?" If I find that I am trying to control things to make myself feel better, I stop, reassess the situation and change my behaviour and outlook to one that puts the practical needs of my son first.

Originally Posted by grewupinabarn View Post
Iwanttoheal

You have also done something caregivers have a hard time with, which is to ask how one care's for one's own self and sanity. This is really important for ACOA's, since there is nothing quite so attractive and dangerous as having someone dependent on you, someone you think you can manage.
Again I have to thank what I have learnt here on SR. I have learnt that I have a potentially unhealthy relationship on my hands (similar to an alcoholic and their enabler) where if I am not careful, my son and I will become unhealthily enmeshed.

Oh yes, isn't it just attractive, alll my ACOA buttons are being pushed big style - all my instincts are screaming, I KNOW this role.

To counteract this, I am teaching myself to think - am I enabling my son to become dependent or independent. Anything that he needs me to do eg banking or making appointments, we are working on one step at a time with the aim of him eventually doing it independently.

Originally Posted by PoetryandHums View Post

Something that sometimes helps me when I get into that ACOA trap of thinking about how people or situations are totally dependent on me, or I'm solely responsible for something overwhelming is to visualize my "team." For example, the parent support groups that you attend are definitely part of your team! Are there others who do/can help you with advocacy, or exploring your options, or caring for your son? Alternately, I sometimes make lists of what parts of a situation aren't my responsibility--what (it doesn't matter how small) can you pass to him or to others?
This is a trap that I walk very easily into - thinking that I am solely responsible and then feeling overwhelmed. I can relate to this +++.

I posted that I am my son's only advocate - that is not true, I may be his main advocate but I am not his only advocate and yes, I am far too willing to take on his and other's responsibilities.

Thankyou PoetryandHums - these are two really practical strategies that I can see myself using.


That's why I post here - you guys are all part of my team who give me healthy advice and support :ghug2

I will say again - the biggest lesson that I have learnt from SR is not to look to my alcoholic family of origin for support - and it works keeping your distance from unhealthy people, it keeps you strong and allows you to focus your energy where it is most needed. I can't recommend it enough!

If I had looked to them for support - it would have been back on the merry-go-round of denial (your son hasn't got a problem), blame (it's all your fault) and manipulation (your son is fine, stop worrying about him, what you need to be sorting out is your brother's alcoholism).

But I've stayed away from the merry-go-round and I am not missing it - not one little bit.

Hope everyone is keeping well, IWTHxxx
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