Aspergers young adult disrespectful to parent

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by gardengirl1958, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Can anyone help me? I'm desperate! My son is a high functioning Aspie as well as my husband and me. He is 21, lives at home, and is paying his way through college with his 4,0 gpa. He is a loner, abides by rules, is a model student, and general all around quiet and nice guy. We love him dearly. We didn't know he had Aspergers until he was 15. In later years we also found out about my husband and then me. It was such a relief to finally have a handle for all that we'd been going through. When my happy but challenged son turned 12, it was like someone sneaked into my home and traded my kid for this negative, disrespectful, self absorbed, argumentative person who now lives here. He is not physically aggressive, but gets annoyed easily. He will argue his own perspective to exhaustion. He never remembers chores and barely seems to be aware that life exists outside of his bedroom. We "invade" his space to try to communicate with him, which annoys him considerably. He has better days and worse days. Yes, moody deffinatly and neither we not he knows what's at the root. He never seems to be able to know if he's sick or having a problem. Since childhood, he can't seem to be able to identify our verbalize that he's sick, angry, or what emotion he's feeling. So trying to nail this down is difficult at best. He doesn't think he's disrespectful and says he never means to hurt us or cause trouble - and most of the time it's believable because he is not a liar. They told me the depression and moodiness would happen with the teen years in an Aspergers boy, but when does it lift? He is not rude nor disrespectful to others, not even his dad mostly just me. I am his "care giver", was his homeschool teacher, and his confident. I have read and learned every technique I can get my hands on but nothing works to get through to him. I figured it must be me, so I learned to keep my conversation short, talk in gentle tones, quiet the house, and try to keep a regular routine. When it comes to school, he never forgets an assignment or class. He works hard to please his teachers and they all say, "I would never have believed he has Aspergers. He's he best student we have". My husband and I are the duck feet beneath the water holding him up. We paddle hard to keep him going. He works very, very hard for his scholarship. He's no slouch with that. When he was tested, they told me that I had taught him so many coping skills, they couldn't detect his Aspergers until they gave him the written portion. Then they apologized to me. In all of this, he can't tell you his left from his right, he can't "feel" time, he struggles with driving because people don't obey his rules, he struggles to remember to eat, shower, brush his teeth, etc. No matter what we institute to help him, he can only remember to do what he loves to do. I worry for his future. Most especially because he is so difficult to live with. It is an exhausting chore to get him out of his room to engage with my husband and me. He resents every attempt we make but takes it all out on me. My husband and I are all he has as family. I worry for him that he matured to a point and then stopped. I am so, so, so exhausted of his verbal and attitude abuse of me. I am his pain in the neck because I'm the one who cares enough to try to get him involved with us, to eat, to wash, to do chores, to drive safely. He would live in his room and never come out except to go to school if I let him. He has hardly any need for companionship. We miss him. We worry for him. It's not getting better and I'm worried he's going to abuse others by teaching himself to abuse me by his attitude and the way he talks to me. I'm worried that he won't be able to keep a job. We have a small family business and lost out main source of income a year ago. I don't have money for counseling. Can you help me at all? Is there any hope? Thank you!
  2. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Okay first he seems to be very high functioning and if he can manage to keep that scholarship he has with such a high gpa he most likely can keep a job. But you can not change what he needs if he does not need companionship well you can not force him to need it.
    If you force someone well you get resentment you get verbal and attitude abuse from him or he will ignore you simply ignore you how to put it he will not fight back but will not listen. Like saying yes for your requests but actually doing nothing which he probably does but just more often.
    My advice is pick your battles and look at the glass half full you raised a young man who can deal with the rest of society in a reasonable and respectful manner who has the skills to support himself at a acceptable extent.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Much of what you write, I identify with. My son is 27 now. It started for us when he was about 14 or 15.

    My son was the sweetest of all children.

    I think it is natural, a lot of it. With hormonal changes and the developmental need to become an adult. They cannot tolerate being so close to us. It would not be appropriate if they did.

    Have you thought about encouraging your son to live independently? Because I think he is trying to do so under your own roof which does not work for anybody.

    Your son it sounds like is devoting all of his energies to school. While this is admirable and certainly has its benefits, it might help him (and you) if he diversified a bit, had roommates, a job, and diversified responsibilities, as well as true independence.

    Welcome. I hope you keep posting. It helps. Really it does.

  4. Thank you for your response! Yes, I have thought of those things and entertained them even tried to get him in motion to make it happen. But, oh I wish I could describe it better... He is so incapable developmentally on his own. He doesn't want to live with anyone else, so my husband and I have entertained the idea of (which we intended to do anyway) build a separate small building for our family business and put a small apartment in it where he could live to start learning how to take care of himself. He would be the distance of a next door neighbor. He would even have his own address, mailbox, electricity, water, etc. We thought of working an arrangement like this where he could have a friend move in with him and share expenses - probably another young adult with Aspergers like himself. He has a couple of single guy friends in a similar state to his (still living with parents). We thought maybe this would help him to appreciate his relationships with my husband and me having his own space and eventually building his skills and confidence to move out on his own. His goal is to try to gain the freedom and skills to have his own family one day. (This has become our goal to help him gain it.)

    Tonight, we had a talk after dinner as a family, and he articulated fear to us actually claiming it for himself and I was floored because I've never heard him identify much less claim his own feelings. This was huge! Because he loves to write, we've given him an assignment to write out his fear and how he can name it to keep from it being projected as abuse toward others. We know it's only a start, but this was the very first time I've ever known him to verbalize and take ownership of his own root cause for anger. Breakthrough? I don't know.

    Gosh! I can't begin to explain how much work this has taken just to help him get this kind of life he has now. (Any kind of independence.) But I guess you already know this. He had his couple of biddies like him that are still living at home not managing well at 31 and 35 years old. It scares me sometimes and I just don't understand how much push to give and when to back off. The psychologist told us after she had tested him to be prepared for him to live with us the rest of our lives and never get married, but if I would have accepted other statements like this from professionals, he would never drive and be in vocational school. There is nothing wrong with that either, and I would have accepted all of it, it's just that he was desiring something different for himself and wanted the independence, so we wanted to help him get it.

    My son has ADHD and all through his education, having too many things to focus on at once has caused him to become very ill from stress. He was working part-time for us and going full time to college. We also had other family activities like Boy Scouts, etc. Last spring, we had our job loss, and a mild infestation in our home. With all the added distraction, the stress built up in him so badly that he passed out in church and it was so dramatic they called an ambulance. It really scared me. We had to take several measures to help him get a regime that would help him get better balance as a student. He has slowly been recovering but we've had to watch out for him because he obsesses over college and doesn't take care of his health.

    I tell you, it's just so weird to see this young man looking back at me but his emotional and some of his developmental behavior feels like he's 13.
    Thank you for your response! I have been really scared to post because I've had so much against us over the years, that was fearful of criticism. You know?
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Be warned: neurotypical males (the so-called "normal" ones) don't really show progress in maturity until something like age 25 or so. With Asperger's, the person develops unevenly, with parts of maturity being a number of years "behind". Which means, some of this is just normal stuff taken to an Aspie-driven extreme. Which Aspie's happen to be very good at.

    It's really hard to know when to be involved and when to back off, how much freedom to give, how much to hand-hold... it's tough when parenting neurotypical kids. For those of us whose kids are not neurotypical, it's just that much tougher.

    Sounds like you've already done a good job, and taken this fellow farther than the "experts" expected. You are on the right track. It's just hard to have to rise up to yet another set of challenges when most of our peers would be "done" with raising a kid.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree with Insane. Gardengirl you have done wonderfully for him. The thing is, after coming to this board I believe my son has to do for himself. He is an adult. He needs to achieve according to his own abilities and fueled by his own motivation. I understand now it is not respectful to him to sacrifice my own life, that he should live his. My son receives SSI for mental illness. His judgment is poor and he is poorly organized. My son has a chronic illness that requires treatment. Without it, he will likely not live his normal lifespan.

    I had to let go of that too. Because I could not control it. It was making me ill trying to. I was always afraid. I had to accept that it is his life to live, not mine. My job is to take care of me. When I have to choose between us now, him or me, I choose me.

    My own son dropped out of college after one year, let his driver's license lapse, left his job, etc. He got a brain injury. Multiple hospitalizations. He spent a time homeless. He seems unable or unwilling to live independently.

    As I write this, to myself I sound heartless. I am not.

    Where I live there are services publicly for adults who cannot live independently. I have decided it is better for him, if he avails himself of those resources. I realized I am fostering dependence if I do for him. Even if he cannot, now. He may be later. He is highly intelligent, like your son.

    I do not want to artificially set a ceiling for him by fostering dependencies.

    I thought too like you. I would buy him a house, etc. Find a roommate, etc. I decided against it. What I will do is set up my finances so when I die, he will have a place to live.

    My adult son is deciding how he will live and doing it himself. They can do it. If they need help they need to seek it. That is how people mature. If he makes mistakes, he will learn. If I do it, he will not.

    That is how I feel now.

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is great. The part that he wants this for himself. That he feels he can attain it.

    Let me ask you a question: What kind of support did you get from your own parents? As I understand you, you came to understand that both you and your husband did not know you had Asperger's.

    You found each other, you married, became parents, business and property owners. How did you achieve that? How involved were your parents?

  8. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    OK. I'm an Aspie. Very high functioning. Held down a mgmt position in IT for many years.

    Also bipolar. My BFF of 19 years died on 12/21. I can't multi-task when it comes to emotions, though I have learned to identify them in myself and others, and to ask (Hey, how're you feeling?) if I'm not sure.

    As a result, my brain is stuck on grief right now. The house is a mess and I haven't showered in several days. The only thing I'm doing other than grieving and taking care of physical necessities, is caring for the cats.

    The only human I'm dealing with is my BFF's widow, also a close friend. I speak to her at least once a day. I've been out of the house once all week.

    Tomorrow is my day to get enough out of my funk to shower, and starting Monday, I have to begin to rejoin the human race.

    But, if your son is feeling fear, or any other strong emotion, he may very well not be able to do anything else. It takes so much EFFORT for those on the spectrum to identify and process emotions that there literally isn't any energy left to cope with anything else.
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  9. First, I want to say, thank you, thank you, thank you to each of you who have responded! Your comments are more helpful than I can say. Each of you has valid perspectives and lend to my understanding. I'm going to answer individually, but just wanted to make these comments. My mother was my advocate. I was a mess as a child and youth. Major issues with autism but we had no name for it. I was high functioning but had major issues with sensitivity disorder. School was a nightmare. My dad was my abuser (he was a psychologist) and taught my siblings to abuse me. They still try from a distance. If my mom had known this was Aspergers, oh how better life would have been. My husband stayed withdrawn all his childhood and young adult time. His mom was cold and his dad uninvolved that he left home at 19 and turned to drugs, alcohol, and porn to"feel" anything. He stayed out on his own and made a mess of his life. We grew up across the street from each other. I am 1 1/2 years older than him. He came from a well off family that had the money and resources to help him. Instead, they shunned him never to help him again. His mother blamed him all his life for not living up to her standards. She is still alive and has nothing to do with us - neither do his siblings, who also took up the cause. My husband often says he should have remained at home instead of turning to the streets. The whole thing just seems like a sad waste to me. He is a good man. He was just lost not knowing he had Aspergers. I was lost too. Together we tried to piece life together and ended up in counseling many times because of his coldness and inability to provide for us. I have had to be the primary provider and this has caused a great deal of problems because the stress of all the years coping with all this - carrying it all caused me to have a break down four years ago and then my body shut down. I was course to death. I have been in recovery since and believe it will be this way for the rest of my life. Fear seems to rule in all 3 of us because we have tried so hard to help others out of compassion and been squashed badly as a family on way too many occasions. My parents are deceased. Neither my siblings nor my husband's want us around. We have been told that we are the fodder of the family gatherings with my siblings. They get drunk and make fun of me and my family at family gatherings. My husband's siblings have told him unless he conforms to what they expect of him, they will continue to harass him and not allow him to be a normal part of the family. We turned to God and He became our dad and family. We have financial challenges with all that's happened. We have served God with Boy Scouts, music ministry, and our family business. We try and try and try to do what's right. My husband, decades ago, left all the drugs, alcohol, and porn behind and took God as his companion. Our son is afraid because of what he's seen happen to us with our families and with people who don't or won't understand us on the spectrum. We are sincere people and can't read intent in others and we show compassion when we should show caution. But in the past 2 years, my son and I have reclused. We have spent our time working on his schooling, our homestead, and learning how to live frugally with the income we have. My husband, son, and I have been building a media network to help others learn what we have learned. Often people are amazed at what we have accomplished. I am a published children's author and we are known in our state for using multi-media to create and perform educational performances and products that are used state wide. But no - no major income yet. So we're building this media network to help others and in doing so, it's made us feel better about ourselves. My husband and I have experienced taking the going it on our own path and all along the way wished we had support. As people with Aspergers, we have found that it's not successful going it alone without the kind of help that coaches you, trains you. I can't tell you how badly we yearn for a dad or mom figure to love us and come along side us to help and love us unconditionally. When we have a crisis, we are on our own and we make many mistakes not understanding things as best as we should. And the fear is crippling - badly. This is partly why I am reaching out to you. I want to succeed as an Aspie and I want to help others like my son. I am starting a support group in 2 weeks at our church for young adults with Aspergers at the request of my deacon. I'm scared, very scared. I'm also excited but very scared. I know I can help because we are farther along then some of them, but I don't have all the answers this is why I turned to you. I need help for my own issues (like my son). I don't think I'll ever stop looking for answers and trying to understand all of this. These young guys here are lost. My son is the youngest. They go up to age 35 and they are all at different stages of being on the street, not being able to make and keep friends, jobs, intimate relationships or live on their own successfully. They have suicidal thoughts and terrible fears. Some have family support and some don't. Most parents don't understand them, but because we have Aspergers we do to different points. I have searched for help for all these years and I've only found it on the internet so far - articles and videos. We found a support group, but it folded 3 months in. This would really be a first to have a community online that could help me understand and help me to make better choices. I'm so afraid to get squashed again. That's why I was hesitant to write. I sent a private message to one of the administrators of this site and she recommended I start a thread. Thank you for reading and caring to answer.
    I can't possibly tell you what it means to have people that understand and talk my language. I respect each of your journeys and appreciate your input.
  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi GG, just wanted to let you know I have been following along and wanted to share that you are doing some wonderful things to overcome your situation. You have overturned difficulties in your own life, and are reaching out with your experience to help others. I am astounded by your resilience and compassion. Welcome to the forum, I am glad you have found us. :hugs: leafy
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, dear. I am so sorry you had such a hard time. I also have neurological differences and life was hard for me and my entire family abused me, but it made me stronger in the end. Bet you are strong too!!! Fortunately for me, my family of origin is very small and I don't have to see them and have no desire to see them. My family I created is my real family and yours is too. Why deal with abusive people who have no understanding of people who are born a little differently? Gets me mad, but is also sad for them. If they ever have a child or grandchild who is different, they will never understand and be able to give the proper type of support. And these neurological differences are hereditary.

    My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son does live on his own, work part time and collect SSI. He does need a little help in life skills and likes to be alone more than in a crowd, but he is getting better with that and his work mates really like him. Fact I never heard anyone say a negative word about him. I have guardianship over him, but I may drop it as he does his own chores, laundry, cleaning, getting from place to place and work, etc. He does need a payee, which he is very agreeable to because he knows he has impulse control problems and would spend all his money at once if it is not given to him when needed.He pays all his own bills and is really not financially dependent on us at all. (Well, he has enough money for his bills and I pay his bills for him out of his payee account).

    It is possible your son can have more independence than you are worried about. We were told ours would never be more than a vegetable and never have independence of any kind. I thought "Baloney!"I could see intelligence and alertness in his eyes, even before he could talk and he did not speak until about four and a half and it seemed like it happened overnight.

    He is not brilliant, but is no dummy either. He made a lot of "friends" at work and by playing sports in a group for other adults with various disabilities. Many, like my son, seem completely "normal," and my son also has a deep compassion for those who are less abled t han he is and is quick to run and be the first one to help if needed. My son doesn't want a roommate and will probably never get married, but he is one happy person. He knows lots of people who likes him, but only has one close friend and they see each other at work and on the weekends.

    Just sharing my own experience and wishing you good luck with your son. Hugs and lots and lots of good vibes for all of your family!!!
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  12. Wow! Thank you, Leafy! I really didn't expect so much encouragement. Y'all are amazing! Hugs back to you!
  13. Wow! First two paragraphs - AMEN! I feel the same way! And WOW about your son! That is soooooo encouraging! I'm so happy for you and him. This is a huge achievement. Thank you for sharing with me. All of these stories and comments help me considerably. I've been so alone, I don't know what my expectations should be. You just kind of get pushed out there on your own to figure it out. Thank you for commenting!
  14. Going North, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Your processes right now are very familiar to me. I can very much relate because of what has happened to all of us at different times and how we do and don't process it. I'm so very sorry for your loss! That is incredibly hard to lose someone so close, especially for people like us who have to work so hard to build relationships. For us, it seems that taking the time to grieve is actually the healthiest step. Avoiding it just causes more problems later. Just last night my son told me that he gets angry when he's fearful. So i asked what he was afraid of and his list went on for give minutes and it was not an exhaustive list. I remembered being 21 and really could relate to what he was saying. Everything feels out of control and he's always waiting for the next terrible thing to happen. Dealing with the fear was that people were coming to our house for New Year's Eve. This is why he was acting out on me. He said he was fearful of someone coming into his personal space. He felt threatened. My husband voiced up and said he felt the same way. They prefer to visit people in public places but not in our home I asked him why he didn't tell me this a week before and he said he was afraid to tell me. I don't know why. He tells to me about this kind of stuff all the time. We had discussed this gathering and the family seemed fine to do it. The people we invited were all his friends on the spectrum. Thank you for commenting, especially in your own trials. It seems to me you're doing very well doing all you can to help yourself and I really respect that!
  15. Copa,
    Thank you so much for commenting! I really respect your input. In response to your questions, I wrote my background for you to see in a public reply up above. I had a couple of kinda "foster" sons (sort of) that I HAD to do what you did or die. Literally! I was letting their issues destroy my health and my personal life.
  16. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I don't much like people in my personal space, either. When my husband, an extrovert with severe ADHD, was alive, he kept our social life going and I trusted him to "keep me safe".

    Now, I tend to isolate, which isn't good for me. First of all because my "social skills" go downhill if I don't practice them, and second of all, being bipolar, too much time spent alone in my own head isn't necessarily a good thing.
  17. Gosh, Insane, you are so right! I constantly have to stop myself from comparing. It's a life killer and a hope killer to do it. Rising up to another level of challenges - man you are so right on! I keep thinking, "okay this next step will be the launch!" But it never is. It's another step. I so wish there was a manual. When do you stop and accept where they are? Or do you just keep helping them to grow? He hates me when I make him step up to the task - oh the hell I go through! But then when he attains it, he's so much happier with his new level of ability and independence. Kind of like being set free from bondage. On the one hand, we've joyfully embraced Aspergers and know it's not a curse but a gift. On the other hand, as a mom, it just hurts to see your son not be able to drive on his own or do certain things that come so easy for other guys his age he knows. I know it embarrasses him at times, but it's his truth, his reality. Life is harder with Aspergers. Every day has its issues and to ignore it is just to defeat yourself. So we address it, but we move on. It is our normal. You know? I get a lot of flack from some folks, but then they marvel at what a good guy he is and how accomplished. So what does a person do with that? How do I process that add his mom who is also an Aspie? I mean, while I'm dealing with his issues, I'm also dealing with mine and my husband's. It's constantly a juggling act. There's so much work that goes into maintaining balance for all of us. I'm always wondering what I'm missing. What should I be doing to help us all? What can we handle? You know? In always guessing through this. But I now for sure, that our "okay" is uniquely ours and not what looks "normal" to other people. And I've had to guard it and not doubt. Really tough to do!
  18. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Going North, just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for the pain and grief of losing your BFF. Tough enough to get through the holidays, but with a loss like this, I do not blame you for being stuck on grief. Holding you in my thoughts, and hopes that you are able to take small steps to get through the pain of it. My house is a mess, too, and been in a funk myself. As I try my best to sort through the mess and the funk, I will be thinking of you, and wishing for both of our success, to get out of the doldrums, and the funk. {{{HUGS}}} leafy
  19. I can relate to this too. The gathering was my attempt to push myself out of isolation. My husband likes to socialize with what I feel is phoney banter at church and it makes me uncomfortable. I think I have major trust issues since all the squashing!
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am this way too. I do not have Aspergers as far as I know. In my case, I feel it is a personal choice and a value. But at the same time I fear the world. And I withdraw. After my mother died a little over 2 years ago I left the house only to shop maybe once a week.
    Some of us do work on the Family of Origin threads. If you do a search under FOO, Family of Orgin, you will find older threads. The first one I participated in started in April or May (I think May). Then we started our own Forum in the summer. (There are 2 threads apart from the forum.)

    Why not join us now. Just look for family of origin in the forum list.

    You will find our yearnings for a loving family and our suffering for the lack of it.

    You are not alone in any of what you are going through. None of it

    In my experience, responding appropriately to my son was made extremely much harder because it resonated with my pain as a child. I distorted my experience with my son, viewing it through the lens of myself as a child with my family. I accused myself as a bad mother. When it had not been the case. I was criticized by others, too. I understand this pain.

    Some of what you read will resonant, I believe.

    I am glad you are here. I am glad I am too.

    Keep posting.

    Your goals are admirable and necessary. I applaud you. I hope that posting gives you strength, resolution and direction as it has me.