How to deal with this issue with my parents?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Syracusegrad2012, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Syracusegrad2012

    Syracusegrad2012 New Member

    Two years ago a traumatic event really hindered my relationship with my parents. Growing up my entire life I had a very serious undiagnosed learnings called a visual processing disorder or a nonverbal learning disorder. This particular disorder is incredibly devastating. It is a perceptual disability that exists in deficits in the right side of the brain. Some of its symptoms are illegible handwriting, when I used to read everything was blurry and I reversed letters that look a lot alike. I had zero spatial intelligence, struggled picking up nonverbal cues, had horrendous hand to eye coordination, couldn't draw to save my life and got D in all of my math classes. When I was younger I would go up to people who looked like my parents because I couldn't recognizes faces well. This led to horrible self esteem growing up. Since I was 8 there were signs growing up all over the place that something was wrong. When I was 8 my parents were told that my eye weren't working well together and I struggled with spatial and motor stuff and my handwriting was illegible. They shrugged it off and said it was nothing. The disability only got worse and basiclly ruined my life growing up. I was terrible in school, and struggled socially. I desperately wanted to be good at sports and worked out hours every day and ran all the time but sucked at sports my whole life because I had no spatial intelligence or coordination because of my undiagnosed disability.

    When I was in sixth grade again my parents were contacted that something again was wrong and that my handwriting and math abilities were really bad and but they once again said it was just puberty starting up and I would outgrow it. They would always give me a hard time about my grades especially math, geography, language, and my handwriting saying that it was all because I didn't try hard enough and that it was always my fault. My problems continued to get worse growing up. High school was stressful enough but throw an undiagnosed visual processing/motor-perceptual disability and it made it a much harder then it needed to be. I suffered horrible depression and got in trouble all the time and would try so hard and constantly failed.

    Once again in 9th grade my Dad had a meeting with my principal guidance counselor and head of special education in which they said my handwriting, math skills, and other skills were severely lagging and that it's become a serious problem. Once again no action was taken and my parents merely said that I would just learn to type and that I just wouldn't pursue a career in the maths and sciences. This was the last discussion of a learning disability and I still went untreated. I was able to graduate high school which sucked because of the disability and got into a good college (Syracuse University.)

    The only reason I was finally able to figure out I had a learning disability was because when I got to syracuse I always had an interest in the navy SEALs, marines, army ranger and I enrolled into marine officer candidate school platoon leaders course. An officer commissioning program for college students. I trained insanely hard to be sent to Marine Officer Candidate school but when I got there summer after my sophomore year I had problems that I couldn't even begin to explain.

    I went into the marine officer program with a visual processing disorder to a place where visual learning was everything. I was the worst candidate there by far. I couldn't do anything that they asked me to do. I couldn't make my bed properly because of the attention to detail tasks, couldn't assemble my rifle because of the spatial disability, couldn't navigate because of the spatial demands. I could do nothing that they asked me to because everything had a visual component to it. I couldn't interpret any of the symbols for rank, couldn't figure out the combat formations, couldn't march because of the spatial component. In the marines if you make a mistake everyone get's punished and you are expected to swiftly fix it. See 99 percent of the time this works but the problem was I was making mistakes because Of my perceptual deficits and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't correct any of my mistakes. As a result everyone else was punished and I was ostracized and hated me for good reason. I was that guy in the marines the ****bag, the who not to be guy. After about three weeks I started to literally go insane. (If you have seen the movie "full metal Jacket" you can see how bad it gets if you constantly mess up and are "that guy") Marine officer candidate school is already really stressful throw in the undiagnosed learning disability its a living hell. Everyone hated me the instructors targeted me the most and I was an utter failure. The hardest part was watching sixty other kids grasp something I couldn't grasp. To watch sixth other kids succeed and do things you couldn't do and then get told that it's all your fault and others get punished for your mistakes and then you're helpless to do anything. It drove me to the brink and after the third week there I cracked because of the pressure and stress and was sent to the psychiatric ward at marine OCS and was sent home.

    I never felt worse in my life. I had wanted to be this since I was 8 and just failed miserably and when I got home I experienced horrible nightmares. I would wake up screaming unable to sleep at night, and cried myself to sleep. But I started to think. Why had I struggled so much? Why could sixty kids do something I couldn't do? Why did I have so many problems growing up. The one symptom that stood out the most was my illegible handwriting so I started there. I started to realize at the end of my three weeks at marine OCS that there was something very wrong and that this wasn't because I wasn't trying. For the next month I collected a tremendous amount of data and figured out that I definitely had a learning disability. I went to get an IQ test and found a 21 point discrepancy between my verbal and performance. I was told this was enough to diagnose me and that I should follow up. I began doing more research and contacted an occupational therapist. She performed a ton of tests and found that my visual processing skills were incredibly weak. I had the spatial and motor skills as the average four year old and I was 20! I read at a second grade level and had very poor eye teaming skills, and had virtual no hand to eye coordination or gross motor skills. I had no observational skills. This was despite my 20/20 vision. I was officially diagnosed with a visual processing disorder and was so relieved. I finally figured out why I had so many problems and was prescribed a behavioral vision therapy program to work on my skills.

    The therapy turned out to be more than I could possibly imagine. I vastly improved all of my deficits that had once plagued me so bad. I went from no hand to eye coordination begin able to juggle and from a terrible athlete to an above average athlete. I was able to go from illegible handwriting to being a decent artist even picking up a minor in it my last year of college. My spatial intelligence improved vastly I no longer got lost when I went somewhere, never had problems recognizing people. My observational skills went way up and I no longer struggled with math at all. Pretty much all my symptoms had went away. It was not easy and took about two years of about 10-15 hours a week of hard work to remediate the deficits because I was 20 at the time of my diagnosis. At this point I no longer have a visual processing disorder, the only symptom that still remains is at times I have trouble with nonverbal cues but that is the last thing I am working on it and I know I can greatly improve in that too. I am so much more confident, happy, assertive person that I ever was. I truly value these new skills and take nothing for granted. I am so happy that I finally figured it out and got helped.

    Here lies my problem. As awesome it is to basically fix my disability I still have a tremendous amount of resentment about the situation. I had to endure a really horrible experience to find out I had a learning disability. I still wake up screaming form nightmares from marine OCS. And I can't help to think now what if I had diagnosed earlier? There were so many opportunities and so many clues that something was amiss. I see the skills I have now and wonder how much different and most likely better my educational experience would have been if I had just gotten the help that I needed when I was younger. I also have to cope with the fact that my dream to be a special forces soldier is effectively dead and that if I had gotten diagnosed earlier and treated I probably would not have failed. It is just so hard to not think about what could have been. I know this is incredibly unhealthy behavior but I can't help it. I did the best and worst thing I could do after the situation I worked so hard to fix the disability and never looked back no matter how impossible and hard it would be to fix it, but at the same time dwelled on the situation and felt sorry for myself and let the disability still consume me despite the fact that it's over. I will never again fail because of this disability.

    This brings me to my last point I can't help but blame my parents for this situation. They were told so many times that something was wrong and blew it off, and said it was all my fault. I feel that if they paid more attention and listened they could have figured something was wrong got me diagnosed and I could have averted so many bad things in my life and my life would be totally different. This has put a huge strain on my relationship with them. When I am around them I am irritable, and rude because something deep down is bugging me because I can't help but feel that they are largely responsible for those events by not getting me diagnosed earlier. The problem is the minute I try to talk to them about it they immediately get defensive saying how its all their fault in a condescending tone and that shut me down and never allow me to talk about the situation. They are really nice people but can be really hard to talk to at times and they won't let me discuss some of the issues and it's put such a strain on our relationship. I love my parents their amazing people but at the same time, their very distant and hard to reach. I want to stop being mad at them, stop resenting them for this. I want to treat them better but when I am around them I can't help holding them responsible for the events that happened and it makes me bitter inside and I hate it. What's done is done but the negative feelings of the situation won't leave me and I need help?
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Firstly, let me say that it is extremely admirable, and rare, that you have been able to pursue the cause of the difficulties that plagued you for years and overcome them.

    Having said that, and I hope I don't sound insensitive, but that should be enough. Your parents, by your own words, are nice people. Perhaps they did the best the could with what they had. They didn't give you the disability, they had the inability to accept it.

    What if, what if, what if.....Life is full of what ifs. Part of being a successful adult in this world is not wondering about the what ifs, but dealing with the what is. You have two choices, continue to hold your resentment (your word) toward your parents which will prevent you from having a full relationship with them, or move forward with "life is what it is" in your heart and be grateful for the success you have today. You may want to move forward by doing some talk therapy with a therapist.

    Holding the resentment and blame is like a canker sore - it can fester and grow and take over all the positive you have been able to accomplish. Holding those negative feelings in your heart will make you unhappy in the long run. Finding the forgiveness within is what will enable you to live and love fully in the future. My two cents.

    Again, I think you have done a remarkable job of identifying and overcoming your disability.

  3. keista

    keista New Member

    Ditto LittleDudesMom. I'll say with about 95% certainty that you will not fully understand your parent's choices, decisions and/or lack of them until you become a parent yourself.

    At your age, I went through a whole "blame the parents" phase. And yes, it was over legitimate concerns. Only after I had children, did I realize the wisdom in some of Dad's actions. 16 years after my first child, I am in complete awe of my Dad of how well he handled raising me and my sisters. In some ways, I know I'm doing a better job with my kids than he did, but in other ways, he was so much better, I just can't keep up.

    Parents are human, and as humans are prone to mistakes. They did what they thought was right. You don't like it, it's your job to change things in your adult life. Continuing to blame them for their shortcomings does nothing but confirm what we all know - they're human. So?
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am impressed with your resilience, your strength and your courage. I am also sorry that your childhood was plagued with so much disappointment, fear and so many struggles. You have done an incredible job of overcoming the issues that you were born with. I completely understand your resentments towards your parents, given what you've been through and the toll it's taken it's pretty easy to see how you would feel that way. Just as an aside, I too had parents who could not give me what I needed due to their own issues and problems. I harbored resentments as well. In my humble opinion, it would serve you to get support, my choice is therapy, to find a way to let the resentments go and learn to forgive them. Resentments left unchecked fester and will end up hurting you more. That would be a shame considering how far you've come and how well you've done. You are young, you are now on your path in spite of them. For me, over time, I realized that even though my parents made my life so much more difficult, it put me on a path of a seeker, someone looking for the truth, someone willing to change and heal, someone with compassion for others. In other words, along with the grief of what I lost, I also received the resilience like you and the strength to overcome a lot, gifts came along with the problems, I just had to look harder for them. You've done an amazing job, a really stellar accomplishment against the odds. Learn to forgive them and you will find rewards you never thought possible. I send you warm hugs and prayers that you find peace and forgiveness........
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I have to agree with the others in that you need to let go of the resentment. Some people NEED to have everything in their life be just right. There is no room for imperfection so they don't tolerate it. Others, can't handle having their "beliefs" shattered so refuse to hear that things aren't as they want them to be or think they are. Who knows what your parents' reasons were for what they did. Like I tell my kids, "It's done, it's over, and there's nothing you can do about it now." They made a huge mistake, your belief, but there is nothing they can do about it now. Trying to make them admit this many years later they made a huge mistake (providing they are willing to admit it or even believe it) isn't going to change the past. YOU'VE done it and should be proud of it. YOU'VE changed your future by doing what you've done. Continuing to throw it back at them (as they probably see it) is only 1) angering them because they didn't do anything wrong or 2) making them feel guilty for their mistake. If they won't own up to it, there is nothing you can do and it is obvious that they aren't going to. You need to find a way to get past the blame.

    I am a firm believer that things turn out the way they are supposed to. Maybe being in the armed services wasn't meant to be. Obviously you've gained a lot of knowledge through your experiences. There is a reason that you just don't know yet. Is there a way you can use your experiences to help others? Can you see how your experiences have made YOU who you are today? Use that experience and be proud of what YOU'VE accomplished. I admire your determination and stamina. My guess is that this experience has made you stronger, more "observant", seen how disabiltiies can affect a person's whole life, suffered from lack of appropriate services (many of us are fighting schools for what our kids NEED), and still came out on top. The past is the past. They are who they are. YOU can't change either one.

    Thanks for sharing your story.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I know, it's really hard when parents don't seem to "get it". But... even if they HAD, the outcome might not have been much different. Lots of parents on this board can tell you all kinds of stories about no help, or worse, the wrong "help". I've been on both sides of this kind of situation. There are NO easy answers, and no guaranteed outcomes.

    The best you can do is to get help for you - find a good therapist, work this through. You need to deal with these feelings because they affect YOU. The impact on them and your relationship with them, is completely secondary.
  7. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    My parents also made choices that destroyed some of my siblings. They took a bad situation and made it 100 times worse and destroyed some of my siblings and their family. I am very aware of the feelings you have towards your parents. I don't think this is something you can handle by yourself any more than you could NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) by yourself. It sounds like you have severe PTSD as well as the resentment towards your parents. I hope you find a good therapist to help you with this.

    By the way, I think you are an amazing person to be able to get the diagnosis and work so hard to overcome it. Having worked in sp. ed. I doubt the schools would've been able to help much more than to just say 'something is wrong.' They wouldn't have know what was wrong or how to help. It probably wouldn't have changed anything. Frequently here we are faced with educating the educators. And I know my training didn't teach me anything about the diagnosis my students had. I'm sorry.

    And your post is a great description of what NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) is like. Its the first I've actually been able to understand the all encompassing, long lasting impacts of this disability as well as the hope for those who get the right treatment. My son also has a 21 point difference in his testing, but its in the other direction. I wonder how that impacts him.

    Good luck.
  8. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Like you I had to grow up with a learning disability in a school system that did not know how to manage it. I know the "Dumb and lazy" labels they put on you for not being able to keep up with a disability. My mom was told that I would be lucky if I ever made it to a third grade level of knowledge. The therapist stated that my problem was all due to lack of discipline. Well I now have a BS in aerospace engineering and a MS in technology management so I believe I proved them wrong.

    Only my anger is more directed to the educational system then my parents. How were they supposed to know? They never received any training, and were brought up differently. It is hard to be a parent, and you make mistakes, lots of them. I am angry because I see the kids going through the same thing when we as a society have so much more information available related how to identify, test and manage learning disabilities. The no child left behind laws and limited budgets have really done learning disabled kids a huge dis-service. So take some of that anger and join me in trying to keep the schools in line, and to protect any future kids that you may have someday. (they will have a larger risk).

    You will never develop a strong relationship with your parents until you can work it out. Working with a therapist or moderator would work best. And, you can not get through it without your parents willing participation. I would recommend finding a therapist, or other moderator and trying to set up something. If your parents refuse to go, or refuse to participate appropriately there is nothing you can do, and the relationship is unlikely to strive. Their choice not yours. You could then work with the therapist to deal with your grieving process (yes you can grieve when losing someone who is still alive). But you need to find a way to get through the anger.
  9. keista

    keista New Member

    I disagree with this. You don't need your parent's permission to forgive them their faults. Although it would be nice if they owned up to what you perceive as their failings, they don't have to to so for you to be able to move on. This is all about you and your perception of their parenting.

    Not to minimize NLVD or how difficult things were for you, but you've got to remember all the positive things. Syracuse is one of the tougher state schools to get into. You must have persevered and done well despite your disability.
  10. Syracusegrad2012

    Syracusegrad2012 New Member

    Thanks to everyone who replied. Yeah at this point it has been two years since the events happened and I am just tired on dwelling on them. The days of my learning disability holding me back are a thing of the past. I just feel like I can't help the feelings that ruminate into my head and I absolutely hate it. I would rather just forget this whole thing happened and focus strictly a future that won't involve a learning disability holding me back rather than thinking of the people or organizations who may or may not have contributed to the events. Not to mention dealing with the constant nightmares of what happened with the marines. I will look into therapy because I am just so sick of thinking about this all the time and it's not healthy. (And believe me I am absolutely furious with the way that kids with disabilities are treated in the school system and hope this never happens to anyone like this.)
  11. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    Most of us have long standing childhood issues with our parents. Most of us learn to deal with it as we get older or after we have kids. Not all of us. My husband has disowned his entire family because of the sh*tty parenting they did. My parents are fine-ish, but I'm better living 500 miles away from them.

    A lot of people go to therapy to deal with this.

    Your parents sound pretty s*cky. Like super fake and won't deal with real issues. That's why they seem nice, but if they really wanted the best for you, they would have done something about it. No decent parent would have let this slip by. You can't do anything now, and you've done *wonderful* in your adult life making up for it.

    Maybe write them a letter and flat out tell them what they did? I for one have told my mom what a horrible mom she was. Yes, we still talk, and still have the same relationship I've had with her since I can remember. It's never been close, but at least it's still there. But I'm the kind of person who tells people what I really think of them, to their face.

    All I can do is not repeat the same mistakes with my daughter. I have "let go" so much with time and distance.
  12. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    My feeling is that one never knows another's point of is hard to say what may have motivated your parents - they may very well have been afraid and were DEFENDING you.

    I am probably close to your parents' age. When I was in school - the Special Education kids were literally locked away from the rest of the students. They had a classroom all by themselves next to the Janitor's closet. Only the most severely disturbed and learning disabled kids were in the program (of course, we called them "retards" in those days - it was "The Retard Room")....Special Education students were outcasts and "freaks".

    When I was told that my son was being recommended for the 'Special Education Program' - I was terrified! That was the LAST thing in the world I wanted for my child. It took a lot to reassure me that the old system of 'Special Education" that I remembered was long gone...

    Your parents may very well have been against their child being sent to "The Retard Room" - and were arguing that poor handwriting and being clumsy was hardly justification for such treatment.

    Just something to think about....
  13. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Its only been 2 years? And you've been super focused (rightly so) on dealing with a disability during those 2 years. Be gentle with yourself. These things take time. Its o.k. that you aren't "over it" right now. Its going to take time (and probably therapy.)

    You've done great and an impressive job so far. You'll get over this eventually.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You can't "make" them do anything. Period.

    That's why it works better to get a good therapist, and work through all of these feelings for yourself. But... they may never understand. Mine don't... and my issues were not as severe as yours. I used to get the same reaction. I don't try any more - for me, there is nothing left to gain. But you need a therapist who can help YOU find your best path forward.
  15. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Some of us encounter a "not my gene pool" problem with family members. It can be very difficult to acknowledge that some thing is wrong. You are going to have to find someone else to talk to about this; like a therapist. It took my family years to see difficult child 2's autism. After 12 years they are just starting to realize something is wrong with difficult child 1. They still don't really believe me though.
  16. You have come a very long way in a short period of time! Congratulate yourself on that and be proud of yourself.

    I think you have received some very good perspectives on things as well as some great advice for helping you continue to move forward in your life.

    I'm glad you came and shared your success story in overcoming your disabilities. It is inspiring for me to hear this as my daughter has many of the same struggles that you have overcome. She works hard every day to overcome her difficulties with handwriting, visual-motor integration, vision issues, dyscalculia etc. You are very much alike in that way.

    Again, congratulations and thank you for sharing your success. I hope that you pursue therapy and work through your feelings of anger and resentment towards your parents. They did make some mistakes but I'm sure that you know in your heart that they love you and because of that you can hold onto the fact that they probably did the best that they could for you with what they had. Unfortunately, sometimes that isn't enough and that's where the therapy will come into play.
  17. Syracusegrad2012

    Syracusegrad2012 New Member

    Yeah at this point I am sick of feeling sorry for myself about this whole thing. I just want to never think about it again and enjoy that I don't have those problems anymore. I know that I was troubled child growing up had a lot of depressive issues, temper tantrums, and always felt sorry for my self and that stressed my parents out a lot. (In hindsight I think almost anyone with an NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) would have responded that without any type of intervention.) Even though I no longer have most of the symptoms I still feel like the disorder at times has control over my life. I thank everyone for responding. An intervention can make a world's of a difference. Even just knowing that most of your problems aren't your fault are half the fight in that it's much worse to not know you have a disability and think you're dumb. It really effects you.

    I think someone really nailed the issue on the head. This isn't about my parent's or who fault it is. I think they are merely at times a psychological trigger a reminder of what growing up undiagnosed and what going through the marine officer school was. Just as if I were to walk into my old high school would be a trigger as well as, seeing all the people who were once associated with the program. It is just I see my parents a lot.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012