difficult child feeling lonely, hopeless and sad

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure why I write this. Maybe I just want to share. There is nothing I or anyone else can do to help my boy with his growing pains. But even knowing that it does make me sad he is having such a difficult time even when he is trying his very best. My husband still has very little patience for difficult child so I don't really want to share my worries over him with him either. So I write here.

    difficult child was having a short pit stop at home before heading to his own home and after a camp. His sport performance is still not looking up for him and I do know that it is very difficult to even seasoned pros to separate their sport performance from rest of their lives when they struggle. So no wonder difficult child's sport struggles tend to overshadow everything in his life. But it is not only that.

    He was supposed to just stop by at home, eat, change his stuff and leave, because he has to be back with his own team early tomorrow morning. But he was really dragging his feet when it was time to go and we ended up having a very honest heart to heart discussion. Something that hadn't happened in longest time. He has been much more open and honest with me lately and I do enjoy that, even if I'm afraid it is because he is so lonely and miserable.

    He has soon lived two years at his new home town. And while his team has been very good to him and taken great care of him, he isn't really feeling like home. He hasn't made any real friends. He does live with the girlfriend he found there, but feels that after moving together they almost never spend time (awake) together any more. girlfriend has lots of friends who are mostly friendly with difficult child but mostly only when girlfriend is also present. Or when difficult child feels they are just using him. His team mates mostly can stand him (there are few who are very unfriendly to him) but have little to do with him outside of the team functions. difficult child is not invited to do things together with them on their free time and he always only finds out later when they have met for a coffee etc.

    difficult child's girlfriend is a first year college student and works part time as a gym (aerobics) instructor. She tends to work in nights difficult child often has free and has free nights when difficult child most often has games. difficult child has to live quite disciplined life due to his sport. Bed till 10 p.m., if not a game night, up early, partying only every three weeks or once a month, eating regularly and healthily, enough rest and quite strict daily routine. That is of course not something 19-year-old college freshmen tend to do. difficult child often has Sunday's free and so does girlfriend, but that doesn't help. girlfriend likes to party and is often out late at Saturday nights, difficult child can only join now and then. Then girlfriend wants to sleep late at Sundays and afternoons she studies. difficult child tries to be quiet and not to disturb her.

    Their friends are mostly interested about difficult child's company at Saturday nights. Our legal drinking age is 18 but many night clubs choose to have higher age limit to appeal to wider/older crowd with more money. But kids of course want to get into those cool night clubs and because clubs can legally let anyone over 18 in, they do let also younger customers in at times. Mainly one or two younger people who are in company with many older people or some pretty girls. And of course VIPs. And in his smallish city players of difficult child's team are VIPs. So difficult child can get in and get few friends his age in too. And that is why his friends want him with them on Saturday nights. And when difficult child is reluctant and points out that he can't drink at least more than one beer and he has to be back and at bed before midnight when most are just coming to the nightclub, his friends just want him to come with them for an hour so they can get in. I understand very well why difficult child feels himself used because of that.

    With team mates things are better than last year. He gets along somehow with most of them and can avoid the few who can't stand him. And especially many older players are nice to him. But their life situation is just so different. They make sure he is not left too alone when with the team and they even ask him to dinner to their homes at times and difficult child has babysat for two of his team mates. But they are grown men in their late twenties or early-mid thirties with wives and kids, one even has a child same age our easy child. Their life is just so different from difficult child's. And there are not so many younger team mates and most of them are also close to 25 and even that is a big difference in that age " especially when difficult child is so immature for his age. And some of them are also local so they have lots of old friends outside of sport around there and no time for difficult child. And of course those two difficult child happens to have hardest time with are almost only ones in their early twenties. So while he isn't excluded that badly any more when he is with the team, he isn't making any real friends either.

    difficult child's mental coaching specialist arranged difficult child to be accepted to local college's boardgames club. He has attended few times and has enjoyed it, but of course most kids there already have friends on their fellow students and it's difficult for difficult child to fit in, when he is not studying in neither of local colleges/university. Of course difficult child has also always had hard time making and keeping friends in every setting. And to be honest difficult child also seems to have a problem with his attitude. He is still immature enough to have high school kid attitude about cool kids and nerds. difficult child has always tried to fit in to cool kids crowd and when older he has been at times allowed to hang around the cool crowd because he is very talented in very popular sport. And boys difficult child has met in the club and who seem to be looking for friends too are not what high school kids tend to consider cool. They are engineering students, nerds and apparently have some of the same social challenges difficult child also has. difficult child thinks two of them are fun, but he is also shallow enough that he is slightly ashamed that he would be seen with them. And his girlfriend thinks they are disgusting.

    Apparently other one doesn't have much of social filter and is also very openly and proudly a geek. And managed to offend difficult child's girlfriend quite badly and I can get why. And other one doesn't have much believe in showers, soap or toothbrush. Or talking about 'normal' conversation topics. With second one difficult child has had fun conversations in irc and first one has asked tips from difficult child to get into shape (he was medically postponed from military service and told to get himself less overweight and better shape in two years.) To me both of these boys sound like promising friend material and I said so to difficult child. If the second one smells too badly to be with him, it is easily solved. It is very common locally for people, especially men, to spend time with friends by going to sauna. That solves most of a smell issue. With the other one difficult child could consider a voluntary 'part time job' as a personal trainer. He could ask tips from his team physiotherapist how to help someone in very poor shape to get in better shape. Apparently a guy has already shed much of the excess weight but hasn't exercised much. difficult child could easily do his lightest, recovery training with this boy and get a friend. I think part of the problem is, that difficult child has very low self-confidence when it comes to building friendships. He is afraid he would screw it up again and he can somehow handle it, if cool kids don't want to be his friends, but if also the 'uncoolest' would reject him, he couldn't handle that. And he is very afraid of being rejected.

    Some reason I'm not too worried about difficult child relapsing even though it of course is a threat when he is having such a difficult time. He says he is not depressed, just tired and at times he feels that nothing will ever work out for him. He is not yet done trying with his sport and he does believe he can straighten that one out even though current slump hurts. But he is feeling hopeless with his social life.
    He did start BuSpar for anxiety over a week ago and fortunately it has not caused him bad side effects, some nausea etc. but he can deal with it. His not sure if it has helped any, but he says he has slept better so that is good.

    Sorry for such a long post, but I had to get this out from my heart and share with someone.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Trouble with forming appropriate friendships seems to be a common problem with many difficult children -- mine included. It's one of the more difficult aspects to deal with as a parent.

    I know your heart hurts for your difficult child. I suspect your difficult child realizes he's got a super mom to talk to though. :)
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Any chance difficult child is Aspie?
    One of the key factors is difficulty with peer relationships...
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Well, at least closer to aspie than your Average Joe. Close enough to be diagnosed? Not really. In his evaluations (he has had two extensive neuro-psychological evaluations, one before he started school, second one around the age 13) it was brought up that he does have more aspie/autistic spectrum traits than most people, but he is just too high-functioning for diagnose and he is also lacking some core traits. Same with ADHD. Only thing they did 'diagnose' or in fact didn't, because at least at that time it wasn't official, separate diagnose in ICD-10, was Sensory Integration Disorder (SID). That one he got when he was young and he attended Occupational Therapist (OT) that helped a lot. They said at the time that he would likely end up with ADHD or asperger when he got older (they do not usually diagnose those before the age six around here) because of Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), but that never happened. difficult child has always have some rather profound strengths and he is very good at compensating so even with his traits and features he has been too high functioning for diagnoses. But as my sig says, he is not quite neurotypical either.

    I think his social issues, lack of social skills and troubles making friends are partly, and maybe originally, because of his hard wiring, but made much worse by the lack of good experiences and opportunities to practise his skills. He was bullied early on and quite severely and he had only very few good peer experiences while growing up. So I guess his current situation is both lack of 'talent' and definitely lack of practise. His mental coach does work with him also with this matters and I'm hopeful he will make some headway with this, but right now he is quite discouraged and I do understand why. And of course struggling with sport really takes his mood down all around. But he is still trying and I'm glad about it.

    Having tough time with his dad isn't helping either. They had a new tiff again. Or more like husband had. I still don't get what is wrong with him. We had a father's day. husband has gotten overweight and in bad shape in last ten years. He has already lost some weight but his BMI is still close to 30 and he is not in a great shape either. He has used kids' sports as an excuse and he lost that one over this summer and promised to get back to shape and beat me at half-marathon next summer. He has been little slow to start working and boys have been harping him about that. Few years back easy child had some baby fat and husband made a big deal about that and his eating habits. easy child quickly turned that baby fat to vertical increase, but haven't forgot his dad's attitude. And now he was able to give it back and he gave husband running tights for father's day present. Not a flattering look for one with husband's build even if he would be in shape, and even less so now. While certainly a jab for husband that gift is still in bounds of our family's teasing culture. But husband got slightly miffed and somehow managed to turn that to be difficult child's fault, even though difficult child had played it safe and gave him a book about the subject that interests husband. Not the most personal gift, but certainly neutral and appropriate. I find it sad that difficult child didn't dare to join his brother in jabbing their dad and even more sad that even trying to play it safe didn't really work for difficult child.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suzir, I have Aspie traits too, but have never been diagnosed. I guess I don't have enough of them, but they are there and they do impede me. And I was badly bullied too. in my opinion, I was bullied BECAUSE of my Aspie traits. I really did not understand how to get along with the kids, was different and obnoxious at times and didn't know it until I noticed that my "friends" were ditching me until I didn't have any friends anymore. Getting teased, beaten up by boys (I was a small girl) and having the teachers side with the popular kids who were bullying me did nothing to help, trust me on that. By the time I learned to fight back and win, I didn't much care for people and didn't trust many.

    I know how it feels to feel like the outsider. I always have. To a point, I have learned through the years how to deal with people, more on a superficial level than ever being comfy in a crowd. I feel sadness for your son and hope he finds more friends close to his age very soon and I know your mommy heart is hurting for him and I'm sad about that as well. He WILL find friends, probably not a ton, but they will be very close to him and understand him and his ways. And he will appreciate them a lot.
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I certainly do hope he finds real friends sooner or later. Of course his lifestyle makes it difficult, he and others he shares most of his time with tend to have quite a nomadic lifestyle. Of course some stay put in same place for long time (difficult child has a team mate who is local boy and has been playing for the team over ten years now), but most move often and also often share their time between different places. Family may stay put in one city and a player go on and play in different cities and countries and just visit home when possible. In that lifestyle you should be able to make friends quickly and also keep long-distance friendships, both very difficult for difficult child.

    But again, difficult child is a lucky one. He does has a support system not even money can buy during this time when he tries to grow independent and establish himself as an adult. His team management/coaches have been great with him and his older team mates really try to help him. If he would be a college freshman trying to find his ways first time out of home (like many of his classmates), he would have to do with much less support and I would really have to worry if he would make do or if he would totally seclude himself.

    But still, I almost cried when I looked at his social media outputs yesterday. He is trying so hard. In his more public social media he had an upbeat message and even in his more private social media he was making it clear he is soldering on. He has been taught how counter-productive wallowing in self pity is and how important it is to keep positive outlook even when struggling, and he certainly tries. Tries so hard to do it right and is still totally miserable. I just hate this. It is easier to see him hurt when he is doing it for himself. But doing everything in best of his ability and still everything going wrong is heartbreaking to watch.
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Oh, and how labile can teen boy difficult child's mood be. One good game, lots of positive reinforcement because of that from team mates and coaches and even audience and I have a happy little boy calling me: "Did you see it mom?" (No, I didn't. He wasn't supposed to have much/any playing time and I had better things to do than watch him not play from telly.) And when a one thing in his life looks up a bit, so does everything else. He is already planning inviting those two boardgames club friend prospects to his flat to play couple rounds of Catan at Sunday, because girlfriend will be away in some event or something (the other one really did make it to the girlfriend's blacklist when girlfriend was accompanying difficult child when he went to the club meeting first time.)

    I probably shouldn't even hope that he could separate between his sport and rest of his life in this point. It is difficult even for very experienced and mature athletes when they struggle with sport. And difficult child is anything but.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Aww, I feel like giving your difficult child a hug. (Although I'm sure he'd be mortified at the thought of a strange middle-aged woman doing so :))

    It is very difficult. I too had a terrible time with social awkwardness at that age. Still do. My husband and I joke that I am a Certified Conversation Killer at parties and other social gatherings. I learned to compensate by volunteering to organize things, dancing a lot, and helping in the kitchen. All of which allow me to move through a party, smile and exchange small pleasantries (which I've memorized, so that I can remember what to say, when), and not have to actually converse with anyone.

    It sounds like your difficult child's team is helping to support him, and the Board Game friends do sound promising. Hoping that things will continue to get better as he gets older. In the meantime, he's fortunate to be able to pour his heart out to you.