He Just Can't Do It


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My W texted DS to say hello. We are scheduled to host a small get together for his 17th birthday this weekend. DS said he usually doesn't work on this day of the week, so we thought it would be fine, but apparently he did not alert his boss that he needed this particular day off (he works in a restaurant part time and DS has been trying to get more hours).

He usually doesn't respond to those texts, even now, but he replied this time. He said that his boss had scheduled him to work on the day of his party. He asked my wife, "Should I just go in to work (one hour after his shift is supposed to end on the day he was asked to work)?"

I gasped when my wife shared this with me. How could the idea of blowing off his shift, only to turn up an hour after said shift is scheduled to end, occur to him to begin with? On what planet would that ever be acceptable? He is baffled by the most mundane of interactions with other people; he has absolutely no idea of how to function in our world.

I am trying very hard to approach not just DS but other problematic people/situations in my life, compassionately instead of judgmentally. DS suffers from severe social anxiety and the thought of having to approach his boss, and speak to him one on one to request a different shift schedule, is likely paralyzing. His social anxiety is the primary reason he cannot attend high school. And unfortunately, he refuses treatment, so his only recourse is to rely on his adolescent (and by definition, limited and faulty) coping skills....which are crippled even further by his anxiety.

My wife sent him a text encouraging him to speak with his boss. I butted out as I am practicing doing. I know he has a friend who works at the same place, so maybe he and this friend can manage to switch shifts.

I am hopeful our get together will still take place as planned, but DS tends to run from anything triggering his anxiety, so it's possible he may not show up here and instead work his scheduled shift.

But I don't have a crystal ball....I will post updates as available.

pigless in VA

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culturanta, he isn't the only one. I was having a chat with a veterinarian at a party. She told me that she hates having to interview for new vets at her animal hospital. She said many times the people simply don't even show up. No phone call even to say they are no longer interested in the job.

If he ends up going to work, at least he's being a responsible employee.


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I am starting to think that in some ways, my DS is really not such a special snowflake. He is a product of his era as well and while I feel like an old fool saying this, "kids these days" make me shake my head sometimes. I see it every day as a teacher: what looks to me like laziness, entitlement, and an expectation that the world revolves around THEM not the other way around.

But his social anxiety really is disabling to him, and I'm trying to have empathy for that aspect of DS' personality and situation. He might not be able to handle talking to his boss and asking for a shift change simply because of the panic such an interaction would cause him.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

My Difficult Child also has extreme social anxiety. I have seen him physically turn completely and alarming shade of red - neck, head etc. and panic in crowds or if someone unexpectedly talks to him. When he was younger he was even unable to order his food at a McDonalds. I don't really get it because I have anxiety in some situations only as most people do.

My husband also has that anxiety. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Things that seem simple to us are NOT that way for people that have this anxiety. They are also very embarrassed by it and nobody and I mean nobody wants to be seen as different especially in the teenage years!

It could be compounded by him not wanting to approach his boss but not sure how to deal with his mom and you and/or disappoint you.

This is a real thing. He does need compassion for this. It's really debilitating for these people.


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You are right, RN. I am doing my best to understand DS's struggles in lieu of blaming him. He is very young - and very much like my wife who has some of the same issues, which she has worked very hard to overcome (mostly successfully, most of the time). Hopefully as he matures he will allow her to impart some of her life wisdom, and it will help him.


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Has he ever been evaluated?

Not understanding easy to pick up social norms is a part od autistic spectrum. Social anxiety would not make him clueless to work rules. Not saying he is on the spectrum, but he could be. Its worth a neuro psychiatric evaluation.

As for millenions....
Our grandparents thought the 60s hippies, love, protesting, drugs and sexual era was hopeless. Remember? I do.

All generations are criticized by the not so perfect elders. Socrates even said if and that was longggg ago! This entitlemet in my opinion has as much to do about boomer parents who give and give and give, treating kids like little princes, than the adults they become because of it. Why would kids given everything not feel entitled?

Every teen does not need a free car, brand name clothes, and all the other toys without working. The blame is on us in my opinion. We are afraid to let our kids grow up. With some it is a Christmas party well into the 20s. We have got to stop it. If we dont, whose fault is it that our kids expect to get, get, get from us??? And the world?
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Well-Known Member
DS has been evaluated countless times, though never for an autism spectrum diagnosis. He's been diagnosed with general and social anxiety along with depression.

At this point, further evaluations are a non-starter unless he decides, himself, to pursue them. I have written before about DS's resistance to treatment, and he is now old enough, not to mention big and strong enough, and dangerous enough, so that he can't be compelled.

There is more that I could say - I've withheld a lot of details here, simply because it's not safe to disclose absolutely everything on the Internet. As it is I have probably shared too much information over these past few years. But I will reiterate, from a previous post I made a while back, that DS has made an early transition into young adulthood. He's legally a teenager but he is enabled to the extent that he behaves like a man. And I am somewhat ashamed to admit that because the alternative (enforcing some kind of parental authority) is such a horrible experience all the way around for everybody involved, that we are ALL enabling him now. We all treat him like a responsible adult when he just isn't, but at the same time, nobody is being assaulted or hospitalized either (yet). It's really very tragic.

In any case, I do have a happy update as regards the party planning. DS texted his mom and it was agreed to change the time of the party to accommodate his work schedule. So everything worked out without my meddling. A very needed lesson for me!


Well-Known Member
Update, unfortunately not a happy one.

My wife came home from work yesterday and told me she had spoken to Difficult Stepson. In her words, he "doesn't have his job anymore". Don't know if he quit or was let go. She was left with the impression that his father isn't aware that he no longer works at the restaurant. She said he sounded "down", that he told her there was "a lot going on" and even suggested that he and Younger Stepson come to our place and 'hang out' this weekend. He was at his girlfriend's house, or so he told her.

My wife asked if his girlfriend was pregnant and according to him, she isn't.

His girlfriend had posted a cute picture of the two of them on Instagram for his birthday last week and she has taken that down, along with a little note that used to be at the top of her page stating that Difficult Stepson and she were an item. There is now no mention of DS on her page at all. Not sure what, if anything, to make of that.

The good news is that he picked up the phone and spoke to her honestly, and respectfully. That is a huge improvement over where we were. The sad news is that of course we are still on the roller coaster.

We may see him this weekend. I will post any updates as I have them.

So glad we are all here together to share these ups and downs. It's hard to be excited and supportive when times are more positive, when we know disaster is always around the corner with these kids.
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Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
Take the moments and enjoy them for what they are, but agree the armory of detachment must always be at the ready ....don't I know it ....don't we all know it.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
One day at a time and detachment is best way to cope for me. Not easy no matter what!