I don't want to be the sacrafice anymore...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Los Padres, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Los Padres

    Los Padres New Member

    I don't know if this is the appropriate place or way to post. I joined, read a bit, but haven't posted. Tonight I am so overwhelmed and, quite frankly, just looking for some compassion and understanding. I guess advice is welcome too, but please don't preach or judge - I just couldn't take it today.
    My autistic teenage step-son is coming home from a visit with his mom in a few days. She's fuelled up his stupid idea that failing classes because he's playing video games instead of doing his work is perfectly alright and we are horribly demanding parents to expect that he do his homework, take regular showers, and speak respectfully. He's been lying to us and disrespecting us for weeks and is failing classes for lack of work handed in, and she has validated all his screwed up autistic thinking on this. She wants him to come back and live with her and she will say and allow anything to make that happen so she won't have to be alone.
    And here's the kicker. I want him to go. I am so exhausted of the games. I am so exhausted of the guilt and the emotional abuse of being accused by someone like this and not allowed to strike back because he's too fragile. I have a degenerative disease myself and his dramas and stress is making it so much worse and the decline so much faster. I don't want this anymore. I just want to live happily for a little while before I am confined to a wheelchair and diapers and maybe even a feeding tube. I want to travel and entertain friends and be happy and intimate with my husband while I still can. I want more to look back on than this life I have right now. This is not a child who will be there for me when I am in need. He isn't capable of self-sacrafice and I have put all my time and energy into this boy who turns on my at the drop of a hat. He remembers nothing of the fun we used to have, of the neat things I arranged just for him, of the love we've given him. And because I've given him everything for years, I have not cultivated other relationships that would benefit me in the difficult years ahead.
    I know this sounds horrible, but I don't want to sacrafice anymore. I want to enjoy myself for the next few years. I want him to go live with his mother, even though she is not a very good mother. He will have a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and endless time to play video games (which is all he wants to do anyway.) My husband does not want this, though he is as fed up as I am. He knows his sons behaviour is pretty much fixed at this point and his prospects are very limitted, but he wants to keep trying. I love him dearly and I don't want him to have to choose, but I think if the child remains after the school year ends, I will have to leave. Why am I telling you all this? Just for the sake of saying it to someone. Maybe someone will tell me I'm not a horrible person. Maybe I am a horrible person and that's what I'll hear. But I needed to get this all out of my head.
    I'll be okay. I'm going to ask my doctor for antidepressents next week so that I can sleep when Jr. and his drama come back 'home'. :(
  2. Bunny

    Bunny Active Member

    Welcome to our little corner of the World Wide Web. I'm sorry that you are having such a tough time with your step son. Can you tell us a little more about him? How long have you and your husband had custody? How old is he? Does he have any supports in the school setting? What is his behavior like in school?

    You're not a terrible person for wanting some peace in your life, especially since you know that you have a long road ahead of you with your own health problems. Sometimes you just need to get it out.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Adding in my welcome. You are not a horrible person at all! I think what you are feeling is perfectly normal. It definitely sounds like you need and deserve a break! Sending gentle and understanding hugs your way.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think you are horrible at all. I do think you don't understand that autistic children ARE often lmited as to what they can do, And they can be very rigid and think differently than other people. However he does have a mother he can live with and you deserve to enjoy your healthy years. It is no picnic to raise an autistic child and sometimes the results are not what we hope for and sounds like YOU have done most of the caregiving, which can be exhausting.

    I pray for peace for you and that your husband will see that you need a break. You matter too and your health is very, very important. You have to do what is best for your own health. You can not put your entire life into this child. You have done enough. Gentle hugs.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    You are absolutely not horrible. In life we have to prioritize and right now your health is a priority.

    Sounds like biomom is triangulating and confusing him. Plus autistic teens are still teens. It takes tons of extra energy, physically and mentally. This boy needs consistent schedules and rules which should be lead by the primary custody home, bio mom is being selfish ....setting him up for strife.
    So in my humble opinion, dad needs to compromise. Not give up, that's not fair to a child who truly is vulnerable, not choosing to be Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

    Could he agree to bio mom taking him since he is being manipulated by her anyway? He could still have him come part time....you guys can be the weekend party parents then.
  6. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    As another stepmom who has been the main caregiver to a very difficult child, boy do I sympathize with you. I don't have the severity of health problems that you do, but I totally understand how dealing with the awful behaviors can make things so much worse. Stress like that is awful, and when you feel you have no way out, it can feel so overwhelming and hopeless...

    My husband told me that if he weren't so scared for our difficult child's safety, then he would have sent her to stay with biomom for a while so difficult child could see for herself how good she really had it with us. I totally understand the wishing that difficult child could live with biomom even though biomom isn't the best parent. That's been the story of my life for the past several years.

    Welcome to the board, and please feel free to post and vent - many of us can sympathize, and we won't judge.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I hear you!

    What's with-husband? Doesn't he have a say? Why is all of this dumped on YOU?

    The mom is wrong. You CAN teach autistic kids to be respectful and not abusive. It takes work and time but his mom is destroying anything you try to do. Do you think that your difficult child can understand that there are different rules in different houses? If you sit him down and explain it?
    Also, when he turns in homework, can you go to school with-him to make sure it's turned in, and then promise him a treat when he does it? That way, YOU are the fun one, not just bmom.

    Just a few thoughts.
    by the way, I just posted a note about my son, on his own, suggesting that he buy a birthday gift for his dad. difficult child is 16. That means 15 yrs is nada, zilch. Very sad. But it can be done.
  8. Yem1971

    Yem1971 New Member

    I just want to say I can totally sympathize with you. It's a extremely tough spot you are in, as I am in a very similar situation, except I have no idea what is wrong with my stepson, possibly odd. He lives with us, sees his alcoholic mom once in a great while. So he can't live with her. I wish to god he could though. I love his father very much, sometimes looking back I don't know how I did it for the past few years, must have been love because had it been any other man I would have been gone. Take care of yourself, I have no health problems and I spend a lot of time by myself, meditating, reading and exercising and I keep a bottle of Valium on hand for when the child's drama gets really bad. My thoughts and compassion are with you.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome. I am so very sorry you are having to go through this with your step son. All of your feelings are absolutely valid and understandable too. It is okay to want your life back, to want to enjoy your life and have some happiness. You deserve that. There are likely all kinds of choices you and your husband can make which will protect you, perhaps talking to a therapist so you can look at options which you may not be able to see while you are in the thick of it. You are in a tough spot, I can see why you wouldn't want to put your husband in a position of making a choice, but at the same time, your feelings are real and need to be addressed.

    I think a starting place might be to tell your husband you love him and you don't want him to have to choose, but you need something to change now. Start a dialogue with the intention of finding options. I'm so sorry, I can hear how difficult it is and how sad you are. I hope you can find a solution which works for YOU. Many gentle hugs.............let us know how you're doing, keep posting............
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I TOTALLY understand how you feel. And I think your feelings are very validated. I don't have a clue when or why the idea that a parent has to do everything/give up everything to make sure teh chld is happy started, but I think many people go overboard when prioritizing life. Kids are important, but they are not the center of lfe or the family. husband and I learned the hard way that if the marriage isn't the center of the family, the family eventually isn't a family together anymore. We HAD to put a premium on our relationship if we wanted our kids to grow in up in a 2 parent married family. NOT do all for the child and let our relationship go by the wayside.

    I think your needs need to be met whatever they are. If that means letting the teen live with his mom most of the time and do fun stuff with you, then that is what it means. I do NOT think wanting to develop other relationships, do some fun things etc... before you are robbed of the time to do them is important. Maybe having my own health issues is why I understand, maybe not. But I gave a lot of my healthier years up by constantly getting between my son and the object of his misplaced rage (my daughter) because she needed to be kept safe and he needed to be kept safe from the consequences of what he wanted to do to her (kill her, which would mean prison for him, not a great thing for an autistic person in my opinion).

    I can completely see why you would want/need to leave if you cannot find some balance between what the child needs and what you need. I hoep there is a way to balance both of them. I don't think a teen's future is set in stone, but I don't know how bad the autism is either. It truly is a spectrum and some do change after the teen years and others don't. I am glad my son did, but it took drastic action and not keeping him in our home to get him to the point where he could make better choices. Mostly getting him out of our home kept both he and I alive and out of prison and allowed him the time to mature to where he could realize his desire to hurt his sister wasn't what he really wanted and wasn't what was healthy for either of them. They now have a good relationship and are very caring toward each toher, but it took a long time and a lot of hurt to get there. Plus getting my son through the teen years.

    Do you have a therapist? Someone to help you deal with both your life with your stepson and with your health problems? medications help, and help a lot, but they are not the whole treatment plan. As someone who has dealt with years of health problems and pain, I can promise that seeing a therapist is a smart thing and can really help no matter what the situation is. A therapist can help you make the best choices, deal with the consequences of those choices and find an arrangement that you can live with. If you have one, maybe taking your husband to a few sessions would help the two of you understand each other and what each one of you needs and what your relationship needs if you are to stay together.

    It is NOT selfish to want to enjoy what time you have before thigns get so bad that you cannot enjoy certain things. Not recognizing those needs is selfish ecause it will leave you with resentments that are real but maybe don't have to happen and the resentment will end up destroying the relationships you do have. A therapist might be able to help your husband realize that he has to find a balance between everyone's needs.

    What many people seem to not recognize is that families are a system. ANY system has to meet the needs of every part. In any system each part has certain needs. What one part needs to work perfectly will always pull resources from the toher parts of that system. If one part of the system has everything and is working perfectly, other parts will not have what they need and will most likely not function or will not function for long because their needs are not met. A balance is needed so that every part gets what they need and can function with what they have. Otherwise the entire system fails. By giving everything to one part, machine or person, the entire system is destroyed because other parts do not get their needs met.

    This means that your needs and husband's needs and the child's needs all have to be balanced so taht none of you is destroyed or stops functioning. I am trying to recover from having my entire body just stop working for the most part. I gave everything to my kids. I put myself between my difficult child and those he sought to hurt to protect both sides, but I didn't protect myself. My body and mind finally just quit. I didn't take care of myself and I saw firsthand how that has hurt the rest of my family. I had years where my muscles refused to work, where my body literally couldn't hold me up because I had drained it of everything it needed and piled stresses after stresses upon it without ever taking the recharge time that I needed. It didn't help any of us. Not in the long run.

    I hope you can find a way to meet your needs. They are real and are just as important as what your stepson needs. It may take work with a therapist (therapist/psychologist) to help you and your husband find a balance, but I hoep you can. You clearly love him and your stepson, you just need to realize that your needs have to be important also, and to love yourself.

    No one here will fault you if you have to walk away. We really do understand. We can't always take the same action, but we do understand.

  11. adriennetaina

    adriennetaina New Member

    Hi Susie star,
    I totally hear you i am 54 yrs and have been caring for my 28 yr old stepson for the last 3 yrs he is autistic and has mental problems with the same exact problems you have with his mother negating everything we have tried to teach him. My husband feels the same way as to not letting him go home either. You see he ended up with us because there was a warrant for his arrest for menacing, stalking, and threatening to commit harm to another person. The agreement was the person would not file charges unless he was placed in a mental facility or was removed from mothers home. So don't ever feel guilty or sad, try to take time out for yourself. I too have medical problems and so does his dad and I always tell my stepson that if one of gets sick he will eventually go into a hospital to live. Its sad but true because his mother is enabling him to be irresponsible and not know about consequences. This was also told to his mother. Recently he was assigned a mentor and he works but his mother is still a huge influence to him. She has another son who is 27 and he is not autistic but a loner, has no friends no girlfriend and no job, stays home all day in pjs. So sad. Hes a grown man already so imagine what my other stepson went thru with no guidance. We do the same as you we go out and on vacations. dinners. when he visits her they stay home and watch tv all day. She does not do holidays or birthdays and there's never any financial support. Yet he adores her to no end. Bless you.
  12. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    I do t think you are horrible you sound pretty exhausted. As the primary care giver for a boy who isn't yours who has problems and probably no one else gets it like you do because they don't see the things you see...

    Honestly the video games may be part of it and having less stress being placed on him to conform to your very understandable expectations. But understand he may actually just want his mom. She might be a lousy parent but its likely he doesn't see it and won't and maybe shouldn't see that. Kids want their mom and I don't say that as a hurtful thing but just as a true one. It doesn't make less of your sacrifice or make the hardship you have been through less. I'm sure over the years you have had every right to come up with your opinion of her but it probably isn't his opinion.

    If his dad wants him to say either a he needs to make an effort to take the stress off of you or b he needs to come
    To the conclusion that she's his mom and maybe needs a turn to see how hard it really is.

    You aren't a selfish person, you're just a person who has real feelings.
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I guarantee you that I will not criticize you. Do you mind if I ask a few questions? Have you searched your community to see if there is any social group (yes, even one that involves playing video games) where he would be welcome for a few hours a week? I was not successful find that for my grandson but over the years I know that some places do have group activities...often thru the MH association. Have you all tried a bowling league? I did find that locally and even tho it was only one morning a week it gave him interaction with others and gave me three or four hours to enjoy some solitude.

    The big question I have is "Have you taken on the role of caregiver and allowed your husband to just be the bread winner?" Very, very, very often (particularly with stepchildren) the woman feels compelled to imitate June Cleavor. I am guilty of that big time. What my husband has contributed to the childraising has been minimal. He is a good caring man. I never said "husband I need you to be in charge of the household and the kids once you get home from work. I NEED to have time to sleep, read, go out etc. How many evenings or weekend days can you take over?" IF I had done that years ago I know I would be healthier today. Can you do that?

    Before packing your bags give some thought to asking for regular dependable help. You love your husband. You may be surprised by his response. I'm rooting for you but, believe me, I totally know how you feel. Hugs DDD