Toxic ex manipulation of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by SleepyMommy, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. SleepyMommy

    SleepyMommy New Member

    Recently my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The details of which I still don’t really know. He is 9 and has great grades but is starting to have social difficulties and he has major sensory issues etc. Holding it together in school plays a major part in his anger outbursts. He asked me a few months ago to take him to a therapist. My ex was not happy about it and as per his usual fought me so hard verbally but not legally and eventually stopped. The therapist suggested psychological testing which caused my ex another tirade but I went ahead with it. Meanwhile this whole time my ex refuses to talk to my son about therapy and actively tells him he doesn’t need it, tells me I am causing my sons issues and therapy makes people crazy and I just want to medicate him into a zombie...
    Well the psychological testing showed Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I am so worried about how or when to tell his father. His dad has already talked him out of the hip hop dance lessons he loved and constantly gives him crap about not liking sports or being a “sissy” and what things are boy things and girl things to the point he punched his 4 year old brother in the face for watching Barbie videos with their sister. He tells him he is so tough on him because he knows how other kids are and he doesn’t want him to get made fun of. He tells me I’m too soft on him a d I want him to be “gay”. I think he genuinely believes he is doing the right things for him as he was raised this way too. Anyhow I am so afraid of the way he is going to react to this news and what horrible things he is going to tell my son. I can’t withhold custodial time legally and my son takes everything his dad says to heart so much... even my ex’s new wife who I did tell says not to tell my ex unless it is necessary because she knows how awful he gets about this stuff... but then that means not fully explaining it to my son and I don’t wanna do that either...
    I’m also still suffering a bit from my time married to him and the cycle of his gaslighting and manipulation. He was never physically violent but definitely controlling and emotionally abusive. I can’t even process my sons diagnosis because I am so afraid of his fathers reaction.
  2. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    SleepyMommy, It is sad that your son's father is so insecure that he can't be a support for the boy. I think your son needs to know the diagnosis, he sounds like a bright kid. He may be able to help himself better if he knows what he is dealing with. Talk honestly about it being best at this point, not to share the info with his father. Maybe talk about 1st you and he need to figure out how to help him cope before sharing the info.
    The more I read here, the more I wonder if my 21 year old would be on the autism spectrum.
    and SleepyMommy, I too am a Ravenclaw, my patronis is a ragdoll cat...Always.
  3. SleepyMommy

    SleepyMommy New Member

    It’s so hard especially because for some reason no matter how much his therapist and I tell him otherwise, he takes his dad’s word as law mostly. Though I was impressed he continued therapy when his dad continually put it down. I actually didn’t back down at all like I usually do (I’m working through some of the PTSD from my marriage bit by bit) and maybe that helped him not back down either. He is VERY smart and has ridiculously good hearing so he picks up on so much, I think I have to tell him for no reason other than he’s going to over hear it at some point. The logical (Ravenclaw) part of my brain knows even if his dad took it to court -which he wouldn’t for financial reasons no matter how often he threatens me- he would lose because I have specialists and science to back me up and he just has his disdain for mental health in general. His nephew is autistic but severely so, in that he has the language issues and other stereotypical issues. This only strengthens his resolve that our son is fine because he has great grades and doesn’t complain about his social issues, so I’m exaggerating them. Truth be told my son is so afraid of disappointing his dad and not seeming manly he refuses to talk about feelings with him. It’s a mess.

    And for what it’s worth... my patronus is also a cat, but a Himalayan. And my current husband too has several of the same issues my son does... but I’m certain my husband is a Slytherin.

    Thanks for the reply!!
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    My 25 year old son is high functioning autustic and doing great. He was told.

    Autism is NOT a mental illness by the way. It is a neurological difference and a developmental delay. This can be treated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) interventions. Therapy can help some but it is not the most common therapy because it doesnt address the autism delays and problems and usually other issues. Did your son see a neuropsychologist? Who diagnosed him? We found it hard to get a diagnosis and it took ten hours if intensive testing. My son had had some delays in talking and learning disabilities, although he was also smart. Autistics symptoms tend to start early.

    What I mean I guess is that it doesnt hurt to get a second fresh opinion so that Dad has nothing to really add. Legally, the Judge usually believes the medical professiinals. My oldest son, not the autistic son, has been in a legal custody battle for five years so I learned what holds up in court. And court matters.

    If your ex will never go back to court, he will never be able to legally challenge anything you do to treat your son.

    As for your sons worship of his father, I quote Dr. Phil. Not sure I think Dr. Phil is the living end, but I do believe this...he says the most influential person to a child is the parent of the same sex. So your son is acting normal in this. Yes, it can be frustraiting, I am sure. My grandson worships my son and while it makes my son very happy, it frustrates his ex. In my sons case, I think his ex is abusive to grandson, so that doesnt help his relationship with his mother...I am sure this is not the case with you.

    Hopefully your ex will come around. One way may be to assure him that autism is NOT a psychiatric problem because it is not. My son mostly had autism interventions in school and the community and did not take medications or see a therapist. He did not relate well to therapists as a child. Many ASDers dont take medication. Some have co morbid mental illness and do take medications My son has no mental illness. He does choose to see a therapist now, as an adult. But he is really doing well.

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  5. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Thank you for that. I didn't think of it that way. I don't know much about the origin of Autism. I need to do some research, do they know what causes Autism? I wonder why so many are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) at this point in time, my thought is that in years past doctors didn't know what they were looking for, didn't have the proper criteria to diagnose. I wonder so much about my problem son. Is he odd, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), just an entitled brat? From the time he was 13 we said he followed his sister's biological calendar and "at that time of the month" don't look at him crooked. He always had trouble focusing in school and yet would ace every test. In 1st grade went for 1 on 1 reading classes before school, he caught up quickly. I think he caught up quickly because he didn't want to be bothered being in school early. The list goes on all through school years.

    Sleepy Mommy, I feel horrible that your ex treats you and your son this way. I am so glad my hubby never thought our difficult child was just fine. Even though difficult son stole from us (and hasn't been forgiven) hubby is on board with giving him a financial hand as long as it isn't cash example: food card, pay 1/2 of rent directly, make insurance payment.. not enough to give him extra money to spend inappropriately, not enough so he can quit his second job., just enough where needed to fill in. You are in such a hard spot. I wish you could talk to ex and make a plan together to help your son. You said their is Autism in your ex's family , is it a blood relation? Is Autism hereditary?
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Most autistic kids, which is a developmental delay not a mental illness, have problems in school with organuzing, socializing, not understanding HOW to properly socialize, behavior, learning problems even if smart, sensory processing disorder (huge) and strangeness.

    My son loved to repeat shows and commercials ver batum. He loved sameness. ASDers cant handle change. They dont like it, even if youythink a kid should be excited over the change. Often they keep their thi gs always in the same place and freak out if they are moved.

    If my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son was doing something and had to stop to go somewhere it was a tantrum. They dont do well with stopping and starting but it is mot due to brattiness. Most love the calmness and sameness of TV and videogames. And good luck getting them to have different interests. They seem obsessed...which is part of autism.

    My son is 25 and works and lives on his own but still loves his games and movies. He is not interested in hanging out, malls, or socializing like other young men.

    My son would rather be home than go out. He is however productuve and very kind and not bored. He likes sameness and repetition. When young he would play certain sports if we pushed it but that never became a passion. He does LOVE to watch the Olympics. Uslualy no sports. Videogames. TV shows. He does have a close friend that likes what he likes so they go out to eat and on bike rides sometimes. He is well liked.

    Autistic kids are usually different types of people with poor to no understanding of social skills and an inability to handle loud noise, change or frustration. They can have tantrums and wrongfully be labeled behavior problems or ODD. They fixate on certain things like train schedules or certain shows.

    See the character of Sheldon.on tje Big Bang Theory. He pretty much acts out a very brilliant young man who has a form of autism, but most struggle in school, unlike him. His social striggles are very Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). My son is not as bad as he is socially. He has had interventions and learned a lot about socislizing.

    No two are exactly alike but I do know my son would never ask to talk to a psychologost. He did not do well having give and take conversations. He is better now but he used to either monologuem not listening to what others responded, or answer almost all questions similar to "I dont know." Or shrugging. Its largely a communication, social and OCDlike disorder.

    We needed a high level neuro psycologist from Mayo Clinic to catch the aitism with my son.
    Ten hours of intensive testing for all disorders. A ten page report with very detailed explanations.

    Nothing is easy to diagnose in a child and mistakes are made. My sons nuero psychologist told me that because there are no blood tests, even the esteemed Mayo Clinic where this man was from makes mistakes all the time.

    My son was 11 when he was diagnosed and put into autism therapies and it hss been great for him. Unlike with mental illness, autistics get better with time although they tend to always be a bit different. medications are not always necessary. It is hereditary. If you have one child with it, you have a twenty per cent chance of having another with it.

    They diagnose it more now. They knew very little abourt tje different levels of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) when I was a kid. Back then typical teen was only autism if you couldnt speak and it was considered s form of schizophrenia (Its not) caused by cold refrigerator mothers!!! We leiv and learn. We still have far to go.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Having Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) does NOT mean you won't amount to anything or are crazy. Your husband is so far off the mark as to be crazy himself, in my opinion. NOT that you should tell him this. If it helps, my oldest child, Wiz, is 26 now. Wiz lives alone, is a manager at a grocery store, and has a life that is full of people and activities. He has a LOT of friends and is quite successful. He took medications for some aspects of his type of autism, which used to be called Aspergers. The medications helped him control his brain, in his words. ADHD is one facet or symptom of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) that Wiz had, and the medications for that were incredibly helpful. Otherwise he couldn't stay on topic long enough to blow his nose unless the topic was something he obsessed about.

    Therapy can be helpful for autism, but often it needs to be the right therapist, one who fits with the child and family. Other types of therapies can help also. We found that looking into sensory issues or sensory integration disorder was a HUGE help. People with autism often have real problems with input from their senses, and it can be very difficult to handle. It feels like the entire world is attacking them - that everything is too bright or dim, too loud or quiet, etc.... An occupational therapist can be a huge help there.

    Oddly enough, we also found that the anger outbursts got better when Wiz had enough protein. If he got hungry, or had too little protein, he would give in to his frustration and anger much more easily and intensely. I kept protein bars and high protein snacks with me at all times just for this reason. I don't know if this might help your son, but I thought I would pass it along. It often seemed that it was so hard to cope with school or whatever was going on that Wiz would just run out of fuel. A high protein snack was able to refuel him without the sugar rush/crash that ALWAYS made him angry. When school had cake or other treats, I just made sure that the teacher had a protein bar for him and that I had one with me for after school also.
  8. ahhjeez

    ahhjeez Active Member

    I wanted to chime in on this as well as I have a son on the spectrum and am married to a man on the spectrum as well. I agree with both SWOT and Susiestar. My son has tremendous anxiety which tends to result in depression for him. He has been on antidepressants for years with very good results. He also takes clonidine for sleep as he has problems with insomnia. He will be starting college in the fall and is an all around amazing guy. Therapy wasn't very helpful for him, but I think that had a lot to do with the therapist not having a ton of experience with people on the spectrum. B doesn't like change and prefers to be by himself in his room which is his safe space. He is a bit socially awkward. He's incredibly bright and has a great sense of humor. He has a lot of sensory issues. He has an incredible sense of smell and hearing. Certain textures will bother him as do loud noises. He only eats limited foods due to textures/smells. Fluorescent lights really bother his eyes. My husband is more textbook in that he has voice modulation issues and has trouble reading social cues and facial expressions. He will stand in others personal space and if he is talking about something that fascinates him will talk and talk and talk. LOL. He's incredibly blunt and has blurted things out that have left me red faced. Fortunately I have a good sense of humor and will generally just burst out laughing. He's also incredibly smart, has an amazing work ethic and is an all around great human being. Once my son was diagnosis'd my husband was able to see himself and his issues more clearly and was able to work on them. Long story even longer.....interventions were an incredible help for my son. Occupational and physical therapy through the school were instrumental in working on the sensory end of things. Brushing therapy worked wonders for B. We also did joint compression along with the brushing and it was very calming for B when he was anxious.

    I agree with the others in that I think it would be beneficial for your son to know his diagnosis. You can reassure him that he is amazing (which I'm sure you do :) ) and that like many other people, his brain is wired a bit differently. That there are many, many autistic people and that he has a ton of gifts that he will be giving the world and that he is perfect the way he is and is exactly who he is supposed to be. :)