Why I Resent My Friend’s Autistic Son

Editor’s Note:  The thoughts expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Autism Journey.   We are a community of parents and we all have the right to express ourselves freely and without judgement, which may seem offensive to others.  

Why I Resent My Friend’s Son

I resent my friends autistic son. There, I said it. 

 Before you go bat-shit crazy, just hear me out.  I too have a son with autism.

“Huh? I don’t get it”, is probably what you’re thinking.  It might make a little more sense to you after I explain.

My friend is lovely. We met at a parent group about two years ago and we instantly clicked.  She was very informative and knowledgable when it came to navigating the autism world.  I turned to her anytime I had a question about service providers, centre based programs, therapies and so forth.  She was someone I came to respect and admire.

Having a non-verbal child with limited understanding of the world around him is another beast.

Her child is around the same age as mine, and since our children were close in age, I felt we had so much in common.  However, that’s where it ended.

Her son is verbal. My son is not.

Her son is in a mainstream classroom. My son is not.

Her son is toilet trained. My son is not.

Her son eats a large variety of foods. My son does not.

Her son is able to learn to ski and do gymnastics. My son cannot.

Can you see where I’m going here? Am I a horrible person for sharing my true feelings?  Maybe, I don’t know.

Sure, my friend has her share of struggles and challenges, I won’t say she doesn’t.  But when she complains or vents about her child, I think “you have no idea how good you have it”. 

Having a non-verbal child with limited understanding of the world around him is another beast.  There is no way she can understand my struggles and difficulties.

My child will smear his feces on the walls and all over himself.  He will literally play with his poop and when I see this I’m horrified and angry.  I feel very defeated and resentful and I just wonder “why me?” 

 In addition to all of that, my son hasn’t made many gains over the last year.  I have him in every therapy imaginable, but nothing seems to have clicked in his complicated brain.  Is all of this early intervention worth the cost and aggravation of me having to leave work early to take him from appointment to appointment when I see absolutely zero progress?

He will only eat one kind of pasta, crackers and grape juice.  Seriously, that’s it.  He refuses to eat anything else and I worry he will get scurvy, no joke.  The foods he eats have very little to no nutritional value whatsoever. What am I to do?

Maybe it’s not my friends son I resent, but my own child.  

I must seem like the most awful mother in the world, but when I decided to start a family, this wasn’t part of the plan.

There’s a saying that goes “God only gives you what you can handle” – well, I don’t know how much more of this I can handle.

I love my child, he is a beautiful little guy and I really do have hope that he will talk and exceed my expectations one day.  But having an autistic child is challenging, difficult and stressful.  When I hear parents say “autism is a gift” or “autism rocks”, I wonder, what am I missing here?  Why can’t I be in on this?  I desperately want to feel this way too.

In the grand scheme of things, I wouldn’t trade my child for anything.  I’m in a bad place right now, but it won’t last forever.  These feelings come and go.

I’m only human.

By | 2017-02-22T21:37:29+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|Categories: Parenting|Tags: , , |

3 Comments

  1. Jodie February 22, 2017 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your honesty. I have two sons with autism, one is verbal and one is not. I have struggled a lot with my son who is verbal. He was developing typically until 18 months and then lost a lot of his language skills. He has a lot of sensory issues that other people don’t see which he resulted in huge meltdowns when getting dressed or changing nappies to the point where I would get physically hurt. He has picked up a lot more words now and can mostly communicate his needs. He still has meltdowns, we still struggle but I can see hope for the future.
    My non-verbal son I struggle with every single day. He can’t tell me his basic needs or anything at all and the meltdowns are worse and last for longer. My heart is broken when I see him struggle and I feel frustrated that nothing can just be simple. I keep praying he will talk one day and all I can do is take it one day at a time. When I think about the future I sink into a depression. Don’t feel bad for your feelings. I’m living with both and although my verbal son is challenging, I would give anything in the world for my other son to talk and have his brothers level of understanding.
    Lots of hugs to you xxx

    • M. Lori February 22, 2017 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Jodie,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate that you can relate to my situation. I think the non-verbal aspect is what gets me most. I just want to know what he’s thinking and feeling and I’m devastated that I cannot have a conversation with my own child. It sounds like you have your challenges with two ASD kids, I hope you’re getting all of the help and support you need.
      Thank you again.

  2. Heidi June 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Lori and Jodie, I wasn’t sure I should write to you with a controversial idea. However, you are both such amazing moms in terrible agony about your children, that I felt that I had to reach out to you and maybe ease your suffering a little. Have you considered supported typing, also known as facilitated communication (“FC”)? There’s been a lot of bad press about it being false hope, that the facilitator is actually influencing the child’s hand and is the one doing the typing. My 11-year-old son has severe autism, with virtually no language, except isolated words like “iPad” and “cookie”. His affect and demeanor is like a five-year-old, despite his large size. We were introduced to FC at his last school (after removing him from an ABA-only school that started out OK but then turned into a complete disaster because they just could not control his aggressive behaviors). To our amazement, he started typing about his likes and dislikes, his feelings, his opinions, the most profound thoughts. He also typed about personal preferences (“Chocolate”) and facts that the teacher could not have known about, such as the color of his room (“The ceiling is white and the walls are blue.”) When asked why he has melt-downs and hurts us, he typed, “I can’t help it” and started to cry. FC is not a cure-all; the desire to communicate is ours, not usually our kids’, and they may resist what they feel is a demand. My son, for example, refuses to type with me at this point. (When asked why not, he typed, “Mom is too tense.” Well, he is right about that!) However, I think that both of you as your kids’ loving moms will both have extra peace of mind if you do in fact get a glimpse of the deeper mind that may be locked in that autistic body and give him a tool to express himself. If he is not ready, or does not have the capacity or willingness, no harm done and you can always try again in the future if you want. Do some research, join a group on Facebook, speak with other families using FC or RPM and see if this might be a fit for your son. If you need a referral to my son’s teacher, even for a consultation over the phone, let me know. I wish you both every blessing. Whatever you decide to do, never give up hope!

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