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.