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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Top 10 Reasons You Can't Live Here for 5 Years

The other day you asked me why you can't live here at home for another 5 or 10 years. There are so many reasons, I don't know if I can count them all, but here is a good start.

First and most importantly...

  1. You may not live to see another 5 or ten years if you continue to live here. I know I'm much smaller than you, but I may end up killing you or at least hurting you seriously because of the way that you treat me. Okay I'm kidding. Sort of...exaggerating. Okay, the point is, I don't want to go to jail. 
  2. I may not live another 5 years if you live here.  You stress me out! My heart can not take another 5 or 10 years of you and your yelling, following me around and harassing me in my own home.  The only time I have peace is when you are not in this house. You and I seem to make each other miserable. I always love you, but honestly, I don't like you very much right now.  I will like you and love you so much more if there was more distance between us. Dad and I would be so much happier to help you if we see you taking steps towards taking care of yourself!  We still help your older brother to this day when he really needs it. That's what family does. Have you seen how much better he gets along with Dad now that he doesn't live here?
  3. You want to get married someday. If you never learn to take of yourself, you will never be able to take care of a family.  No one wants to marry a mama's boy. Walking around talking about, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" A good woman wants to marry a man who takes care of his business.
    Photo Credit imgbuddy.com 
  4. I am to you,  like kryptonite is to Superman. When I am around, you feel weaker than you actually are. When I'm not around, you feel stronger, empowered to do more for yourself.  You don't want to spend your life, waiting for others to help you. You have to help yourself! You want the most full life possible.  This means being comfortable financially, being able to travel, take care of yourself and your family someday.  I can not continue to give you a crutch to hold onto, if I do, you will never walk freely on your own.  
  5. You are not disabled. You are differently abled! You can absolutely do anything you set your mind to. You can not let fear keep you from living a full life. You have the ability to do so much more than many of your peers that you're always comparing yourself to.  Have you ever noticed that you are one of the highest functioning people in most of the programs you're in? You have been blessed with more ability than many other people. Out of your close friends, how many have kept a job for over 1 year? How many have taught themselves a skill like video editing? How many have earned money from their own business? You are intelligent! You can do anything you WANT to do. You simply have to WANT to do it!
  6. Everything you try, you succeed.  Do you realize that your first answer to everything is NO? "No I don't want to do it! NO! I'm not doing that! No! I'm not eating that." That is all about fear! You have to try it to know if you like it. You have always been more likely to try things when you are away from me!  You try new things when you travel to see family. You wanted this film internship.  You were scared to apply for it. It would mean changing your schedule. You were sure it wasn't going to work out. It did! You were accepted! There is always fear in the beginning. Change is scary, but you always come through it! You wanted to learn videography, you taught yourself.  If you want to live more independently, you can do it! You just have to walk through fear. 
  7. Adults don't like being told what to do. You are and adult, but as long as you are here in our home, you have to follow your parents rules. We will always have a say in what you are doing. Living on your own, gives you freedom from your parents (who according to you, know absolutely nothing.)
  8. There are too many people in this house that you don't get along with. You fight with everyone! Me. Your brother. Nana, Harry (the dog) and Dad! If you haven't gotten along with us in almost 20 years, chances are, you won't start now. You do however get along with friends and peers. You will get along with a roommate or a group of peers better than you will EVER get along with your family! 
  9. You are not happy here. You are happiest when you are away from your family.  You are happy at work. You are happy at church and when you are with your church family. You are happy when you are around your friends, and people closer to your age.  You are happy when you spend time with Mr. Kevin. You are happy when you travel and spend time away from us. Why not have more of that?  Truthfully, freedom is happiness! Trust me. I'd give anything to be free and on my own! The time I lived on my own was the best time of my life! Such a silly girl to give that up for this.
  10. Life struggles make you stronger and help you learn. Life can't always be easy, or you will never learn anything. Challenges are opportunities to learn. An easy life teaches you absolutely nothing. Living on your own figuring out your bills and your life will be challenging, but it will definitely lead to you being a strong man and less of a little boy who is always walking around talking about, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" 
I say this with all the love in my heart. Love that you will see a lot more of, once you move out of my house!

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Friday, June 5, 2015

A Brilliant Mind -Part Deux

It must be a miserable thing when the world doesn't work according to the way you think it should as in, it should really revolve around you.  Work schedules should be convenient for your need for extra sleep or lazing about the house as you please. Yet, you should have all of the money necessary for whatever your pleasure.

People should be at your beck and call -waiting by the phone to find out what you need.  Since they have cell phones, they should be able to answer your call 24/7.  When they answer, they should tell you exactly what you want to hear. You don't want to hear what is truth for the rest of the world. That does not apply to you. The reality that the rest of the world lives by is far to inconvenient for you to deal with.
One of the thousands of text message conversations with Red

While we're at it, let's face it, other people really should not have needs or feelings if they disrupt your needs being met at every second of the day. Other people should never be tired or sick.  Why should they need any rest? Why can't they be available 24/7 to answer your every question and listen to your every thought for the 9 millionth time. Too tired to chauffeur you around? That's ridiculous! All you have to do is sit there and push the pedal. How hard could that be? It's not going to kill you. Of course, this begs the question, How would you know since YOU'VE NEVER DONE IT?!

Why on earth would parents need to go on a date or hang out with their friends? Why can't they just be there for you in case you need someone to yell at?

Know anyone who thinks this way?

Well in my last post, "A Brilliant Mind," Red found out that his hours at work had been reduced from 20 to 10 hours per week. I was not happy because that would give him too much time on his hands to sit around the house, idle, bored, inevitably bugging the crap out of me.

His brilliant mind told him that the solution was for us to reduce the amount of rent he pays. So NOT Happening Dude!

The rants and rages went on for days.

He spoke to his Adult Transition teacher about it. She suggested the same thing I did. That he open up his availability at work so they would give him more hours.  He had his availability pretty limited to what would be convenient for him because after all, he needs time to his self ...so that he can be bored and bug the shit out of everyone in this house.

He was livid when he came home from the meeting with his teacher!
"She made me put down that I want to work on Saturdays! She made me do it! If I didn't do it, she was going to yell at me! I'm afraid of her, so I just did it!"
This went on all day long!

Later that evening, he spoke on the phone with another adult mentor who gave him the same story and advice that his teacher did. He listened but was not happy.

The following day he met with his Occupational Therapist.  She is a very soft spoken,  lovely woman who has lots of experience with teenagers and young adults with various abilities. She also has had personal experience with her own children who had special needs. (They are now adults and all out of her house.)  She wrote me an e-mail after their appointment:

"My commits to him regarding his work decision.
You are the one who must live with the decisions you make.
Less hours is less money.  You’ll need to adjust for that.
Life is not predictable, you need to learn to practice flexibility.  
Have faith in yourself to handle it.

He got upset with me a few times, face flushing, biting his lip, and tears in his eyes.  He held it together, took some deep breaths and calmed himself.  I was proud of the control he managed.  He was able to reflect, If my Mom had just said that to me, I’d probably be yelling about now.
He’s starting to show some insights and maturity. "

He held back with her, but continued to give me hell for several days.  He hates change! It brings about fear and anxiety.  It just really pisses him off that the world doesn't work perfectly, according to his plans.

Changes happen and you have to roll with them, but that feels impossible for him. He needs to work through all of that, mostly by yelling at me!

He did however, keep his additional hours of availability for work open. When he received his new schedule for next week, he was scheduled for additional hours, consistently, in the mornings.  No Saturdays ...yet!

He was sick with a pretty bad sore throat the day he got the new schedule. He seemed to take it all in stride, keeping a very calm demeanor. Either that or his throat was hurting so bad, he didn't want to scream. Either way I say,

Dear God,

Good lookin out!  You always come right on time.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Brilliant Mind

"Boredom in teenage boys is a powerful motivation for chaos." -Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore 

School is out next week. No more Transition to Adulthood classes. No more volunteering at the high school. Then last night, this...
"Mom...I got my hours from work and they've been cut to 10 hours a week." 
He's been averaging 20 hours. He could stand to do at least 30 during the summer. He needs to stay busy. Boredom for him means trouble ...chaos. 

He does have a 3 week summer film internship, which is awesome but he needs to fill the rest of his days with activity. And by activity, I mean things that don't include me! 

My immediate response was panic. Great! What in the hell is he going to do with all of that time on his hands?! 

"Why do you think they did that?" I say, trying to sound calm.  
"It's the summer. Some college students are back at work. We hired more people, so they cut everyone's hours." 

Thats's bullshit! That doesn't make any sense! 
"You've been there for over a year solid and they cut your hours to make room for someone new? Or someone who just came back? Does that sound right to you?" 
Either he needs to get this fixed this or he needs to work somewhere else. But how do I approach this with him delicately? 

"Well, what are you going to do for money? After you buy groceries, you won't have much left for entertainment, dates, movies, eating out." I ask casually, trying not to change my expression or the tone of my voice. 

He looks at me like I have 3 eyes. "I don't know! But I don't want to work Saturdays or Sundays. I need time to myself." 

"Time to yourself? To do what? You won't have any money." Still trying to sound calm. 
 He hisses at me, or maybe he growls, I don't remember. He definitely gives me that angry look. He's getting pissed! 

The conversation goes on. I excuse myself. I tell him it's because I don't appreciate his tone.  It's quite upsetting and it's the second time in one evening that he's used it towards me.

He finally decides to text his boss and tell him that he would like to have more consistent hours and that he would like to work at least 20 hours per week ...but hopefully during the week. (Because he doesn't want to work Saturdays.) 

WTF? You need to work whenever there are hours available! I think, but bite my tongue and do not say. 
What I do say is this, "Well, I will not be around on Saturday's and Sunday's to transport you anywhere. I plan on doing some traveling this summer. You won't have any money. So that "time to yourself may end up being here, alone with Nana." He really didn't want to here that! 

Cut to this morning before work...
"Is there anyway you can cut my rent down because they cut my hours?" 
Bahahahaha! You're kidding me right? Where's the hidden camera? 

"If you were in an apartment, do you think they would care that your hours got cut? Would they be like, Oh hey! that's cool. Just pay what you can.

"I know that but...you're not teaching me anything by making life harder for me." 

"Actually, I'm teaching you how the real world works.  If I make it comfortable for you to work less hours, what incentive would you have to work more?"
"Well, I need Saturdays to myself." 
"To do what? On Saturday mornings you're knocking on our door when we are still sleeping. Or you're out here on the futon flipping the wooden arms up and down to make noise. By the middle of the day you're bored and when you're bored, you start to get into trouble, arguing and fighting with everyone. Do you like money? Why wouldn't you want to be busy and make more money?" 
"I need time to relax." 
HA! 
"You know what son. I have to give it to you. You are really smart!" 
"What do you mean?" He asks with a half smile. 
"It takes a brilliant mind to come up with that solution. Cut your rent down? That's brilliant! It's not going to work, but it lets me know your'e really good at problem solving." 

Who do I look like? Boo boo the fool?  

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Questions

I have been plagued all day long with eight questions. Eight questions asked over and over again, in a loop. All.Day.Long.

It's Monday, Memorial Day. Here in central Texas it has been storming all night and all day. There have been flash flood warnings. There have been bogus tornado warnings in our direct area at least 3 times today.

Around noon Red asks me if his therapy appointment is on for today. I told him to call his therapist. His therapist calls back and says, "Yes. I'm working today."
Well, we have flash flood warnings and I'm not about to get into my car with Red to drive forty minutes to an appointment. I told him to let his therapist know we would not be coming due to the flooding in our area.  I  suggested that he ask him if they could just talk on the phone. That wasn't possible.

So then it began, the questions. The same questions that he has been asking for months. The same questions that I have answered backwards, forwards and upside down. The same questions that he has asked countless other resources and has received again, basically the same answers.

He followed me around all day long asking these questions.
I answered them once.
I hummed, "Kumbaya."
I wrote my own version of it:

Come on by Lord! 
Come on by. 
I'm about to 
start to cry.
Come on by Lord. 
Come on by. 
Oh Lord! 
Come on by.
Ain't got no secrets Lord.
Ain't got no lies
I'm about to 
start to cry. 
Give me peace Lord. 
Help me out.
I need you Lord 
Without a doubt! 
Come on by Lord! 
Come on by!
Oh Lord!
Come on by.

I sang.
I colored in my coloring book.
I ignored.
He continued for hours.

Finally, I made him write the questions down. I answered each of them in writing.

1) How can I buy equipment if I have to pay gas and car insurance if I had a car?
You can only buy equipment when you make extra money. Your job and disability can help pay for your life, including a car or transportation. 

2) Can I still save up to buy equipment if I had an apartment and a car?
If you have an apartment, you can only buy equipment if make extra money from video editing or working more hours. You can only buy things when you have extra money after all of your life expenses are paid. 

3) Do I have to pay insurance if I had a car when I’m living with you guys?
We will only help you with car insurance if you don’t have enough money to pay it yourself from your job. We will only help you when you have no other resources for money. We will not pay your bills so that you can keep buying equipment. 

4) What number can I call when I’m having problems at home?
I don’t have a number for you to call. You can ask your case manager if she has a number for you to call from home.

5) Do you like to push my buttons?
I use jokes and laughter when you are trying to push my buttons. I joke around when my nerves are shot to hell, instead of yelling at you. 

6) Do you hate me?
I do not hate you. I HATE YOUR BEHAVIOR!

7) Why do I have to have a hard life and not get along with my family?
You cannot continue to stress me out all of the time and live here. I am no longer obligated to have you in my house if my health and sanity are in danger.  

8) Do you want my life to be horrible and to ruin my life?
I want your life to be good. I want you to be independent. I want to live in peace. Your life being good does not depend on THINGS that you BUY such as equipment. THINGS do not make you happy. You are never happy even when you buy things for more than a few minutes. What makes you happy comes from your relationship with God and from helping others. You also seem happy when you are with friends and your girlfriend or anyone other than this family! You are NEVER happy when you are in this house unless your friends or girlfriend is here. I can not make you happy.  

The END

Ten minutes later, he was back at my bedroom door.
I need to talk to you.
I need to see you.
He knocked, louder and louder.

I get it.
Anxiety.
O.K.
I can not help him anymore.
It feels like he is trying to drive me crazy and he's doing a bang up job.
It's 9 p.m.
I have heartburn.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Autism PTSD

In my constant state of self-observation, I have noticed a lot of changes in myself lately.  In other words, I'm always trying to figure out why I am so crazy. 

There are so many things that I used to enjoy that now...I just don't. Some things are simple like, talking on the phone. When I was younger, I lived for the phone to ring just to chat or make social plans with my friends. Oh, and the single days of waiting for a certain fellow to call.  Makes my heart flutter just to think about it. (Honey ...I'm totally talking about you.) 

Now, there is a slight sense of dread, maybe even panic when the phone rings. Most of the time, it's Red wanting absolutely nothing other than to repeat himself.  Otherwise,  it's Blue or my mom  requesting services from me.  The other minority of the time, I just don't want to talk.

There are a few people who are an exception to that rule. I still have girlfriends across the miles that I like to catch up with occasionally. It's just so rare that I have moments quiet enough for lengthy conversations.  With one of my best girlfriends, I usually make an appointment for us to talk if we haven't seen each other in a while.  It sounds kind of crazy and weird, but hey, that's my life.
A big part of the reason I don't like to talk as much, is that after listening to my kids talk, all.the.time. I got nothin left! My mother gets her feelings hurt because I don't come down to small talk and chat when the boys are not home. Sorry, but I am busy trying to decompress from the constant noise! 

I used to love to go to parties and socialize. Now, unless it's a very close friend, I  look for excuses not to go.  This past weekend, I attended one with my husband and his friends. I tried to avoid it.  In my head, I made up all sorts of excuses. But since hubby has been traveling a lot, I ultimately decided to be a good wife and go with him.  I actually ended up having a pretty good time. Plus, there was cake! Deep, dark, decadent, chocolate, chocolate cake. Totally worth the trauma. 

The thing is now, I find myself taking these sensory breaks at parties. I hide in the bathroom for just a bit of quiet for a few minutes.  I look for places to sit quietly alone, so that I can stop smiling and being pleasant for a few minutes.  I need time to collect with my thoughts and clear my cluttered head.  

I have also noticed that I find myself dreading holidays and all of the pressure that comes along with them. I used to be the queen of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and oh my God, birthdays!  I have written about our last disastrous No Thanks Giving and many others in years before.  I've written about our family's Christmas insanity many times. (You should really read those posts if you haven't). If you're an autism parent, you will definitely identify, if you're not, you'll probably cry for me. 

I know that I'm not alone. A lot of autism parents feel the same level of hatred for holidays.  It's because of how our children may or not behave with the extra pressure and anxiety.  It's a part of this thing I call Autism PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  PTSD is an anxiety-based disorder that happens when a person has experienced trauma or has been repeatedly exposed to a traumatic events. PTSD can occur to soldiers who have been in a war zone or to a victim after a crime.  Autism PTSD is when you are constantly experiencing traumatic events in your own home or out in the community while raising your child with autism, who may fall apart emotionally, act out physically and have a meltdown at any given moment. 

I've read several articles about it lately.  Jess at Diary of a Mom wrote about it. A few weeks ago I read an article titled "Stress PTSD and Parents of Kids With Special Needs". It was a huge aha moment for me. I was like, YES! This is my life! 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health One of many the symptoms of PTSD is Avoidance. 
  • Staying away from places, and events that are reminders of the experience (I want to stay away from home all the time. I have to take a moment to gather myself in the car in the driveway before I come inside). 
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry. (Check! Constantly!
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past. (Talking on the phone, having parties, attending parties.) 
  • Feeling emotionally numb (Check! Check!) 
Hmm...sounds eerily familiar.  Avoiding talking. Avoiding socializing. Avoiding holidays. No longer enjoying them because of the many traumatic experiences in the past. Feeling numb -no desire for the enjoyment that used to come along with these activities. 

When our kids are diagnosed, we begin living a new normal,  which is really anything but normal. We are pretty much in a constant, heightened sense of stress ...always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the phone to ring with the school or the kid on the other end of the line with some major issue.

Lately, in our home things have actually been a little bit better. Red is not melting down and ranting quite as often.  He's still a stick in the mud and negative, but things are ever so slightly better.  Of course, where Red slows down, Blue speeds up. So even the slightest progress is hard to celebrate or enjoy.  It can be perfectly quiet. I am sitting here reading, but I'm waiting for the screaming to start, for the argument to begin or for the actual physical fight to break out between teenage brothers. Autism PTSD! 

I am constantly diffusing, trying to keep my mother from pulling a trigger --to just stay out of everything or not scream at the boys. I flinch when I think my husband is about to blow a gasket and set one of the boys off. I usually jump up and try to deescalate it. I feel like a puppeteer trying to control all of the strings so that the puppets don't end up saying the wrong things and end up all mangled together, the house destroyed, another hole in a wall or a door in the process. 

I am by the way, working on that need to control all interactions at all times.  I just can not do it!  I can not control the kind of relationship my husband has with the boys. I can not control their every interaction.  It's impossible and my husband really resents it.  I'm sure my mother does too, but hey, she lives there by her choice and she is not their parent. I realize that especially when it comes to my husband and the boys, I have to just let the chips fall and the dust settle. It is super hard for me to let go. But again, I am trying to keep control in order to avoid explosions, like a soldier, in a war zone! (PTSD)

For Mother's Day weekend this year, my husband did take the boys out of the house on Saturday to go see a movie. It was heaven ...for me.  I did nothing.  I just absolutely relaxed with no guilt of, I should be doing this or that. It was torture for my husband. Red spent most of the day complaining, and asking his father, "Why do you have to be so military?" Nothing was enough. Nothing his father did was good from his perspective, not the shopping or the meal that he gulped down in 15 seconds flat. 
My Mother's Day Gift
Peace, Quiet & Sweatpants
Sunday the actual Mother's day, was mostly good.  I tried to relax. I did not cook. Hubby picked up Italian food. The boys were mostly home and mostly bored, so you know how that goes. Red did go to church, but he came home complaining about the fact that he couldn't see his girlfriend that day. She was busy spending it with her mother, seeing as it was Mother's Day and not Red Day.  Her mother deserved her daughters' full attention without any extra drama or distractions. Red complained all.day.long.
  
However, there was no screaming.
There were no major fights or major meltdowns.  
That does not mean that I didn't spend the entire day waiting for one to happen. 

***

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Imagine a Life

Image by fanpop.com
Imagine a life
complete thoughts
my own discretion
focus
writing
traveling
passion
living
dreams

Imagine the child who is still being raised
attention
less battle
peace
thriving
reaching
potential

Imagine a life living in relative peace
no judgment
less debate
home
sanctuary
peace

Imagine a bedroom
open
unlocked
silence

Imagine a couple
dates
travel
sex
relaxed

Imagine his life
a man
finding his people
living his dreams
providing for himself
making his way
finding love
positive
prideful

Moving toward reality
prayer
meditation
hope 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Good Therapy

After weeks of resistance and avoidance, instinct prompted me to not only drive Red to therapy, but to actually be a part of the session. As a result, I ended up with the most valuable insight into the motivation of his behaviors that I've received in a very long time.  If you read this blog regularly, you know that many times throughout an average day I ask myself, what the actual f% is he thinking?  He can be impossible to understand.  Well therapy gave me a few answers.

For the longest time, I have wondered the point of "talk therapy" for Red.  He loves to go! I've even used it as a consequence. If you don't behave, I will not drive you.  I think because he loves to hear himself talk. Other people, including the therapist?  Not so much.  I believe that for the most part,  he really only wants to hear his own point of view reflected back to him. In the sessions I've attended with him, that's what I've seen. When I ask him about sessions that I don't attend, he isn't able to give me any earth shattering insight that he gathered.

The ride to and from therapy within itself stresses me the hell out. I'm a captive audience, key word, captive.  I'm a hostage, trapped in a small space listening to his ranting, arguing and debating.  There have been times when I just pull over until he will shut up!

A month ago, I cancelled 2 of his 4 monthly sessions because of the lengthy, stressful drive home. That appointment had us driving home through five o'clock traffic. It could take almost 2 hours. Oh.My.God! I wanted to drive off a cliff!

For his last session 2 weeks ago,  I asked his Community Supports provider Kevin, to take him for me. I felt like the goose that laid the golden egg and no one else new how valuable it was.  Score one for me! I saved myself some aggravation.

One of the boundary issues we have with Red is when he hugs me, he totally engulfs me in his arms. I am much shorter and so much slimmer (not) than he is. He puts a lot of his 200 plus pounds of weight on me and won't let go usually, until I pinch him or something. He also continually picks up Harry our little 7 pound Maltese.  He hugs him to death or at least until he yelps.  Let's just suffice it to say, he is overly affectionate with the dog.  Harry runs when he hears him coming.

Red also seems to panic when I'm leaving the house. Where are you going? When will you be back? Then I get a zillion phone calls while I'm gone.  I come back home, he meets me in the driveway before I can even get out of the car.
Banging on my car window.
Anger
Yesterday, I learned that fear, anxiety and a deep need for love and affection are the main drivers behind a number of Red's behaviors.  He has a girlfriend, but he doesn't get to see her that much because of her own issues and behaviors with her parents. He really only has one close friend and that friend spends most of his life being grounded. It's sad. He does have his church family, and I'm sure that attention, love and caring are major motivators behind him being so closely involved in church.

Red's therapist believes that he is panicked by his fear of losing everything.  That's why he is holding on so tight. He is deeply afraid of change.  In facing adulthood there are so many variables, so many unknowns is  and it's frightening to him.  Red believes that once he walks out these doors, he looses everything. That's why he constantly references moving out, as being "kicked out." I imagine he sees my foot on his ass as he heads out the door, never to be able to come back again.  

I realize now, that fear has been perpetuated by us. In recent months, his behavior has been so all over the map. Boundaries have been next to non-existent and we have been close to moving him into a group home. In fact, when he misbehaves, our first line of defense is to say, "That's why you need to move!" Turns out that's not so healthy. It's actually making matters worse.  I never claimed to be perfect, especially when being driven to the edges of sanity. 

Of course, if we did have to follow that course of action,  it's not as if he would not have any support. But, he can't see through all of that.  He's afraid of losing all of his comforts. Gasp! He may have to struggle a bit, like every young person in America. 

Oh yes, and buying all of the things.  That's another way that he is holding on, tightly.  Buying video equipment is something that he can control, when he can't control anything else.  He buying things in a panic because when and if, he gets "kicked out," he won't be able to buy anything again, ever!  It all makes perfect sense! Why didn't I see all of this before? Duh! 

His therapist also pointed out, that Red sees that his older brother who has been out of the house for almost 9 years, hardly ever comes back home. I don't think he knows that  we continue to support his older brother when he really needs it.

Red may act like he doesn't like us, but he loves us. We are all he has ever known, especially me. I have been his rock, and his crutch. What will he do without that? Of course, he thinks he's going to fall if he no longer has what has been holding him up for his entire life. Standing on his own,  becoming an independent person literally scares the crap out of him.  He is the bird in the nest, that thinks that there is no way he can possibly fly.  This is a very normal feeling that many young adults go through. It's is only exacerbated by autism and anxiety.
Moments later running from a bug.
Fear

What we need to do number one,  is all of us including his dad and his brother,  have to reassure him that he is loved, right now, today, and that he will always be loved.
He will always be a part of this family.
He needs that love and affection to be shown by ALL of us.
We can't continually be angry, because he's angry and scared.
We can't let the only attention that he gets be negative. He acts so unlikeable, because that's the only way he knows how to get attention.
What he needs is encouragement to know that we are positive that he can do well on his own.
He can fly.
We need to reassure him that we realize that even if he is out of our house, he will continue to need support.
We will be there to give that to him or make sure that he receives it from outside sources, until he doesn't need it anymore, just as I have ALWAYS done.
We need to  continue to encourage and remind him how well he does in other environments, which is a sign that he really can be happy and independent.
When he travels to see family for weeks at a time, he thrives.
When he has gone away to camp, he loved it and did well.
When he is at work and volunteering at the high school with special needs students,  he is happy and self-assured.
We have to continually encourage his strengths and consistently reassure him, that we know he can do this!
He can be an independent person.
Someday he can be a husband, and perhaps even a father.
In order to get there, he has to be willing to walk through the fear and walk out of our front door.
He also needs to visually see a plan for his life. He needs a roadmap to follow,  so that he can actually feel himself heading in the right direction.
He needs to see that it's just one step at a time, instead of becoming constantly overwhelmed by the big, fuzzy picture. I have arranged that his Occupational Therapist will be helping him map things out, creating a blueprint in the coming weeks.

So it turns out that therapy can be a good thing after all. Thanks doc!

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