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WARNING-VERY VERY LONG SORRY I am distraught and deflated, am sitting here crying. :o(

(61 Posts)
fathertimestopsfornoone Sat 18-Jun-11 20:58:34

Regular namechanged. I don't know why. Maybe because I feel like I'm being ridiculous to even feel this way, but I would appreciate some feedback.

I am a single mum to 2 DC.
My eldest (DS) is 19 and I am heartbroken at the state of our relationship. I completely adore DS, and have always done so, from the very moment he was born. I had such a close relationship with him, he found it very difficult to make friends (mild ASD) and I would spend hours playing games with him when no one else wanted to play with him. I am not the most confident of people myself, but I made friends with people just so DS would have some friends (their DC).
DS was never very confident in himself, and I helped him in any way I could. He is a lovely looking lad. When he went to high school, he blossomed and made a few friends. I welcomed them all into my home. We chatted about so much. I always treated him with the utmost respect and spoilt him too if I'm honest, working from dawn until dusk to give him the things he wanted (usually what his friends had). It wasn't easy being a single mum, but I just wanted him to be happy.
Primary school practically wrote him off, because of how difficult he found school. The headteacher even told me that I wasn't to think of DS as a future scientist, more a trolley dolly. sad
High school was much more supportive. DS went onto college. I was so proud of him. grin
Halfway through his college course, he decided to move out, get drunk every night, and almost ruined all his hard work. We spoke and he pulled himself together in time and passed his course. I sat up until 4am writing his notes up for him while he slept.
Since DS moved out, we have got further and further apart. sad
Now we rarely speak, and I think he must hate me although he claims that's not the truth.
Everything about his life with me he seems to see as an awful time in his life.

It has all come to a head recently. He has told me that he hated school and doesn't want to remember anything from when he was at school.
He doesn't remember us doing anything together, although he doesn't disagree we did things together, just that he doesn't remember.
He says he was always ashamed of my low paid job while he was young and felt embarrassed about it.
He has told me I'm not a very interesting person, and I think too much.
He visibly fizzes when he speaks of his job or his friends, which is rarely, but OTOH deflates when I speak of anything I have done.
He says I have never made him proud. sad
He never calls me or texts me and he even defriended me on FB blush because I 'liked' one of his statuses. His reasoning was that his friends wont comment now because I had 'liked' it first.

I remember his childhood with joy, he remembers it with sadness. I did everything I possibly could to make sure his childhood was happy, but he wasn't happy. I have only recently found this out. sad

DS is logic through and through. I am a single mum now, and when I once said it was hard being a single parent, DS said 'We all make choices, you have made bad ones.'

I have fucking failed as a parent, I have lost what I had with DS. There is lots more but this is long enough as it is, and it is shit to feel like I never really knew him, and the 'old' DS is never coming back, because I don't think he is.
I help him in every way I can, but he is just so unresponsive towards me. He behaves completely different when with his friends, they see the side of him that I used to see, but haven't in the longest time now.

I appreciate most of this is probably his ASD, and that's another reason how I know that this is it, forever.
DS is popular and has a job he enjoys, lots of friends, hobbies he enjoys. OTOH, I am single, and likely to be for a long time, and have watched my life whizz by in a strong wind, dedicating it to someone who truly doesn't connect with me, and finds it hard to give a shit.
I can't remember the last time DS wrote something other than 'To mum, from DS' in a card, or gave me a hug, or even laughed at something I said. I have kept every mothers day card/xmas card/birthday card/ he has ever sent me in a big box along with his school reports, special pictures, photos.
DS used to say I made him as happy as chocolate, but I guess he's discovered chocolate makes you fat, and therefore not very happy in the long run IYSWIM.

Sorry, just needed to write this out. Not sure there is much that is going to make me feel better, because nothing is going to bring the DS who loved his mum back.

He is supposed to be coming over for dinner tomorrow (He is driven here and picked up after or he wouldn't see me at all.) I am frightend to try to talk to him, even chit chat, in case I say the wrong thing and watch his eyes glaze over, or I cry at what we have lost. sad
Not sure how much longer I can try. sad sad sad

I shouldn't expect anything from DS, I know, but it's heartbreaking to know DS doesn't like me anymore, let alone love me. He has even told me that if I died tomorrow, he wouldn't miss me because that's part of life, you live, then you die. sad
I mean nothing to him, and yet I would lay down in front of moving traffic in a heartbeat if he needed me to. sad

Am I torturing myself to even attempt to continue this one sided relationship with him?

StealthPolarBear Sat 18-Jun-11 21:03:46

He sounds immature and unfeeling more than anything
I doubt you mean nothing to him - the dying comment was bravado and bullshit, trying to shock you IMO. If you feel the need, tell him how much it hurt you, he needs to know.

bibbitybobbityhat Sat 18-Jun-11 21:04:03

I am really sorry to hear all this.

Is his "plain speaking" all part of his SN? If he has moved on in his life and feels that he doesn't really need you (on Facebook and elsewhere) - could this be part of him growing more independent of you - and therefore, possibly, a good thing?

I cannot see where else in your post you mention your other child?

StealthPolarBear Sat 18-Jun-11 21:04:49

you dont mention your youngerchild - how old and what's your relationship like? What's their relationship like?

K999 Sat 18-Jun-11 21:04:55

How sad but he's your child/grown up son. As much as you would love to be his friend, he's a young man and prob wants to break out on his own. Try not to take it too personally. My DD would cringe if I was her FB friend. It's good to have some distance. This doesn't mean he doesn't love you.

I hate to say this, but perhaps he feels you are too needy?

chris123456 Sat 18-Jun-11 21:05:36

You son is not a child anymore - might help if you let go a bit

StealthPolarBear Sat 18-Jun-11 21:05:56

and when I say immature, I mean like the facbook thing -wasn't around when I was younger but I can imagine being mortified if my mum liked one of my statuses and telling her - younger than 19 but still

cazzybabs Sat 18-Jun-11 21:10:30

he is still a teenager .. i guess part of being as parent is to love them unconditionally through the bad times now ... he may not be like this forever

maleview70 Sat 18-Jun-11 21:11:05

I find that the more you do for your child and the more you spoil them, the more they expect it and the less they appreciate it.

His illness probably doesnt help as feelings seem hard to express for him.

Every parent would lie down and die for their child but I doubt many children would do it for their parents!

Your job was to raise him until he became a man and you have done that admirably. He cant see it but you have helped him to get the job he enjoys and the friends that he now prefers to you.

My view is that a parents job is to get their child to an age where they are totally independant. If you do then its job done. Of course you expect something back in return but it doesnt always happen that way. We are one of the only species of animal that clings on to their offspring for so long.

Many parents see their children go to a University far away and then find love and a career a long way from where they live. I spoke to a client of mine the other day who has one son. He lives 200 miles away. She sees him 3 times a year. Another has a child who lives 12000 miles away and she sees him once every two years!

The thing to do now is let him know you will always be there for him but now is the time to get on with your life, make new friends, take up some hobbies and maybe find someone who will provide you with the love you crave.

Good Luck

tinkgirl Sat 18-Jun-11 21:13:37

He is simply going through another stage, yes this one is likely to last a little longer and he probably won't appreciate you again until he becomes a parent himself, maybe a little sooner if you get along with his partner.

Write him a letter saying that you appreciate how he feels (it's important that you acknowledge this) but that you are always there for him, no matter what, whenever he needs you. He simply needs to start living life for himself.

GnomeDePlume Sat 18-Jun-11 21:18:02

He sounds immature and to be honest deeply unpleasant.

Perhaps what you both need is a bit of distance from each other. A bit of the cold shoulder from you might give you some space to build a more separate life.

Perhaps he also needs a bit of straight talking - that lowly job he is so contemptuous of put food on the table, the clothes on his back and gave him the things he wanted to have.

Teenagers can be very filled with their own self-importance. Get some space away from him. Make sure he knows that while you love him and always will, right now you dont actually like him.

He will be back when he grows up a bit.

fathertimestopsfornoone Sat 18-Jun-11 21:23:14

DS doesn't have much to do with my younger DC, there is a few years between them.
I shouldn't have said DS hates me, since I don't actually believe that. I believe he doesn't actually feel anything towards me.
It's abit like talking to a stranger in the street whom you've just bumped into at a bus stop perhaps. 'Nice weather, bus is running late' End of conversation.

Stealthpolarbear When DS made the comments about me dying, he just said it out of the blue. I told him he couldn't know how he'd feel because I haven't died, but he is adamant he wouldn't be sad at all about it, and I should be happy he isn't going to be sad. I would have said bravado too, but he doesn't do bravado. He doesn't seem to have it in him to be anything other than completely sincere IYSWIM.

K999 Maybe he thinks I am too needy, it's possible. I guess I am glad to see him when he is dropped at my door. I don't hear from him at all the rest of the time, and I have stopped ringing him or texting him because I find conversation so difficult with him. If it was left to DS to make a move to contact me, I don't think he would, and we would get to the point where it became too awkward to because too much time would've passed IYGWIM.

He just doesn't seem to feel anything for anyone, has no empathy, believes everyone on the planet is where they are because of the choices they have made and therefore are responsible for their own circs.

It is extremely difficult to explain, but it is like communicating with a cardboard cutout, which has a select number of phrases to say.

My relationship with younger DC is great, we get along very well, very much like DS and I used to get along.

SherlockHolmes Sat 18-Jun-11 21:23:24

It sounds to me as if he is going through the phase that most teenagers have at around 15; they don't want to be near you, you're an embarrassment etc etc. He WILL come out the other side, really he will. Just give him space and try not to worry. One day, he will have an adult relationship with you, but for now I would try to let him have his teenage tantrums and just wait for him to come back to you.

PS Please try not to cry and worry; it sounds to me like you've been a great mother and have supported him as much as anyone could smile.

Longtalljosie Sat 18-Jun-11 21:27:14

A lot of children don't really, deep down, get that their parents are people. They judge them, they criticise their shortcomings (perceived or real) and they think they can say what they like.

I'm not forgetting his ASD. But would he be that harsh and hurtful to his friends? If the answer is no, you need to show him some spine.

You have allowed him to call the shots with your relationship with him. You've left him believing what you provide for him is so unconditional that he can do what he likes and it doesn't matter.

But being a parent is also about teaching respect. Hopefully, he will be married one day, to someone else who loves him unconditionally. You need to tell him his behaviour is unacceptable. He needs to respect you and for that, you need to remind him that you are worthy of respect. And for that, you need to start respecting yourself.

IhateSunday Sat 18-Jun-11 21:28:08

The fact he has a job/friends an independant life etc shows you that you didn't fail as a parent.... getting all of those things when you have ASD is bloody hard work, they all depend on life skills being learnt (and being taught) as when you have ASD you don't pick them up naturally like neuro typical people do. So how can you have failed as a parent?

You know his ASD means he will tell you like it is, and remember, he is still growing up, highly likely to be going through teenage stage type things still, and ASD or not, teenagers can be absolutely vile! He will appreciate you again one day, when he 'grows up'.

I know you are heartbroken, but you need to start moving on in your own life to the next chapter... incredibly hard to do, but you can do it.....

fathertimestopsfornoone Sat 18-Jun-11 21:35:38

maleview70 You seem to have it exactly spot on.
chris123456 How much further can I distance myself? I helped him move out, I don't call him or text him. I don't push him for any conversation beyond pleasantries, and it's been like this for so long now.

I can see what you mean about FB. blush
I only added him as a friend because I thought it was a way of keeping in touch. As for DS having DC one day, he is determined that wont be for a long time yet, he doesn't see the point in DC, including his younger sibling.

I miss him terribly, yes, but in the 3 years since he has moved out, I have only ever tried to tell him how I felt once, that was years ago, because DS just sat there with a vacant expression on his face, then proceeded to answer his phone to a friend and just chatted away and totally ignored me. I felt a complete twat. sad
So if he comes tomorrow, and I always tell him only to come if he wants to, I will paste a smile on my face, and pretend for a few hours, pretend I am happy, and he wont know my heart is breaking on the inside, because I don't want to drive him further away by making him feel uncomfortable.
Pleasantries will be exchanged, but no further questions after that.
I do think alot of it is down to his SN, although that is completely off topic and always has been. (DS's choice btw)

Jaspants Sat 18-Jun-11 21:39:55

* "He just doesn't seem to feel anything for anyone, has no empathy, believes everyone on the planet is where they are because of the choices they have made and therefore are responsible for their own circs." *

This I put down to ASD - DH is very much like this and I can see it in DS too.

Remember too that he is a teenager - therefore self absorbed and cannot really see beyond their own little self-important bubble.

You sound like an amazing mum - please try not to let him hurt you, I'm sure it is not intentional.

fathertimestopsfornoone Sat 18-Jun-11 21:40:17

Longtalljosie I agree with what you have said, although I have no idea how he speaks to his friends, apart from quick conversations I hear onesided when he is on the phone. His friends are an entirely seperate part of his life, as is his work.
He treats other family members the same though, apart from his cousin who is 16. His cousin is also ASD and they get on very well.

Vix1980 Sat 18-Jun-11 21:40:30

Hi, i feel so bad that your having to feel like this over your own child especially... All i can say is that being nearer to his age myself ( well a few years ago anyway) I certainly went through this phase myself, although not as strong as this but as someone else said this is partly down to his illness - i have a friend who is sometimes in tears as her son is the same, they just genuinely dont think about what they are saying and spurt out stuff. they would probably regret it instantly but dont seem to have the capability of feeling that emotion.

It is sad that this side of him may not change much, but the rest of him will and you need to find a way to work out how to get through that, its easy to say dont contact him etc but that could make things worse in the long run, instead try to be cheerful tomorrow when you see him, ask him all about his friends, job anything else he has been up to, if he goes quiet simply say to him, Its ok that you dont feel like talking right now, I like the fact that i simply get to spend time with you still like we used to, if he starts moaning just reassure him that even if he "thinks" he doesnt want to be around you, you will always be there for him if he ever needs you for anything

As someone else mentioned its your job as a parent to get your child to act as a responsible adult, He's now 19 at that stage where hes not quite sure if he is but trys to act like he is, You have done your job, and the person he has become is not all down to you, he has his own personality something you had no control over, youve brought up a child on your own which isnt easy at all but youve done it... dont beat yourself up is all im saying, you did a good job, just give him time, let him know your there, and a bit of time will turn things round

P.s I also deleted my mum from Fb, nothing to do with her liking something i said, she dared to link a picture of herself line dancing in full cowgirl clothes to my wall, shamefull!!!!

JudysJudgement Sat 18-Jun-11 21:41:41

you are trying to be his friend and he doesnt want a friend, he has friends, he needs a parent

that said, i would give him all the space he needs to grow up, mature and appreciate how idiotic and childish he has been

back off, just let him find his way and he will come back

activate Sat 18-Jun-11 21:45:37

sweetheart it's the cats and dogs story

The Dog and Cat story ( I didn't write it - don't know who did)

Dog And Cat

I just realized that while children are dogs -- loyal and affectionate -- teenagers are cats. It's so easy to be a dog owner. You feed it, train it, boss it around. It puts its head on your knee and gazes at you as if you were a Rembrandt painting. It bounds indoors with enthusiasm when you call it.

Then around age 13, your adoring little puppy turns into a big old cat. When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed, as if wondering who died and made you emperor. Instead of dogging your doorsteps, it disappears. You won't see it again until it gets hungry -- then it pauses on its sprint through the kitchen long enough to turn its nose up at whatever you're serving. When you reach out to ruffle its head, in that old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you, then gives you a blank stare, as if trying to remember where it has seen you before.

You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat, think something must be desperately wrong with it. It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of depressed. It won't go on family outings.

Since you're the one who raised it, taught it to fetch and stay and sit on command, you assume that you did something wrong. Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble your efforts to make your pet behave.

Only now you're dealing with a cat, so everything that worked before now produces the opposite of the desired result. Call it, and it runs away. Tell it to sit, and it jumps on the counter. The more you go toward it, wringing your hands, the more it moves away.

Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you can learn to behave like a cat owner. Put a dish of food near the door, and let it come to you. But remember that a cat needs your help and your affection too. Sit still, and it will come, seeking that warm, comforting lap it has not entirely forgotten. Be there to open the door for it.

One day your grown-up child will walk into the kitchen, give you a big kiss and say, "You've been on your feet all day. Let me get those dishes for you."

Then you'll realize your cat is a dog again.

fathertimestopsfornoone Sat 18-Jun-11 21:45:47

Jaspants Thank you for your post. How do you cope? DS doesn't seem to understand that emotions can make people do things they otherwise wouldn't do. eg: I would feed my DC before myself if there was limited food. DS doesn't understand this, he really doesn't.
It is such a far reaching problem, too much to write in this thread, but interested to know how you deal with this lack of feeling.
Thank you for yr kind words too. I certainly don't feel like an amazing mum. I feel like a total failure, who's DS has rejected me. sad
Also, Is ASD more common in boys?

Ragwort Sat 18-Jun-11 21:48:27

Reading your post it as if you are talking about a lover/partner rather than a DS - you have clearly done a great job and your DS is independent and popular with a busy lifestyle - that is fantastic, many 19 year olds are still living at home with no job (would you secretly prefer that?).

Sorry if this sounds harsh but you do come across in your post as being incredibly needy and intense about your relationship with your DS - no wonder he backs off.

Can't you concentrate on your own life - your job/hobbies/friends/your other DC? As others have said, he sounds like a typcial self-obsessed teenager; but your neediness is probably driving him away even more.

GreenEyesandHam Sat 18-Jun-11 21:50:27

I was going to type almost exactly what Sherlock said.

He won't be like this forever, I would put money on it. He won't.

I'm ashamed to admit there are elements in your description that ring distant bells in my memory of me, a long time ago. I grew out of it, realised that I wasn't the be all and end all, that amazingly my mum was actually an incredible, intelligent woman who had done everything she could to give us what she'd never had.

I grew up

londonartemis Sat 18-Jun-11 21:51:04

I think what you have written is very sad. I hope your DS changes in time. I think the mild ASD does not help him empathise.
Don't beat yourself up about how you have brought him up, because it doesn't sound as if there is anything to beat yourself up about, and even if there was something, it would be pointless to go over history which can't be changed... and the fact that he doesn't get on with his younger sibling would suggest he has problems with relationships full stop, and not just with you.

As for coping, it's sounds a bit like being ditched by a partner, and that can be heartbreaking. He is no longer dependent on you. Keep the communication open with him, but don't expect much back. Build up your own interests and be thankful (I don't mean that to sound blunt, or rude) you have another child to love at close hand.

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