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Aurora911
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28 Sep 2019, 11:48 pm

Hello,
I have autism and have been close to my mom pretty much all my life. She has always been cranky with me and kind to almost everyone else at times. I used to forgive her after being mean back because she would make up for it by cuddling me. I have been emotionally reliant on her since I can remember. I am working on becoming more emotionally self reliant.
I have very weird mixed feelings for her such as she lets me live with her and saves my rent for the future in a savings account. As much as I appreciate that she also is a lot more patient with my stepfather than with me so I feel like I am being picked on because I am different than most others. I have long had the feeling of being picked on because I am different by peers and family even before I was diagnosed and knew about autism. I am on waiting lists for subsidized housing and going to be looking for part time work after surgery as well as taking mental health classes.
I am becoming less patient with some of the things that I used to accept as part of living with autism. I convinced myself that I deserve better and call her on it more. I refuse to talk with her when she is less patient with me than my stepfather and tell her to just leave me alone and keep interacting with him since obviously she enjoys his company more.
I did angrily tell mom that I might not have these temper problems that she was chewing me out for if she has taught me skills like self sympathy instead of chewing me out all the time. I am learning those skills myself and feel that it is stuff that I should've learned sooner like in early childhood, so I am kind of going through a grieving process that she is unaccepting of and calls it wallowing in self pity. It is like she hasn't given me the chance to properly process my emotions, so here I am trying to catch up on all that. I am going to spend less time with her and more time catching up on my development.
Sometimes she brags about how she took 20 units in college as a single mother while taking care of me, which seems ridiculous because she kind of did a half assed job taking care of me. I understand she was tired and stretched thin, but the bragging about it kind of seems stupid on her part as if she did everything perfectly well in the process.
Does anyone else have similar problems with parents that cause very mixed emotions?



Ashariel
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30 Sep 2019, 7:04 am

I can relate to a lot of this, and I'm sorry you're dealing with that too. There are good parents, bad parents, and - those who are a bit of both, so it's a confusing mixture of love and pain.

Subsidized housing exists to help people who need it. This absolutely includes people with disabilities, whose only other option would be to live in a dysfunctional, unhealthy family environment.

Take care of yourself. I hope the surgery goes well. Stay on that list - there is no harm in having options.



Aurora911
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30 Sep 2019, 10:22 pm

Thank you so much for your support! As far as a dysfunctional family it is hard to say, I have a lot of my own stuff to work on like anger management. I fear having any super close relationships because the closer I feel to someone the more hurt I can get and sometimes it gets to the point that I just want to knock some sense into them, I had to distance myself from my mom in many ways in order to keep my temper under control, because there were some cases that I have gotten pretty aggressive. Sometimes my mom might know how to provoke it and choose to, I'm not quit sure but really don't want to play my part in it anymore.
I also strongly feel that I am capable of holding a job once I find the right one, but this also involves a lot of self improvement on my part of being together enough to keep the job. My mom worries that once I get subsidized housing I will be happy with just that and not try to work anymore. Sometimes she even came across as implying that the focus on self improvement is a stalling strategy to avoid work. I let her know that her assumptions are very hurtful and had to remind her that once I have done all I can with self improvement I would get bored and want a job to fill my life. I guess the most irritating part is no matter what I say she makes the same assumptions in some way again later on.
I wonder if I am going to end up hanging up on her a lot when I am living in subsidized housing and she calls and starts on about those assumptions. I think that a funny comeback might be to tell her that I am too busy searching and applying for jobs online to have this conversation.



Ashariel
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01 Oct 2019, 9:09 am

I didn't think my family was dysfunctional either - when you grow up in it, you don't know any different, and you assume all families are that way. I found this list to be eye-opening (things I always thought were completely normal!)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysfunctional_family

It sounds like your order of priorities needs to be getting through this surgery, then setting realistic goals toward job hunting, in balance with self care. Even if that means keeping an eye on listings, and applying for one job per month - that's something, and good practice for when you're ready to handle it full-time.

Surgery can often take longer than expected to recover from, so for now, you're doing the right thing to focus on your physical and mental health.



kraftiekortie
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01 Oct 2019, 9:32 am

I really don't know of a family that's not "dysfunctional" in some way.

It's really not like the Brady Bunch out there.....



Ashariel
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01 Oct 2019, 9:52 am

^ True, 'every family is a little dysfunctional' - like so many issues, it's a sliding scale, not a black-and-white issue.

I suppose a scientific measure of functionality would be evidence as to whether the parents succeeded in performing their function: in raising their children to become well-adjusted, fully-functioning members of society. If that didn't happen, one has to wonder where the breakdown occurred. (Nature? Nurture? Inherently stupid, lazy child?)

I know this is controversial, hearkening back to the 'refrigerator mother' explanation of autism. It could be that even now, psychologists are preferring to diagnose ASD, rather than create bigger problems by pointing to family dysfunction. That could absolutely be true in my case, and I would not disagree that my issues can be 100% explained by poor upbringing.

Nonetheless, my official diagnosis is ASD, and so like it or not, this is a complex issue that needs to be talked about, and dealt with productively, rather than denied and swept under the carpet. Because it's becoming more and more obvious that many people with ASD have trauma issues as well, and we cannot continue to pretend otherwise.

(EDIT: Sorry if that was a derailment... I'm learning... slowly!)



Aurora911
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01 Oct 2019, 1:22 pm

I think in my case I was a child with different needs to begin with. I am 30 years old so I was earlier in the wave of autism births. Back then they didn't have a concept of high functioning autism just classical autism which is very low functioning and no chance of ever being independent. Many people including my parents and others in charge such as school personnel and babysitters didn't know what to do with me, so from my perspective I sometimes got in trouble no matter how good I tried to be and would get so frustrated at others that I ended up just blowing up. I think my difference was there before any trauma issues and the difference kind of led to people treating me in a way that led to unhealthy coping skills on my part.
Sometimes when I tried to self advocate people took that as an excuse. I don't think the refrigerator mom hypothesis applies in most cases including my own but can see it as a possibility in some cases where parenting is horrendous. My mom has always been very loving and is kind of a people pleaser so she has trouble saying no and sometimes burns herself out. Since she was working hard to take care of me I would always be the first to notice if things weren't going well in her life. Sometimes she became very short tempered to the point that I didn't think she loved me anymore, or maybe I was so upset with how she treated me that I rejected her love because it didn't go together with her temper in my mind.
I have gotten too big for her to do much to with her temper, started spanking her back and getting really aggressive at age 9. This bad mood short temper often manifests as her being unreasonable such as when she made the comment about working right after surgery. I have been hearing similar things off and on since more and more lately.
She also said that I am not disabled and I confronted her and asked her what her definition of disabled is and she said someone who has no where with all to work. She doesn't get that even though I can work I would have a really hard time and probably end up losing certain jobs like waitressing, she keeps telling me that I am a lot stronger than I think. I have been distancing myself from her because I am afraid that if I hear what she says too much I will try to please her by getting just any job and be going in over my head just to shut her up and end up failing miserably.
I feel that taking some job that I know that I would be very bad at would be unfair to my employer and dishonest on my part. I am very bad at working under pressure in general and know that many jobs involve that. I get manic under pressure and not do as well because I just want to get it over with and not be under pressure anymore.
Mom talks about most people not having the luxury and just needing to get whatever job they can to pay the bills, she calls this giving me a reality check without taking into account that my reality is different than most people's. I feel like calling her on committing a microaggression when she talks about this stuff it is like she is implying that I am just choosing to live off SSI until I can get a job that I want to do. In reality I had to go through a lot of interviews to get a job that ended up not going well partly because I acted over confident due to anxiety of living with my mom and stepdad. I would have to lie in an interview and say that I work really well under pressure just to get an average Joe job like working at fast food. If I pretend to be too normal it will bite me in the butt.
Mom says that my last job was just not the right one and to get over it. I keep trying to explain to her that it was also kind of a lesson in honesty. After the surgery I will be going to more interviews but being more honest during them and leaving out the honesty details when talking with mom about them.



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01 Oct 2019, 2:05 pm

I think you're handling this situation as well as can be expected. The thing about SSI is that people can't just 'choose' to be on it - it's actually very difficult to qualify, and your mother seems to not understand the basic facts here.

I hear you about being honest about your abilities in future job interviews. That would be my approach as well, if I ever get to a point where I feel I'm capable of even part-time work. I've had so many failures in the past, it's just not fair to employers to pretend otherwise. (Not that I realized I had ASD at the time, so it wasn't an intentional lie.)

What sort of job would you hope to get, that would be best suited to your needs?



Aurora911
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01 Oct 2019, 4:01 pm

I would be looking into a job that doesn't rely on others as much because I struggle with interpersonal skills especially if I am busy working or focusing on anything. I multitask best on tasks that are closely related but not so much on 2 or more completely different things. For example with waitressing I would need to focus on getting food served, interacting with a smile, balancing the trays, and getting orders correct and keeping track of orders. Most of these things are my weaknesses, I have very poor short term memory and need to write everything down.
I am hoping to eventually become a field biologist that specializes in reptiles and amphibians because I enjoy being outdoors and really like reptiles and amphibians. Those jobs are already pretty competitive and many have things like 12 hour days. I am going to have to work on many weaknesses so that they won't affect me as much and also find a version of my dream job that I can do within practical means.
For now I am taking a lot of self improvement classes like dialectic behavioral therapy so I will be seeking part time for something like stocking shelves after the surgery and working with a job coach to help me perform better and also look into my strengths and weaknesses and find jobs that match the strengths while also working on the weaknesses within reasonable means,
My mom used to be very broke and got me qualified for SSI when we couldn't afford my meds and I was very anxious. I seem less autistic now, so mom might have the wrong idea. I think she increased her expectations too quickly when my previous job went so well in the beginning before my world came crashing down. I am taking my time more than usual because of the surgery and have to keep reminding my mom. She also thinks that my concerns about being honest with employers are overthinking. I have to keep reminding her that I will pay the price if I don't overthink.



Ashariel
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01 Oct 2019, 4:50 pm

Field biology would be awesome, though yeah I imagine the jobs are hard to come by. (And I agree waitressing is nerve-wracking, from the one time I tried it... People in food service don't get nearly enough credit!)

Do you feel the DBT class has been helpful? My therapist is recommending that for me as well, and I need to decide soon. It would be a year-long course, meeting every week, and requires a serious commitment. (I have a history of stress-related health issues, so I worry I would have too many absences.)

Good for you for making positive changes, it's very inspiring :)



Aurora911
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01 Oct 2019, 6:55 pm

I have found the condensed dbt course to be helpful. I am signing up for a year long one as well. I decided that it is the best step to take even if it cuts into a future schedule because in the long run it will make it so that I can do any job better. I might as well get this done before I move out and have more bills to pay. It is helping me manage stress and I think that I need to get deeper into it.
In your case with the stress related health issues I recommend it. You might be able to convince your employer that this class is to help you manage stress so that you will not have as many health related absences in the future. Usually these classes have a consistent schedule so that we can let our employers know ahead of time and depending on how much transparency we want possibly have a doctor's note about the class to further validate any absences it creates. I would rather have a consistent absence once a week and make up other hours or take a slight pay cut than continue having unscheduled health problems that end up taking more time than the class.
I hope all goes well and that you benefit from the class if you decide to take it.



Ashariel
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01 Oct 2019, 7:38 pm

I'm glad you're finding it helpful! In my case I'm not working - just trying to crawl back from extreme dysfunction, rarely leaving the house for several years now. I've made a lot of progress this past year, but a weekly class still feels daunting to me. So it helps to hear your perspective on that - hopefully I will be able to manage it!



Aurora911
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01 Oct 2019, 9:52 pm

I would say go for it! A weekly class would be a good first step to overcoming extreme dysfunction. Also I recommend looking into possible services available in your area for whatever parts of your life you are thinking that you would like to change in the future.
For example I am currently a client with a company called Resources for Independent Living where I work with a lady who is helping me find low income housing and get on waiting lists, there might be some options that will have rent subsidized as 1/3 your current income per month depending on where you live. Some actually accept no income but charge 1/3 if it starts getting earned.
Also I am working for Department of Rehabilitation for finding employment as well as helping me set up reasonable accommodations for when I do get a job. If you ever decide to get a job again I recommend these agencies because they help take the edge off of the scary parts of working by doing things like providing job coaches who can help with additional training if you end up with a company that tends to have all their workers figure things out on their own. They do take quit a bit of time but I would rather take my time than end up with a job that goes well at first then falls apart.
I hope that you can manage the class and that your life gets better!



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02 Oct 2019, 7:52 am

Thank you - yes, we have those resources in my area as well, and I'm definitely planning to seek them out, when the time comes. I've been so grateful this past year, to have access to therapy, and a social worker who has given me some guidance on those issues.

After a lifetime of struggling to get any kind of professional help, it's really incredible that I've been approved for this DBT class through Obamacare. I'm grateful my issues are finally being taken seriously, and for my part I will do my best to get my dysfunctional butt to class every week. If I can manage that, perhaps a part-time job is next.

It occurred to me that I'm not technically high-functioning enough to be posting in this sub-forum. But I'm a college graduate, I've had jobs in the past, I've been married, so I'm not completely unfamiliar with adult life. Autistic burnout hit me hard, but I'm slowly recovering from it. It's so nice to meet others who are dealing with similar struggles, and know that I'm not alone.



Aurora911
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02 Oct 2019, 2:47 pm

Actually you are high functioning enough for me to relate to. We all have high and not so high functioning parts in our lives, so as long as we can relate to a sub forum we have every right to post. A college graduate is relatively high functioning within itself. I hope the class goes well. I strongly recommend at least getting the notes from any classes that you are not able to attend, I have found them helpful in caes when I couldn't attend due to a medical procedure. And remember you are not the only dysfunctional one, I realized that in many ways society itself is the most dysfunctional in many ways. We just get hit harder than the general population by the dysfunctions of society.



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05 Oct 2019, 5:43 pm

I can relate so much to what you wrote. I have also "discovered myself" so to speak in my 20s and suddenly realized i never voiced my unconventional needs and thoughts to my parents. I have always been a fearful child and always had the feeling of not being accepted by my Mother so i tried to please him a lot.
When they got angry at me for not inviting anyone to my birthday, or not having friends i used to think they were not my real parents and my real parents had died in a fire. I thought of imaginary mentors that help me when i'm scared or didn't know how to act around people. Self love never came to me from my Mother.