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professorbimbo
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04 Jun 2007, 11:56 am

I'm 15, and I've been really depressed for the past few years because people keep telling I'm not a child anymore.
Because I'm autistic, I'm not as emotionally developed as other people of my age: I've had 14 boyfriends, but it was usually because I didn't know how to tell them I didn't like them. I don't really get sexually-motivated crushes, so much as idolistic friendships, and I find it pretty much impossible to spend time with anyone other than one-on-one, which my teachers say has stunted my development as well. I attend special needs classes, where all the other girls are pregnant and like to go out drinking and lots of them have jobs, and them being so much more mature than me makes me feel so inadaquet, even though simultaneously I find it disgusting that people of 15 are considered to be adults. Sometimes I feel stupid and prudish, but I think while it's not actually evil, or anything, it's just not really right to drink or have sex before you're old enough.
That worries me too: I've been badly abused before and I just can't stand to think that in a few months I'm going to be old enough to have sex. I always feel like a scared little girl because of what's happened to me, but if it happens after I'm 16, no-one's going to find it half as horrible as they do now, but I'll still feel as awful as I do now.
I also don't have a job. We don't have much money - my mother's an alcoholic and hasn't worked for a long time. People keep telling me I should get a job to help her, but whenever they say it I feel terrible and cry. I just want my mum to look after me. I've had to look after her for years even though I've been diagnosed as unfit to look after myself (I need someone to help me with when to eat and sleep and go to the bathroom, etc.). I've tried to get a job, but the only ones I can find for teenagers are things like waitressing, which I couldn't do because of various autism-things. I got a paper round, but my Dad didn't let me keep it, because he didn't want me to go out in the mornings.
I just... I really think I am a child. I want my parents to look after me, not the other way around. I don't want to have to have babies or give money to my Mum. I wish she would stand up for me and not let her friends say I'm lazy or a sponger.
Do you think I feel sorry for myself or do you think people grow up too quickly?
Has it been hard for you to grow up because of your autism?
Thanks very much for reading, sorry to moan so much,
Tess


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KaliMa
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04 Jun 2007, 12:19 pm

When I was 15 here in the USA I couldn't get a regular after-school job -- you had to be 16 at least. I don't know if that's changed any since the 1970s. I was 3 month short of 18 years old when I got my first job.

I don't think you're a sponger. If your dad made you give up your paper route he obviously doesn't think you're an adult, either. He still thinks you're young enough to need your parents' protection.

I'm sorry to hear you've been your mom's caretaker when you need caretaking yourself. Doing that is a contribution to the family -- your dad would have to do it if you didn't. Your taking care of your mom frees your dad's time to work, and he probably has skills and makes more than a 15 year old could anyway. Who would look after your mom if you were out working?

I would consider you still a kid, and a kid's job is to do their best in school, not to go out and earn money. Your mom is your after-school job.



Uncertain-Late
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04 Jun 2007, 12:31 pm

8O that's incredible. I cannot believe some of the things I hear on this site. I used to think I had it bad, but I seem to have had a relatively brilliant life compared to you.

Personally I'd say that you're right, I think people are forced to grow up too quickly; they often go from school to parenthood within 3 years or something, which is madness if you ask me. If you take into account your familial situation and your autism, there's no way that any sensible person would ask anything more of you at this stage, nor for a long time yet to come.

I always thought that NTs who acted like everyone should try to "grow up" and become as adult as possible as early as possible were, ironically, pretty immature. Casting away your youth and diving headlong into the boring grind of 9-5 work and family life seems to be the done thing for some reason, but I could never understand it.

I agree with you and support you, and I'm impressed by your story.


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Louise
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04 Jun 2007, 12:36 pm

I tried very hard to get a job at fifteen, but nobody would employ me as they said I had to be 16 or over. So you shouldn't feel that you _have_ to work at fifteen. I think at fifteen your parents should still be looking after you at least to some degree, and that you shouldn't have to look after them.

And don't ever feel that you have to have sex or have children. Both are entirely optional.


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Scramjet
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04 Jun 2007, 12:55 pm

Well, exactly when does a person instantaneously "snap over" from being a kid to being an adult? The only place I know of where it happens, is in the law which (where I come from) puts the limit the day you turn 18. On the other hand, I only began considering myself "part of the adult group" in my family at roughly twice your current age -- when the first members of the next generation started to mill about my feet. Generally you can probably say that "growing up" and "becoming adult" is something you do just like you eat elephants: Take it one bite at a time... :D

And then there are the "little adults"; teens probably like your peers at special needs class, who are very busy trying to appear older and more "mature" than they really are. But hey, if they're about your age, I find it hard to believe they've contemplated all aspects of parenthood before they wound up pregnant -- just wait and see when they give birth... :twisted:

With regards to sex and turning 16, it still is rape if someone ever tries that with you while you don't agree to have sex -- and that is just about as bad as any kind of sex with a minor! When 16, you are the boss and you have the final say about what goes and what doesnt go with you and sex. And sex being an "adult thing", you decide when you're "adult" enough for that.

Then I find it surprising that your mothers friends thing you should "straigthen up" and get a job to support your mother, as long as alcoholism can be "dealt with", and as long as she's your parent, not the other way around. The ideal thing would be professional help, but I guess that's just not available with the economy of your family.

So all in all, no I do not think you pity yourself more than there's reason to do. Even without any kind of neurological issues, life in the mid teens is pretty complicated in and off itself, and there are a whole bunch of things you describe that surely can't help matters much...



kiki3
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04 Jun 2007, 12:57 pm

Oh, you poor girl! You shouldn't be having to deal with all these adult problems. I'm the mother of a boy who's almost fourteen. I wouldn't think of expecting him to act like an adult. Actually, I relate to your story on another level. I grew up in a similar environment, although my mother was mentally ill (never would admit to it), not an alcoholic. I was forced to do a paper route by myself in the mornings (while my mother and brothers slept), even though there was a man stalking me, and I had recently been attacked (luckily, someone saved me before I was raped), and I almost missed the school bus every morning. I know know how it feels to have the world on your shoulders. It's just not fair to do to a young girl! There's no way a fifteen-year-old could possibly be sponging off her parents. The only things you should have to worry about are your school-work, picking up after yourself, keeping your room clean, and doing a few chores around the house. That's helping out the family; supporting them isn't. Please don't listen to the people who are trying to guilt you. Kids who are asking for expensive clothing, jewelry, car, etc. are the ones who should get a job. If you're not doing that, and are helping out around the house, then you shouldn't feel guilty. {{{Hugs!}}}



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04 Jun 2007, 1:31 pm

Hey Tess,
I don't think your feeling sorry for yourself, I felt the same way, and I had an alcoholic father, and I'm 22 and people still tell me to grow up, your not a child anymore! I just gave up listening to what people said, and just stayed who I was, I'm still very much a child, very much that it scares me at times haha. I just went to a flea market the other day and we had to keep stopping because I would wander off and play with the toys and I'm 22! haha. My autism is stopping me from growing up big time, but I think personally that you should keep the child in you and never loose that child. I also been through guys like crazy, and I was raped so sex to me was scary, but I eventually stopped letting things stop me from doing what I want to do. I use to date guys because I thought it was cool to have a boyfriend, and tell everybody I have a boyfriend look at me! I didn't realize it at the time, but I broke so many guys hearts because I didn't really like them, I just wanted that label of having a boyfriend. Don't ever feel like your moaning, or your complaining, its good to let things off your chest instead of bottling it all in. I just want you to know your not alone, and I'm sure other people on here agree with me on that.



nirrti_rachelle
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04 Jun 2007, 2:25 pm

People are telling you to grow up? From what you said, you're probably more "grown-up" than any of these people. They're the ones that need to grow up, not you! 8O

I grew up in an alcoholic/substance abusing family, also. However, I was made out to be the problem and sent to a psychiatric hospital for acting out of frustration, even though my family was so messed up that they were the ones who needed professional help. It's called, "scape-goating", and it goes on often in dysfunctional families. The people who are supposed to be supporting you are using you as a scapegoat to avoid dealing with their own issues. Don't fall for it, or you'll end up being sucked down by their lifestyle.

I don't know if they have it where you live but you may want to check on programs for children of alcoholics such as Alateen or Alanon. In the mean time, make sure you focus on getting your education so you can move beyond your parents' circumstances. You've got the rest of your life to be an adult. Don't let anyone pressure you into doing something you're not ready for.


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WriterWithoutWords
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04 Jun 2007, 3:02 pm

I'm also fifteen and a female aspie. Those are the only things we have in common. Your words really really scare me.
I've heard of girls I once went to school with getting drunk and/or pragnant, but I never have associated with those girls, for the same reasons you listed. I don't like how the school puts you in the same special needs class as them. To me, that's as good as saying either:
a) You're just like these girls (It sounds like you're not even close)
or
b) You should be more like these girls.
There's a reason you feel disgusted by their behavior and the adults' acceptance of it. It's called 'common sense'. It doesn't sound like it's very popular in the enviroment you live in. Still, the people who listen to it are usually glad they did.
Dirinking at our age often leads to a life of alcoholism. I think you know better than I about how much you want to avoid that. And the fact that your mother has that problem makes it all the more likely that you could develop it.
A fifteen year old (or a sixteen year old, for that matter) is almost never ready to have a baby. They just don't have the financial (or emotional) support nessecary to take care of a baby, get an education, and stay sane all at the same time. Therefore, it follows that they shouldn't have one. What's the best way to ensure that you're not going to get pragnant? Don't have sex. Besides, sex brings its own share of emotional turmoil even if you manage not to get pragnant. Or so I've heard. This all is from a girl who has had a safe, fairly sheltered life in a rich neighborhood who avoids boys like the plague.
I think it's up to you, not a law or social rule, to decide when you're ready for sex. I would say that having sex when you're still in school would be a mistake, but that may just be me. I don't think anyone has a right to force you to do anything you don't want to, reguardless of how old you are.
You seem to be in a bad situation, but you seem to be doing the best you can. You sound like you're anything but lazy, self pitying, or a sponger. On the contrary. I think you must be very brave and strong to endure this all. I don't think I could do it. It's fine to be fifteen and still a child. I only wish you had more of a childhood to enjoy.



TheMidnightJudge
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04 Jun 2007, 11:01 pm

I have to drive soon...get a job... Soon enough I'll be in college and I'll have to put in serious effort.
My sympathys friend.



calandale
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05 Jun 2007, 4:29 am

The danger seems to be in not
managing to grow up at all. I'm
ancient, and haven't managed it.



Smelena
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05 Jun 2007, 6:12 pm

I'm sorry to hear your circumstances.

There is no way ANY 15 year old should be expected to get a job to help out an alcoholic parent.

As for someone with autism/Asperger's - my understanding is that they do grow up, but take longer than a NT.

We have 3 sons (the 8 and 7 year olds have Asperger's, 3 year old - NT we think). My husband and I fully expect that we will probably have to provide support to our sons until at least their mid-20's.

Obviously we want them to be independent, but as for our financial planning - we are planning our finances with the thought that it will probably be mid-20's.

Helen