Our autistic young adult daughter

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Bkkfamily
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31 Dec 2023, 5:21 am

Hi there,
My wife and I live in Bangkok since 2021. We have two adult daughters , 28 and 25, the youngest came to settle down in Bangkok this autumn, mostly as she regards the city welcoming for her. She has mild autism and ADHD (diagnosed 2 years ago), and recently told us she wishes to keep her distance from us. That hurts obviously , and at the same time the only thing we wish is for her to be happy. Any thoughts on this topic ?



colliegrace
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31 Dec 2023, 5:43 am

Firstly, I will acknowledge that this is obviously a difficult thing to grapple with and would be heartbreaking to hear from someone you put so much of your life into.

What I'm going to say may be hard to hear. I'm not going to make assumptions or treat you like you've done anything wrong - cuz that's not my place. But usually there is a reason for children setting up such strict boundaries.

As someone with toxic parents whom I also love, my advice is to reflect on the past and try to understand what may have been upsetting for her. There is a possibility that she may be willing to let you back in her life if you demonstrate you will listen and reflect and take any expressed hurts seriously. But don't overstep her boundaries trying to do that either.


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ASD, most likely have dyscalculia & BPD as well. Also dx'd ADHD-C, but don't think it's accurate.
RAADs: 104 | ASQ: 30 | Aspie Quiz: 116/200 (84% probability of being atypical)

Also diagnosed with: seasonal depression, anxiety, OCD


autisticelders
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31 Dec 2023, 1:48 pm

without knowing the very specific details of her decision to ask for more room/space , it is difficult to tell "what is going on" in her life, or to understand the interactions of your family. Kudos for all of you starting new lives in a new place, and as parents, for growing strong adult children who are leaving the nest with confidence to "do it themselves" It is so difficult for parents of young adults to cut that bond and to change the habits of a lifetime of caretaking. I know my parents meant well, but overwhelmed me with demands and suggestions, advice and interference, taking things into their "own hands" ( wanting to help) without asking me or discussing things they "did for me" before they took that initiative and took over, making plans and expecting me to keep appointments they set, recreation activities planned with other family members, managing my jobs by contacting my employers, and in general, refusing to allow me to even attempt to be an independent adult. I did separate from them angrily after repeated attempts to explain my struggles "we only want to help" "its for your own good" etc getting more and more difficult to allow me to live as was my own choice. It was the only way I understood at the time that I could gain personal freedom . Years later after counseling and life experience, I understand how hurtful that was to them, but at the time I had no other "tools in my toolbox" to gain my independence. After time we became reconciled and even shared some family holidays, and etc together. It may take time, but in my experience, if they had "let go" and wished me well, telling me that they cared deeply and were standing by to give advice or other support if needed, we all would have had a shorter struggle to resolve the problems that I was having without their understanding at all why I objected to their "help". It is probably normal that adult children want to separate from their parents, and they might not always go about it in the healthiest or least hurtful ways, but most of us do get the job accomplished in the ways that seem best to us. Did you have struggles with your parents when it came time to leave the family "nest"? Are either or both of you autistic as well? So much of family dynamics is complex and may need time to resolve, but mean time, knowing one is loved, child or parents, can help make the path smoother, I think. Wishing you all the best for the coming new year.


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SharonB
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31 Dec 2023, 8:18 pm

In her 20s my sister cut off the rest of her family for many years and started tentatively reconnecting in her 30s. We have a more tolerant relationship in her late 40s. I've adjusted so that I am not as "needy" by her definition. She could stand to be more needy. LOL-cry. In our case I'm the ASD sensitive, expressive, forgiving type and she is the ADHD, sensitive, reserved, unforgiving type. Our parents although meaning well, were not equipped nor received community support to manage two 2e (twice exceptional -highly intelligent, highly different) children. My dad kept in touch with me, my mom did not. Now in my 50s I am finally ready to keep in touch with them. Our relationship has improved very much now that I have learned to advocate for myself with confidence ("Dad, I share all these facts and data b/c I care so much for you. ...It's difficult for me to hear 'everyone feels that way', I've faced so much invalidation in my life and have internal experiences that I find are more intense that most 'everyone'. I would really like..."

Wishing wellness and connection (in good time) for all of you.



MrsPeel
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31 Dec 2023, 8:43 pm

Another factor may be that she was diagnosed as an adult only 2 years ago. Adult diagnosis tends to lead to a lot of reflection on one's life and throws up a lot of baggage. One goes through a period of re-evaluating past events new with the knowledge of ones autism/ADHD. Previous hurtful or traumatic events resurface and have to be dealt with. There may be anger at the injustice of past responses to behaviours that arose from the neurodivergence. It's a big deal.

As others have said, just allow some time.



David1346
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01 Jan 2024, 11:49 pm

Bkkfamily wrote:
Hi there,
The youngest came to settle down in Bangkok this autumn and recently told us she wishes to keep her distance from us. Any thoughts on this topic ?


Did she say why? For example, is she simply trying to be more independent instead of relying on her parents to solve her problems or does she seem angry or resentful?

Is there an ethnic cultural component? I'm a 3rd generation American who is also ethnic Chinese. Although the Chinese culture often prioritizes the importance of family relations over that of the individual, Americans tend to be more independent. My family is sadly quite dysfunctional. Before my father passed away last March, we hadn't spoken in over a year. I haven't seen or communicated with my mother in 43 years.

To be candid, my parents were physically and emotionally abusive. In telling you this, I am not suggesting that you were the same to your daughter. I'm simply explaining why I had such a bad relationship with my parents.



SharonB
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03 Jan 2024, 9:35 am

Good point. Ask. A letter format might work well. I find I am fairly non-verbal in the face of high emotions or conflict (I'm learning just now -at 50- to take my time to respond - "I'm trying to figure out...").