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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Some of you know about my son Joshua. He's 19, has aspergers/autism and is in the Job Corps.

He came home for the summer for a home based work internship at a grocery store deli near the house. He's studying culinary and wants to be a chef one day. He's a sweet kid with a good heart but there are some deep, dark problems with some of his behaviors.

He's shown these behaviors since he was about 12 and was in intensive therapy for them for years. Nothing we did seemed to help. I don't want to go too far into them but I will say that Nikki and I are  the ones that are victimized by his behaviors. We have to be on constant guard when he's in the house. 

While he was home this last time it happened again, only worse. The last time it happened his dad told him that if he did these things again he wouldn't be allowed back in the house. He would have to find another place to live, that his actions were making it unsafe and fearful for people in the house and that wouldn't be tolerated. 

We had no choice but to keep our word and tell him that he would not be allowed to stay at the house again.  Right now he's at Job Corps and has weekends off. He can come home or stay at the dorms. Since he left he hasn't asked to come home for the weekend, he knows he can't.

Yesterday he called. He wanted to see us, he was lonely and wanted his family. I went and picked him up to go to dinner and it was wonderful. He's so mature and he was so sweet. It broke my heart to know how he must feel that he's no longer allowed to stay in his home. But there are other lives involved and we can't allow his choices to endanger those that are at home.

He finished with his culinary training with honors and now is beginning a second trade, business. That should take about 14 months to complete. So for now we don't have to worry about where he'll be sleeping and we can always go out and visit him and take him to dinner.

It's when he finishes that training that I worry about. Where will he live? Will he make enough money to survive? Will we have to go to court to be able to help him take care of his money and living situation? There are so many questions. Luckily Job Corps will help with all of that.

Even though I know the full situation and how it impacts the family I can't help but feel extreme compassion for my child. I'm scared for him, I worry about him and I hurt for him. The reality isn't only hard for him, it's hard for me as well. I just hope we can make it all work out in a way that benefits us all.

I  love my son no matter what and I want him to have the best life he possibly can.



Outcast August 23, 2012 at 3:11 PM  

I haven't attacked anybody or anything as strong as that Teri but I do know that right now if I was kicked out of my house it would hurt like hell. I can't have a full opinion on this because I don't know the situation or what his freak outs or whatever are like but I know with my addictions and things I've been a problem for my mum and dad but if they kicked me out, it would finish me. Joshua seems like a much more capable young man though, my heart goes out to you guys all the same though, I'm the same age as Joshua and I've hurt my mum before too and I know how hard it must be on you like it was to her.

Sorry this is so long, I just empathise with the situation and wish Joshua all the best.

The Bipolar Diva August 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM  

no worries, long is good! It's far more than hurting people physically and it's something he won't stop. He can never be left alone in the house alone. His 14 yr old brother has to even baby sit him. I don't know how it will go and we'll be there all the way, he just can't come home.

Susie - Walking Butterfly August 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM  

Being strong is part of loving someone well. You are loving your son well by setting this painful limit. The unacceptable behavior not only harms you, but it also harms him, so it is a merciful and loving thing to prevent the possibility of the behavior happening again. Good for you, your family and your son.
You are doing the right thing, the only thing that could be done. Job Core sounds like an amazing organization!

The Bipolar Diva August 23, 2012 at 3:46 PM  

Thank you so much. I feel bad about it but it's all we could do. and, yes, Job Corps is incredible. It's done amazing things for Joshua.

Unknown August 23, 2012 at 5:25 PM  

Sweetie do you think for one second I wanted to put my son in the street when he chose to continue his behavior. I didn't want to but I did. He chose to go when we told him rules or road. While he is now back home he knows better than to push things. Because I have put him out before.. you do what you have to do to keep him and your family in a place where you can be together comfortably.

Unknown August 23, 2012 at 5:55 PM  

It's the tough love that hurts the worst, Teri. Yet it is the most effective.
I feel your pain, your sadness and the weight of that decision.

Yet he thrives. Proof of your decision being the right one.
Remember that going forward.


Snowbrush August 23, 2012 at 7:48 PM  

I'm so glad you had the wisdom to stand firm.

Cloudia August 23, 2012 at 9:42 PM  

This should be widely disseminated to decision makers, clinicians, policy makers, parents.

Share this message widely as you can!

Inspired and important!

Bless ALL of you

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

Pat August 24, 2012 at 6:31 AM  

My heart goes out to you and your family. I know you are torn - you love your son unconditionally; yet you also love the rest of your family and must protect them. At least Joshua is learning a trade and has a place to sleep. This is definitely what they call TOUGH LOVE. Hang tough. I will pray for you and your family that everything will work out.

Kendal August 24, 2012 at 7:30 AM  

Holy crap, 8 kids? I have Bipolar 1 and 3 cats & my partner are more then enough to keep me on my toes. I don't envy you, but I do admire you attempt at keeping your family together and having to resort to tough love. My brother was diagnosed with Bipolar one long before me. It's funny because we had to do the tough love thing with him when I should have been sentenced with him. After all we are only 17 months a part and were always getting into trouble together. I was a heel for letting him take the blame. Now I wish I did because the juvenile home where he stayed was so much nicer then our concrete leaky home on the rez.

He's stayed out of trouble for years now, but he takes no meds. I guess he puts all his energy into gold mining. Still he has gotten mixed up with the kind of people you don't mess with. I gotta deal with myself and my own stuff. He has to chose his path, but like most people with mental illness they don't always think they need help. When they do take meds they stop when they are feeling better. It's a vicious cycle.

cj Schlottman August 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM  

Teri, You are one of strongest women I know. I have walked in your shoes ( not the really high ones ) . My son has not been allowed in my house for years. It's not easy but it is the most sane and safe to for all of us. I am so proud of you.

Thanks for the caring comment on The Red Sweater. You are a love.


Claudya Martinez August 25, 2012 at 9:09 AM  

It's obvious you love your son no matter what. Tough situation.

Anonymous,  August 25, 2012 at 11:57 AM  

I want to present you with the Strong Person Award, you can find more details here: Sorry if you have already received it, but you deserve it!

Dazee Dreamer August 27, 2012 at 12:33 PM  

That makes me sad. It's too bad you don't have a little apartment thing like above your garage or something that he could stay in. even tho that would mean you would have to lock him out of the house.

Liz Mays August 29, 2012 at 4:42 AM  

To have to be in that situation and know that it won't change must be very hard, and protecting the family must be the priority. The good thing is that you can still see him and be involved in his life even if it's not the typical family arrangement.

So glad that there is Job Corps to help him get a start in life!

The Queen August 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM  

Trying to catch up on my reading. Sounds like your life is just as stressful as it has always been. I feel for ya woman. Hang in there. Make the right choice for the masses, and hopefully, the others will follow

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