I have lived with ‘Eric’ ( the impetus for writing my first my ‘Loving Eric’), since he was 2.5. None of it has been easy. A history of adoption is a history of trauma, running deeply throughout his cells, predetermined before we even knew he existed.
Eric has an Attachment disorder, this means that as the primary carer I am the focus and indeed the locus of his anger. I create the chaos within him but equally I am the only solution.
Eric has Autism. His world is not our world. He treads a different path. He does not understand social cues, niceties, feelings he engender in others.He feels deeply but only from his frame of reference. He feels injustice and seeks slights where none are meant. He antagonises his peers but accepts no blame.
Eric has ADHD. His mind like a bubbling pot over which he has no control when feeling anxious. It is as if the firework display has been set off all at once, before everyone has arrived. Which firework to look at, oh too many choices!
Eric has Dyspraxia which effects his fine and gross motor skills. I believe, although our Health Authority does not recognise the condition, that he has Pathological Demand Avoidance, this means that any request such as, please turn your light off can set off a major, messy meltdown.
Eric & I have always battled. I have been convinced that my tenacity can keep him safe, help him value himself and make him achieve against all odds. I have shaped his world, swept up in front of him, behind him, to the side of him. I have fought tooth and nail, to the point where my nail beds are engorged with blood ( figuratively) to get him support that has been so sadly lacking. I never considered that I could not make my boy live a life he deserved.
Recently I have had to reevaluate. He is now 16years old. We have all of the above plus teenage hormones and the desire to be unfettered by parents. He wants, no demands that I treat him as if he is 16 ( or older) but acts like a toddler. I have been sworn at viciously and blamed for all that is wrong. I have been told that he hates me so many times but I am realising that my methods are not working.
This term has been a disaster. He has fallen out with everyone, been beaten up at least twice. He has been reported missing once to date. He left college without permission, refused my calls and returned home at 10;45pm on my Birthday, the night before 10;30pm. He mixes with appalling role models, the effect of hanging with these certain individuals is like watching an actor taking on a role. He morphs within an hour of meeting the person into a feral, unreachable street child.
Eric did not celebrate my Birthday, no card, no present, deliberately not coming home and joining in our family meal. I was hurt but made sure that I appreciated the effort that my husaband had gone to in order to make me feel special. I made sure I appreciated my girls and how they felt for me when Eric went MIA ( Missing In Action) for 9 hours. I refused to let him spoil my evening, pushing down the hurt and worry, realising that neither emotion was helpful or could change things.
Eric sees no risk. He believes that he is safe. He believes that he is streetwise, able to keep himself safe. None of this is true. He believes that these influencers are his friends. They are not, but he will only see this when they reject him or hurt him physically as well as emotionally. Then he will feel regret but will also fail to learn from the situation and the next unsavoury character he meets will sweep him up into a loop of self destructive behaviour.
I am now in the process of changing how I face these challenges:
Trying to be more relaxed around him. Not engage in squabbles.
Take time to meditate
Take time out with my 2 daughters.
Realise that this fear I carry is just that. I am sitting with it and trying to connect with other healthier tethers, such as family, friends, even the elements.I cannot make him be what he does not wish to be.
When talking with him, I am not allowing him to talk about my wrong doings but bring the focus back to him, his choices.
Pick my battles. I now just want to know he is safe, where he is and agree at time ti come home.
Accept his mistakes that he is making, are his. I do not need to vicariously suffer.
Never stop loving him
Never stop trying to do my best for him
Remain in the wings….one day he may realise that I have always been the one holding his head above water.