Oct 23rd, 2017
Yesterday was a very emotional day, which culminated in sending my oldest Zach to live with his mother.
Zach will always be my hero. I’ve watched him struggle and grow through years of public school missteps and outright failures at the hands of willfully ignorant administrators who ignored or minimized his Asperger’s and ADHD.
Zach soared in high school and it looked like the sky was the limit after graduation. That was until depression took hold. My caring, optimistic son became distant and mentally self-destructive.
As a young man with Asperger’s, he’s subject to black and white thinking, inflexibility and social anxiety.
After his mother left us when he was 11, I became a single parent to he and his brothers for a time. Unbeknownst to me, and possibly him. He developed a belief that no one had the right to parent him but me. He also decided he had no mother, couldn’t trust a woman to be his mother because his own mother left. Beliefs he holds to this day.
Because of this, he began lashing out at every woman who tried to guide him. This brings us to today some 8 years later.
I’ve used my best tools to help Zach let go of these toxic beliefs. As much suffering as they cause him, he believes they protect him from even greater suffering.
Unfortunately, these beliefs result in such abusive behavior toward others, women, that want nothing more than to guide him and see him do well. That having him in our home on a daily basis was no longer a healthy arrangement.
As of yesterday Zach now lives with his mother. There are still many hard feeling there but he and I both see this as an opportunity for the two of them to explore and heal their relationship.
One thing I learned long ago, that in order to replace a toxic pattern with a healthier one, you need to change people, places, and things. We couldn’t do that here. Zach needed a new environment to work on himself and he agreed.
Fortunately, this doesn’t change anything between he and I. I’m still his biggest supporter, and a very proud Dad.
I hope to talk with him daily and guide him as he makes peace with and eventually changes the beliefs that have protected him emotionally all these years but have done so at a high price.
Along with his therapist and his mother, we’ll support Zach in becoming the best adult he can be.
What’s this mean for you? If you find yourself in a similar situation with a child and are struggling to make a similar decision. It may be helpful for you to remember, that as hard as it is to do. It isn’t a rejection, it isn’t a punishment to entrust your child to others in their time of need.
It’s an opportunity to introduce some fresh eyes, in the hope of fostering new growth. Its an act of faith, unlike anything you’ve likely done before. Let me tell you, it makes for one hell of a long night.
No matter how knowledgeable you believe yourself to be. You’re still biased toward your own perspective. When it comes to your own child, sometimes the greatest act of love is to ask for help when you run out of answers.
I miss him already, but I know where to find him. He knows that as long as I’m breathing, I’ll always be there for him.