Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Punching Bag

Rant on.

What would you choose? A couple of bruises, scratches or some other boo-boo, or someone yelling nasty words at you constantly?

I’ll take the bruises, scratches, and boo-boos, thank you very much.

In the early days of my son’s diagnosis, he became a bit of a hitter and kicker. I was typically the targeted punching bag (he rarely did this stuff to others; thank God as it was bad enough for me and my husband, so fortunately no one else was in the mix). At 11, he’s grown far better with this physical behavior. It still stirs the autism pot once and awhile, but thankfully it’s short lived and medication evens the playing field.

Last week, though, in a tantrum moment (worst we’d had in some time), I took a hit in the face, like a slap. It wasn’t too bad and when my son came out of his autism world and took a trip to my world when the anger haze lifted, he was overly apologetic and remorseful. I appreciated the apology, but I still felt worn down, beat up, and dirty.

It’s the words. My kid’s words feel like getting hit full blast with sharp-cornered bricks. They hurt worse than a slap, that’s for sure. And it’s not the typical smarting off, backtalk, or pre-adolescent crankiness. Nope, this ranks right up there with pure verbal abuse (laced with some God awful expletives). Again, I am the punching bag here as well (Dad gets some too, but I am the primary caregiver during the week, so I take more sadly). We work really hard with him on dealing with this vitriol with a variety of techniques we’ve learned from his medical and educational teams (and former family counselors, I say former because my kid refuses to get behavioral therapy and pitches a fit in their offices). Regardless of the trying everything including total honesty ( I feel hurt when you say those things, here’s why, etc.) it doesn’t work. In the meantime, I am feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Mind you, I don’t have this every day. But enough. Even if it’s just once during a period of a couple weeks or a month, it’s ENOUGH.

Some relatives took my son recently for a long outing (of course he’s an angel with them). I did not miss him. I did not think of him. And I don’t feel an ounce of guilt for saying that. And I don’t feel bad I said this in an open, public forum either.

Rant off. Thank you.

Come visit my tired but trying to have fun self and get down to the nitty gritty with me right HERE.


  1. my kid is 5 now and he hits when he's angry very much so. Also only one person in a family though. So I guess that's what I'm looking forward to, eh.

  2. My son is 18, 6'4" and a bit over 300 lbs. He is non-verbal. He has broken my arm - and for mother's day he gave me a beautiful rose, then rammed me down on the edge of a concrete staircase, leaving a bruise far more colorful than the rose. I'd much, much prefer words!

  3. First comment from anon:

    My son didn't hit and kick until he turned 8. We never had a diagnosis until then, and then came the hitting and kicking at the same time. Odd. I hope to goodness that you don't have that continue. You may not. That's what is so tricky about this condition. You don't know where it's going to twist and turn. Lastly, it is my understanding that it's pretty common for kiddos to go after the primary caregiver or one other "target" to take out their angry feelings on. I know my husband is heartsick when he can walk in a room and get treated respectfully and not take the wrath of a tantrum and then the minute he leaves, I get the bullseye on my back. I wish I could offer better words. Thank you for commenting.

    Second anon:

    Sigh. Heavy sigh. First let me say, that I am saddened to hear about your injuries. What a stressful all around experience for you. I have sustained injuries in the past myself (did the staircase thing just like you). My son is big too for his age (at 11 he is 5'6" and a skoosh under 200 lbs.). He is strong and though we are the same size he outweighs me by quite a bit. In my personal situation, my son is PDD-NOS and verbal. With medication and the ability to learn he is better and we get little of this stuff,not perfect however.

    However, what I appreciate about your comment the most is that you really put a spin on things and invited me to see another side of this. The power of words, even the bad ones, are poignant for many of us warriors out there.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Kim: I get it. I really do. My son says really mean things to me at times. He doesn't know how to back down, and he isn't all that remorseful, at least through apology. Sometimes, he shows he is sorry through his actions, but never says it.

    My 8 yr old daughter, well, as you know based upon my posts, she SCREAMS. She is making me nuts, and says things like she wishes I was dead, and why don't I just go jump off a bridge? It's so festive!

    Today, I felt like, what's the point? I work so hard and it just blows up in my face. So I GET it. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Thank YOU for sharing and giving us a place just to be. Oh, I got the bridge comment too!

    I tried a meditation class last night. I've been taking yoga and on whim stayed for meditation. I listened to my instructor very carefully and lo and behold, it didn't take rocket science to realize how tired and stressed I was. One of the key things I learned was that the icky stuff that sticks to acknowledge it, and stick it off in space for a bit.

    I think that's what this blog does. Helpful.


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