I have a friend online who has a child with Asperger's Syndrome. She's going through a really rough period where their behavioural plan is not working well and their younger child is bearing the brunt of it. They've sent the older child to stay with family while they sort it all out.
My stomach churns for her. I remember very well how hard the same situation was for me.
But here's the selfish angry foul part in my emotional gut churning:
I know she is a good mom and she is doing the right thing. I know the support she is getting online is genuine and real and deserved. I know everyone else with a kid with Asperger's who has dealt with this kind of anger being directed at their other kids gets it. I know how this turns you inside out as a parent, how you know you can't sacrifice the younger children to the rages and still you want nothing more than to protect the aggressor, the child who you know can't control their rage. I know.
and it is the knowing that makes it so hard for me.
I remember standing in court in what should have been a pretty simple custody dispute over our move - we'd agreed to joint legal custody and my having physical custody 3 years earlier! I remember my ex and his lawyer making me out to be a bad mother because I had sent my child to stay with his father, to protect his younger siblings during a period like that. It didn't matter that the rages stopped completely when we finally had a proper diagnosis and he started taking medication. It didn't matter that the school faced the same rages as I did and with a regularity I never saw at home. I was portrayed as an incompetent parent. Some days I can look at that and forgive it by thinking he took an "all's fair in love and war" tact in that court room. Most days I look at it and think what a horrible betrayal it was of these siblings' bonds, and they were seperated against their will because of it.
On days like today I'm selfish. It was an attack on me. One I didn't deserve. I face enough self doubt and enough self blame for every thing that hurts my kids, every bruise the world doles out. I'm a good mother.
I asked our psychiatrist "Why is the rage an issue at school and in my home but not in his father's. Am I a lousy parent??? What should I be doing differently???"
He said "Nothing. It's because you push him out of his comfort zone, you challenge him. He needs that more than anything."