I touched on this a little bit yesterday. I think that, in general, special needs parents, myself included, carry around a great deal of guilt.
More often than not, the guilt is not warranted. That doesn’t make it any easier to cope with though.
I carry around so much guilt for things that I know I had no control over. Rationally, I understand that but it doesn’t make the guilt go away.
I’ll give you an example.
I hear all the time from people how I’m doing such an amazing job and what a wonderful father I am. However, the truth is that I don’t see that.
I tend to focus more on what I do wrong instead of what I do right. I compare my short comings to other people’s strengths. Guess what. I lose everything single time.
I would guess that I’m not the only one out there that does this.
I was thinking that we could all share what we feel guilty about. Perhaps we can learn something and maybe, just maybe, learn to move past some of this guilt. Maybe we can gain some perspective by listening to each others reasons for feeling guilty.
I’ll go first.
I feel guilty because……..I can’t take away my wife’s constant pain.
I feel guilty because………we have decided that it’s best that we send away one of our children for residential placement. Even though it’s the right thing to do, I feel like a complete failure and that I have let him down.
I feel guilty because………it took so long for me to come to terms with having to send Gavin to residential treatment. In that time, my wife and our other kids have paid a very high price.
I feel guilty because……….I haven’t moved my family out of this neighborhood yet. No one feels safe here, including myself.
I could go on and on.
I imagine that some of you are sitting there thinking that I have nothing to feel guilty about. Am I right?
Logically I understand that, however, as a parent and husband, I don’t always think logically. Sometimes I expect myself to work miracles and when I can’t, we’ll….I can’t forgive myself.
Having said that, I am asking you to bare your soul a little bit and answer the following question.
I feel guilty because……..
This was posted via WordPress for Android, courtesy of Samsungs Galaxy S III. Please forgive any typos. I do know how to spell but auto-correct hate me.
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I feel guilty because i couldn't help my daughter in our state and had to send her to my mother in INDIANA for help with her autism. She is receiving help and therapy but yet i feel like i failed as a mother. I feel guilty because i was in school for 2 yrs to get my degree and i wasn't able to get her all the help she needed. I feel guilty for it all. I felt like i missed a big part of my baby girls life by trying to make OUR life better.
@Grandma K hun, my life is fairly easy in comparison to others and i always have dishes on the counter and the floor needs sweeping seems like crumbs GROW there. a lived in house means you are busy CARING for the children instead of ignoring them to clean. the nap in the car sounds fin to me. call it a ME vacation. 🙂
@PabloDiablo it is embarrassing for all of us. i find my guilt causes a burst from my mouth… "AUTISM" with a shrug..and then immediately i feel guilty for saying it like i am blaming him for his own issues. when i would get curious lookers i would say "they are three and there are two of them" when referring to my twins. but they are now six, and i want to scream at nosey people "ARE YOU PERFECT?" but i try my darndest to ignore them. it isnt easy for any of us. I am sure you love that little girl and that you are a good dad, and the best one for her.
YOUR SON is thankful for every sacrifice even if he doesnt know how to show it or tell you. your lie will carry him through even without being able to brag about special therapies. the best thing YOU can do is love and support him and teach him the lessons YOU can in the way only a PARENT can. to love, and to love life and to feel loved. i have respect for you for that!
@Momcat You are brave and that was a mouthful. I AM SURE YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB AS A PARENT… first of all, whatever our path in life, i am sure your son's issues are not your FAULT at all, and that working or living in a different place probably would not have made any difference at all. that being said. the card were dealt and i think YOU are doing great with the hand you got. you are seeing the wonders and blessings hidden in the dark and that is the miracle. as for dolphin therapy and special clinics. us "average" people dont actually do that. i have NO IDEA how ANY parent keeps up with a childs schedule. a friend of mine who is a parent of a "typical" child confided in me… next year ONE SPORT not all this i cant keep up… but he ended up in swimming, soccer, and hockey. but she nearly cracked up. our guilt to measure up transcends special needs. It seems all of us are struggling to be the best, no matter how illogical. who actually DOES the dolphin anyways. except celebrities? lol
I feel guilty because i never got a diagnosis earlier even though my son still had care, i delayed the diagnosisI feel guilty because my "typical" child doesnt always get to do all the things she wants to because sometimes my ASD son isnt able toI feel guilty for trying to FIX everything when i could just accept itI feel guilty that sometimes i just run out of energy and i feel there is more i COULD doI feel guilty because for year my sore back has interfered with things, i become cranky with pain and less inclined to go to a park or for a walk. and feel that my kids lose outI feel guilty that i can not afford all "extras" and that they may miss out on activities, events or getting "cool" things
I feel guilty because I had worked 4 jobs and taking classes and missed a lot from my both kids lives.
I feel guilty because I couldn't come and help out my kid's schools as many parents do because of my full time job and full time school.
I feel guilty because I had to send my younger one twice to Russia when she was little because being a single parent, I couldn't afford the daycare costs when she was little.
I feel guilty because I didn't push hard enough on the doctors and get my daughter diagnosis earlier.
I feel guilty that for years I had seen my kids only at night when they were sleeping and I was myself crashing from long hours of work.
And the list goes on….
One thing I do want to say thought… Even there are lots of gilts that will always be there, I am more optimistic person. And by looking at the past, comparing it with what now, even thought it is little changes, it is still gets better. Life is not an easy thing for sure!
I get this and so much baggage weighs me down…I have worked hard not to be a whiner, not complain, not beat myself up 'cause it is a waste of energy and it feeds the negative attitude I have tried to shed. It's not a contest, which I feel some special needs parents want to have, I have no interest in pissing farther than them (and I am female, I know my limits) That being said, I think this will be cathartic at THIS moment in time, so here goes. Dear God, this is all true and please forgive me, but I feel so darned guilty because I am still convinced that my son's multiple exceptionalities are my fault;genetically, also I smoked until I found out I was pregnant,(6 weeks) I worked on a horse farm until I was 4 months pregnant, The farm was located under a Hydro Corridor (radio waves or whatever?)I feel guilty that I could not get him to latch to breastfeed (2 older children no problem)and I had to pump for 7 months and feed him with a syringe and he was in hospital for first 4 weeks and there were 3 or 4 days I could not go in at all to see him, I was so depressed. I really had to work at bonding with this child at first. I struggle and with help from my doctor, manage to live with depression and I blame myself for not doing enough for and with him, I need to nap. I feel so horrible sending him to a respite facility because I need it! I feel guilty for asking his Dad to move out even though, well, there are reasons. I see other parents who have their special child enrolled in EVERY single thing available, They seem to have so much energy and get up and go and they always (the parents) look fresh and alive while I often just get through my day. I advocate vociferously for my son and then feel guilty for the feelings I have hurt along the way. I feel guilty for wanting to physically hurt some people that get in my way, or present the "system" that doesn't work FOR us, or that just don't listen. I feel guilty for not giving myself enough credit, and then beat myself up if I catch myself blowing my own horn. I feel guilty for the years my older children had to cope with a part time Mom because of all of my son's hospitalizations. (sometimes for months at a time). My older kids are amazing but I think secretly they will never forgive me. They were 10 and 12 when he was born. I feel guilty for losing so many friends I thought were for life along the way. I feel guilty for letting my child stimm sometimes because it makes him happy and I get 10 minutes of peace. I feel guilty that I do not work out of the home. That I cannot provide every thing he could possibly benefit from, he won't be able to go to "dolphin therapy" in Florida or a special clinic in England to have him tested and put on a program that is so expensive. I am guilty for not organizing and benefiting from Fundraisers, raffles etc or even yard sales of his old stuff. I feel guilty when I have to say no and I feel guilty when I say yes and spoil him. I never questioned my mothering until he came into my life. But I do feel good for several reasons all based on the gift of this child: Without this child I would not have the Quality of Life I have now. I would not see the colours, be able to enjoy the wind, the birds, a fluffy carpet, a cold drink of water. I am more grounded, settled and true to myself (except for the GUILT) than ever before in my whole life. I have met a few very special parents that I would never have met otherwise. I have learned so much, experienced so much, witnessed living miracles right before my eyes. so I guess with the guilt comes an ability to be deeply thankful as well. Wow! I was on a roll there!
@Momcat Thank you so much for sharing that with all of us. Please know that you are not alone and that others admire you for your strength and courage, including me 🙂
I wear the guilt like a heavy burden every day. I feel guilty because I can't give my son (who has both Down Syndrome and Autism) the expensive toys or take him to the expensive therapy that other parents seem to be able to do (and brag about) and have to rely on what the school board can give us. I feel guilty that I'm a single mother and that his father abandoned him because he didn't want a disabled child and left us broke and nearly homeless. I feel guilty because I can't do more for him or afford more and it's all I can do some days to keep a rough over our heads and food on the table. So much guilt that eats at me.
*roof over our heads*
I just want to say that you are a true hero in my book. 🙂 Not many people be able to do what you are doing. Most others would have sadly, given up. Not you though, you do everything you can for your son, despite the challenges and that is truly amazing.
Please know that you are an inspiration to this parent and I have nothing but respect for you 🙂
I hope this comes across as the compliment that it's intended to be .
It's okay to feel guilty and as if you haven't done enough; it shows that you still care and love for your child(ren) and are willing to continue to advocate and help. The few families that I have worked with that have no guilt are usually the ones who only want to collect disability benefits and do nothing to help their children.
@anansison Well said….. Thank you
I know how you feel. I put my son in residential at 13 years old, too. It tears your heart out. There is no other way to describe it. Family members mean well but dont understand. I still feel guilty to this day. Everytime we go to visit him, which is 2x a month, it brings it all back. How he hurt me and his little brother physically and emotionally. Of course he didn't mean it or have control over his behaviors. That's why we feel guilty! Why us?? How come this happens to some people but not others? You have 3 on the spectrum, I have 2. What did we do to deserve this? God must think that we can handle it. But, I wonder……
I am in the same shape as your wife. I also have fibromyalgia and I was diagnosed with colitis. Both these conditions are induced by stress. But, there is nothing you can do about it. I take my meds and suffer through the day. What else can you do?
@Marlene719 I think talking about like this is a great place to start. Learning that you are alone and others are there for you is another 🙂
I feel guilty because when Muireann has a meltdown in public, sometimes I feel embarrassed being with her. I am a lousy Dad and she deserves better.
@PabloDiablo we had a melt down moment in the library last week – it was like a slow motion movie- managing my son and seeing all the different people having curious eyes…I get it, if I could only do better…but I must cling to the idea that I am a good mom and I am doing my best ( constant dialogue) …hold on to the idea that you are a great dad in difficult circumstances.
@PabloDiablo Who wouldn't be embarrassed? It's called being human. Admitting that takes great courage and feeling guilty shows how much you care. 🙂 Welcome to the club.
awful as this may sound and im lucky compared to some parents, i have two children Ryan aged 5 who has autism and Emily-Rose who is 1 and half…who doesnt seem to have anything wrong with her, I feel guilty because when Ryan is having one of his bad moments, i always think why can't you be like your sister, she eats her dinners without fuss, she likes cuddles, she goes to sleep without fuss, shes so well behaved and your just driving me nuts! this feeling doesnt last very long but i do instantly feel guilty about it, i start feeling guilty when i start to 'wonder' what would it be like if he didnt have autism, would he be has good as his little sister, I love my son with all my heart but this guilty thoughts always intrude when they shouldnt 🙁 drives me nuts! i feel guilty that my partner has felt neglected since having our son but we are stronge, we keep each other standing tall, I love my family and even tho im guilty of wanting to change it a little bit, I am happy with what God has given me 🙂
@TinaBanks I have totally been there. I think that's human nature to feel that way. I also believe that it takes great character to embrace these feelings and not be overcome by them. You are a great role model for the rest of us 🙂
I feel guilty that More often than not my dishes are stacked up when the rlief worker comes, I feel guilty that I don't work outside of the home…like some of the other champions of sn kids – yet it is impossible to commit too without a ton of absences, drop everything and run moments…I feel envy that other parents can leave their kids and go out…besides if I could go out it would be to nap in the car!! Lol
@Grandma K I totally get it. 🙂
I feel guilty because there are times when I am downright lazy. When the kids are driving me crazy I flip open my computer and play games when I should be disciplining them and managing them better. I feel guilty that I allowed my relationship with my husband to go downhill and I do not meet his needs, dare I even say that I fell out of love with him but we are working on that! I fell guilty when my daughter comes to me for her special time and she is ranting about the same thing she has for the last few days and I can't take it anymore and forget to listen. I feel guilty that one of my kiddos always feels left out and gets the raw end of everything. I feel guilty that my nasty moods during my menstrual cycle has ruined how my children see my spouse. In my lack of love for him I had become very disrespectful and in turn they now all practice this behavior. Another issue we are working on. I too could go on and on. My most shameful thing though is that I openly and honestly talk about how my kids drive me crazy in front of them and no matter how much I try to stop, I have not been able to. Also when the days are really bad all I want to do is run away. I think we have all been there but man it feels bad when it gets to that level.
@JenniferWhynott something to keep in mind is that none of us are designed to do this. We all cope in different ways.
Something that I always tell myself is that I feel guilty about all of these things because I am a good parent. If I didn't care, I wouldn't feel guilty. That's got to count the for something. 🙂
I feel guilty for allowing Marc to stay home as long as he has.I feel guilty because we are sending him away to residential treatment as soon as a bed is available.I feel guilty for the other kids feeling like they have to hide whenever Marc is acting up.I feel guilty because I am on disability and not working.I feel guilty because my wife works to support the family.I feel guilty because it was my idea to adopt a special needs child. I feel guilty because I need to sleep so much because of my health.I feel guilty that my health is adversely affected by the stress of raising Marc.I feel guilty because I am looking forward to the day placement begins.I feel guilty because I feel like a failure as a father.I feel guilty that Marc takes so much of my energy that I have nothing left for the other kids.I don't feel like an amazing father. I see so many shortcomings in my own ability to parent. I feel guilty because I can't fix Marc. I feel guilty because I feel like I am not the man my wife married, thanks to the meds that I am on.
Ever feel guilty because you don't think that you should feel guilty? Yet you do…
@Carlyoung. I understand my friend. It's a vicious cycle that we have to somehow learn to break.