I do find myself getting angry about all of this. I get angry that one person can make decisions that impact so many people and as a result, my kids are afraid to trust me or are worried that I will do the same thing to them. There is absolutely nothing that could ever pull me away from my kids. Nothing.
The kids are dealing with trust and abandonment issues, as well as PTSD. For Autistic kids, this presents a host of unique challenges. One of the biggest is that of generalization.
Generalization essentially means that in their mind, if something happens once, it will always happen. For example, if Emmett trys on a shirt and it’s not comfortable, he will never try it again because he assumes it will always feel the same. In the case of our current situation, the kids think that because their mom left, I’m going to leave them too.
There’s nothing I can say that will make them feel better about this. The only thing I can do is prove them wrong. They have major trust issues and as a result, I have to be very, very careful that I not create a situation in which I don’t do exactly what I say I’m going to do. If I say I’ll be there to pick them up at 3pm, I need to be there at or before 3pm. They see things in black or white. Something is either the truth or it’s a lie. This is incredibly difficult to navigate because the world doesn’t work this way, but it’s a necessary evil at this point.
Something else that’s eating away at the boys is their mixed feelings about our trip to Florida. They’re excited but also heartbroken that we’re taking this trip without their mom. Frankly, I feel the same way. It does feel like something is missing and while they all want to go regardless, the trip already feels a bit tainted as a result.
I’m trying so hard to navigate all of this shit and keep everyone’s head above water. I also need to ensure I don’t drown along the way.
It’s so fucking heartbreaking to know that my kids are afraid to trust me for reasons outside of my control. I know they trust me or they probably wouldn’t even tell me that much. I know that they’re afraid. I know that this is how they’re processing things but it still sucks. They’re so young and for them to feel this way is fucking awful.
All I can do is work everyday to show them that I’m a constant in their life. I have to make sure I never give them any reason not to trust me and I have to make sure that includes them even perceiving they can’t trust me. I’m not sure if this sounds easy but I assure you, it’s not.
I really hope that this trip will help to normalize our lives a little bit. Getting away from this stuff, while at the same time helping other people should be a positive thing. One of the things I’m hoping to do is help my kids gain some perspective. I want them to see that life isn’t over and there’s so much we have to look forward to.