Helping my son learn to forgive



I had a very challenging morning with my youngest. He’s a ball of rage and pain and fear and anger. He got into it with his brothers this morning and just exploded.

This isn’t who he is but rather how he reacts to all the feelings he keeps locked inside. Yes, Mightier helps him manage these emotions much better but there are things he needs to learn that it doesn’t teach.

The overall theme to his struggles is loss. He’s struggling to deal with a tremendous amount of loss. He’s lost all three of his remaining great grandparents, his mother moved out, an aunt died, and an uncle passed away as well. He’s lost multiple family pets to cancer and all of this loss took place over the last year and a half or so. We can’t forget COVID and all the changes that has forced upon him either. It’s a lot for anyone to deal with, but factor in autism and things are greatly intensified.

He refuses to talk about it. In therapy, he won’t open up because his approach to dealing with it is to simply try and forget. That doesn’t work and it’s very clearly not working for him.

All of this pain, anger, fear, heartbreak, and grief are festering inside him. It’s toxic and making him miserable.

The only person he ever opens up to is me and that’s great because I’m always ready to listen. The problem is that I’m not a therapist and there’s only so much I can do to help. I certainly can’t fix anything, ring back his loved ones who’ve passed away, and I certainly have no control over the decisions made by others. Frankly, I’m struggling with many of the same things he is. The difference being that I have more than my share of life experience with which to frame these things and that helps me maintain perspective. Even with these advantages, I still have my share of bad days.

Hands down, his biggest struggle is with Lizze moving out almost a year and a half ago. It’s the second time that happened and it’s something that’s in his face everyday. The pandemic has made this worse because COVID is so bad we’ve had to significantly limit visits in order to protect the multiple high risk people in both households.

He’s very angry with her. He’s hurt and heartbroken. In my view, this pain drives many of the rages I’m seeing in him. He doesn’t care about school or himself and that worries me.

This morning was really bad and I mean, really bad.

I’ve not seen him this out of control, and it took every ounce of everything I had to manage him. It was awful but he didn’t physically go after anyone and I know he probably wanted to. So, in fairness, perhaps he was exhibiting a tremendous amount of control after all. I would say this was similar to a meltdown but it was a little different. I think it was involuntary, and his body was doing the only thing it knew to do in order to relieve the pressure. It’s a meltdown, but the cause was different.

After he purged, and I truly believe he was purging, I was able to sit down with him and talk.

He opened up again and it was in relation to his mom leaving. We talked for a little while and I always, always remind the kids how much their mother loves them. There’s never been a doubt in my mind how much she loves them and I know she never set out to hurt the kids. I know not being able to see them due to COVID is killing her and my heart breaks for her and the boys.

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John Behling

So powerful.

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