It is a balancing act and one I deal with every day. I have been to a doctor for treatment of my depression and I have to make sure I am ok so I can help my son. I am sometimes unsure how to deal with situations I have no control over. I feel totally helpless in my dad’s unfortunate choice to take his life and if I knew he was at that breaking point I’m not sure I could have made the difference anyway. This is something I will wonder about for the rest of my life and feel haunted by it. My dad never intended this but it is human emotion and I feel guilty that I wasn’t there to help him in his time of need. He was always there for me and my family. I also feel helpless with regard to my son’s situation. I am always worried that he could have a seizure and I’m not there to protect him. He also is prone to having meltdowns and I am concerned that either I’m not there to help him through it or I am there and I can’t help him through it and I lose it and get frustrated and use force rather than gentle understanding. This is why when you raise an autistic child you need to balance both your masculine and feminine sides so your reaction is proper to the situation.
I am no expert at this but I have learned thru the years that it is ok to express your feminine side from time to time because it helps in being more understanding and sympathetic to your child and reaching out to help and not being ashamed to ask for help. To me it seems women know more about dealing with their emotion and they are not threatened by asking for help when it is necessary where as men sometimes seem to proud to ask for help. I have learned that it is most important to ask for support and help as I now take more cues from my wife in this regard. She has taught me a lot and made me a better person for it.
My son is my priority #1 and I have to be there for him and be both strong and sensitive for him as he exhibits sensitivity and easily gets upset and has tantrums. It is very hard to calm a child going through a tantrum and it requires a lot of patience, understanding and sensitivity. I am learning all the time and I listen to women at our support group meetings to gain insight into how they deal with such tantrums with their children.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed and cry as I feel things are out of control and I like things to be in order and perfect but there is no such thing as perfection when you come from a dysfunctional background. Our upbringing was fine and we were loved and taken care of and nurtured and provided all the comforts but our family had its struggles with mental illness and depression and isolation. We all deal with our feelings in our own ways and try our best to deal with the pain we feel. In my son’s case I get frustrated because I want him to grow and have a life full of joy, happiness and promise for a bright future but I see how he struggles and how isolated he is similar to my isolation but for much different reasons. I want my son to have many friends and to be happy and to enjoy success. I want to be there for him and help him but realistically I can not always be there for him. I will always encourage him and provide him support like my wife does as she has a more sensitive and compassionate relationship with him and I am learning also by addressing the feminine side more so because I don’t enjoy when my son says he hates me because I lose it and flip out. I need to be more understanding and compassionate.
I even have to control when I get so upset I want to say a bad word. This really gets my son so upset and he tells me he hates me and doesn’t want me around so I have learned I can not say bad words which sometimes are involuntary but this is the whole theory of getting in touch with your feminine side. I don’t want to offend my son so I’d much rather be in touch with my feminine side and have him much happier with me than a madman shouting bad words and making the situation worse. I have learned a lot with raising an autistic child and I am still learning everyday.
My wife and son are my life and I need to be there for them and whatever it takes to help my son I will do it. I have learned that taking the calm and sensitive approach is the way to go with autistic children and it is better for me because it keeps my bloodpressure lower and adds more years to my life. Women always seem to have the answers and that is why they are the ones to give birth because they are both very sensitive and very strong at the same time and they can tolerate a lot of pain. I have learned a lot from women and am glad to admit it. I love my wife and son very much and feel it is ok to be in touch with your feminine side especially if it will keep your children safe and protected and help them with their self esteem.
Edward D. Iannielli III