The pain of seeing our children struggle is something we all experience as Autism moms. While pain is part of the human experience, I’m not going to sugarcoat this: it stinks to see your child having a difficult time. It’s heartbreaking, but your power here lies in letting your heart break.
We’re not just living the human experience over here. When you add Autism into the mix, everything gets elevated, especially emotions. It’s gut-wrenching, and it makes us question everything when we see our children harming themselves, struggling to engage with other kids, and being unable to verbalize their own needs.
Tune in this week to discover why the most powerful thing you can do as an Autism mom is let your heart break. I’m discussing why heartbreak is inevitable when you’re the parent of a child with Autism and showing you how to set your heart break instead of adding resistance to your long list of challenges.
You are listening to episode 92 of The Autism Mom Coach, Letting Your Heart Break.
Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach podcast, I am your host, Lisa Candera. I am a lawyer, a life coach, and most importantly, I am the full-time single mother of a teenager with Autism and other comorbid diagnoses. I know what it is like to wonder if you are doing enough or the right things for your child and to live in fear of their future.
I also know that constantly fueling yourself with fear and anxiety is not sustainable for you or of any benefit to your child. That is why in this podcast I will share practical strategies and tools you can use to shift from a chronic state of fight, flight to some calm and ease. You are your child’s greatest resource, let’s take care of you.
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad you are here and I hope you are doing well. In this week’s episode we are going to talk about something that we all experience and that is the pain of seeing our children struggle. Now, I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I don’t really sugarcoat anything, but I usually do present an issue in context. I talk about it in terms of our negative default thoughts or our nervous system regulation. I say things like, “Yes, we all struggle. It is part of the human experience.”
And while that is true, it also stinks to see your kid struggle because let’s face it, we’re not just living the human experience. We are living the plus Autism experience, where everything is turned up to high. And let’s face it, it is gut wrenching, heartbreaking and God or universe questioning to see our children pick their skin until they bleed, to hit, cut or punch themselves or other people, to not be invited, to not know how to engage in a conversation. To not know how to verbalize their own needs, to be left out, to be misunderstood, to be judged.
As a parent, it is painful to see this. It’s painful to know that our kids struggle and it’s more painful to know that we can’t prevent it. It will happen in some shape or form. That is why I believe for us the most powerful thing we can do is let our hearts break instead of resisting it, instead of asking, why me, why us or cursing your God, your higher power, the universe, or other people, to actually let your heart break.
So what do I mean by letting your heart break? Well, just quite simply, letting yourself feel the feels of whatever emotion you’re experiencing. I remember a couple of years ago and actually, it’s going to be the same this year. My son is going to miss out on ski season because he is in a facility for mental health issues. And he loves skiing, he looks forward to it every single year. And there is not much that would ever prevent him from skiing or me from not making it happen but mental health is a priority always and that is the priority right now.
And because of that, he’s going to miss it and it makes me so sad for him. Made me so sad a couple of years ago when it happened and it makes me sad now. And the idea of letting your heart break is just letting myself be sad about it, not trying to justify why it’s the right decision because I already know it’s the right decision. Not trying to compare myself to others and being jealous and angry and all of that. Is really to just let myself be sad about what’s happening, to allow my heart to break for the child I love so much and the same for you.
There are situations where something happens and you can’t take it back for your child. You can’t make it not happen. You can’t unring the bell or you can’t prevent it from happening in the future. And this is frustrating and sad, and letting yourself have that experience. But what I recommend highly is that you don’t do this alone. Find someone, anyone to hold the experience with you. Maybe this is the child’s parent and that’s great, but maybe it’s not.
You don’t have to have a person who knows your experience exactly, who is living your experience. Their only qualification really is that they love you, they care about you and they are willing to listen. And for me, I’m very clear with my friends about what I need because I’ve found that the most helpful, not in a way where I’m trying to script them and tell them what to say or what not to say. But in a way where I will call up a friend and say, “Listen, I just need to get this out. I don’t need you to tell me it’s going to be okay or things are going to work out. I just want to get this out.”
And just having someone listen to you, to be a witness to your pain and that can be really powerful. This act alone can help you release some of the pressure and the pain that you are experiencing. So instead of letting it build up inside of you, you can let it out just a little bit by sharing it with someone. Again a partner, a best friend, a family member, a coach, a therapist, anyone who is willing to lend you an ear, who is willing to provide you comfort and quite frankly, not say much more. You’re not looking for advice. You’re just looking to be seen.
So many of us will have the reflex response, I don’t know anybody. I don’t have anybody in my life. And I really challenge you to examine that because I bet you do. I bet there is someone that you could talk to about this. I’m betting that there is a family member or a friend or a neighbor or maybe a parent of another child with Autism that you know through your child. Whatever it is, search out for somebody that you can talk to that you can share these experiences with because in that way you’re not holding it by yourself. You’re letting it out and you’re being seen.
Now, if you are swearing up and down that you truly don’t have anyone you can share this with, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will read it. I will hold it with you and I will respond to you. Alright, that is it for today. I hope you all have a great week and I will talk to you next.
Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you are ready to apply the principles you are learning in these episodes to your life, it is time to schedule a consultation call with me. Podcasts are great but the ahas are fleeting. Real change comes from application and implementation and this is exactly what we do in my one-on-one coaching program. To schedule your consultation, go to my website, theAutismmomcoach.com, Work With Me and take the first step to taking better care of yourself so that you can show up as the parent you want to be for your child with Autism.