We’re talking about resentment this week. Not the kind of resentment we feel justified in, like the resentment you might feel towards the medical field or the lack of understanding in the world about Autism. Instead, we’re diving into the resentment we all feel but rarely admit or acknowledge: resentment towards our own children.
Resentment towards our children with Autism is a topic that comes up frequently in my coaching sessions, often followed by a lot of tears. Moms tell me they feel resentful towards their kids and how much shame they feel even thinking or saying it out loud. I’m there to normalize their feelings, and I want to extend understanding and compassion to you too.
Join me this week to discover how to navigate resentment as it relates to your child with Autism. You’ll hear how you’re not alone or wrong for experiencing this, how you might be unconsciously choosing to stay resentful, and the antidotes that will help you acknowledge and validate your experience.
You are listening to episode 89 of The Autism Mom Coach, Resentment.
In this week’s episode we are going to talk about resentment but not the kind of resentment we feel justified in feeling. Like the resentment towards the medical field or scarcity of resources or the IEP team or the lack of understanding in the world about Autism. Instead, we’re going to talk about the resentment that we all feel but rarely admit or acknowledge because we feel a lot of shame about it. And that is the resentment we sometimes feel towards our own children. Stay tuned.
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 the podcast. I hope you are all doing well. Onto today’s topic, resentment and particularly resentment towards our children. Now, this is an issue that comes up a lot in my coaching sessions through a lot of tears. Moms telling me that they feel resentful towards their kids and how much shame they feel by even thinking this or saying it. And of course I am there to normalize whatever you’re feeling. And in many times, in most times, I can relate.
And so in these sessions with my clients, seeing how much pain they were in, seeing how they felt like they were on an island, that they were the only ones experiencing this. I have shared some of my own experiences of this with them. And I wanted to extend that to the podcast audience because not everyone will be a client at some point or another. And I think that knowing that other people are going through something similar can be helpful.
But I also, in addition to telling you that you’re not alone I also want to tell you you’re not wrong either. So let’s get started. Just assuming this is the first time you’ve ever listened to the podcast, I just want to catch you up on what’s been going on for the last year. And that is essentially that my son has been in and out of residential placements and/or hospitals.
He is 16 years old and last March he was accepted to a residential program for children and teens with Autism in Utah. And this took a long time, three months of hardcore negotiations with the school district, interviews, applications, packing, figuring out what his life would look like across the country. It was a big to do to get all of this in motion and for it to actually happen. And so we flew out to Utah and got him to the school.
And within a week he had basically been expelled from the school. He had engaged in some behaviors that weren’t safe. They had sent him to a local medical center for stabilization, which basically never happened. And not too long after that I was flying across the country and picking up his bags and all of his belongings and it was gut wrenching. It felt like such a failure, all of the time, all of the energy, all of the hope, all of the resources. And I was resentful towards my son. My thoughts were, you ruined it, you ruined this. You ruined all of my work. I did this for you and you didn’t even care.
And I felt all of that anger and resentment towards him. It felt very personal to me and I just had the overall feeling that he was ruining my life and he was making my life so much harder. Now, then fast forward six months and we are in a similar position. After spending most of his summer in the hospital, he was admitted to another residential program that was supposed to be able to handle kids of his profile. But after four days, he was bounced out of that.
And so there goes another three months of applications, of negotiations, of all of the things that you have to do in order to get your child placed anywhere. All of that out the window and immediately having to pivot with one phone call and I was crushed and pissed, pissed at them. I wasn’t thrilled at the school, for sure. But at him, this feeling of here you go again. I did all of this work. I pulled out all the stops. I gave it everything I possibly could and you ruined it.
Maybe for you, it’s not a residential placement. Maybe it’s the birthday parties that you don’t go to or you have to leave early. Maybe it’s the friends that don’t come over anymore. Maybe it’s the vacations you don’t take. Maybe it’s the iPad that you are replacing again and again and again. Whatever it is, if you are ever feeling resentful towards your child, I am here to say, of course you do. I am here to say, of course, you are being forced to accept something that you do not like and this is exactly what resentment is.
Resentment is defined as a feeling of anger because you have been forced to accept something you do not like. Resentment is not logical, it’s emotional. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your child. It means you are a human being, pushed, stretched and on the edge. You are suffering and in your suffering you are assigning blame. And again, this isn’t rational, it’s logical. And so you’re going to assign the blame to the person who slammed the iPad against the ground, to the person who hit you, to the person who hit someone else and got kicked out of school.
That is our knee jerk reaction. It’s not rational, it’s emotional. Now, I do teach and I believe in my rational mind that our kids’ behaviors are not personal. And I am still human and so are you. You will take things personally from time to time and your brain will offer you thoughts like they are ruining my life. They are doing this on purpose. I hate my life.
I just want to tell you it’s not a problem to feel resentful, the problem comes in when you stay resentful. And I think this happens as a result of not acknowledging and validating your feelings of resentment in the first place and instead shaming and judging yourself for having them at all. This is a classic example of the second arrow that we talked about in episode 88.
You’re reacting to a circumstance, you’re blaming or resenting your child in some way so then instead of just having the emotion and letting it go, you get frozen in this place of scolding yourself for having an emotion you don’t believe you should be having in the first place. This is resisting reality, resisting your emotions and creating more suffering for yourself.
So let’s talk about the antidote, recognize, validate and be compassionate. And I think you can accomplish all three of these things with three simple phrases. First, right now, I feel resentful. That’s recognizing it, validating it. Of course I do, of course you feel resentful that your kid smashed the iPad against the ground. Of course you feel resentful that you can’t stay at a party for more than five minutes because your kid’s having a meltdown.
And then third, this is where the compassion comes in, it’s okay. It’s okay that I feel this way. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. It just means I’m having an emotion and that’s okay. With this practice, you want to recognize and validate your experience and treat this as a passing emotion, not a state of being. And you can do this by just simply recognizing that it’s there, letting it be there and not scolding yourself for it.
Alright, that is it for today’s podcast episode. I hope that this was helpful. And I will talk to you next week.
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.