“Post-Traumatic Parent”

PTSD It hit me today, that not only am I existing in survival mode, running on empty, but I am also living day-to-day with buried PTSD.

Suffering what’s called ‘parent abuse’ for such a long-time, with no way out, when some of the episodes are so extreme that you almost go into shock, seems to be an occupational hazard with PDA.

One of the PDAers will make active efforts randomly, to drive home expressions of anger.

“I hate you”.

“I have no respect for you”.

And deny affection, that is nonetheless demonstrated with gusto to people in school (peers and staff alike) and will come home and not only tell of this affection to others, but demonstrate it – whilst fiercely denying it to us, her parents.  And knowing how much we want that affection and are so disappointed not to receive it.  It eats away at you.

Of course, it’s the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ of PDA.  It’s also a method of control.


Irrational blame is another thing.  Any little thing will be plucked out of the air to start a tirade of why “it’s your fault”.  Constantly.  Daily.  You don’t realise until you look back, the effect it’s had on you.  You apply logic in your responses at the time, you know it’s not true, but the hurt is no less.  In retrospect, you realise how it has soaked into your psyche, that you are unappreciated, constantly at fault, wrong, viewed as not worthy of affection, from someone you love.  That’s damaging enough.

The periods of violence are traumatic though.  When it’s not seriously and potentially life-threatening (intended or not) violence, it’s low-level aggression that makes you feel like a daily punchbag.  Someone to crap on.  There to take out the whole of the world’s ills on.  You don’t suffer low self-esteem, or you think you deserve it in any way, it’s not that.  But the pain of having all of this done to you is no less anyway.  When your flesh and blood, that you carried in your body, brought into the world and raised with all the care possible, could do this to you, is gargantuan in proportions of pain.  When you love someone, it’s almost impossible to disconnect and say “it’s the condition”.

So today, I acknowledged, again, that what these PDAers put me through, in the past and continue to, coupled with the highly detrimental experiences I’ve been subjected to in obtaining their support, have given me post traumatic stress.

When people are tortured, they are in a situation from which there is no escape, something causing them pain, distress, trauma, harm of some sort.  How is this any different?

If a parent did this to their child, just the verbal stuff, they would be accused of emotional harm to their child.  Never mind the physical stuff.  But as a parent, you are expected to just treat it like water off a duck’s back.  Apparently parents don’t have feelings.  It feels like we don’t have rights either.  Considering in reality that children are legally liable for crimes from ten years old, how does that work?  Many autistic adults are put in prison for crimes they may have diminished responsibility for, so it doesn’t add up does it.  You’re a parent, take it on the chin no matter how bad it is for you.

I don’t see a solution either.  This is why PDA is the most extreme form of ASD, behaviour-wise.  This is why it’s so urgent that there is recognition everywhere about PDA.  Professionals working with children and families need to know what parents of children with PDA go through and how to help them.

wounded soul


“Pathological Pain”

land of pain.jpg  There’s the pain of seeing your children seemingly unable to behave differently, when that behaviour is intolerable and you see no escape.  Anxiety-driven, suffering, struggling to cope behaviours.  Then there is the pain of not being believed about what they are going through and when you finally are, instead, being blamed for it.  Because those same children who release it all at home, where they know they are loved, will sit inert and compliant at school where they are afraid and overwhelmed.  The pain of looking through documents about your family and seeing lie, after lie, after lie, written about you, and misrepresentations and denials about your children.

Refrigerator mother is here alive and kicking, it never went anywhere.  It’s just got replacement  labels now.  ‘Emotional harm’, ‘fabricated illness’.  Struggling PDA children blame too.  Mum is the most obvious target, because mum is the one they spend most time around and they know mum loves them, no matter what they say or do.  They are in such anxiety and their need for absolute control so great, that they lash out.  So when you’re getting it in the neck from all angles, what else is there, but pain?

You try to do what everyone wants, you try to explain to professionals what your children’s needs are, but they don’t want to hear it.  They don’t understand the autistic spectrum and expect autistic children to do everything typical children do, and to do it in the same way.  So you have to be anxious or exaggerating, or fabricating when those things are difficult and your children don’t know how to speak up for themselves.  You’re not advocating for your children, you’re speaking for them and you’re lying.  You must have mental ill-health and be projecting that onto your children.  It’s all you.  You asked for resources and you are a pain in the ass.

You try to be as flexible as possible with your PDA children, to reduce demands on them, you don’t ask for anything.  (Not even appreciation or gratitude).  But you certainly didn’t ask for blame.  Yet you get it by the shovel full.  Along with knives being brandished at you, punches rained on you, your possessions broken and endless verbal abuse.  Anything they find hard, it’s you that suffers for it.  They refuse solutions and all offers of help with self-managing their anxiety.  It’s easier just to release it onto mum.  Learning self-help techniques is a demand you see, an expectation.

Miss Yourself

Day-by-day, the abyss yawns wider.  You lose your identity more and more until you are just ‘mum’, a fixture, a possession.  A disrespected possession.  Like a battered old shoe that gets kicked out of the way.  You aren’t depressed.  You are just stuck in a hell-hole that you can’t really call life.  It’s an existence.  Barely.  It’s amazing how you in fact aren’t depressed.  Many are.  It must be the numbness that you immerse yourself in, to get through.  It’ll come out one day.  Like a torrent.

Scream it off the top of a mountain.  Like ‘the men who stare at goats‘.  It’s the only way.  ‘The woman who screams off mountains’.  Until then, I’ll be screaming inside the walls of my mind.

“Parents are the Enemy”

Wisdom Authority  Didn’t you know it?  Of course you are.  The moment you become an adult you are responsible for everything and deserving of almost nothing.  The moment you become a parent, you are viewed with suspicion, you are a potential failure, a potential abuser, bound to be far less than the perfect you are expected to be, by professionals.  Professionals, who follow deliberately worded Government directives, that have an ulterior motive (financial of course).   An experienced ex-social worker knows this:

“Charles Pragnell, a former social worker who is now an international adviser on child protection cases, believes that the Government has good reason to avoid an inquiry. “The health, education and social services have diverted children and their families into the child protection system,” he says, “blaming the parents for causing harm to their children to avoid providing them with services.

“Why do we not, in Britain, have similar legislation to the Irish Republic, where false accusations of abuse are a criminal offence? More than 85 per cent of reports of child abuse are subsequently found to have no substantive basis and have been made for largely mistaken, mischievous, malicious or monetary reasons.” (source)

I just input a search term.  “harm to parents from using government services” and guess what came up? A long list of links to information about safeguarding children.  That says it all.  Children are important, they must be safe and well-cared for.  Just think though, the second they turn eighteen they will be deemed of much less worth (their status as weaponry will have sunk to zero) – and if they are a parent, the enemy.  Children are being used to keep parents in their place.  And adults are no less important than children, a human being, is a human being.

Parent blaming is widespread.  UK law says the child comes first, whilst entirely ignoring that the child is part of a family unit and not existing standalone, not an island.  Attack the parent and you attack the child too.  Deflect the parent who is seeking help for their child and you fail the child in more ways than one.  But they don’t care, because it’s all deliberate.

There are virtually no sources of help for parents being abused by their children.  Autistic children, especially those with pathological demand avoidance, can be incredibly violent in meltdowns, which can be frequent.  But where do you turn for help when you have experienced the parent-blame attitude from professionals already?  The risks are high that they will be of the opinion that the child is behaving like that for a reason and the reason is your fault.  Especially as the claims are that special needs children are more at risk of abuse.  Although I do question how many of the research figures, were actually from falsely accused families.  It’s a claim that suits the Government’s agenda.

Yvonne Newbold, special needs parent, has written a blog post about the violence of such children.  Yvonne says:

“Sometimes, instead of helping a family, telling a trusted professional and asking for help can make an already very difficult situation far worse. Sometimes, because a professional hasn’t had any training and can’t be expected to understand the root causes or to know just how very common this behaviour is in children, they jump to the wrong conclusions and blame the parents for their child’s violence. Sometimes, there are so many misunderstandings and wrongful accusations that the children, or their brothers and sisters, are removed from their parent’s care altogether.”

With autism families being targeted so frequently for false allegations, parents are therefore usually forced to suffer in silence.  (Also handy for services as they get to avoid spending on those families.)

And if you have already drawn the ire of the LA for seeking resources for your child, if they have already been blaming you, wouldn’t they just love to find an excuse to go to town.  Another blogger explains the harm to autism parents here:

“I feel broken. As hard as it has been being a mother of the children I have, that job has been made so very much harder by the government’s systems. From the first day you reach out for help with your child, it’s like a highly judgmental never-sleeping set of eyes enter your life. They first assess whether the child’s problems are all your fault as a faulty parent…”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

My health has sunk so low that I feel twice my age.  I suffer such fatigue that I am unable to keep active and have gained weight, all I want to do is sleep.  I seem to catch every bug going and take ages to recover.  I appear to have lost a third of my hair and look so careworn and washed-out, I’d feel sorry for me if I saw me.  It’s in my mind daily, that I need to leave my family (who I love) to escape the hell and save myself, before I go entirely under.  I know there are many autism parents out there in this situation.  Just know, that you are not alone, even though you may feel incredibly so.  And to anyone thinking “what a pity party”…

Judge not, that ye be not judged ~ Matthew 7:1- 3

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