Not Being the “Angry Parent”

23 Oct

There are a lot of parents out there of autistic individuals who are angry. Their anger is righteous. Their anger is understandable. Their anger…is not mine.

They are angry sometimes at their child’s diagnosis, but more often because of the ignorance of others, the fights they have to fight for their child, and ups and downs they must endure which are truly unimaginable unless you live them. And trust me, I have my moments of anger about the exact same things.

But I choose to not live in that anger. I choose to take a breath and let it pass. It’s not easy. It is a struggle every single time, but I have to do it. I cannot live with being the “angry parent.” I did it for a quick minute and let me tell you, the gut-wrenching results were not pretty. I could not accept any kind of help. I could not make intelligent decisions about anyone’s care, least of all, my autistic child’s and she had no choice but to depend on me for that. I lost all sense of the gifts of my children. All of them. The anger ate at my soul. I was becoming more of a liability to The Princess, than an advocate. So I stopped.

I told myself until I believed it the truth: autism is no one’s fault. It is not a disease. It does not mean The Princess is broken. The Princess is still whole, she is perfect. She is beautiful. She is made in God’s image. She has not been sentenced to a terrible life. Indeed I know she lives a happier life than most people I know. And, no, it is not easy parenting her. But it’s not easy parenting my boys either.

I chose to see every little victory as a victory not an insignificant stepping stone to something bigger but as the victory it is. I chose to try to  work with The Princess’s teachers and therapists and demand to understand every single small exercise they were doing. I chose to educate the ignorant, instead of just angrily lashing out at them constantly (and trust me, this is extremely difficult and I do fail). But it had to be a conscious choice (and it still does) every single time. Because I don’t want to be the “angry parent” and risk losing my mind, my family and my battles.

I do not stand in judgment of “angry parents.” I just can’t do it myself. Some people need that anger, it drives them, it focuses them. But for me, it was nothing but destructive. And I don’t want to go there if I can help it ever again.

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