When it all falls apart spectacularly


When your daughter needs your time because she’s enjoying talking again, since being semi-comatose for four weeks has kinda cut into your ‘together’ time.

She wants to talk about relationships, hers and mine. She tells me what she’s looking for in a person and asks me if I can start dating because she needs a man around the house. A father who will care for her.

Explaining to her that it doesn’t really work that way…

Then your son gets angry because it’s Arrow time and we usually watch it. But you can’t leave this conversation with your daughter right now.

And it’s his least favourite show, so I say we’ll catch it on rerun at 9:30. We do that sometimes.

But your son has Asperger’s and he gets violently angry. He’s been angry all afternoon.

Then your daughter tells you that’s why she’s afraid of him and asks if she can lock herself in her room.

Then we hear something go bang and a scream of rage. Go to Aspie boy’s room to find a smashed iPhone that ‘fell’ and a boy threatening to kill himself. No, kill her. NO, KILL YOU! Then he shuts himself in his closet and bangs his head against the wall so hard the neighbours can hear it.

Tell daughter to lock herself in room. She begs me to call a man, any man. To control the situation. Not Dad though.

She locks herself in.

Talk son down. It’s only Asperger’s. Not ‘real’ Autism. Just bad behaviour, really. He’s just spoilt. And I’m just a bad parent.

He says he’s going to kill himself if the phone doesn’t work. (It won’t. He smashed it). He says he dropped it (He didn’t. He threw it. It’s shattered). He says he’s going to kill *everyone* if it doesn’t work.

I hide the knife block even though I don’t believe he will. I don’t know why I do that. But I do.

I connect his shattered phone to the computer to try and get a backup. It might work. I stay calm. So. Very. Calm. He orders me from his room. I’m scared of my son.

The phone is his favourite thing. He KNOWS he has destroyed it. And yet he’s lying to me. He is tearing at himself and hurting himself because he can’t deal with what he has done, he can’t deal with his rage, he can’t deal with his guilt, he can’t deal with the fact that he’s broken the thing that matters most to him. The emotions are too disturbing. To him. He has lost all control. All reason.

I take his fake flick knife as I leave the room. It’s blunt, but I take it anyway.

I let the dog in because she calms him.

I hope the backup works. He was screaming. Now he’s keening. I will give him time. And then I will calm him down and rub his back and run my fingers through my hair.

I go back in to check on him, and his leg is bleeding. He has cut it. He doesn’t know how.

I talk to him and calm him down. He’s five years old. He’s so sad. He’s crying. All that anger is spent. I hug him and he hugs me. Hard.

We go and watch the Arrow, that I recorded.

It’s only Asperger’s. It’s not like ‘real’ autism. He’s clever and stuff. It’s not really hard.

When the Arrow is over we’ll go to bed.

And I will be on alert. All. Night. Long.


  1. I think you did a wonderful job here. As a former school administrator, I saw lots of family situations that were handled so much worse. I think you should give yourself a high five for keeping your wits.


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