How does a marriage survive PDA? I haven't got an answer, I am asking the question, how does it?
I started thinking about this as I was thinking about the holiday we have booked for the summer. We are going on a ferry to Holland, (we cant fly as we know it is just unachievable for us, I feel bad that my children are the only ones out of all their peers who haven't flown but on the other hand no one ever died from lack-of-plane-itis!!!) We are going to Centre Parks for a week, we have pushed the boat out and booked a really great chalet with a Jacuzzi and a sauna. Isaac needs to spend the majority of his time in his " secure base" so this give us space to holiday in a house! He can tolerate short bursts of activity at the right time but the needs to retreat. We also have two other children they need to get out, socialise and experience. I am trying to instil in them they can travel and go where they desire. We intend to do what we did last year and catch a train to Amsterdam and explore. We experience together, we learn to read the train timetable, we struggle with the language, we order what we cant read on the menu and delight in what we get. Number 1 and 2 child adore our expeditions, be it to Leeds to try Sushi or Amsterdam to ride on the trams, we are stretching our wings together and for me this is so rewarding, we are a team taking on the world. But.... part of the team is missing, it is back at base. Since understanding PDA strategies and learning from bitter experience we are not going to place this stress on Isaac when we know it is not achievable but yet again the hubby and I are leading separate lives.
Getting to were we have has been a rocky road. It has been full misunderstanding and at times bleak misery. I know we have at times both strongly considered walking away..... but to date we haven't. Due to employment difficulties my husband has worked away 5 nights of the week since Isaac was 1. As the years have gone by and difficulties have arisen we have accused and misunderstood each other as we knew no better. Experiencing the behaviour difficulties on a weekend he felt the kids played up for him and were better during the week. I got cross as I didn't realise I had developed PDA coping strategies which he had no idea about and was cross that he would miss manage. When parenting is going wrong all you can do is tighten up those traditional values of obedience and parental control, every parenting course advocates this. What we know now IT DOESNT WORK AND MAKES IT WORSE!
Our sheer trauma and frustration as Isaac fell out of mainstream and was home educated by me nearly finished us off. Neither of us had an outlet and we stopped communicating. The pain of seeing what was happening to our son was almost unbearable. We fought as a team but were very isolated from each other. As Isaac's circumstances have improved so have ours. Understanding the type of parenting Isaac needs has really helped and I truly thank the SALT who Dec 2013 mentioned PDA. It has been a life saver.
We still get very little time together, I need to work one day of every weekend, which leaves us with one day left of the weekend. We don't really get to go out together as baby sitting is down to my parents only. Our lifesaver is I believe, a stupid sense of humour to laugh at the trivial. We both have so many fears for the future that we have given up planning. All we are trying to work on is every day security and consistency. I had a parenting advisor in a few years ago who gave me advice and when I asked how my other two children could be a part of the programme too she couldn't advise me how I could split myself in 3!!!
So with all that stuff going on how does a marriage survive?
I read a post on fb today about a couple who had been guarantors on their adult child's flat trying to help him have a home and he had trashed it leaving them struggling to sort it. I hear families who are investigated by social services as their child's behaviour is apparently due to their failures. Husbands and wives are driven to breaking point, when a little understanding and support could have saved this.
How does a marriage survive?
I've no idea!
(but I think a bottle of wine and him doing the ironing on a weekend helps!)