Judgement and Isolation

People who don’t understand us . . . see a bad kid.  They think they see a discipline problem and bad choices.  They think they see bad parenting.  They think they see overly permissive parents.  Other times they think they see overbearing and strict parents.  They don’t understand us.

What they don’t see is that our child is hurting.  They don’t have any idea the current issues that we are dealing with or working through.  They don’t understand the depth of our child’s issues, anxieties, and struggles.  They have no idea what we or our child are experiencing on the inside.

They have no idea what’s it’s like to walk carefully on a cracked, frozen lake that may give under our weight at any moment.  They have no idea what it means to tread so lightly and to care so intricately for the cracks and the ice.

Because our child often appears ‘normal’ and okay on the outside, they forget the intense struggles constantly going on inside of him.  They forget that common experiences and activities are going to look a bit different for us.  We have to do everything a little bit differently to protect the ice.  Every single decision we make all day long is made to protect the frozen lake of our injured child, avoiding an all-out crash and painful splash while we are out in public.

But people forget or they don’t understand. And they give us disapproving glances.  Or they say hurtful things — to us and to our child.  They confuse our child by their disapproval.  They further injure our child with their words and their judgements.

That’s why it’s easier to just stay at home.  For between these four walls we find grace, mercy, acceptance, and understanding.  And at home we are protected from the judgements of others.

Thus, the isolation of having a child with special needs.


15 responses to this post.

  1. I relate to this! When my eldest son was in the worst stage, we would trade off so he stayed at home all the time. I couldn’t even take him to the grocery store. I can’t count the number of times I went into a store and left with my most important two items hoping to return at a different time alone. Church was also difficult since children generally are not in the main service and he would not cooperate for the hour long children’s service. But here he is 19 and doing well a day at a time.


    • Thanks for commenting! I have said for quite some time that my life is isolating. I’ve not completely understood how or why . . . but little by little I am able to express different ways it’s isolating. I know it is oftentimes isolating in my friendships — just in conversations that I know my friends cannot at all relate so I keep them to myself. And, yes, my children’s behaviors isolate us, too, for those times we’re just stuck at home. Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one. Bless you! And so glad to know y’all are in a good successful season with your son! 🙂


  2. Wow, perfectly said! Not only is it isolating where we have to stay home a lot, it is isolating when we are with friends and family who just don’t/can’t/wont’t understand. I can be in a room full of family and feel so alone! That’s why this blogging world is so important to me. I’m so glad to have “met” you!


  3. I hear you! I feel most isolated by family and friends who just don’t understand the complexity of the issues I face with my youngest. Most of them think I am a quack when I try to explain to them why I or they cannot let my son eat anything containing corn or corn byproduct because of his severe cerebral allergy to it. It’s not until they finally see for themselves his physical and behavioral reaction that they finally remotely understand. But until they see it for themselves, they isolate me and treat me like I am a bad parent and/or health nut who is blaming my Childs bad and erratic behavior on a food allergy. Our allergist did the same thing when I first told him that my son may have a brain allergy to corn, until he did an allergy test (skin prick) and my son tested positive and highly allergic to corn, peanuts, and soy. It’s very isolating when your child has a special need of any sort, because they and you are not seen as ‘normal’. I feel you.


    • Wow, Laurie. Thanks for sharing! A good example of us having to be the biggest, loudest advocate for our child!! Keep it up, Mama. 🙂


  4. Posted by papa on January 4, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    I love you and hope you and you family feel safe at our home and with me. I need you guys in my life I only have a small idea of what it must like at times,but always know we are always here for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  5. My heart hurts for you! I’m sorry people are so insensitive and sometimes don’t even try to walk in our shoes. I hope you know you can share anything with me when you feel alone and isolated. Sometimes I might say too much (just tell me to be quiet!) and sometimes I might not know what to say. But either way, the most important thing is that you’re letting your feelings out and not keeping them bottled up.


  6. Posted by Jamie on January 5, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    This post made me mad and sad!! I can’t even begin to understand what you guys go through on a day to day basis but I want you to know that the Howards accept and love your family unconditionally!! Kelly you are so inspiring to me as a Mom as you do it so gracefully even admist the turmoil! Just wanted you to know we love you guys and love being around you and your kids…don’t ever worry about what the Howards are thinking…we are only loving and admiring you!! And even if I don’t understand all the issues, I love hearing about your challenges and issues and love learning! Love you guys!!


  7. Posted by Tammie on January 5, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Kelly, I’m always in awe of you and the love you have for your kids! There’s no possible way I can totally understand what you feel as you go through your journey, but I can tell you that Dylan just thinks he is one of the group! Your kids are awesome and it has been such a joy to see the strides that they have made along the way. God has a special plan for each of them and what a honor it is to have such wonderful parents to teach them of His love & His plan for them. I’m so sorry I’ve not been in touch with you as often as I am in the summer….I will try to be a better friend to you. Thanks for the reminder that we should never be so busy that we don’t see the people around us and put their needs above our own. And that we should never rush to judgment.


    • Tammie, thank you for commenting! I do appreciate your friendship . . . and we love Dylan being a part of the group. It is remarkable to me how Dylan has changed over the last few years of hanging with us all summer. The first summer we totally freaked him out! 🙂 The next one he watched quietly but still had his eyebrows raised a lot! And then this last year he was just one of the bunch and hardly looked up if there was something “crazy” going on around him!! Hopefully he’ll stop at that level of acceptance and not decide to join in on the craziness next summer! Love it!


  8. […] a year ago when Elliot biked to school.  Re-read a happy post from the last year; and remember a not-so-happy post from the past […]


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