I have heard that moms with special kiddos isolate themselves because they feel that ‘normal’ parents won’t have empathy, patience or understanding. We really haven’t done that with Boo, but we had Allie first. So the relationships were already established. We are also lucky that we have a tight-nit group of friends who can go six months without speaking to one another, but in an instant pick up where we left off. (Establishing Girls Night In also helped)

So maybe we “special parents” are not isolating ourselves, but rather being isolated by those who do care about us (and I do believe they do). I think they isolate us for a couple of reasons. 

The first is that they do not want to burden us with their own troubles. They worry we have too much on our plate and feel guilty adding more. These friends do not get that we need to feel more than Boo’s mom/therapist/taxi driver/pharmacist. This I know to be true, in my case. A friend is going through a divorce and didn’t feel she could burden me. I don’t think that friends understand that I have to be more than Boo’s mom. I need to be Kerri. As much as I need to lean on them, it has to be a cooperative exchange.

The second reason is scarier to me. They do not want to “be” us. They do not want to look at their child and wonder that there might be something wrong. That they are lucky and (your know some do) feel that our children are spoiled/misbehaved. They want to see the perfection of their own children. Never realizing that our kids are perfect too. Some feel guilty for their ‘perfect’ family. Others feel self-righteous. And still others feel that there might be something wrong with their child, but if they are not exposed to Boo and my out-there with her struggles they won’t have to admit it.

I count myself lucky that I have a circle of friends who love us because of Boo, not in-spite of her.  What is your opinion, Do we isolate ourselves or are we isolated by those who once were our friends?

13 thoughts on “Isolation?

  1. Raelyn

    “I have heard that moms with special kiddos isolate themselves because they feel that 'normal' parents won't have empathy, patience or understanding.”. Huh. I have learning disabilities. I am “special needs”. And my Mom never did that!! But, of course, I, too, was her second-born!! 😉
    “Our kids are perfect too”!! I love your insight, Kerri!! And, I needed to read that!! 😉
    Thank-you for sharing. 😉


  2. icansaymama

    I think both points can be true.
    Not for me, though. My friends love me and Sunny for who we are and neither do they isolate us nor do I isolate myself from them.

    But I know people who isolate us because they are afraid to be reminded that something could happen to their children anytime.


  3. from Autism with love

    I tend to be a loner by nature. I try to make friends but often feel like I don't have much in common with them — even outside of the whole special needs issue. I realize that I have grown a great deal since she was diagnosed 10 years ago. I also feel that my “tribe” might be out there but I have not really given it much time and energy. Family life takes up much of my day to day time. I understand that is the season I am in right now.

    On the other hand, an old friend from high school that has stayed in contact on and off over the years, got back in touch with me and ask for help on personal issues.

    Regarding the scary part of being “us” — for some people this is true. Give them grace and walk away. We are all in different places when dealing with the difficult stuff in life.

    I also think there is another catergory. People that are just too busy in there own life –running the rat race or just in the busy season of raising kids themselves. We just fall off their radar so to speak. This happened to us when she was first diagnoses.

    So to answer your question, I think we probably grow apart from friends because our children make us grow as a person. Some friends might stay in our circle because they fit into our new mind set. We aquire new friends but this is often slowed by the time and energy we put towards our family towards this time in our life.

    I think this is a good post. To be able to talk out what really happens to our friends and ourselves when we have children with special needs. We need to remember not to take it so personal.


  4. Big brother, Little sister.

    Hi Kerri,
    I had Coop first so the typical mums groups were there but I guess I isolated myself from that emotionally and found new groups of people in similar situations. I only have two good friends who don't have kids with disabilities and lots who do. I find with three kids I just can't commit to the play dates and ease of spontaneity that perhaps Pepper would have had if things were different. Sometimes amongst ” normality” there is not that deep down understanding of the logistics of each day and what is actually means and takes to survive- enjoy it!


  5. Alana Terry

    I remember feeling lonely, not because people were isolating us but because people just didn't know everything I was going through. I did have one friend admit after she got to know me that she didn't want to spend time with our family at first because she though her kids might “catch” what Silas has, but once she heard our story we became good friends. I admit though, I do get lonely. At least I know I did quite a bit. Thanks for addressing the issue. Alana (


  6. Kerri

    You are so right, it isn't personal and there is that 3rd category I forgot. And just like when we are young our friendships and what we need from them evolve.


  7. Looking for Blue Sky

    I agree with both your points, and have become isolated through them, but also because friends who not have have special needs kids just do not get it, and while they say they understand when I can't go somewhere, have no time to talk on the phone, need to go home early and so on and so on, and despite my telling them all about aspergers, still think that my son needs discipline, because of all these things a distance seems to grow…



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