Monday, October 17, 2011


I had a poignant conversation with a young woman who just started seeing me for psychotherapy. She had a very difficult childhood. Both parents were critical, judgemental and self-absorbed. They were also both alcoholic and were emotionally unavailable, at best. As a teenager, she moved with her mom into the home of her new stepdad who had a teenage daughter and a son with autism. The girls had to share a room and had little in common. These were described as very dark years. I acknowledged how difficult this would have been: to have no parental support while being forced to move into someone else's bedroom who is not fond of you at all and suddenly having to live with an autistic kid on top of it all. "Oh no," she replied, "he just has some issues but he was never mean to me like all the others; we got along." Talking about her autistic stepbrother brought the first smile I saw to the face of this very sad and troubled young woman.