Autism Father and Denial

Is this what a father sees?

Far too many moms have asked me why their husbands might be in denial or worse yet, cold and distant to their child. Once they got the autism diagnosis, everything changed.

Many fathers struggle with it. It’s not just fathers though but mostly fathers it seems. And I think there are many reasons, denial being the most obvious but I think it’s more than that.

For most moms, when a child is born, they envision a bright and beautiful future for that child but it’s pretty abstract. Go anywhere, do anything.

For most fathers though, it’s usually much more specific. Like doing things with their child that they had done with their own fathers, or teaching the child how to do things that they love to do or having their child follow in their footsteps or even more so, to exceed those footsteps and be a much better person than they were.

And with an autism diagnosis, all of that is destroyed and it feels like it has been ripped away from you.

For moms, because their vision is so abstract, it doesn’t feel so devastating to lose. For many, it never even feels lost, just… it’s going to be different.

But many dads have a very hard time coping with that. Not many people like having their dreams ripped away from them and even less so to have their dreams for their children taken.

That can make a man distant and even seem cold. They sort of give up.

I’m not saying this is true for every father. As I said, there’s a lot that goes on in a person’s head when their child is diagnosed with autism or anything really.

But, if this is the case, or even just denial, then it may just take time to accept that, even though his dreams may be gone (they may still not be actually, who knows?), there’s still room and time for new dreams. A child is a child and even if the future seems less certain now, it still filled with unlimited potential.

If it’s your husband or anyone else you know that seems to be struggling with this feeling, all I can suggest is time, patience and perhaps a gentle reminder:

There’s still so much life left to live where anything can happen.

It would be a shame to miss what will happen because you’re too busy focused on what won’t happen.

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Stuart Duncan
I am the father of 2 great boys, Cameron (Autistic) and Tyler, his younger brother. Founder of Autcraft.
Stuart Duncan

Stuart Duncan

I am the father of 2 great boys, Cameron (Autistic) and Tyler, his younger brother. Founder of Autcraft.

0 thoughts on “Autism Father and Denial

  • My mother told me of a time when her and several other women were discussing their husbands, and that they realized it was common for the husbands to be fairly cold and distant in general. My own father was in denial, and cold in general. I don’t know if any of this is related, but they have recently found genetic mutations in people with autism related to missing AND multiple genetics on the strands of DNA.

    Also, my parents are divorced, and my father passed away in 2006. I wonder if this coldness is the underlying reason behind the high rate of divorce? Perhaps the need to amputate?

  • My husband is dealing with it better than I am.  I’m sure it helps that our son responds better to a masculine voice, so he’s more apt to listen to his daddy than me.  Most days I don’t even think my boy hears me at all.

  • My father never accepted my diagnosis, right up until the night he died.

  • “It would be a shame to miss what will happen because you’re too busy focused on what won’t happen.”

    It would also be a good reminder that this child could do with a male role model or just a dad that loves them. Although in a typical household the Son gets the “love” from the mother, he will get he sense of self-esteem from the father (how do I rank up against everyone) – or the more masculine character.
    The kid needs two involved loving parents to help them to have ANY shot at a viable successful future.Your involvement doesn’t guarantee success but surely your lack of involvement guarantees they will fall short.
    Men need to “man up”
    -Frank”A Father of as Aspie – and probably an Aspie himself”


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