Educating the world about Reactive Attachment Disorder through experience, hope, humor and love.
(Warning: nothing here should be taken as medical advice)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

destruction and drama

Came across a photo last night.  It was an old photo - maybe 15 years old, where the wife, oldest daughter and I were all standing in our Halloween costumes.  Or at least that's what it used to be.  Both the wife and daughter had been torn out of it. 

Since we (well, we being the little sister) found it in a box of stuff in the garage that belonged to the older sister, it was pretty obvious who had done the 'pre photoshop style editing' job.  So we asked her about it.

Instantly she became really upset.  We weren't accusing her, we weren't even mad at her.  We were just a bit shocked and definitely confused.  Why did she do that?  It's not like her love-hate relationship with her step mother is any big secret.  Some days step mom has a closer relationship with her than I do, other days.. not so much.  (thankfully, there are more 'good' days than not, but it hasn't always been that way). 

But why rip up the photo?  Obviously she was mad at the time.  Ok.  Got it. 

But it wasn't the ripped photo that carried through the night - that was pretty much addressed and done with.  But daughter refused to eat dinner.  Said she didn't want to listen to people whispering about the photo (eh?).  She refused to tell me when or why, saying she didn't understand why people are upset.  After all, "it's just a picture".

And it is "just a picture".  And in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter.  Nor does the When or the Why it was ruined.  Those are pretty easy to figure out and are pretty much par for the course when it comes to RAD.  But I can't figure out her reaction.  Was she upset at herself for ruining the picture when she was mad?  Was she upset that I was upset that she ripped step mom out of the photo?  Was she just upset about.. well.. I dunno?!?!  Is she PMSing?  Is something going on at school? (oh wait, yesterday was the first day of Summer vacation - at least we didn't have THAT blow up.. yet)...

Just when I think I have a handle on this thing, I find that's only on the surface... underneath RAD is a whole world of WTF...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sold out...

Parenting children is hard.  I think it's a hard job no matter how "neuro-typical" your child is.  Sometimes the hardest thing about it is knowing how thankless of a job it is.  Sure - eventually your child will (you hope) learn to appreciate all the sacrifices and hardships you went through for them, but other than the rare moments, that doesn't usually happen until they've moved out.

Of course, in typical RAD fashion, these kids take it to a whole other level.  These are children who, in their drive to protect themselves at any cost, will step on anybody to keep their head above water and keep breathing.  For them it's a matter of survival.  But even knowing this doesn't make it easy to swallow when it happens to you.  It's easy to remain clinical and detached when it's happening to somebody else.  After all, that's how these kids are wired and it shouldn't be taken personally.  But when you're the one being stepped on and you realize that all you've done, all you've given up, is - if even for a minute - worthless in your childs eyes, it's a horribly painful stab in the heart.

When I was growing up I had more than enough reason to hate my parents.  Not in the typical "you made me clean my room when I wanted to go play baseball so now I hate you because you're ruining my life" kind of way, but a "you sick bastard, how could you do that to a child, you deserve to rot in hell" kind of way.  But even with that, I was always protecting and defensive of them. After all, they were my parents.  I knew that even in their own weird way, they loved me.  They weren't perfect (farrrrr from it), but I knew I would never have to worry about food, clothing or shelter. 

As for me, I may not be the perfect parent either, but I'm 10x better than my parents were, and my children are safe.  So when I read on Facebook this morning a comment from one woman to my soon-to-be 17 year old that "the suffocation is about to be over!" in a context that can only refer to her turning 18 and moving out, it was a slap to the face.  This is the same woman that was bringing my daughter food every morning (laden with carbohydrates even though she knew my daughter is a diabetic.. and she's a nurse?) and then called CPS on my to report I wasn't feeding my daughter (despite my having my cupboards and fridge stocked with food).  

I know this woman has been totally misled by my daughter - she makes the perfect RADsnack, eating up everything my daughter has told her in the past and turning it all into "oh poor you!", which my daughter just loves.  And I know my daughter has, in the past, tried to turn every relationship into that "poor you" - no matter what she had to say or do to make it so.  But she has matured so much lately.  So many of those behaviors have dropped away and we have made so much progress that it was even that much more of a shock to read that comment.  

She obviously is still milking that "relationship" for whatever she can, and she's willing to do it at my expense.  That tells me we haven't made nearly as much progress as I had thought.  I've read many stories of parents whose RADs had moved out of the house and continued their hurtful behaviors.  I've watched how sad that makes these parents who gave it their all but couldn't overcome the damage done to these children at such a young age.  Then I've looked at all the progress we've made with my daughter and thought "I'm so glad that won't be me"

I can't say that with confidence any longer....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Long time since last post

I can't believe it has been April since my last post here.  That doesn't mean everything has suddenly gotten better, or that there is nothing to write about, simply that I haven't had time.  Some of it has to do with non-RAD related things (such as work..), but some of it IS RAD/ODD related.  We are looking to transition our oldest over to a mainstream HS within the next year.  Possibly as early as Fall on a limited basis.  This, of course, brings great stress to all involved in her care.  Of course the biggest stress is her lack of active participation in her own care.  Nothing can be done without her cooperation, so things tend to move slowly.  Unless it's something she wants of course - then watch how fast she moves! 

The big concern about the transition (at least for us) is the stress this will put her under.  She already doesn't deal well with stress, often resorting to cutting as her way of controlling it.  Putting her under the stress of moving to a new school where she won't have all the support, and will be among her peers is going to be heavy.  It's hard enough for any teen to move into a new place, with new people, but for one with such issues, both self-esteem and others, it's that much harder.  I'm sure she will give us plenty to write about, plenty to discuss, and certainly plenty to worry about.  But for now, we're just taking it day by day and enjoying the recent lull in over-the-top behavior.