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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


If there's one thing I will never truly understand, it's the self-sabotage that seems prevalent among children with RAD.  I've seen it time and time again, and it is truly heartbreaking to watch.  Recently my daughter turned 17 (yesterday in fact).  As one of her birthday presents we (reluctantly) agreed to let her go to a concert with a friend.  At night.  In another town 30 minutes away.  She was soooooo excited.  We had only one caveat - she prove to us over the next 3 days that she could be responsible enough to go.  We didn't think that would be difficult.  She HAD been doing great.  Finished schools with almost straight A's, had been working hard to get her first job, and been relatively pleasant to be around in general.

Until we said we would allow her to go.  The *very next day* she had a job interview, and then was to go to the library afterwards, where my wife would pick her up.  She was told if she changes her plans just to let us know so we knew where to find her if we needed to.  She changed her plan but didn't bother to tell us.  We had no idea until my wife showed up at the library and the mother of the girl who our daughter had been hanging out with all afternoon came out and said Hello.  Since they had never met before, my wife was taken by surprise, and when she asked our daughter what was going on, she said "Mom I just talked to you on the phone" with a little eye shift.... apparently, the other mother was under the impression our daughter had called us and gotten permission to go.  But she hadn't.

Then today, she was supposed to go to her "prep day" at the High School she is transitioning to next week.  But even though I woke her up before I left for work, and called 2 hours before the event was set to begin, she didn't manage to get up and get there on time.  These are, in the grand scheme of things, perhaps small things to some.  But to us, they are just more of the same - whenever we try to give her just a little more freedom, she shows us time and time again that she isn't able to handle it.

But she can.  We know she can.  She has gone weeks with no problems.  The only difference there was that she wasn't looking forward to something like going to a concert.  No reason to self-sabotage.
Sometimes I think this is one of the harder things to deal with.  Knowing that deep down she doesn't feel ready to handle some very basic things that many 17 year olds take for granted makes me very sad.  Sure, I'm disappointed that she won't get to go (of course, she likely thinks I'm happy about it - she has said as much in other situations) but if we can't trust her for 2 hours, I'm certainly not ok with her going to a large concert in another town with a friend.  Does that make me mean?  Sometimes I feel like the meanest parent in the world.  But with her lack of boundaries and history of self-destructive behavior, we need to be able to trust her.  And that just hasn't happened yet... :(

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