It really wasn’t my daughter, but RAD child anger hurt our other children. It hurt us, as parents. RAD child anger felt like it would shred our family.
I thought the neighbors would call the police.
I really hoped they would. My sixteen-year-old daughter was screaming in her Russian accent at the top of her lungs. “Leyt Mee Goe! Gyet OHFF Mee! GYET OHFF ME! LYET MEE GOE!” My wife, Amy, had shuffled the other children to another room. Then she returned so that she could confirm that I hadn’t done anything beyond what was absolutely necessary and that the contact was not sexual or even inappropriate given the circumstances. I had done a fair amount of reading about Reactive Attachment Disorder and even had some experience with others of my children who suffered from that challenge. Still, I never imagined the amount of rage that could go with RAD child anger.
RAD child anger was on a whole new level, an order of magnitude beyond anything I had ever seen.
It had only been a year since my oldest daughter had left Russia to join her younger biological sisters whom we adopted a year before her. She brought a slew of difficulties with her. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome joined with Reactive Attachment Disorder to intensify rage that she couldn’t control. I had dealt with angry children, before; even children that were very angry. RAD child anger was on a whole new level, an order of magnitude beyond anything I had ever seen. My oldest was fighting with smaller and younger siblings when I rushed into the room and separated them. She responded that she would get a knife and kill all of us. Then she dashed toward the kitchen.
I tackled her before she got there and could only keep her from attempting to carry out her threat by lying on top of her and restraining her arms. I couldn’t believe the strength exerted by a little sixteen-year-old girl. RAD child anger boosted with adrenaline gave her advantages that I almost couldn’t overcome with significantly more mass and muscle. Ten minutes later and she was still no better. After a half-hour she hadn’t backed off a bit and her strength continued, beyond all reason. At forty minutes her shrieks and violent words suddenly turned to whimpers and tears. Two or three minutes later, through sobs, she was able to promise that she wouldn’t try to hurt anyone if I let her up. She and I, together, had beat yet another RAD child anger outburst. It wasn’t the first. RAD child anger ensured it wouldn’t be the last.
RAD child anger hurt our other children. It hurt us, as parents. RAD child anger felt like it would shred our family.
Those were dark days. It really wasn’t my daughter, but RAD child anger hurt our other children. It hurt us, as parents. RAD child anger felt like it would shred our family. My heart cries when I see others in those situations because I know the helplessness and hopelessness that accompanies those times. But it does get better if you do the right things and never give up.
Recently a commenter on one of my blog articles talked about how she and her brother both had Reactive Attachment Disorder and had been raised by abusive parents until grandparents took over. She talked about how difficult it was for her grandparents, but because of them never giving up, that the lives of her and her brother were so much better. She said that as adults, she and her brother both still have struggles related to RAD. Then she said something that caught my undivided attention. “There is no cure but there is a life.” The commenter finished by asking people to please, never give up on children who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder.
Eventually, it wasn’t safe for my oldest daughter or anyone in our family for her to remain in our home. People’s lives were really in danger and our youngest children were at a psychological breaking point. RAD child anger on the level that it affected my oldest daughter required us to get her into a situation where she could get more specialized and professional help. Of course she viewed that placement as betrayal and it proved to be a huge setback in our parent-child relationship.
Over years, the RAD child anger decreased. Rejections from our daughter reduced in intensity and frequency until they pretty-much ceased to exist.
Naïve and poorly concocted laws forced us to relinquish custody of our daughter to get her the help that she needed. While such is not always the case, in our situation, institutions and programs always allowed Amy and me to continue to be Mom and Dad. Our opinions and input were not only welcomed, but often valued and heavily considered in her treatment.
RAD child anger was at its peak when we first removed our daughter from the home. We kept going for weekly visits and engaged in phone calls and other types of digital contact. Sometimes she accepted that. Often she rejected us and told us to never come back. But we always went back. Over years, the RAD child anger decreased. Rejections from our daughter reduced in intensity and frequency until they pretty-much ceased to exist. She now writes a blog about her experiences that better help so many to understand the point of view of one who suffers from this condition. I am so proud of how far she has come particularly when it was unfathomable during the early and hardest times.
Oh, there are still episodes when RAD child anger rears its ugly head and behaviors from the past disappointingly return (though for shorter and shorter periods when measured against earlier times). Progress will always be slower than we hope, but it comes with time. People say we should never look back. I strongly disagree. When I stand by my daughter and we look back over the years of struggles and trials, we see how far we have come. As my friendly commenter said; “There is no cure, but there is a life.” There is a life. But only if we don’t give up and entirely walk away. It’s hard. But we can do hard things.
Often, readers receive as much help from other readers in the comments section as they do from the blog article, itself. Please be generous with your thoughts and experiences in the comments section. There are lots of people who need what you have to share. This is your chance to help them.
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