Though Grandpa never heard of Reactive Attachment Disorder, he would have understood RAD dirty and he’d have told me; “You’re doin awright.”
You Can’t Drag Someone Out of the Mud Without Getting Dirty; RAD Dirty.
As a group, we are pretty honest on this blog and in the comments section. Even though I write the articles that begin the conversations, I love to return to the comments section several times each week to learn from the community that shares here. Most of us are RAD parents or are at least close to someone who is. The more we learn, the more we come to understand that the Alphabet Soup of disorders used to label children from trauma often overlap to where one is all-but indistinguishable from another. Oh, of course each disorder has its quirks. But it seems to me (a non-professional) that good therapy for children from hard places is good therapy for children from hard places, regardless of which or how many trailers are tacked on behind the child’s name (though I must agree that the same does not necessarily apply to medications). So… this one is for all of you who are close to someone who has RAD, FASD, PTSD, ODD, APD, MPD, BPD, ADHD, comes from a hard place. News flash: these kids are stuck in the mud and you don’t drag someone out of the mud without getting dirty; RAD dirty.
Grandpa would have understood RAD dirty and he’d have told me; “You’re doin awright.”
Children from hard places, including those who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder, involve some of the most difficult parenting scenarios that can be imagined. As parents, we find ourselves navigating vessels beyond our abilities, in unfamiliar waters, during perfect storms. We cannot expect ourselves to perform without errors. Even so, our overall performance is critical. Lives are at stake. But while navigating our vessel in such conditions, we will get wet. I had a grandfather who was full of one-liner wisdom. Many times I remember his clever words as I try to make sense of my life and the conditions that surround it. Other times, I imagine what he might have said. As I look at the difficulties in our family, brought on because of the trauma induced by some of our children coming from extremely hard places, I can imagine Grandpa looking down and saying; “Ya can’t drag sumbody outa the mud without gettin dirty.” Grandpa would have understood RAD dirty and he’d have told me; “You’re doin awright.”
When we look down and see that we are RAD dirty, we need to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. No one expects us to drag someone out of the mud and come out looking like a bride at the altar.
When pushed beyond our limits, there are times we will react poorly. Sometimes our unplanned reactions will hurt our children who are already damaged. That doesn’t mean it’s OK. But when what’s done is done, all we can do is to go back and try to repair the damage to the best of our ability. With our children, we tell ourselves that their behavior is a result of their trauma. And while we need to help them do better, the reasons for their unacceptable actions are understandable. Well… our children are not the only ones who come from hard places. As parents, most of us have experienced trauma at the hands of our children. While I don’t believe that we should use this fact to justify our actions, I think we need to let it explain them. Most of you will not fail as badly as I did. A few of you will do worse. But when we look down and see that we are RAD dirty, we need to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. No one expects us to drag someone out of the mud and come out looking like a bride at the altar.
All parents make mistakes. The more difficult the path, the more amplified our errors will be. That is why we need to be so careful. That’s why we need to put on our game-face every day and go out convinced that we will do better than we did before. At the end of each day we must evaluate ourselves and hope that we did just a little bit better than the day before. Our weekly and monthly reviews should also show progress. If we work hard and are conscientious of our actions, our annual reviews will show us how far we have come. But some days we will fall. We’ll be frustrated. We’ll be angry with ourselves as the mud runs down our RAD dirty face. But we are RAD parents. We know what to do next. It’s the only thing you can do when you get RAD dirty. We’ll stand under the garden hose to clean off as best we can. Then we’ll make a plan to make sure we don’t make the same mistake again.
Please don’t feel like you need to ask, to share. 🙂 Few things make me happier than your belief that my writings might help someone else. I love to see the likes, the comments, and especially, the shares. 🙂 Oh, and in case you’re interested, I almost always accept Friend Requests from other RAD Parents. Due to the way Facebook and the blog are set up, in the blog, on comments, I can tag you in them if we’re friends, but the program won’t let me tag you if we’re not. Here’s the link to my personal page: https://www.facebook.com/john.m.simmons2
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.
Read more blog articles by John M. Simmons about Disorders/Mental Illness
Return to John M. Simmons’ Blog
Ensure you don’t miss anything when you sign up for notifications