RAD paranoia is nothing more or less than an increased sense of awareness.
“Paranoia is merely an increased sense of awareness.” At least that is what my Scottish friend told me. I think his words are particularly true when it comes to RAD paranoia. Let me back up. In a former life my family owned a business that supplied pumps to the semiconductor industry. That regularly took me throughout mainstream Asia and Europe as well as much of the United States. One of my favorite places to visit was Scotland. For me, the rich history showed a clear cut between the good guys and the bad guys. Interestingly, each faction had their times of being good and of being bad; each had its good guys and bad guys. Good guys either wiped out the bad guys or they were executed by some of the most imaginatively grotesque ways the world has ever seen. Good guys, I’m sure, were afraid. But they stood up for their beliefs and their families as they put fear where it belonged; behind courage. Much of my actions today, in standing up for what I believe, and speaking out, when it is prudent, are buttressed by the history I learned while visiting Scotland and feeling the presence of long-dead heroes. I loved that Scotland’s budding semiconductor industry had given me the opportunity to visit that land from whence some of my ancestors had come. I thought it would last forever. But my Scottish friend correctly prophesied of doom to the semiconductor industry in Scotland. When I jokingly told him he was paranoid, he said something I’ll never forget. “Let me tell you something, John. Paranoia is merely an increased sense of awareness.” I have seen those words as truth many times since then. Nowhere are those words more true than when it comes to parents living with children who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder. RAD paranoia is nothing more or less than an increased sense of awareness.
When my wife pulls an armload of laundry from the laundry chute and finds herself cradling the largest butcher knife in the house, concealed in an article of clothing, her fears for safety don’t come from RAD paranoia; they come from awareness.
The good news is that you’re not crazy. Wait. Maybe that’s the bad news. If you were crazy, you and the rest of your family really wouldn’t be in danger. Then you would only need to deal with being crazy, which seems like the easy way out, to me. But when my wife pulls an armload of laundry from the laundry chute and finds herself cradling the largest butcher knife in the house, concealed in an article of clothing, her fears for safety don’t come from RAD paranoia; they come from awareness. When she removes her emergency inhaler from a drawer in the bathroom and sucks in dirt and wood chips, that is real danger, not imagination. When my wife wakes in the middle of the night to a small face, inches away from her own, and the child says: “The voices told me to kill you, Mama,” what others would call RAD paranoia is not paranoia at all. I love that my wife put fear where it belonged, behind courage, and told my daughter that the voices were wrong and she should go back to bed.
It is not RAD paranoia, but RAD awareness that causes you to feel like your child might be manipulating her therapist.
We must be paranoid if we think our child can really manipulate a professional therapist, right? Hey… call it how you see it, but call it what it is Mr. Therapist. You think I’m crazy! YEAH!!! Crazy like a fox! (And for our own family therapist who is reading this, and who happens to be the best RAD therapist in the world… don’t be paranoid. That wasn’t about you. It was about a bad guy that I already wiped out.) Our children who have Reactive Attachment Disorder really are smart enough to manipulate therapists. The great therapists are only manipulated occasionally. It is not RAD paranoia, but RAD awareness that causes you to feel like your child might be manipulating her therapist. But if you have a great therapist, like we do, she is open to discussion about such things. Those kinds of therapists involve the parents in trying to keep that manipulation to a minimum. They also understand that in homes where Reactive Attachment Disorder is found, RAD paranoia is merely an increased sense of awareness.
To reasonable people, who do not understand the unreasonableness of Reactive Attachment Disorder, the more we try to explain things, the more it looks like RAD paranoia.
While it is extremely difficult to find a good RAD therapist (not to mention, a great one), at least we have control over that aspect of where our children are threats to us. It’s easy (and sometimes blissfully fulfilling) to fire a therapist and stop the damage. There are other areas in our lives where our children often have much more control than we do. When they go to school and accuse us of abuse that never happened; when CPS appears on the doorstep to investigate us; when people from the local congregation pray for God to protect our innocent and charming children from us because of lies our children have told them, there isn’t much we can do but try to defend ourselves. But to reasonable people, who do not understand the unreasonableness of Reactive Attachment Disorder, the more we try to explain things, the more it looks like RAD paranoia.
So… if my dear Scottish friend is right and paranoia is merely an increased sense of awareness, we must be vigilant. We need to document the absurd behaviors that we witness from our children who have Reactive Attachment Disorder. Our phones with regular and video cameras become our best friends. We can write down things that our friends see and ask them to sign the paper saying they witnessed the occurrence. We keep a record of things that teachers tell us. When my daughter told her former (bad) therapist that I was kicking and bruising her, the first stop the next morning was at the doctor’s office where she stood buck-naked in front of her female doctor who asked her to show her the bruises. My daughter then admitted that she had lied to the therapist because she was angry at me. The greatest protection we can have for ourselves is to keep records by writing, video, pictures, and witnesses. We hope that we never need those records. But we guard them as if our reputations depend on them. In fact, they really do. That’s because in our worlds, RAD paranoia is nothing more than an increased sense of awareness.
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