Rage and apathy must become only a place in the evolution of RAD parent emotions. Eventually, our emotions need to evolve to a different place.
I Simply Can’t Take Any More
It wasn’t that I cared about the money. But what we had spent on adoption and treatment for our children would have paid off the house we lived in at that time. I didn’t expect them to be the Brady bunch. But keeping photographs of people in our family off the wall in the post office shouldn’t have had to be a goal! I had three biological children and one that was adopted before we began to add children who came from trauma to our family. I knew that all children lie. Still… why were lies so habitual that they were told even when the truth would suit them and their position better? Some parents handle it better than others. Even so, a situation like that doesn’t stay in place long before evoking RAD parent emotions.
The worst part was the betrayal. All kids stuff a knife in their parents’ backs once or twice before learning that betrayal is a line that should never be crossed. I wasn’t surprised when our newer additions hung on to that deadly sin longer than other children. But metaphorically speaking, my wife and I now looked like porcupines with all the knives sticking out of our backs. I always thought that there wasn’t a place for one more stabbing until I’d feel the searing pain of another blade being rammed into place. Teachers were threatening to turn us in to Child and Family Services because of lies that our children who had Reactive Attachment Disorder were telling them. Our first response was to tell them to knock themselves out making the phone calls, but to remember that our children weren’t just lying about us. And then the RAD parent emotions went further. I began asking myself why I didn’t just make the crime match the punishment. That was dangerous thinking.
My RAD parent emotions had gone from frustration, to apathy, to rage.
I didn’t want to be idolized. I didn’t even want to be appreciated. I just wanted those children to stop betraying and attacking us again and again. Finally my RAD parent emotions reached the point of apathy (read: I really don’t care, anymore). If Child and Family Services wanted to find a “better place” for my oldest daughter, I would happily pack her bags. It turns out they were bluffing. They flatly refused to take her. When I threatened to drop her off at their office, I was told that if I abandoned one of my children that it would create serious consequences for me continuing to parent the rest of my children. My RAD parent emotions went from frustration, to apathy, to rage. I remember saying: “I simply can’t take any more.”
That wasn’t true. I could take more. We can always take more when we say we can’t take any more. We are just saying that we don’t want to take any more. We are saying that the situation isn’t fair. And we are truthfully saying that things cannot continue on the way they have been going. That’s fair. But this is where the biggest mistakes get made. Apathy and rage are the most difficult of the RAD parent emotions and they are a dangerous place to be when we make life decisions for ourselves, our children and our families. We must force ourselves to the next stage of RAD parent emotions.
Rage and apathy must become only a place in the evolution of RAD parent emotions. Eventually, we need to reach the emotion of empathy. During the times of other RAD parent emotions in our journey, we tried to help our troubled child by doing for them what we would have wanted done for us in the same situation. That’s part of the problem. We are very different than our children who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder. Our brains formed quite differently during the times when brains develop the most. Our children who have RAD have different wants and needs than we would have in the same situation. Once our RAD parent emotions morph into empathy (i.e. what would I need in this situation if I were my child, with her history, with her personality, with her fears, with her abilities, with her disabilities, etc.), then it is time to decide how to proceed.
Our RAD parent emotions must be in the mode of empathy as we turn to parental love and sacrifice to arrange for the best help that we can get for our child.
As we plan for the future of our child, we need to stay in a position where we are still viewed as the parent by our child. We are not going to betray them by abandoning them. We promised them that we would be their parents. That must not change no matter how much Reactive Attachment Disorder tells our child that it will. Our next focus is on keeping everyone else in the family safe. That may or may not result in the child with RAD being able to stay in the home. The same goes with our next purpose, and that is keeping our child who suffers from RAD safe.
The hardest part of planning treatment for a child who has severe Reactive Attachment Disorder is resources. Our resources are limited and help for children who suffer from RAD is expensive. The one positive aspect of this subject is that health insurance companies have been forced to treat mental illness as other illnesses in recent years. We will get more insurance help that we would have only a few years ago. Still, our plan for our child must function within the reality of what resources we have access to. That may require great sacrifice. But if we had to sell the SUV to get help for our child who was diagnosed with cancer, we wouldn’t bat an eye. We would downgrade our house without regret. We need to be willing to give up anything we would give up for any other diagnosis, to help our child who suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder. Our RAD parent emotions must be in the mode of empathy as we turn to parental love and sacrifice to arrange for the best help that we can get for our child.
Any parent who has lived with a child who suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder for any length of time understands that RAD parent emotions evolve. The problem comes when we think that the evolution is complete when we reach apathy and/or rage. When you reach that point, understand that it is just a point in the progression and push yourself to move on. Once we reach the emotion of true empathy, things slowly begin to get better.
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