Friday, January 16, 2009

A Small Clique of Control Freaks

As a parent I seem to walk with a crowd along with only a few others. I believe it is true that children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and other serious emotional issues are rare. During my years in support groups and surfing the Internet I seem to run into the same people over and over. I'm sure there are many who hide behind the doors wondering what to do?

I have to look back and ask myself if my reactions or the choices I made have caused things to be worse or better for our little girl? There are those who have told me that, "Unless her RAD is healed--nothing else will help her." and "until the RAD is healed no other therapy or issue will matter!"

I regret buying into this narrow-minded idea. I regret that for a time I was "SEEING" my little girl as only ONE THING, as someone who didn't want to hug me, or wouldn't look into my eyes, and caused all these problems just to "show me" she was in control, not me. I am angry that I allowed myself to feel like I was a victim and that I had to seize control over her--over every part of her--over even her Hugs.

Not that I wallowed around in this way of thinking too long. I thank God for the fact that he made me logical and analytical. That HE gave me a spirit of compassion and understanding. Otherwise, I fear I could very well still be socializing with the small clique of control freaks who make RAD all about themselves instead of their child.

I am the kind of person who could enjoy the position of Control Freak. It's one of my personality traits I do my best to keep at bay. I often hear myself say, "let go of that!" when things are not going MY WAY. So joining the clique was surely a risk for me... and a risk for my little girl.

With the past 6-years under my belt and having searched under every rock I come across a few things are crystal clear to me now.

#1 - It is the "Chicken or the Egg" argument. Did the Unhealed RAD cause the Adult Personality Disorder or Mental Illness... Or did the personality disorder or mental illness cause or contribute to the Reactive Attachment Disorder?

#2 - When there are other diagnosis, (mental illness or medical conditions) that ALSO include attachment difficulties and symptoms on the List of RAD Signs is it WISE to think that unless the RAD is healed the child is doomed? I have decided it's a mistake to think the Attachment disorder must be healed before addressing the fact that FASD has attachment symptoms as well.

and #3 -- It's my job to raise an independent person. A child who will become an adult who IS in Control of their own life. Does it really make sense that a parent would "Take Control Away" just to prove the child can trust them? Or just to have a hug on the parents terms?

It seems that within the small clique of control freaks there are so many wonderful ideas and methods of seizing a child's own independence and control away--but, I fail to find much information about what to do once the child's will has been broken.

When I have hung-out with my fellow RAD Parents whom have joined the clique it seems the prolonged need to Take Control away from the child never really comes to an end. Every independent act their children make appears to be viewed as an assault on the attachment with mommy.

Even the NORMAL independent acts MOST parents would be thrilled to see in their child, are viewed as if the child intentionally deprived their mother's of her right to control them--and prove they can depend on her. Rather than some of my fellow RAD Mothers being excited to see the natural development of a child who knows how to control their world and become independent some view every natural development as a Dagger in their hearts.

or worse, a sign that they have failed to Heal the RAD.

I have yet to read or find anything that would help me figure out if my little girl is Healed or if her normal desire to become independent and control the things she can is ever something to delight over?

I wonder just exactly how many of my Hugs does she need to accept on "My terms" and how many times do I need to PROVE to her that she can depend on me to control her life? How many conversations should we have where she is able to maintain eye contact, before I can say, "She is able to maintain eye contact." ?

When does the mother of a child with RAD step back and say, now that I have proved to you that it's safe to Love, trust and depend on me--it's time to teach you to Love, trust and depend on yourself?

to be continued...

Be very careful about the kind of therapy you find and use if your child has been diagnosed as Reactive Attachment Disorder RAD.

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