February 28th, 2012
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failureA friend of mine recently admitted she felt like a failure because her little RADish didn’t seem to be making much progress and it was having an effect on her family, her marriage, and herself.  She was struggling to remain loving and supportive because her RADish was taking everything she had to give.

Being the mother of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder is beyond exhausting.  I would say being a parent in itself is a tiring job, but when the complexities of an emotionally damaged child is added in, exhaustion doesn’t go far enough to describe how you feel at the end of the day.


Nancy Thomas wrote a book about RAD called When Love is Not Enough.  This was the first book I had ever read about RAD and immediately, the title resonated with me.  For years I had given and given and given to my daughter, but I never seemed to get anything back.  The love I had for my daughter was not being reciprocated.

Although I understand my daughter is incapable of loving me like I love her, the knowledge doesn’t lessen the hurt, anger and resentment I feel for her unrequited love.  I feel like a failure because the one job I have as a parent, to love my child unconditionally, isn’t enough.

Besides feeling like a failure, I struggle with what to do.  What is wrong?  How can I help?  Is my love enough?  With these feelings of parental inadequacies, I feel guilty for not being able to help my daughter, not liking her, and sometimes not even loving her.

I also resent her.  She wasn’t the child I thought she was going to be.  She wasn’t the daughter I had dreamed about.  My beautiful little Russian doll was broken, but not on the outside.  By the time she was diagnosed with RAD, she had drained away so much of me, I wasn’t sure I had anything else to give her.

Her disorder has stressed my family, my marriage, and myself to the breaking point.  One more push and I feel my life will crumble around my feet.  Her disorder controls our household.  Every waking moment is spent analyzing her behaviors, going to therapy, keeping a close eye on her, and wondering when she will decide to make a bad decision.  As she has gotten older, her bad decisions threaten to have a longer lasting effect, not only on her, but also on us as a family.

But, I have to live every day with faith.  Faith that I am doing the right thing to help her, faith that she will get better, and faith that one day she will become the daughter I always dreamed about.

Until the day when love is enough, faith will have to help me put one foot in front of the other.

Because I do believe she can be healed.

Photo Credit.

5 Responses to “Built Up Resentment”

  1. I believe she can be healed too, but there’s one caveat … SHE has to want it. If it were about you wanting her to be healed, it would be a done deal already. She has to want more.

    My 24 year old daughter complains unceasingly about her unfulfilled, boring life and the people in it. There is never any joy in what she Facebook posts, unless it relates to the TV shows she wants to watch that night or maybe what she is making for dinner. And the sad fact is, I have come to realize her life will never be any different until or unless she decides she wants healthy relationships to be a part of that life. And at this point, she doesn’t.

    So keep the faith, but recognize you are only part of the equation.

    • Lanita M says:

      Thank you, Nancy. It has been a journey to come to the same conclusion. We are giving her the tools to heal and to make her life better but ultimately in the end, the decision is hers. She isn’t quite there yet, but I do see glimmers of her wanting a better life.

      In the meantime, I just continue to believe.

  2. Mary says:

    Hang in there Lanita! I know you do love your daughter, so much so that you are here on this site writing and sharing your thoughts.

  3. surprise99 says:

    You should be proud sticking it out. I don’t think I am going to make it. I been looking into dissolution or divorce if therapy doesn’t work. Until you have cleaned up human waste from your floor then you aren’t qualified to comment.

  4. olgataylor says:

    Dear Lanita, I hope you are in a better place of your life adventure now. I had very similar problem with my bio daughter. it wasn’t easy at all . I only can imagine how hard to experience it with your adopted child. My daughter , 25, never was diagnosed with RAD and never had reason for it.But her symptoms were very alike. please , be careful with diagnose and do research on your own before you will start any therapy and treatment. I think a great power of love and patience can be a cure for your precious Russian Doll . Our Church help us dramatically .
    If you ever will get very tiered of it before you do anything , please ,let me know. I am Russian (49)married an American 13 years ago. I may help you somehow, just let me know platinaroad @gmail.com

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