Sometimes the smallest things can speak volumes.
In my house, the disappearance of a carrot peeler doesn’t mean that I’ve misplaced it in the wrong drawer. It is a red flag that one of my daughters is angry. Angry at me.
Parenting a child with reactive attachment disorder (RAD.) is not easy. Parenting is not easy, but when your child has attachment issues that result in a lack of trust, simply loving your child is often not enough.
RAD is a disorder of relationships, and the root cause of the disorder is the broken mother/child relationship. Until this basic, fundamental relationship is restored with the adoptive mother, the child will be incapable of forging normal, healthy relationships.
I have spent years trying to repair my relationship with my daughters. During that time I was constantly being undermined, and not just by anyone, I was being undermined by my own children.
In a RAD household, chaos reigns because the child is in control when all others around them are out of control. RAD children have an arsenal of tools to create chaos. Elle used to steal things, and Bunny has physically lashed out at me when she was in the middle of a volcanic temper tantrum.
For years, I have the target of my daughters’ anger and resentment. And for years, because I am human, I reacted with anger and resentment. But, anger and resentment is destructive to RAD children. It doesn’t help heal. It actually makes them worse.
This isn’t anything new. Even before Elle was diagnosed with RAD, she was constantly stealing my things, the more valuable and sentimental the better. What she was looking for was my reaction. If I got angry, then she was happiest, because her goal was to destroy my love for her. By targeting the parents, especially the mothers, parents of RAD children are basically being abused in their own homes.
The more Elle has healed, the less I become her target. Now, she would rather die than hurt my feelings. But, Bunny will still lash out at me when she is angry.
Last week, she was mad at me because she got in trouble at school for talking. Somehow she felt it was all my fault. She expressed her anger at me by taking my carrot peeler, and rather than put it in the right drawer, she hid it another drawer, buried underneath some spoons so I wouldn’t find it.
It took me awhile to put all the pieces together and figure out how a seemingly unrelated incident at school resulted in a missing carrot peeler.
Parenting is not easy. Parenting a child with RAD is even harder. Especially when you want to make a pot roast.