"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A little story that a friend told her son to explain to him Reactive Attachment Disorder (which he has).
I think it is helpful for anyone who wants to try to get what it is in pretty simple terms. Thanks Kim!

Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he was with his friends and family ice skating on a lake. There were snacks and loads of kids and music and fun. The boy was having a blast. Unfortunately, the adults weren't paying enough attention to the little boy, they accidentally didn't keep him safe, and he fell through the ice! He managed to skibble up out of the water fighting hard and using all his strength. He crawled across the ice to land and sat waiting for his family to notice he was hurt and cold, but, because of the music and the cupcakes and the talking and fun, they didn't notice. He waited and waited, and still nothing. As time went on, he got more and more angry, why did they not notice he was gone!? Why? He was cold and hurt and hungry, but nobody came. Finally after what seemed forever, some fire fighters found him and tried to save him. They came out and told him not to be afraid, that they cared for him and were only trying to help. They put some safety gear on him and tried to get him to come back across the ice to safety, but all the boy could see was that they were trying to drag him back to the hole. No matter what words they used to explain that they were not bringing him to the hole, he could not convince his body to believe him. They harder they pulled, the more angry he became! Bringing him to safety became a much bigger problem, because his fears and natural reflexes got in the way. It was made harder still, because the firefighters couldn't understand why the boy would not go to the safe side of the lake!

This story is like yours, isn't it. It's like that except for you it's not a hole in ice, the thing that makes you pull away is love and affection. This is not your fault. When you were very small, the adults forgot to keep you safe. They had loads of reasons for making this mistake, and none of the were your fault. But because of that, you are afraid that going near love again will hurt you. We, your family and therapists are the firefighters in the story. We are trying to help you and love you and get you to the safe side of the lake. We will keep trying to calm your mind and body and make you understand that we are not going to harm you.

---RAD can happen for lots of different reasons and it shows up in lots of different ways.  The trauma didn't have to be major-it can be as simple as malnutrition because the child's family just couldn't feed them.  Or an illness, or of course, neglect and abuse.  RAD can be treated, but it is hard, hard work and many parents feel isolated and alone because of the way it often manifests itself (manipulative behavior, the child being on their best for others and then acting out for their "safe people" aka parents, indiscriminate affection to name just a few).   Judgement, "helpful" suggestions, shame, guilt, loneliness, even despair.  If you are struggling, please know that you are NOT ALONE in this journey.  It is tough.  Keep swimming!!  For online support, check out:
Beyond Trauma and Attachment
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/beyondtraumaandattachment
Closed facebook groups also available for moms, dads and siblings.