Monthly Archives: March 2019

Dear Person,

 

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Dear Person who was kind to my kid,                                                        I applaud you. I thank you. I am so grateful for all that you’ve done for him. You and I are a lot alike. We care deeply for Paul. We see the potential and the way he manages his disabilities and we are amazed at all he can accomplish with his limited IQ and other challenges. We see his charm and we love the way he can make us smile at times.

However, we also can be disappointed, resentful, and frustrated by him in a way we didn’t think was possible. We question his motives and exhaust ourselves trying to figure out why he does what he does.  Why would he not follow a simple rule? How could he take advantage of us like that? What does he expect from us? We give and give and give and he just takes. We try to teach him, we come up with plans, we motivate, coach and inspire and some days, he does things that make us wonder why we ever bothered.

Paul has Reactive Attachment Disorder and whether you have to deal with it for 9 months or a lifetime, you will never understand it. It is a maddening mental health diagnosis where because of early childhood trauma, he has difficulty forming bonds with others.  He can appear kind and caring on the surface, but in his heart, he protects himself from getting close to others who have the potential to reject him as his own biological parents did. He was denied the basic right as a baby to be cared for and nurtured, so he doesn’t value things the way we do.  His brain developed differently than ours and in instances when we would seek others, he pushes others away before they can reject him to “protect” himself.  He is in survival mode at all times and truly only trusts and relies on himself.  He is very uncomfortable being dependent on others.

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around RAD for over 15 years and recognize that this is beyond my understanding. I will never understand why praise would make him uncomfortable. I will never understand why he self-sabotages the good things in his life, why he breaks his own belongings, why he hurts himself, why he can’t see how much others care for him and want him to be happy.  Why he can’t accept love.

As a person who was loved and cared for as an infant and toddler, as a person who had someone pick her up when she cried, who fed her when she was hungry & who sang to her and kissed her boo-boos, I am incapable of understanding and feeling his pain or understanding his brain.

Paul is an adult. He is minutes away from transitioning completely out of my home and the security of the school system. I’m sure he’s scared to death.  I must admit, I’m scared too. During his school years, he has met so many wonderful people who worked with him and wanted the best for him. He has had the opportunity to learn many skills and he even implements many of them, but he can’t be taught some of the things that are so basic to us.

So, friend, if you are hurt, disappointed or resentful, I’m sorry.  I validate your very real feelings. I encourage you to only give what you don’t expect back. I encourage you to take care of yourself and your feelings. I beg you to see your success in working with him from what you put into him and not what he’s given back. I can’t promise you, but it is my hope (and hope is what I cling to!) that those things that it seems like he isn’t quite getting right now, will surface later.  You may not get to see the success you are so hoping for in his life, but please feel success in your own about all you are teaching him. I am slowly learning to do that myself!

God Bless You!

Linda

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Some reminders: “His brain is broken. – It will never make sense to us. – Don’t allow his craziness to become your craziness. – He just doesn’t get it. – It’s not that he doesn’t want to, he just can’t. – We are only responsible for our own behaviors, not his. – Protect yourself. – He’s not losing sleep over it, you shouldn’t either.”

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There is surely a hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.  –Proverbs 23:18

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28

 

 

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