Category Archives: Trauma-mama

ADHD, PDD-NOS, OCD, RAD, CP, SPD, ODD, ETC

Shut the Window

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A few weeks ago, I had a very trying few days.  It seemed that everyone I knew was going through something that caused me concern.  I would talk to one person and hear about their struggles and wonder how I could help.  I talked to another and hear their worries and wondered how I could help.  I, myself, had a bunch of things going on and my mind was racing with how I was going to deal with each situation that needed to be addressed.  I spent my evening considering all the possibilities and had no clear answers on anything.

I dreaded bedtime, knowing that when it’s time for my body to shut down, it often signals my mind to wake up and worry.  Very frustrated, I went to bed, and couldn’t fall asleep.  The windows were open at our river house this warm evening and the songs of the crickets and frogs were not bringing me peace. As a matter of fact, the more I listened the louder they sounded and the more alert I became.  “What am I going to do about this noise?!  What am I going to do about these things I am worried about?!”  All of a sudden, an answer came to me….Shut the window.  Seriously?  Shut the window?  It’s that simple?  I got up and shut the window and the sound of silence filled my bedroom. The noise stopped.  I realized then that I could do the same thing with worries and concerns.  I could shut the window to the outside noises and problems that were confronting me.  Every time a worrying thought came to mind, I chose to shut it out.  I found that by “shutting the window” to those nagging concerns and thoughts, I could fall asleep.

I shared this story with my friend and the following week I got a T-Shirt in the mail and it had “Shut the Window” printed on the front.  Friends, it is that simple.  We can choose to shut the window to a lot of situations in our lives and we can give those concerns to God. “Do not let your hearts be troubled, You believe in God.”  It’s that simple…..Shut the window.

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John 14:1-4     Jesus Comforts His Disciples (The title could read “Jesus Comforts Insert your name.)

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

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“Please Pray”

please prayWell actually it said “Please Pry” but I knew what he meant.  I received the familiar text while visiting my Mom. The pit in my stomach is as real as the PTSD I suffer from parenting a child from hard places.  I now get to sit and wait for the phone to ring with the explanation of why I need to pray.

It could be that a friend is sick, it could be that he lost his key or more probable, he’s in trouble.   He admitted at work to some wrongdoing on Friday so I knew that he may be facing consequences today and I thought I prepared him mentally for this.  Did I?  Does he “get it?”  Will he learn from these consequences? Is there any way to rectify this wrong? I don’t know because I don’t even know what I’m praying about.

But, I do pray. When the bible says to “pray without ceasing” I didn’t realize that it meant that I would pray without ceasing for this child from the moment I met him. I didn’t realize that he would be in constant need of prayer. And, I definitely need more direction for the prayer. WHAT IS GOING ON? What am I praying about? There is a chance that I am the one needing prayer.  I need prayer to actually be able to pray about this situation whatever it is.  I am betting that I need to pray that I will have the grace to handle the call when it comes. I need strength to hear about yet another failing. I need prayer to not allow this situation to undo all the good that we have been working on.

So, you know what…I will pray.  I will be thankful and pray that he will use the skills that he has been gifted with. I will pray that he is with someone who can comfort him. I will pray that the consequence is fair and just. I will pray that he will learn from his mistake. But in all honesty, I’m praying that the phone will ring and that this suspense will be over soon!

I’d like to tell you that I will fill you in later, but chances are, it won’t be something that I will care to share.  BUT, I will give God the glory for getting us through whatever it is that we are going through.

And, hey, “please pray.”

 

Pray without ceasing.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

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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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Another 12 Step Program?

IMG_2303OK, at wit’s end again.  How am I supposed to deal with a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder?  And, of course, how am I supposed to deal with an adult child with Reactive Attachment Disorder?  Just as we transition from grade to grade during the school years, we now transition from program to program to help him in the adult years and I’m beginning to believe that we need to transition from therapy model to therapy model to continue.

I knew how to parent…or at least had things to try when he was a child.  There were simply things that a parent could not allow a child to do, but now he is an adult and the line has gotten fuzzy.  Today, I’ve hit a new low and have sought out help from a pamphlet titled, “So You Love An Alcoholic.”  Since nothing else had worked, I thought I’d give this a try.  I ‘ve decided to customize it for Reactive Attachment Disorder.  Again, these ideas are not my own, so credit goes to Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is an illness. The first thing for you to acknowledge, believe, accept is that children who have reactive attachment disorder suffer from a real sickness – a sickness which affects all those close to them.  The AMA and many authorities the world over declare the Reactive attachment sufferer has an illness over which he or she has no control. It is not caused by weakness of will, immorality or a desire to hurt others. Once you have accepted the idea that Reactive Attachment Disorder is a sickness form which compulsive children and those who care about them can find release, you will have no reason to be ashamed of it – no reason to fear it.

Learn the Facts. Wipe your mental slate clean of everything you think you know about it. Then apply yourself to a learning program. You can get valuable first-hand knowledge about RAD by attending an open support meeting. Don’t hesitate because you feel you are a stranger; anyone is welcome who is interested in the problem of RAD. Talk to members after the meeting; you can discuss your difficulties with the people you meet there.

Help Yourself Now. Don’t wait to seek help  Anyone whose family has suffered from the effects of RAD knows the constant emotional strains and pressures and needs help in relieving these.  Nothing will give you greater relief than the understanding and warm-hearted help you will find in a Support Group meeting. There you will, as one member put it, “learn to live again.” The members are compassionate, well-informed and have first-hand knowledge of problems just like yours because they have them too! Conversations with people who share your problems will convince you emotionally – as your investigations may have convinced you intellectually – that RAD is a disease, not a sin. Sharing this knowledge can help you begin your own recovery.

Some Important “Don’ts”

Don’t treat the sufferer like a child; you wouldn’t if he or she were suffering from some other disease. Don’t check up on them to see how much they are offending; Don’t search for offenses; Don’t put temptations away, they can always find ways to get more; Don’t nag them about their issues; Don’t preach, reproach, scold or enter into quarrels.

If you can bring yourself to avoid these things, you’ll be well on the way to a more comfortable frame of mind. All these Don’ts have good sound reasons that grew out of many people’s experience. RADs suffer from feelings of guilt beyond anything the non-RAD can imagine. Reminding them of failures, neglect of family and friends and social errors is all wasted effort. It only makes the situation worse.

The “if you loved me” approach is likewise futile. Remember the RAD is compulsive in nature and cannot be controlled by willpower. Equally useless are promises, coaxing, arguments and threats. Sometimes a crisis can convince the RAD of the need for help- the loss of a job, an accident or an arrest.  Steel yourself against coddling and overprotectiveness at such a time. The crisis may be necessary for recovery. Do nothing to prevent such a crisis from happening. The suffering you are trying to ease by such actions may be the very thing needed to bring the RAD to a realization of the seriousness of the situation – literally a blessing in disguise.

Remember, the whole family may have slips and set-backs Don’t take them seriously. Believe that a firm foundation for recovery has been laid. If you feel that either of you has made mistakes, learn from them and forget them. Let go of the disappointments and setbacks and push forward!

The way ahead is not always easy, but it can be full of rich rewards in a satisfying life for you and those you love.

Oh if I could only heed this advice.  Today, it’s a challenge! In a final attempt to find peace in my day, I turned to today’s date in the One Day At A Time In Al-Anon book. “Does the voice of God have a chance to be heard over my angry shouting? What is the purpose of letting myself fly apart in reckless tantrums? To relieve my pent-up feelings? Today’s Reminder: I cannot punish anyone without punishing myself.  The release of my tensions, even if it seems justified, leaves dregs of bitterness behind. Unless I have deliberately decided that my relationship has no further value in my life, I would do well to consider the long-range benefits of quiet acceptance in times of stress.”

Ouch.  Just Ouch.

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“How shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds?”

–Kahlil Gibran: The Prophet

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Shaking My Head Again

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Shaking my head again…there are just things that happen that can’t be explained.  The care God and others have over my son is one of them. Yesterday, we were at our river house. The river was high and muddy from some recent rain so my husband and I decided to do some inside maintenance. He assembled bunk beds while I read a good book, but I was only an arm’s length away if he required assistance. (Which he did only once or twice for a couple of minutes.) But anyway, we were inside “working” while Paul was fishing on the dock. That boy loves to fish! He has spent hours this summer with a pole in his hand and a smile on his face.

Right as my husband was assembling Step 7A bolt into step 7A nut as listed on the IKEA instructions, Paul came in and stands at the bedroom door soaking wet.  After my initial, “Move! You’re making a puddle and I’ll slip and fall!” it dawned on me that my kid had been in the swift river.

“What?!”

Paul calmly says, “Let’s start with the good news. I’m safe and I got my chair but the bad news is that I lost my travel mug and ball cap.”

“What?!”

While he was standing on the dock, his chair blew into the water, he jumped in sans life jacket to retrieve it. He was quickly swept away with his chair in his hands (hard to swim when you are grasping your favorite fishing chair.) He realized he wasn’t going to be able to swim back to our dock so he floated downstream and got out at a neighbor’s dock. Aaaaah. Safe. Another disaster thwarted.

“Thank God you are safe. You have angels looking over you all the time buddy, do you realize that?”

“Yeah, but that was my favorite hat. Uncle Gary gave it to me last year from his work and he won’t be able to get another one since the plant closed.”

“Let’s focus on the good stuff. You are safe.”

“And my mug. It’s the only one I’m allowed to use on the bus and I was going to take it to camp this week. Can I borrow yours?”

“Sure.” (I love loaning my stuff to the kid who as you can see takes incredibly good care of all of his belongings. Insert sarcasm here.) Remember, you are very lucky! You are safe!”

“I know, but I think I’ll pout a while about the hat and mug.”

Oh, brother. I return to assisting George when I hear Paul talking to someone in the yard. I go out to see a man handing Paul his missing hat and mug. It seems this man was fishing on his dock about 1/2 mile downstream when the hat and mug floated by. He “wasn’t going to risk his life to go after it, but it went right by his dock” so he grabbed it. Paul’s fishing license was still attached and he said, “Well, I know where this kid lives.” Of course he does! Everyone knows Paul.

Our river house sits on a 1 mile stretch of the river with houses, camps, and campsites 3 deep in some places. We know very few of our neighbors, but the whole stretch knows Paul. Probably from a previous rescue mission.

After the bunk beds were completed, George and I took a bike ride. We left Paul to fish (with a life vest on!) and we took a little ride. On the way back a neighbor about 5 houses away called out to us for a visit. We stopped by and shared our most recent Paul story. John and his wife Chris have many of their own Paul stories. John started sharing some of his experiences with another couple that was there. We laughed. It’s always easy to laugh at these tales after time. (Not so easy to laugh while they are occurring.) John said, “Paul is going to be all right. He’s a survivor.” I commented that he will survive, but will his parents? We shouted out our appreciation to John for friending Paul and that it “takes a village.”

George admitted that a good sense of humor helps. As we were leaving, the new guy said, “I never met him, but I know I’d love him.” Shaking my head and smiling, I was assured of two things. He will get to meet him and he will love him. Everyone does.

As Paul ages, his special needs do too. I think he will always require some aid from others. (Don’t we all?) As he nears 20 years of age, I’ve been struggling with letting go, but meeting the angels who look out for Paul helps. There are so many stories like today’s story. Not just the part of him being kept safe in the water, but the bonus gift of the returned hat.

Paul isn’t’ just surviving as the Maker of Earth watches over him, he is thriving. I think it’s time for this Mom to back up a bit, resign as the Mayor and just become part of the village. I can attest to how God has used the village in the past and I look forward to being a part of it.

This Villager, however, will be enforcing a Life Vest Ordinance more often!

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Fools, Eejits & Gobdaws!

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Fool.  An important word.  It’s so important that the King James Version of the Bible says it almost 70 times!  Proverbs is a book that gives a lot of information on fools.  It has fool mentioned 42 times in 41 verses.  Fools despise wisdom and instruction, spread slander, and the heart of a fool proclaims foolishness. So, as I read about fools, I recognize that sometimes I am thinking of myself and sometimes I am thinking of others around me.  Come on, you know, you have fools in your circle too! We can definitely all learn from fools and from our own foolish ways.

Last week, I spoke too quickly and became a fool (A quick-tempered man acts foolishly. Prov 14:17) and I blurted out and called my son a name when he was acting foolishly. The minute I said it I regretted it.  I not only hurt my child, but I disappointed myself by using a name that is often classified as a swear word.  This would give my child fuel to throw up in my face for decades to come! I hate it when I slip like that! After discussing my error with my husband, he suggested I increase my vocabulary and try to find a new name to blurt out in anger.  He suggested “chucklehead.”  Chucklehead sounded way too kind for that situation, but I will employ it and store it in my memory bank for the future. While I was thinking of my regret and other chooses, I came across two new words used by a British author. Her vocabulary includes the words, “eejit” and “gobdaw.”  Love those!  Though not found in our American dictionaries, I did locate definitions for them.

eejit  –  noun – /ˈiːdʒɪt/ -a way of saying idiot which represents the way it is pronounced by some people.

gobdaw – noun – informal – A foolish or pretentious person.

Those two choices sound so much better than the one I had previously chosen. I personally have heard lots of fool synonyms over the years. Bonehead, dipstick, knucklehead, and bubble brain to name a few. So, there is no shortage of ways to call a fool a fool and though I spent this time researching it, I could actually be a little less foolish by learning less about fools and more about wisdom, (but I don’t think those words would be nearly as entertaining!)

So, if you ever need to avoid the same “foolish” mistake that I made, feast your eyes on the list below. Choose one and go with it.  Or be prudent and remember that the word wisdom is used in the Bible 181 times.  Maybe I should spend a little more time researching that!!!! disegno-floreale-con-bordi-arricciati_318-45888

idiot, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, moron, clod; nitwit, halfwit, dope, ninny, nincompoop, chump, dimwit, dingbat, dipstick, goober, coot, goon, dumbo, dummy, ditz, dumdum, fathead, butthead, numbskull, numbnuts, dunderhead, thickhead, airhead, flake, lamebrain, mouth-breather, zombie, nerd, peabrain, birdbrain, scissorbill, jughead, jerk, donkey, twit, goat, dork, twerp, lamer, schmuck, bozo, boob, turkey, schlep, chowderhead, dumbhead, goofball, goof, goofus, doofus, hoser, galoot, lummox, knuckle-dragger, klutz, putz, schlemiel, sap, meatball, dumb cluck, mook;

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Proverbs 26:1-12 (NIV)

1 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,

    honor is not fitting for a fool.

2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,

    an undeserved curse does not come to rest.

3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,

    and a rod for the backs of fools!

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,

    or you yourself will be just like him.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly,

    or he will be wise in his own eyes.

6 Sending a message by the hands of a fool

    is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison.

7 Like the useless legs of one who is lame

    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

8 Like tying a stone in a sling

    is the giving of honor to a fool.

9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand

    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

10 Like an archer who wounds at random

    is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.

11 As a dog returns to its vomit,

    so fools repeat their folly.

12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?

    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

 

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Fear!

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It starts as almost a butterfly in your stomach and unless you acknowledge it and deal with it, it will overtake you. Sometimes you think it is just a bit of anxiety or nervousness but then you realize the beast that it is.  FEAR!

Every day he starts with a little disobedience, a little lie, a bit of a bad attitude.  No biggy, but compounded over time you realize that your annoyance turns into something much greater.  You stop being concerned about being disrespected.  You stop worrying that you haven’t taught him enough. You have moved way beyond trying to discipline, you’ve been at that for years.  You realize that you have done your part and now you live in a constant state of fear.  OR, you could if you allowed yourself.

Every now and then, you will be tempted to allow yourself to feel the full weight of the real fear that is there.  You project what the future may look like.  He will start stealing from others and not just from family. He will start lying to authorities and not just his parents. He will misplace his trust in someone who doesn’t love him as he disregards the wisdom of those who do. He may join a gang, experiment with drugs, dabble in pornography. Oh, given his history, any of these may be his reality.  BUT WAIT!  You’ve done all you can.  You can’t allow yourself to go there!

You truly may have done all you can, but what you can’t do, God can. You are not limited by your own abilities, you have a creator and he knows your child intimately.  He already knows the plans he has for her and for you. You are not to fear. I have heard that the Bible says “Fear Not” 365 times, one for each day of the year.  I have found that that isn’t entirely accurate, but how many times should He tell us to “fear not?”  He’s God.  We should listen the first time.

So, dear friend, listen when someone tells you to “fear not.” It really is a waste of an emotion. It accomplishes nothing and it hurts you even more than it hurts your child. Remember, you’ve been afraid before and you will probably be afraid again in the future.  There’s no sense staying there now.

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For God has not given us a spirit of fear,

but of power and of love and of a sound mind.           

                   2 Timothy 1:7 

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