Tag Archives: Anger

The Stomp

Reactive-attachment-disorder-therapy

Paul has just stomped upstairs again….and with his weight issues, his stomp now rattles ceiling fans and causes strain to the wooden spindles on our stair rails.  You know, those 6 spindles we have left that my husband strategically placed so you wouldn’t notice the 8 missing from when he grabbed and snapped them in half stomping upstairs before.  He stomps off and I sit and stew.  I am very aware that I don’t want his behavior to steal any more moments of my life today, but It’s hard to not allow yourself to be angry.

In hopes to find some inspiration on my computer, I search documents under the Paul file.  Information I’ve saved for days like today.  Tidbits of helpful hints, journal entries pouring out my frustration and notes taken on books I’ve read.  I found some interesting notes dated September 18, 2005.  Yes, almost 10 years ago.  They were notes on When Love is Not Enough by Nancy Thomas.  Now, I want to be clear, I don’t agree with everything she said, but her book changed my life.  After reading about Reactive Attachment Disorder, I finally recognized Paul.  Up until then, I just wasn’t sure what we were dealing with.  He had delays and limitations, he had strengths, yet weaknesses and though quirky and awkward in some ways, he was gifted and talented in other ways.  He was extremely social which ruled out some disorders, yet he didn’t seem to understand interpersonal interactions.  He just didn’t “get” people, though superficially, he could converse with anyone at a very early age.  After reading this little blue book, I decided I had to try and change the way I was parenting.  I didn’t have a new plan,but I knew the old plan was not going to work.

So, some 2005 notes I made….some declarations that I intended to keep.

I have committed to being the boss.  No arguing, no getting angry.  (Oh, that looks so easy on paper!)

I will make Paul pay retribution for damages by doing 25 cent chores.  (This idea is laughable!  Never worked, never will work! Not to mention at 25 cents a pop it would take years and years to pay for all the damage!)

I will stay in control by not letting things escalate.  (Well, on a good day, I can stay calm and try to accomplish this, but I personally have no control about how others in the home escalate.)

I will focus only on the positives. (With Herculean effort, I attempt this, but some days the positives are so deeply buried in negatives, it is a challenge.)

I will NOT deal with the negatives he shares with me. (Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.)

I will do more intentional bonding & loving. (I’ve been intentional and so has he at rejecting my good intent.)

I will not leave Paul unattended &/or unstructured.  (Did I realize that would still be the case at age 16?)

I will not engage during nonsense questions. (Really? Did I even think that was possible at the time?)

These “commandments” were the first time I put on paper a strategy in dealing with this chaotic disorder.  After the initial writing, there are notes from April 2006 and August 2014 that suggests that nothing has changed and these goals are still good, though maybe a bit lofty.  (Lofty since I’ve been working on them for almost 10 years.)

So, he’s still stomping away.  I’m still dealing with it.  Is it perhaps time to write a new set of notes?  Maybe ones where I cut myself a little slack and accept the things I cannot change?  I’m glad they are written down for me to review.  They calm me during the storm to see that I am not entering into these battles willy nilly.  I have studied, I have prepared, I have planned.  He may win a battle here and there, but I still intend to win this war!

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Reactive Attachment Disorder Stinks!

Sobbing.  Uncontrollable.  Raging.  Screaming. Senseless Words.  Pain so deep you drown.  Daily.

I could say my son suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, but the truth is that the whole family does.  He is triggered internally, some sort of flashback, some sort of feeling he is uncomfortable with and we all suffer.  I don’t know what today’s trigger was.  He spent the day with the Psychiatrist.  They discussed all the progress he is making and decided to cut back on some medication.  He and his Dad went out to eat and chatted about the Pittsburgh Pirates on the way home.  He went downstairs to play some beloved video games and I asked him to burn the papers (we do that around here.)  He opened the drawer to the matches and saw that I bought him a new lighter.  He ran to me with hugs of thanksgiving and headed out.  He completed his task and then headed to the chicken coop and decided to show the birds the flame.  He didn’t really do anything, he just put the lighter inside the chicken wire and showed them.

I caught him and yelled for him to stop.  He stopped.  And, it went all down hill from there.  He and his Dad were screaming, his sister & he couldn’t be in the same room, he was sent to his room where his throaty screams echo throughout the whole house.  He pounds the walls, pulls the wallpaper off the wall, throws things and screams to us about God.  He texts his friends, threatens to call CYS & berates our efforts to help him figure this out.

Reactive Attachment Disorder wins again.  It has attacked the one who has attachment issues and it has poisoned the whole family for the evening.  I won’t be going to church with my husband, my plans have changed, there’s no fixing this, there’s no consequences.  There’s just pain and bitter disappointment for all.

I’d love to say this doesn’t happen often.  And, actually, yesterday we complimented him on it happening less frequently, but today it has happened.

He doesn’t have reactive attachment disorder anymore….we all do.  We all react.  We all have real pain.  We have all been traumatized!  He has calmed down.  He yells down the stairs in a sweet voice, “Mom?”  I respond as any other hurt and wounded animal would, “Shut Up!”

I’d like to say that I responded differently and to be honest, I have responded to the same situation differently before…about a gazillion times before.  I’ve done everything the professionals tell me to.  I’ve attended the workshops, I’ve been in therapy, I’ve read the books, I’ve responded appropriately, but today I reacted instead of responded.  Maybe this approach will work.  Doubtful.  The hope that has gotten me this far is like sands in an hour glass and I’m about on my last grain of hope.

Being Me, I will turn this all around.  I know that.  I know I will write about flipping the hour glass over and how I will recognize that God renews my hope just like the sands in the glass.  How the sand will all be at the top and slowly trickle to the bottom again.  God does renew me & I know He will again.  But right now I’m just mad.  I’m mad at unanswered prayer.  I’m mad at the people who didn’t take care of him when he was a baby.  I’m mad at the people who think they know what he is like.  I’m mad at the agencies who don’t have a clue.  I’m mad to know that I am one of many hurting parents trying to deal with this diagnosis.  I’m mad at a child welfare system that keeps moving kids around and creates this disorder.

But, mostly, I’m mad about missing church.  Instead of church I’ll sit here and sob.  I’ll ponder the situation and wonder what I’m to learn from this.  I’ll cry out and ask why it has to be like this.  I’ll realize that I will never know.

Reactive Attachment Disorder Stinks!

PS – It appears I’m in good company and not the first person to ponder.  I googled “Angry David Psalms” –

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. (Psalm 22:1-6)

I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it. (Psalm 22:22-31)

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