Vacation and RAD

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 No matter how far I believe we have come or how much healing has taken place things happen that smack me in the head and remind me that my attachment challenged son has not arrived.

This year another family (with a RAD kid) graciously invited us to share a beach house with them at Kitty Hawk, NC. It’s been 12 years since we’ve adopted and vacation is still difficult. Our M triangulated big time this year with Tim and I. Granted, there were some issues we needed to talk about that were just between the two of us, but they were intensely magnified by RAD and denial.

Denial that anything was wrong.
Denial that he was anxious.
Denial that being with another RAD child and family scared him to death as well as turned him loose.
Denial that his “issues” were affecting all of us.
Denial that he was triangulating

And then there was refusal.

Refusal to accept accountability for his actions.
Refusal to use his tools to get himself out of his pit.
Refusal to talk about any of this.

Passive aggressive. That’s my M. Argumentative. Has to have the last word. Old behaviors. Orphan child. Entitled. Withdrawn. Attacks only me. Childish pouting. What else do I say? Parents of children with attachment disorder will understand.

It is just incredibly frustrating. I realize how far we have come and yet I know every year it will be the same. Regardless of how much I prepare and probe and process with him, new things are terrifying to him.

There is certainly an argument to be made that he is sheltered. He is. We homeschool and are currently not involved in church activities for M and S. We have tried to allow them to heal without all the negative influences and temptations that they were unable to handle. Now is the time for them (especially S) to integrate into different activities. Yet my M cannot handle a positive, fun, family experience. So his fear and anxiety translate into a difficult week for me.

My selfish human nature hates this. My need to relax without having RAD as an ever present reminder of the past 12 years hates this. Having to deal with this while my older kids are with us makes me resentful. They have spent enough years with mama therapeutically parenting seemingly every moment of the day. Family vacation should be filled with the bickering and the boisterous disagreements of a normal family. Not a complete change of personality and presence to the little RAD boy that resides in my 13-year-old. The one we’ve spent 12 years battling and apparently will continue to battle as life happens.

It was so good to have Joshua with us for the week (home from college) and Rachel and Donny for a couple of days. They had fresh eyes and perspective to confirm I was on target with what I was seeing and experiencing. Didn’t make it any easier.

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  1. Do you know what I found to be the ‘funniest’ for want of a better word? Neither boy allowed the other to see the RAD behaviors. Even though our son exhibited his own set of anxious RAD symptoms, this was a better vacation than in the past. Not much better, but a step better. When we got home, he had HIS meltdown and actually cried himself to sleep. I’m going to repeat what Lisa said once to me: it WILL get better over time. Maybe in tiny steps, but better. My hope is that once he processes it, your son will take steps forward again. You’ve provided the wonderful foundation, now he has to do the tough work of choosing to heal more. (((hug))) Love you.

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