reactive attachment disorder

Betrayal — Parenting A Child Who Has Reactive Attachment Disorder

No matter how much love and forgiveness you offer your child, you cannot piece back together what has been smashed to smithereens.  The base issue of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is betrayal.  Your child was rejected by the one who was supposed to love her most, and in the place of love was neglect.  Possibly abuse.

You’ve rescued your child and continuously try to make up for all she’s lost, but your efforts are rewarded with lies, manipulation, and acting out.  Sure, on occasion, she offers what appears to be a truce.  The daily onslaught of battle is halted for a random hug, endearing words, a soft smile, or a handwritten note professing love … but the truce ends up being an odd form of manipulation as well.  An effort to seize the upper hand, because if you are knocked off kilter, well….she wins.

The saddest part of it all is that she does love you.  Yes, of course she hates you too.  But she loves you.  Hold onto that.  She knows you rescued her.  She is fully aware that you are meeting all of her basic needs.  And she knows you want to connect.

But what if you stop?

She can’t put her trust in you, because to do that would require her to open herself up for the original pain again.  And that pain is too much to bear.  So to keep her distance, she continues to lie, manipulate, and act out.  In self protection mode, she conjures up reasons you are not a good parent.  She makes you pay for her pain.  Your life is on repeat.  Every day.

Because of betrayal.

There is nothing you can do to fix your child.  In no way can you put all of the broken pieces together again.  Your child is a broken child.  Your job is to see that, to accept it, and to love your child in spite of it.  To hold the broken pieces.  To be there for the broken pieces.  To love the broken pieces.  It’s quite possibly the toughest job on the planet.

“When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. ”  Matthew 5:44 ( The Message)


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