Rebellious Obedience ...from a distance of course... because they're Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by TheyAreLegallyAdultsNow, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. It's over a year since I've seen difficult child-daughter face to face.
    It's almost a year since I've seen difficult child-ds face to face.

    There is a full range of every kind of emotion you can imagine. Their behavior is "classic" Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). He-inhibited Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)/ She-disinhibited Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

    I find it interesting that they each have made a distinct point in their rebellion against us to take extra steps be excessively more-than obedient to things they absolutely REFUSED to do while they were living at our home.

    When difficult child-daughter dropped out of college after one semester out of state, my husband and I said the ONLY option that was unacceptable to us while she was living in our home as a young adult was a part-time job or no job and a full-time social life. I hear through the grapevine difficult child-daughter has been burning the candle at both ends while living in the home of the people "playing mommy and daddy" to her. Supposedly she's enrolled full-time in college and simultaneously working a full-time job. The young lady who pitched full fledged tantrums about her "rights" to party... is now so busy she supposedly has no social life.

    We had been encouraging our difficult child-ds while he lived in our home to find a reliable part-time job while he was in school. He had been working various odd-jobs for a dysfunctional family of very shady characters. We had been encouraging him to apply locally to legit employers. There are lots of businesses within walking distance of our home!!!! We especially recommended he apply to a place just around the corner where the manager seemed impressed by him. While he lived with us he REFUSED to even investigate that place as a possibility. Imagine my husband's surprise when he walked into that establishment and our difficult child-ds was the one working at the counter!!!! What is even more interesting is difficult child-ds now lives MILES away from that establishment with a couple "playing mommy and daddy" to him.

    I'm amazed by the amount of EXTRA-EFFORT poured forth by both our adopted-Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)-adult-KIDS trying to prove they are walking in obedience while they are rebelling against us as their parents

    I know they have an attachment disorder.

    I know they are intelligent, and we have taught them to be polite and diligent.

    Because they were born drug/alcohol exposed, and various caregivers failed to give consistent nurturing care between from the time they were born until they were ages 2.5-6 and placed in our loving home...

    what they cannot easily do is remain attached lovingly to the family that loves them.

    It's hard to have "warm fuzzy" feelings toward adult-children who have been so hateful and abusive toward us.

    I know it's not personal. It's Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

    We don't have the warm fuzzies, but we DO love them.

    I take their "rebellious-distant-obedience" as an effort (a strange but twisted kind of effort) to "honor" us through extraordinary efforts to do what they refused to do when they lived in our home.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  2. 7jewels

    7jewels Guest

    Your opinion about possible Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) sought. Our daughter/difficult child was adopted at birth; we literally brought her home less than 24 hours after her delivery by birthmom. Prenatal exposure included heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, and probably more; birthmom in jail at time of delivery so on metadone maintenance. difficult child had quick withdrawal from methadone and was very easy/happy baby. A bit strong-willed in toddlerhood, and anxious as she grew; IQ of 130; a charmer. I just don't know if she'd be classified as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). At least one therapist we saw for anorexia/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) said she was definitely "attached" but we will likely never know. I just don't understand where this behavior stems from; she was SO loved, attended to, educated, formed in values, part of huge loving family from DAY 1 -- why all the rebellion? She's out of house now, living with boyfriend, working in restaurant, gave up huge college scholarship to pursue "rebellious life." What's your Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)-mom opinion?
  3. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Don't you love it?
    My mind says as long as they are leading an honorable life, I will be happy. The pain of not feeling attached to parents who have raised them is a sad state of affairs and yours to bare but take comfort in that they are not leading horrid lives of drug addiction, promiscuity and non productive.
    They are doing the right thing but will not give you credit for years to come.
  4. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I agree with Fran, I'm happy to hear you report they are functioning as adults with the standards to which you raised them. That in itself speaks VOLUMES that they seem unable to speak, about the life they have had with you and your husband, and the fact that they did accept parenting from you. It seems they did not accept the part of "attachment" from the parenting you offered, but they learned the lessons all of us parents strive to teach our children. Work ethic, responsability, respectability, etc. I find it so sad for all involved when adult children can't move beyond the Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) status, and find some way to allow themselves to accept the love all around them. I can only imagine how painful that is for you and your husband, even though it seems you are doing best you can to detach and protect yourselves emotionally. As for your adult children, it must be very painful for them as well. I'm so grateful that I maintained an ability to be attached to others in spite of my upbringing and cycles of foster care etc. I will say though that it took me a good many years into adulthood to be able to trust. To be able to maintain a healthy relationship. To be able to believe personal relationships can last, that people important to me weren't going to just turn their backs and walk away. My final foster home was a more permenent one. Boy I was some damaged goods by that point. To this day, my foster mother is my mother in my mind. She saw beyond the pain and barriers I created for protection and she loved me through it all. She didn't push me, she knew it would be fruitless. She did however tell me several times that she wasnt' going anywhere and that sooner or later I would be forced to accept that. I put her through hades and back let me tell you. Stealing from her. Running away constantly. Breaking the law in a effort to be removed from her home (before she could walk from me, it would hurt less that way). Verbally abusive. Racking up thousands and thousands of dollars in long distance calls. Treating her own bio kids like garbage etc. And she stayed. It finally kicked in that she wasn't going away and loved me in spite of all my koi. I began to permit myself to attach. Although it took well into adult hood to truly realize that in my heart, she was a parent to me and to realize how special that role was. She taught me so much and each day I live as an example of the type of person she wanted to influence me to become. I know that true Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is quite different than my experience. But I personally wonder if perhaps down the line your kids might be able to find a new relationship with you and your husband. Perhaps not a traditional parent/child relationship. But one based on mutual respect and love. The fact that they are living their lives as you taught them to? It speaks volumes about the fact that inside them, under all their own pain, they learned from you and husband and they respect those lessons. Meaning they do respect you and husband, although appearances at times portray it otherwise. Deep pain such as theirs can manifest in strange ways. Sometimes the more lovable and wonderful a family can be to a person, the more a person with attachment problems and baggage and fears etc will flee from them.

    I hope for you and husband's sake (and both kids sakes) that one day they can find a healthy balance in their lives and include you and your husband in their lives to some degree that is healthy. Even if it isn't what you would want in a ideal world. Be proud of yourselves. One cannot necessarily cure someones deep seeded issues. But you have both made a impact in these young peoples lives that without, who knows what kind of adults they might have grown into.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Similar to what Fran mentioned, I think it would be tres DIFFICULT, but if my kids were not on drugs, at least somewhat productive, staying out of legal trouble and harms way and NOT accusing me of falsehoods....just not attached to would bother me a GREAT deal, but I would take at least a little comfort that they are okay and HOPE that the future will bring about a positive change. But I think that sometimes 'stories' goes along with these things.....and this can hurt a person's reputation. Additionally, it is almost like a death of sorts....

    Jewels....I think many, if not most, adopted children are subject to Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Why? I don't know. I am thinking of re-reading the Primal Wound.

    Our case is that our adopted child is severally mentally ill and there are some attachment issues thrown into the mix as well.

    Its been a LONG TERM VERY difficult roller coaster.

    I do believe it is possible that having that attachment stuff added to the mix just things more complicated/confusing and frustrating. Also makes tx more difficult.

    But no doubt about it ALL of us here have suffered in our own way and have suffered GREATLY!
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I certainly think Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a serious issue for kids who are adopted when they are older. I also think that a kid who was adopted at birth can still have major adoption issues that are not actually Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I think this is true of my son. We adopted him when he was 4 days old. I believe he was very attached to us as a little boy and i can think of many examples of that. I also think though he was much more insecure than my daughter (who is also adopted). Many more fears as a child, much harder time with separation etc. I think adolescence brings in a host of issues for adopted kids because they are trying to figure out who they are and lets face it genetic history is a part of who we are. I am also struck by how many kids who were adopted have problems as teens... you see this in the numbers in therapeutic schools, and even on this board it seems like a disproportionate number of kids were adopted. So I do think adoption issues are a big issue for a lot of kids.... and not so much for others. I don't think we can call all of it Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) though.

    I have come to realize that I can live with my son hating me for the rest of his life and choosing not to have a relationship with me. I definitely don't want that. Yet if he is a productive member of society then I can accept that. I have a much harder time with the idea of him not making it at all. I do hope, and I think it is very possible maybe even likely, that when he grows up a little, is truly independent that he will come back to me in an emotional way. He is here now physically but I don't think either one of us would describe our relationship as close at this point. I want that back some day and still hold out hope that it will happen once he is really on his own.
  7. I know that a certain degree of "rebellion" can be considered normal by most for youngsters stepping into adulthood. That "normal rebellion" usually surfaces differently for children with various "conduct disorders" that we discuss on these boards.

    I believe that even if a child is not officially diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) they may have something within the "spectrum" of attachment difficulties.

    When my husband was trying to wrap his brain around our difficult child-s's behaviors I asked him to remember his own adolescence as a youngster raised by his step-father (who was the ONLY dad my husband ever knew!) I asked him if he ever remembered getting in his step-father's face stating something about him not being his "real Dad."

    I was raised by both my biological parents. I felt my mother in particular favored my older sibling frequently. It was more than a feeling. She did. It was wrong... but it is what it is. Did that affect my attachment toward my own bio-mom... to some extent, yes. No where nearly to the extremes of my Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids but when I consider my own experiences "on steroids" I can begin to understand the mental status of my adopted difficult child-s.

    Thanks for your input! I so totally appreciate your perspective from the "grown up" side of things!!!!!!!

    Our difficult child-s's behavior is far from honorable... there is more going on than them leading "productive unattached" lives. One of the key symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is they are aggressive against the parents who were there to raise and love them because they are upset at the "parents" who were not there in a healthy and loving relationship. Our children have been very aggressive against us. It is literally not safe for us to be in their presence until they come to their senses.

    You are right it would still be horribly painful for us as loving attached parents if the ONLY issue was they were simply not attached to us and living successful lives. I know you know there is much more to the story.

    You're Certainly not every adopted child develops Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) or even any form of attachment disorder. I do however personally believe many more adoptees certainly may have it to some degree than are currently diagnosed!!! You and Nomad are right to discuss genetic pre-disposition. I believe it all plays a part in our difficult child-s make up. Attachment, biology, genetics family history of mental illness and addiction... etc.

    Over all we don't believe our difficult child-s are on drugs... I do recognize it's possible for us to be in denial regarding that. After all, our daughter's meltdown was triggered by us asking about "legally obtained" drug-related-paraphernalia she was overtly displaying in our home. I believe it all was a manipulation tool she used to instigate a ruckus as is typical for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) behavior...

    Truthfully we cannot say for sure that she never did and still does not partake in illegal substances. We know she certainly does drink! Her longest lasting friends are her frequently drunk "drinking buddies" and all those relationships are very superficial.

    True, our difficult child's are not on skid-row... they are not squeaky clean either.

    Yes, I'm glad it's not any "worse" than it is...

    Could be worse, yes!

    Could be better, DEFINATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    TALAN...My heart goes out to you.
    Having lots of knowledge of the therapeutic world......this statement "
    I believe that even if a child is not officially diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) they may have something within the "spectrum" of attachment difficulties.
    is one that I have heard before and concur with when it comes to adoption and along with- our own adopted adult child's diagnosis....there are 'some' issues of attachment as well.
    A long time ago, one of the top psychiatrists in my town who I have known for years and has now become a biiiiig shot locally in the field once told me that she has noticed that her work with children/teens who are adopted tends to be more complicated than with other young people. Not always...but a tendency. I DO believe that attachment and/or abandonment issues might very well play a role.
    One doctor told us that she believed our daughter has few issues involving attachment. Another told me that few adopted children escape this is almost always present to a certain degree. If you combine this with a secondary really gets complicated.

    p.s. Since they are adults and in such an unhealthy state of mind....the distance between you certainly feels crummy, but is probably for the best at this time. Prayers for a shift in their perception....and good relations at some future point in time.
    Lasted edited by : Sep 20, 2010
  9. You are SO right Nomad!!!!! I'm grateful for the distance as painful as it is!!!! It is literally dangerous for us to be in their presence before they start walking in mental health again. husband and I pray for them day and night.

    We frequently say...

    "It's not that we hate them... we don't! It's not that we hate loving them... we don't!!! We DO HATE the pain associated with loving our mentally ill adoptees!"