Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by shamrock1269, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member

    I've written before about the young lady that was supposed to become my bonus child (stepchild). Tonight, I went over to her father (my fiance's) house.

    She was diagnosed today with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Her new psychiatrist told my fiance that we'd have to break it off.

    On one hand, I admire him for sacrificing for his child. On the other selfish hand, I'm devastated and angry, because I've just lost the man I love.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    HUH??? The child's psychiatrist told dad that he (dad) had to break things off with you? Did he give a reason?? I am maybe unaware of the treatment of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), but this sounds like very strange advice coming from the child's psychiatrist.

    I am sorry, I can tell you are in great pain. It just seems very strange, but I may be totally out of the know on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) issues.
  3. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member

    From everything I've read regarding Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) of it's major causes is the constant interruption in a child's primary caregivers. Another cause is a child's inability to develop an appropriate relationship with a primary caregiver.

    So, it stands to reason, that she needs to re-develop the relationship with her father, her primary caregiver.

    I don't know, I suppose I understand. I love him, and her and all his other children very much. I was fully prepared to be a consistent figure in her life, as well as an eager participant in her therapy. I kept asking him, "How is the loss of me, and my children, going to help her?" Some of it makes perfect sense, some of it doesn't.

    How about some irony....I'm the one who encouraged him to take her to a new therapist.
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I really think he is missing out on a positive influence for his kids, and on a possibly wonderful relationship for himself.

    Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is the diagnosis you give after you rule EVERYTHING else out. For about a year a doctor I still respect suggested my Wizard (asperger's, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)) was Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I thought about it, but we really were not dealing with that. It just didn't fit.

    Only he can say if it fits his child. Maybe cutting you out of his life is a way of making your life easier, and saving your children from any further trauma induced by his children?

    All I have to say is, {{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}}

    Take care of yourself and your own kids!
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Gosh, I don't know what to say. We can tell you that the doctor was awful quick to make a very serious diagnosis, that it really doesn't make sense to require a loving influence out of her life, that you were setting up to be a strong advocate for this child, etc.

    But in the end, what really matters is that your fiance has chosen to end the relationship and you are hurting. I am so sorry that it has come to this. I'm sure you and the children are devestated. Big hugs to you.

  7. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Shamrock - I'm so very sorry for this loss.

    I have only a passing familiarity with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) but I do find the therapist's advice rather odd. I certainly hope that there's some treatment going on here with the daughter, rather than just isolating Dad from *his* support.

    I guess there's nothing to be done for it. I'm sure your man is trying to make the very best decisions he can for his family. I hope that it works out, for all of you.

    A gentle hug to you.
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm so sorry. I agree with the others that the advice seems odd but I'm not an expert. Hugs for your hurting heart.
  9. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    My two cents is that if you take your child to a therapist who specializes in Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) there's a real good chance you're going to get a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). ALL of these disorders are strictly subjective because there is no way to objectively diagnose. And virtually all the DSM disorders are nothing more than a collection of behaviors, all of which can be found in more than one disorder. Add to that the simple fact that so much that has been seen as learned behavior is now being shown to be neurobiological -- a functioning of the brain rather than psychological. Keep in mind that in my first psychology class I was taught that autism was caused by cold, uncaring mothers and homosexuality was caused by controlling mothers. (It was always the mothers.)

    It's a dirty little secret that therapist/psychiatrist have their favorite diagnoses which are over represented in their practice. Studies have been done on this but I'm not going to dig any up. If you take a person reporting or exhibiting certain behaviors to a number of doctors/therapist, you will get a variety of diagnoses. Many doctors seem to have their "thing" which they see in many of their patients.

    I have two thoughts on this. One -- get another opinion. IIRC, this is the only therapist the child has seen who has made this diagnosis or even suggested it. Why accept it? And two -- is your fiance willing to so quickly accept the advice to break it off with you because he's overwhelmed and can't deal with the idea of combining families at this point?
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I find the therapist's advice rather odd as well, but if his daughter does indeed have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), the therapist is right to sound the alarm because it could have very, very serious consequences for both families, including Shamrock's daughters (which I believe are still at home?). I would have expected the therapist to suggest some serious counseling between the two of you instead of suggesting cutting it off altogether though.

    Ditto on the gentle hugs.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    HUMMMMM... I would have thought that slowing things down so the Dad can have more time to work through theraupuetic issues with the daughter and the families could combine more gradually would have been an option to consider. I don't know anything about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), though.

    Hugs to you- it sounds like maybe Dad is trying to accept and adjust to what is going on with his daughter and needs some space right now to think things through, in my humble opinion. I remember thinking once that if the psychiatrist said the color of our house appeared to be what is causing difficult child's cycling, the house would be painted a different color before I went to bed that night.

    My guess is that if Dad and difficult child work together on their (her) issues and your two's relationship was meant to be, it will work out a later point in time. I am sorry that this happened like this though, and your daughter's probably feel a jolt, too.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Shamrock...adding my hugs.
  13. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Maybe this is just not the time to get married, but a couple of years from now it will be? There is nothing that says you cannot continue to date, right? Just not merge households? If so, I can see the logic in that.

    It was terribly traumatic for difficult child when I got re-married. He acted up and out worse than he ever had in his life. Ultimately our marriage ended because of the stress it all put on a brand new marriage. And difficult child was rocked to his core by losing yet another male influence in his life. If I had to do it over again, I would have never married, just dated this man until difficult child was ready to move out on his own. Retrospectively my life, and difficult children, would have been so much better.

    Take some time to think all of this through. Sometimes marriage and the merge of households and siblings is not always the best thing - sometimes it is wise to wait until children are not involved.

  14. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Shamrock, I know very little about the treatment for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I'm just a Mom and have absolutely no personal experience dealing with a child that suffers from it. That being said, I'd be concerned that BC would suffer more to lose another caring adult in her life, as much as for the care you offer her plus seeing another commitment erased. Also, this sets up a pretty precarious situation for Dad, as he's just given a lot of his power away to his child. All she needs to do now is act upset every time Dad starts to live his own life a little. My uneducated gut tells me this is wrong.
  15. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    I know nothing about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) either. But breaking it off seems a bit extreme. I am with others who have said "can't you keep dating"? I mean if it's real, it will work and last, despite the circumstances.
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    WHAT? Was there a better explanation of you that factored into it?
    What did your fiance say? You're still getting married at some point, right? It's just not this minute.
    I feel like something's missing here. I just don't get it.
    So sorry.
  17. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member

    First, thank you for all the kind and wonderful words. It's been a difficult weekend, full of lots of wonderful moments. My initial posts were full of my heartbreak. This post hopefully will show a few more facts.

    The difficult child was diagnosed previously with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), ODD, ADHD, Bipolar, yadayadayada....You name it, she's been diagnosed. There have been several therapists that have said, "That's just her, she'll grow out of it". After much talking this weekend, he admitted that she had been diagnosed with this previously, and he wasn't ready to admit that she had this disorder. I understand that. He was hoping that medications, and love would see her through.

    As far as us, it's simple and logical. My girls and I live 30 minutes away. We visit 2 to 3 times a week, and spend most weekends over there. It's chaotic at best, and when he has all his kids, minus the 19 year old, it's 6 kids. Bed times are difficults, arguments frequent. That's not consistency. She starts all her therapy with developing a new a consistent routine. She needs to be able to count on certain things happening at certain times.

    This difficult child has spent her entire life making sure she survives. Mom worked nights, and came home and slept and left 2 infants to fend for themselves all day. Apparently there is some question as to her parentage as well. Mom dropped her off on my fiance's doorstep at 2 1/2 and said she didn't want them anymore.

    Then, fiance divorces wife number 2, and there's another interruption in her caregiver relationships. She lives in a constant mode of self-preservation. She obsesses over the next meal, the next present, the fairness of bedtime, who had more ice name it.

    So, bottom line....2 therapists recommended what we are now referring to as a "break". I'm not ignorant enough to believe that she'll get better in 2 months, but I'm hopeful that in 6 months, she may have made enormous stridds. Fiance and I have agreed that after our previous failed relationships, we also deserve a chance at happiness, and to put it quite frankly, I've never loved anyone as much as him.

    I said before that I admire what he's getting ready to do...he's looking at therapy 3-4 days a week, new medications, new techniques, new life essentially. How could I not love a man who's ready to do that for his child!

    So, again, I thank you all for the good and kind words. It all helped, and we've enjoyed out last weekend together as a family. I'll update as I know more.
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    You sound like a very strong person- I can't imagine how painful this must be for you and he does sound like a very caring father. I sincerely hope that each of you can take this time as a breather and use it to strengthen your individual relationships with your children. I still believe, really, if it was meant to last, it will and the entire family will be much stronger for this. That doesn't mean that I understand everything the therapist is suggesting, just that you both sound like remarkable people who really are following the "right" parts of your hearts.

    Please keep us posted...
  19. bran155

    bran155 Guest


    You are AMAZING!!! Just as much as you admire him for his sacrifice, I admire you for your selflessness. The mature manner in which you are handling this speaks volumes about your character. Kudos to you!!!

    I am so sorry for your loss. Hang in there, you never know what the future holds. You know that saying: If you love something set it free, if it comes back to you then it was meant to be...... (something like that lol)

    Keep your head up. :)
  20. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I'm sorry for your pain - truly it's devastating as a parent to have to make a choice of this nature.

    Saying that, I am the parent of 2 difficult children with severe Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD); we brought these children into our lives going on 8 years ago. And it has been a huge & nightmarish roller coaster ride. Not that we didn't & don't have our moments of joy.

    BUT we weren't trying to marry & combine 2 families at the time. As the parent of attachment disordered children I can see & understand what the psychiatrist or therapist was recommending. The merging of 2 families along with an attachment disordered child makes this situation too volatile; too fragile.

    in my humble opinion, dad & difficult child daughter will have a great deal of attachment based therapy ahead & then there will be family therapy after that. The attachment issues will have to be dealt with.

    My tweedles had to go back to day one - at almost 7 years of age we had to swaddle them in blankets & rock them. I bottle fed my kt until she was almost 9; she had a pacifier for comfort until almost 10. I fed both wm & kt with a baby spoon & played the games we play with babies while feeding them. We reparented (when tolerated) through some of the most important developmental stages. I had to make kt & wm believe that I loved them & would keep them safe; that was a hard sale after years of neglect/abuse. It took & still takes time.

    We dealt & still deal with some pretty significant PTSD.

    Though all of this I'm still not "real mom". The tweedles have been with me more than half their young lives & I'm still not real mom. They, for the most part know, that I will keep them safe & that I love them. But there will always be this level of "mistrust" for any caregiver.

    I don't say all of this to discourage you - rather to let you know that now probably isn't the time to marry. I'd wait & see how the therapy between difficult child & her father goes. In the meantime, I'd study up on ways you can nurture as a step parent & only do so when difficult child can/will tolerate it.

    It's not fair for your life to be disrupted to this level - however this difficult children life was severely disrupted by a bio mom who made some hellish parenting decisions for her children & your fiance' is left holding the bag.

    I'm truly sorry.