Revisiting my thoughts on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by HopeRemains, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    Since I began my search on behavioral diagnosis's in children some years ago, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) has always stood out to me, in addition to ODD. (Neither of which is difficult child diagnosis'd with.) When I mentioned Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) to the psychiatrist, she dismissed it right away because he didn't "hurt animals" and she said it was too extreme for what we described to her in the initial 1 hour meeting. This was 2 yrs ago.

    Just over the past 5 months, difficult child has shown some new traits (hitting himself in the face when angry, threats to 3 yr old easy child of killing him *secret*, talk being a murderer and murderer talk, saying that I he is going to tell people I hurt him when we both know I didn't...) In addition to the normal meltdowns, bullying of me and easy child (and tries to bully husband, but husband is a big guy, not prone to being bullied) and the defecation and sneaking food issues; I am thinking that the psychiatrist should re-evaluate. Do any of you have experience with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) in a child? What were some of the behaviors that were real indicators for you? Is there a spectrum where Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is concerned, or is it true that since he doesn't torture animals this should be ruled out?

    difficult child's Mom was secretly a meth addict and (as far as my personal research goes) 100% narcissist. She raised him for the first year of his life while husband was at work and had nothing to do with him after husband got home. My thought is that she wasn't the most attentive while alone with him. If husband didn't realize that she was a meth addict for so long, what else was going on that he didn't realize? That throws red flags to me, along with matching almost every symptom for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) that I can find.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    My daughter's Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) did not involve hurting animals either. Your difficult child sounds a lot like her.
  3. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    JJJ- Thank you. I kinda shake my head at the psychiatrist's refusal of possible Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) because of that... thinking, way to hang your hat on the most severe symptom possible... Unexperienced as I was/am, I was doubtful of her then.
  4. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    JJJ- Was this Kanga that you are speaking of? Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) turned schitzoaffective?
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It is Kanga. She has a long litany of diagnosis

    Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety
    Major Depression
    Major Depression with Psychosis
    Bipolar, Depressive Type
    Bipolar, Mixed Type
    Bipolar with Psychosis
    Intermittent Explosive Disorder
    Oppositional Defiant Disorder
    Conduct Disorder
    Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
    rule out Dissociative Identity Disorder

    and that was just Axis I....on Axis II she has...

    rule out Personality Disorder (Borderline, Narcissistic, & Histrionic)
    Borderline Intellectual Functioning
  6. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    JJJ- Wow. What about siblings? How did this affect them?
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It traumatized them. Kanga was placed out of our home over four years ago, spent most of the 6 months prior to that in the psychiatric hospital. All sibling contact was cut off over 3 years ago. The older two asked if we could please take her pictures off the wall and start telling people we only have 3 children as they hated having to talk about her.

    Eeyore nearly had to be hospitalized as Kanga's 18th birthday approached because he was so sure that she would leave treatment and come find us and hurt us. Tigger is finally, in the last year, losing his fight or flight response to any raised voice. Piglet is outwardly fine.

    My experiences would lead me to get easy child out if there immediately. But only you can make that call.
  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I had horrendous guilt because I couldn't get her out of our house sooner. It took over a year for me to find the funding to get her out. I love my husband but had funding not come through with that last try, he was going to have to move out and take her with him.
  9. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    Since most of the things that feel the most dangerous to me have only began to occur recently, husband isn't taking it seriously. And even I'm not sure if it's just some kind of phase or he's realized that this will get him more attention, OR if this is just the new way his behaviors are going to be from now on and only get worse. The little one doesn't seem *scared* of difficult child, in fact he adores him despite the constant rejection and pushing and hitting, etc. I personally have a feeling that these more serious things were always just under the surface and he's controlled them or not known how to communicate them until now (now that he's older) for fear of consequences. It seems like he doesn't want to control them anymore is testing the waters to see how far he can go. husband is soft on these issues and I can see how that affects how far difficult child goes sometimes. difficult child is usually very good when he is grounded. But the minute he is not, he is back to his ways. He's been grounded a LOT lately. I think it's affectiveness is wearing thin.

    He stopped hitting me after I called the sherriff last year and they had a talk with him, but he's still hitting easy child, kicking holes in the walls and destroying things on purpose. And since he can't "hit" me anymore, he has upped his game on the stalking me and verbal attacks when husband isn't home. When Kanga was younger were her symptoms less severe?
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You may want to look up fetal alcohol syndrome as well. If she did meth while pregnant (which is not a good thing for a developing fetus) she most likely did not turn down alcohol by saying, "No, I'm pregnant and don't want to hurt the baby." Drug abuse to an unborn fetus can cause brain damage that can't be seen in any x-ray. It may be hard to know where Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) starts and drug effects come in.
    And I may also add that you don't know for a fact that he isn't harming animals. Probably not in front of you he's not and maybe he isn't. Perhaps he is nice to your least in front of you. But my Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) son did it to neighborhood animals until he finally cracked and killed our dog, claiming he just found the dog dead. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids are tricky and know how to front of adults.
    I'd say there is an equal chance though that the problems are from prenatal drug abuse as well as early neglect or even abuse that husband doesn't know happened while he was at work. We adopted a child who had severe Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), but we didn't know it for three years nor did any of his old foster parents of his social workers or even a psychiatrist. He always had such a good face for adults. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids can be extremely dangerous to other kids and I wonder if he ever hurt his little brother or acted out sexually on him.
    Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (the full spectrum of it) is a lot like adult psychopathy. Our Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) son was escorted out the door when we found out he was not only killing animals but sexually abusing our two younger kids. We've never seen him again. We never want to. It wouldn't shock me if I see him on TV as a murderer.
  11. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    Midwest Mom- We got a puppy a few months ago and I watch him very carefully around her (as carefully as I watch easy child). He basically treats the dog the same as he treats easy child. He will call her to him constantly, then push her away and yell at her when she comes. When she tries to play with him and he is preoccupied with tv, he just holds her head down hard without even looking at her and I have to watch for this type of behavior. But you are right in that I am not with him when he is outside and I do think that this summer he killed a baby bird. easy child is the one who told me they found a baby bird and then when I asked where it was, difficult child said it was dead, but easy child insists it WAS alive and I couldn't get a straight story out of them when I went back outside. There was another incident with some fallen baby birds (SOMEONE knocked the nest out of our tree... difficult child and his ex-friend did it... his "friend" is no longer allowed over here because I think she is straight up difficult child and very seriously so) then all of a sudden only one was there and it had been squished. I yelled at both of them because my guess is that they did it together or one was covering for the other one. Neither would fess up and claimed they had no idea how it had happened. I had actually forgotten about these incidents completely because I wasn't thinking Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) at the time and I really had no proof. Even husband was po'd about that squished bird though we don't know which one did it.

    I agree that I need to look into fetal alchohol syndrome as well. I think I have before, but my memory is very poor. I think it is highly likely that she was doing meth while pregnant- I know she was heavily on meth while pregnant with her two subsequent children- it was very obvious then. husband says that she wasn't much of a drinker, so he wasn't so worried about that. But the effects of a drug addicted mother are VERY likely in this situation. (We've told the docs about this, seems not to be a huge issue to them, or even of any concern at all...).
  12. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    Oh... and about the sexual nature of things... I have never seen him be sexual at all, unless his defecation is some sort of sexual thing. (Holding it in until he goes in his pants type thing, digging, etc...). My youngest seems to be more sexual? (At least, he is questioning parts of his body and differences between male/female, etc, already. I don't suspect sexual issues at ALL with difficult child, in fact, I've never seen him curious about himself or anyone else. They don't have time together for him to be doing this. Time enough alone to maybe get a kick or punch in (we're talking only moments alone, once in a great while, because I keep eyes out), but not things of a sexual nature.

    I've almost found it odd that there was no normal curiosity out of difficult child over the years.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hope, we never saw our child do anything either. Yet he was perping on our youngest two kids for the entire three years he was with us. He threatened to burn down the house and kill us all if they told and they were very young (4 and 6) so they didn't tell us until he was gone. They didn't tell us that he tried to strangle a friend's kitten either until he left. Or that they saw him strangle our dog. Or that he would hold a knife to them to make them act out sexually on one another and him. It was horrible. And no adult had ever guessed the degree of his sickness until he got careless and strangled a second dog when he and I were the only ones home. (He claimed he found it hanging from the top bunk by it's leash...) I still cry when I think about that. And my daughter kept getting bladder infections, which I found odd for a little one. It all came together and was shocking to us because he acted like the best little boy with the best manners and sweetest smile and he loved to hug us and say he loved us. He was quite an actor.
    Of course the difficult child killed the birds. And he is probably horrible to your dog when you are, say, in the bathroom. He's not that nice to him when you are looking, as it is. It's typical. Where there is death and heartache, your difficult child is always there. Coincidence? Don't buy into that. You have a dangerous child there who could hurt your younger one. Get away from him and save your easy child. You'll probably hear stories that will make you shudder once easy child is away from difficult child. He may have fetal alcohol, but he obviously has Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids do not have a conscience, much like adults with antisocial personality disorder.
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi Hope, One thing for sure, if you go to a typical psychiatrist or psychologist it is likely they will not diagnose Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) correctly. It is important to go to someone who works with people who have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). People who understand the many ways it can manifest. Just as in any mental health diagnosis one does not need to have all of the symptoms to have the diagnosis. Usually it is something like must have two of X from part B and four of Y from part A and Z has to happen before the age of W...... you get the idea. And within that yes, there is a range of severity. Your guy actually sounds right up there with pretty severe in some ways. If you had a gut feeling he was involved with the birds, he likely was. I can think of times I was upstairs and my gut said something was going on and I ran down and found my son breaking something or sounds....just had that feeling. There is actually a movie about a little girl from long ago where she killed baby birds.

    You can search the internet for attachment disorder therapy and see if there are any clinics in your area. Bottom line is you can't arrange any of it, right? If husband buries his head there is nothing you can do except keep easy child safe.
  15. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    This is scary.

    1. easy child is learning that people you love might hit you.

    2. It seems difficult child has at least some control and is choosing to hurt people.

    3. He is targeting you when there are no adult witnesses.

    Kanga got much worse as she got older. From 6-10, it was a random act only
    once in a while. At 10, things started to escalate. Her first psychiatric hospital stay, she was 11. She was in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) by 13.5.

    i would suggest implementing a safety plan. Lock up all knives, tools, etc. -- anything that can become a dealy weapon. Keep easy child under your direct, eyes on supervision at all times. Since husband has his head up his butt (as did mine back then), never leave both kids with him. Always take easy child with you, or hire someone to watch easy child at their house.
  16. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    MidwestMom- I am so sorry that those things happened to your children and pets. =( difficult child can be very charming here, too, when he wants something. He is ALWAYS very charming to other people. Such a smile that would light up the room and so attentive to them. I have always felt like it was all show when he does it with us. I know it is a show with others. I very rarely hear him genuinely laugh, though he laughs this very loud and long laugh often when he thinks something is supposed to be funny or to get attention- even the therapist noticed this once. I have also always thought he has absolutely no concious. But husband has, over the years, insinuated that I am wrong for thinking this way so many times... I don't even talk about those things to him anymore.

    I know that difficult child is more hurtful when no one is looking... he used to lure easy child into the bedroom by saying he wanted to play with him JUST to hurt him as soon as he was in there. This is when easy child wasn't telling on him everytime. I actually saw this happen more than once and realized that this is what he was doing. Once, I went into the bedroom, leaving the kids out here for less than a minute. When I came back out, difficult child had lifted easy child off of the ground by his head, and was squeezing easy child's head into difficult child's stomach as hard as he could, basically choking and smothering him at the same time. I hollared out when I saw it, and saw the redness of effort in difficult child's face and the intent to really hurt before he let him go and ask me "WHAT?!". He didn't cover his emotions before I saw it. I feel pretty foolish right now.

    The birds, the things he's done and said to easy child. I wonder why none of that had me ready to leave before, why didn't I feel the need to protect easy child more? They all just got jumbled in with all the other things that he does or were dismissed by husband as normal boy behavior. After the night easy child told me that difficult child threatened to kill him in his sleep, easy child has slept with us, with not a lot of argument from husband. It makes me think that even if husband won't admit that he thinks difficult child will hurt the little one, somewhere down deep he is fearful, too. I feel sick to my stomach.
  17. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    buddy- I have called many places, been the one who found any and all doctors... but husband has to be the one to make the effort. I finally found a place that I think will take things seriously and do a full neurological evaluation and spoke with the nurse for a long time on the phone. I called husband immediately and told him that was expecting his call, provided the number, etc. husband said he would call right then. Never did. Only now that I've told him that easy child and I will be finding alternate housing has he ever mentioned it, asking me for the number again. (But has still never called.) I didn't ask if they had experience with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (didn't cross my mind at that time), but she told me to call the police if I ever needed to for transfer to a psychiatric hospital when he was being violent. So they obviously have experience with violent children and take it seriously. Hopefully husband gets in there and doesn't sugar coat things.
  18. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    JJJ- Yes, easy child is learning that it's okay to be mean and violent to people you love. He used to have a problem with hitting, well, kinda still does, but not with kids as much now. He's not known anything else! I see him now pretending to be angry and mean for no reason, because he sees difficult child like that so often.

    I have had revelations where I find that difficult child can control behaviors, but doesn't want to. I have tried to not think in that vein, tried to see where it's something he cannot control, but there are times that I just can't get around the thought that he is intentionally doing things. His bullying is so calm and collected and taunting... it's only short rages in between the actual bullying. (Like... he'll take something of mine from in front of me and quietly sit right in front of me, giving me superior looks of satisifaction, smiling cruelly, while breaking it.) Those times he may not be in his right mind, but he isn't in an uncontrollable rage. He wasn't in a rage when he said he was going to say I hurt him, or when he was scratching himself. His eyes were ablaze with superiority and hatred when he was doing it.

    Yes, he is absolutely targeting me when there are no other adults. Almost every time now.
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I agree that these behaviors are not because he is totally "out of control".
    But it doesn't mean he is really "in control" either.
    As in... I'd be really surprised if HE knows "why" he does it. Most of these kids don't know why they do it... it's just become part of who they are. It's calculated, at some level, but motive isn't obvious. If he's been badly hurt (damaged as a young child), he may be paying that forward... and it isn't safe, and there are no easy answers.
  20. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    InsaneCdn- I agree, there is something there where he is not in his right mind, even while being calmly vindictive. And maybe he doesn't know why he is doing it, there are many things in his early years (though they continue with Biomom) that would lead him down this path. I've always struggled with the fact that he is so "perfect" with all other adults while out of our care. (Except for Biomom... she frequently calls in a panic because he is misbehaving/hurting his little brother over there.) I've attributed it to the fact that maybe he only does it at home with us because this is his safety zone and he can stop the act while he's here. It's got to be pretty tiring keeping that up for so long at school and other places.