Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Unattached Parent

There are times when I catch myself becoming unattached to my boys with RAD. I distance myself out of fear of hurt. Or sometimes the hurt is too much already and I just back off and try not to care. There thoughts and behaviors make me, in a way, unattached myself. My own little version of attachment disorder. Much of this can stem from our own past hurts. We all have had our ability to love and trust shaped by past relationships. How much we have dealt with and moved on from our past hurts determines how much we can attach.

When the fear or sadness swells up in response to their words or actions it not only hampers our ability to attach to our kids, it makes it more difficult for them to attach to us.  Dealing with past hurt is important for parents.  If some past hurt keeps coming up for you it may be time to find someone to talk you through it and work on it.

I find the best ways to keep from having those defensive feelings is to learn not to take their actions personally.  Get into the habit of saying "Don't take it personally. It is not about me." over and over to yourself when they are acting out. This is about their past hurt. They are acting out in fear.

Having the courage to deal with past hurt in your life can help you be a better parent. If we expect our kids to deal with their past, we should have the courage to do so ourselves!

Have a healing day!

13 comments:

LemonyRenee' said...

Excellent post. Thank you. This is definitely where I have been for quite some time. I read about healing these kids, but I feel like I need healing myself. Without that, I don't have the tools or the desire to give what my RAD child needs.

A lightbulb went on recently for me. My RAD kid's #1 means of throwing up a barrier is the silent treatment (in the extreme). Absolutely shutting down two sentences into any conversation. No answer, etc. Is it just a coincidence that this was my mother's means of punishment? My mother locked me out, verbally, for months at a time. I vividly remember the 6 months that she refused to talk to me . . . when I was 12. Perhaps if I begin to heal from those wounds, my daughter's actions (or lack thereof) will not get to me so deeply.

Thank you for addressing this.

Lisa said...

Such a great post! Thanks Brenda! I just did a post to link up to this.

marythemom said...

I sooo agree. Now I just need to work harder on doing it!

Mary in TX

peggysue said...

Great post. I agree. I find myself 'shutting down' sometimes. This past weekend we had to go out of town for the second weekend in a row and I was very grumpy and snappish . . . figured out on my own it was because I was absolutely dreading another weekend trip in the car being 'Invisible Woman' and having my daughter find every opportunity she could to disrespect, hurt or ignore me. I had to get over it and put it in the past or it affects my bonding and then consequently hers. I think the theory you have is a great one, I think as humans it is challenging sometimes to put it into practice.

MomInTheTrench said...

I've been thinking about this a lot now that my son's hurtful behaviors have dissipated somewhat. I'm still holding back out of fear.

I am "unattached" not by trauma from my past, but from baggage between me and his past. I'm working on a post about this.

Good post.

J. said...

Me 5, well said... as usual!

Kathy said...

This post was so accurate it is scary. I still resent that I adopted more children to love and be loved. And they just don't seem to want to be loved or give love. Ooops! So it's been natural to back off to lessen the hurt. So what do I do now? If this adoption was a marriage, it would be over. Any ideas?

Simply Moms said...

http://attachinghearts.blogspot.com/2009/07/phileo-2.html
Dawn

Brenda said...

Kathy,

I guess my thought is, what would you do if they had cancer? You would love them as they are and get treatment. That is what we do even though it is very hard. They do not want to love you back because they are afraid of love. Our job is to teach them love is safe.

BeckyJoie said...

This is a very good post. I agree with it. It's human nature to protect oneself but it takes 1 Cor. 13 love to overcome it.

balujan29 said...

I am agree with you.

Kathy said...

Thanks Brenda,
It's actually been a good week after such a horrific few months. I'm grateful for every moment. I've had this child for 8 years now, and sometimes I need to breakdown just to start over again, I guess. Anyway, things are not so emotional this week. Sorry to get so dramatic and all. We're starting over (again.)

Valerie said...

That is definitely how I get as well. But what seems to help me is remembering when he was a baby. So I look at his 7 yr old still little arms and legs and toes and fingers, and that helps me to remember his innocence and I am able to snap out of it. Most times. Sometimes I just want to run away. Or put a movie on and let it entertain him while I do my own thing. I get this way more so since my husband is deployed and I've been doing this by myself for a year.