Getting used to our new normal

It’s been a while since I last posted anything here.  Sorry about that.  We’ve had some job changes and life has gotten a little crazy.

The good news is that I am working in a school library again and I love it!  The kids at this high school are so great and the staff is amazing.  I finally found a great place to work.

So lately, the subject of Reactive Attachment Disorder has reared it’s ugly head at home.  AD is not attaching to the family and it bothered me.  A lot. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t treat me like a mom.  She would challenge my mothering skills like I’ve never seen before.  She didn’t care anything about me and it hurt badly.  I thought that since she wanted a family and we stepped up to the plate, it would be a slam dunk.  Yeah, no.

She has RAD, ADHD and PTSD- all stemming from her terrible past.  Her bio mom did not let her “attach” which means that as a baby, her mother did not pick her up when she cried, didn’t feed her and essentially abandoned her.  There are many holes to the story, but we’re trying to piece it together to understand it better.  Now that she has a mom, there is no real attachment to me.

She prefers my husband over me for everything.  He thinks I’m being too sensitive but she doesn’t talk to me, ask for advice, or do what I ask her to do.  She is overly friendly with strangers and it’s fake emotionally.  I’m learning that she cannot do anything emotional towards me because her mother did not show her love and affection, and subconsciously she resents me and treats me as such.  But I also know that she does it unintentionally and she just can’t show compassion or attachment.

She is socially and emotionally immature.  She will be going to high school in the fall and she is definitely not ready for it.  She still can’t take a shower correctly, tell time or speak clearly.  Even though she’s been taught by us for almost 3 years now.  It’s incredibly frustrating that she makes the same dumb mistakes over and over. She is irresponsible and has a terrible time remembering anything, at least she claims when it’s convenient for her.  She has to stay on a strict schedule or she cannot handle it.  She gives us the “deer in the headlights” look when we ask her to be flexible on anything.

I am desperately afraid for her future.  I cannot see her as an adult even though she is a few short years away from it.  I know we’ve only had her for 2 years as ours, 3 years in our house so not enough time has passed for any real change to occur. She is in therapy and her therapist is using EMDR therapy on her to help her deal with the pain in the past and allow her brain to learn new things.  So far, her brain has been in survival mode, incapable of learning anything social or emotional, or how to attach to a family that loves her.

I have been reading a lot on the RAD diagnosis and there is so much more to learn.  It explains quite a bit of what she is dealing with and how we can help her to grow up and become a successful adult.  Talking to her as I do our other daughter in a logical manner will not help her at all.  Much to my chagrin, everything I’ve done so far hasn’t worked.

The Institute for Attachment and Child Development has been very useful in learning on how to not let her actions affect me personally.  You can check it out here:  http://instituteforattachment.org/

I pray things get better before she hits the terrible teenager moods and actions.  This is going to be a long process.  But, I’m learning.

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