I'm reading an insane amount of literature in a very short period of time so I will be adequately prepared to help Sissy when she returns. (ETA is late March - insurance only gives us 120 days wether she's better or not) That means I have to be better. nice.
One of the many texts I'm reading address an issue we seem to be having while trying to help people understand what is happening with our family. It seems that despite our best efforts, our communication is still generating confusion, hurt feelings and misunderstandings. That's not our intent but we are also having problems helping people understand that our intent is not to be hurtful, rather to be 100% invested in our family's needs right now which includes Wonder Girl and Aspie Boy (who has his own set of unique issues) and me and The Dad. It is so easy for parents to overlook themselves but we must.be.first! Always!!!! If something will be an energy drain for The Dad and I, we can.not.do.it. We have to save ALL of our energy reserves for the children and we need to store up insane amounts for Sissy's return. She's going to drain our energy account when she returns and we know that so we have to be prepared with a very full energy account.
Somehow, even typing all of that I know that those words will be lost on our loved ones that aren't walking these miles in our shoes. Despite my best efforts to hone my communication skills, I still feel helpless to express what we need. The Dad said it so perfectly the other day, i wrote it on the white board in the kitchen and have yet to erase it, "We need people to have compassion and empathy even if they don't understand." Well said, Dad!!! xxooxxoo to my excellent spouse.
I was also trying to figure out what it is about The Dad's mom that makes my heart sing instead of turn sour and it's that "she makes no demands of us and trusts us implicitly."
Here's the cruxt of the matter, as parents, we are not doing anything illegal, immoral or abusive to our children. Indeed, those things have already been done to RAD kids. On the contrary, we are doing everything possible to HELP our children. Sure, the help our children need requires unconventional methods but why does that matter if in the long run we have safe, happy, healthy, mentally stable children that eventually become functional adults in society? The end justifies the means and furthermore, I'm not questioning anyone else's parenting skills (provided that they are not doing anything immoral, illegal or abusive.)
Then I read this passage in Katharine Leslie's book, "Coming to Grips with Attachment" (pg 130) I do not know that we can ever hope to have the complete support of people who do not live with an attachment-challenged child. I've gotten over t. I say to my friends and family, "You can feel bad for our children, but I hope you also feel bad for me and my spouse." I explain to them that even though what we are doing may not feel right to them, it is right. And if they can not stick with the plan we won't be able to spend much time together. A lot of parents tell me that even though their family and friends think they are not parenting their attachment-challenged children properly, these smae fmily members and friends are not interested in giving it a try when offered the chance."
[aside: Leslie recommends Dan Hughes' book, "Building the Bonds of Attachment" to help address the challenges famiily and friends pose to us and how to mange these problems. If anyone has this book and would be willing to loan it (I'll pay S&H) please let me know!]
To conclude, the part where Leslie says, "and if they can not stick with the plan we won't be able to spend much time together" really resonates with me. Not because i'm being a meany but because it gives me the freedom and the guilt-free privelege to say that unsupportive responses will drain my energy account and Sissy needs a lot of my energy. I also need to take it one step further and say that if they can not be 100% verbally supportive, I will have to choose the same recourse. That includes no unreasonable requests of our time and energy (it's not like we haven't spelled it out for everyone that Aspie Boy and Sissy can not do conventional things that healthy children of their age can do), no anger, no sighs of discontent or looks of disdain or disapproval and no demands of explanations (I'll just angrily shove a list of books under your nose). All of those things drain my energy account and for mine and Sissy's sake, I can not abide by it any more. Even if that means I'll be stepping on toes and causing other people pain. It's not intentional, it's survival for our family. We are simply taking an unconventional path toward healing for our family that is not illegal, immoral or abusive. I make no further apologies or exceptions.
Lastly, for my readers that are not RAD parents, it might be best to say to you that if you are going to try to figure out RADs, don't. The very nature of this disorder is mental disparity and even insanity. That which is unexplainable or incomprehensible to a sane mind simply can not be explained or rationalized, it is futile to try. The best a RAD parent can do is attempt to rewire the RAD brain with paterning, modeling, love and any unconventional or insane tool at our disposal. The best a RAD parent can do to survive this insanity is to laugh, hug and be reminded 12 times a day that they are amazing, wonderful, beautiful people that did nothing to earn their child's hate and malice or the disdain from the friends and family that do not understand.