Thursday, May 10, 2018

8 Ways to Help Families Who Have Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder


There is a horrific facebook video that the Post Institute put out recently. This is what they said:

Trigger warning! A friend of mine who is a teacher shared this. She shared it to help remind her fellow teachers of the source of distrust and reactivity of some students. 
It’s heartbreaking when we see with our eyes. There is benefit in allowing it to break your heart a little.


The video is from a nanny cam that was set up, and caught the nanny aka "a primary caregiver," throwing, beating, kicking, and stepping on a toddler. It is horrifying and I was immediately sobbing. The sharing of it by Post was to remind teachers (or clergy, friends of families who have a child with RAD, etc) why some children might be acting the way they are. It is not meant for families who have kids with RAD. We know (or suspect) what happened to make our kids the way they are. But maybe those family's tribes need to be graphically reminded why so many abused kids go on to abuse others.

Their facebook community was up in arms, furious that they would post such a horrendous thing. People were in tears, not understanding why they would put that out into the world.

I understand why they posted it--because people don't get it. Teachers don't get it. Churches don't get it. Family members don't get it. Friends don't get it. Unless you are a parent of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) you don't fully understand the severity of a) what kind of abuse these kids might go through (not all kids with RAD were abused) and b) what might happen after (not all kids who were abused have RAD.)

My heart breaks for this child in the video and what this will likely do to her as she grows. It's very possible that she will never feel safe again--and then...how will she cope? Will she shut down and never return to who she is in her soul? Or will she heal and go on to change the world? 

My dream for her and all the others out there is that someone will scoop her up and hug her tight and that she will learn to accept that love, even want it, and go on to heal the world in her own way. I wish that for my own daughter who was hurt by someone before she came to us.

As parents of children with RAD we try scooping, loving, and connecting but it turns out, "just loving them more" and "more connection" isn't always enough--it can make some of these severely traumatized children more afraid and they lash out in even scarier ways.

Someone recently told me this: Let's say you are a child who has lived all of your life in a loving family. Suddenly, you are yanked out and placed in a meth house. Everyone tells you this new life is okay, how lucky you are. Therapists tell you this life is "normal."

See where I'm going with this? Now, let's say you're a kid from an abusive home. You've only ever known abuse. Your mother was abused while she was pregnant with you. Literally, from conception, you have only known abuse. Suddenly, you are yanked out and placed in a loving home. Everyone tells you this new life is okay, how lucky you are. Therapists tell you this life is "normal." How can anyone expect that these kids can just put it all behind them and move on into their new lives, accepting love and safety as the norm?

If only loving them was all that they needed. What happened to these children is so horrific that "just" love isn't enough. They need so much more help. If you are like most people, you want children to succeed. Your heart cries out when you hear the stories of abuse and neglect.

Your empathy is your strength--you can help! Let your heart cry and then learn more. There are so many ways to help families who have children with RAD. Here are 8 simple ways to help:

1. Listen. The next time a parent complains about their kid, just listen. No advice is needed (unless asked for.) You don't know what's going on in that house, even if you live in that house. Many fathers have no clue what's happening in their own home because the abuse doesn't happen when he's there.

2. Support. Help brainstorm. If you're given permission, share their story, ask for help. Start a gofundme so they can get the therapy they need--the whole family needs it, not just the child with RAD.

3. Share what you're learning with others. Tell the stories you've heard (but don't use names or locations.) Stories change lives. The people who love and trust you, will believe you. That belief spreads and makes a big difference in the lives of RAD families.

4. Accept that mental health is an issue that touches every family tree.

5. Set aside judgement. Just for today, set aside judgement when out in the world. Watch this and have a giggle :-)

6. Offer to take the child/ren with RAD so the parents can be with their other children for a few hours. 

7. Have extra money? (Yep, believe it or not, many people do!) Help out a family who has a child with RAD. Find people who work with RAD families and donate to them. Here are a few:

-RAD Advocates. 3 RAD moms started a nonprofit to help RAD families find the services they need.

-Discovery Horse. Sara is an amazing coach who works with children with RAD and RAD families using the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method and Natural Lifemanship principles. You can donate to her work by clicking here. Make sure you put "Discovery Horse" in the description box.

-The Mother Ranch. A RAD mom (Is it tacky for me to add myself? I've decided no! :-)) who supports RAD moms and glass children in their quest for healing trauma, using the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method and art therapy principles.

-Know others who help support RAD families? Good! Give to them!

8. If you are falling back on the old, "Kids are resilient--they'll bounce back no matter what happens to them," check out this study done by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente--it's all about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and it's eye opening.


Parents of kids with RAD: You have the right to know your children's background and feel horrified and sad and angry...

and

you have the right to feel safe in your own home. Your other children and pets have the right to feel safe. Just because you understand the abuse that happened to your child with RAD doesn't mean that you have to accept abuse from your child with RAD.

I wish someone had told me this when I was in the trenches.

You and your entire family deserve to be safe. How that looks may or may not be what you expected.


Are you a RAD parent looking for support? Join the facebook group the Underground World of RAD We are a group of RAD parents and caregivers who insist on safe and nonjudgemental support. In-person groups spring out of this larger group all the time (those are the best!)

Are you a RAD mom looking for in-person support? Join the facebook group RAD Mom Summer Camp! Wishing you could just get away from it all and relax? This summer there are two camps held at my Colorado ranch!


Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, artist of 30 years, and Reiki Master. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one with Reactive Attachment Disorder and one "glass child"), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

RAD Mom Summer Camp is here!

My sweet husband, an engineer, says, "It's time to shoot the engineer and release the design." LOL I've been working on this for weeks!

Here's the flyer, feel free to share!:


Click flyer to see a larger version!
Scroll down for details.







































And here are the details:


"When can I register?"

Registration (through PayPal) will open on Friday, April 6 at 6pm Mountain Time. 


"How many moms per camp?"

10 moms per camp.


Facilities

The Mother Ranch is a 15 acre working ranch in Longmont, CO. Attached to the ranch house is a large apartment with my office, group room, fully stocked kitchen, dining room, large art room, and 2 full bathrooms. This is where we will be cooking, eating, and hanging out during free time (along with outside space of course!)


Discounted Private Coaching

I have set aside days on either side of each session for private coaching clients from the retreats. If you decide to come into town early or leave late, please schedule a private Equine Gestalt Coaching session with the horses and me. You won't regret it! 
My normal rates are $125/hr and $50 for each additional 30 minutes. 
Your discounted rate is $100/hr and $25 for each additional 30 minutes.
Private Coaching days:
Session 1: Thursday, May 10 and Monday, May 14
Session 2: Thursday, July 5 and Monday, July 9
Session 3: Wednesday, August 1 and Monday, August 6


Group time

Summer session groups will be held in the coaching barn with the horses nearby, fall and spring sessions could be inside or outside depending on weather.


Food

A fully stocked kitchen will be ready and waiting for you! 

Breakfast is on your own and simple: cereal, toast, yogurt, fresh eggs from our chickens. 

Lunch is on your own during free time in the afternoon: sandwich fixings, chips, fruit, cookies, etc. Think of the lunches your mom made for you, that's the kind of stuff we'll have on hand.

Snacks, yes! Snackie foods are a must! And chocolate! MUST HAVE CHOCOLATE.

Nearly all of the mothers in the RAD Mom Summer Camp Facebook group have expressed interest in cooking dinner together. Please inform me ahead of time if you have "food issues" as my mom would say :-) My "food issue" is gluten so I understand. I also tend to bring a lot of my own snacks to events so I'm always safe. I will work with each group via group email to preplan their 2-3 dinners so I know what to buy (2 dinners for 3-day camps, and 3 dinners for 4-day camps.)


Free time

During this time you can just relax, have lunch, get your included massage, read a book or nap in a hammock under the trees, or just hang out and talk. It's up to you!


Goat Yoga, Transformational Breathwork, Massage, Art--all included!

Goat yoga is just a gentle yoga class with goats in the barn with you. Some people are yogis and some aren't. You are welcome to bend and stretch or just sit and snuggle a goat. The choice is yours! Either way, at the end of the hour you'll have a smile on your face. I always get asked this so I will answer here: No, I've never been peed or pooped on or seen it happen to anyone (doesn't mean it won't!) It will probably happen to your mat (just flip them over if it does) but don't worry, I scrub them after camp!

Transformational breathwork is a gentle way to get back in touch with your body and enter that creative, in-touch-with-Spirit zone. Mary Kennedy is our facilitator.

Massage is included for each mom! They will be scheduled once you've registered.

Art--I've been an artist for 30 years. I'm happy to "play" with anyone who would like to :-) Whatever we create during free time, it will be fun and informal and anyone can join in! Maybe you'll learn how to needle felt, or create a vision board, or paint a mandala rock to remember your experience here on the ranch!


Will there be more camps this year?

When these fill, I have the ability to add a few in the fall. 


"Why so few? So many RAD moms need this!"

There aren't a ton (yet!) because I started planning 2018, last year and at that time, RAD Mom Summer Camp was still just a dream. I'm not holding out on you, I just filled up most of my summer with children's camps and art classes through the Longmont Rec Center. 
2019 will be a different story!

Airport & Transportation

Denver International Airport (DIA) is about 40 minutes away.

Car Rentals at DIA

Green Ride Shuttle 

Longmont Shuttle 


Lodging


2 minutes from the Mother Ranch:

Super 8 Longmont, Highway 287 and Highway 66, recently renovated and doesn't look like a Super 8, check out the pictures on their site!



5-10 minutes from the Mother Ranch:


Victoria Inn, 2400 17th Ave., Longmont



15 minutes from the Mother Ranch:

Ellen’s B & B, 700 Kimbark St., Longmont

Thompson House Inn, 537 Terry St, Longmont

Best Western, 1900 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont



20 minutes from the Mother Ranch:

Springhill Suites, 1470 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 1355 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Courtyard by Marriott, 1410 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Residence Inn, 1450 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Candlewood Suites, 1340 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Hampton Inn, 850 S. Main St., Longmont



About 25 minutes from the Mother Ranch

Niwot Inn, 342 2nd Ave., Niwot, CO. 


Other options:





Staying on site. 
As most of you know, my dream is to offer glamping (glamour+camping) someday. I can't wait! For now though, we offer two options for those that would like to stay on the ranch. There are two full bathrooms in the apartment that you are welcome to use for showers, etc. but you must supply your own towels.

No matter which option you choose, hotel, B & B, tent camping, or motor home, know that we will be together all day and into the evening--we have to have campfire time and s'mores! 

Camping:
If you are a camping kind of person, and would like to stay on site, you are welcome to bring your own gear: tent, bedding, sheets, blankets (50 degrees at night even in the winter), towels, etc. Whatever you'd bring on a normal camping trip and set up camp here on the ranch. The cost for that is $20 per person, per night. There are two full bathrooms in the apartment that you are welcome to use for showers, etc. (Air mattress tip, place a blanket on top of air mattress and under your bedding. The ground temp will be very cool and air mattresses suck the warmth right out of your body!)

Motor homes and camp trailers:
You are welcome to bring these, just know that there are no dumping facilities here. You can plug into 110 with your extension cord. The cost for that is $20 per person, per night. There are two full bathrooms in the apartment that you are welcome to use for showers, etc. 

There are places that you can rent motor homes in the area, do a google search. Remember you have to be able to drive them to get them here! Also, "sleeps 8" probably means 2 per mattress. Do some research. We found some rentals on craigslist too.

If you have other questions, let me know!

3 and 4 day camp schedule (subject to change of course since it's only April 3rd!)


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Who are the "Glass Children"

Click on infographic to see a larger version.




Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, artist of 30 years, and Reiki Master. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one with Developmental Trauma Disorder aka Reactive Attachment Disorder and one "glass child"), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations DTD/RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of DTD/RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Oprah Winfrey and Developmental Trauma on 60 Minutes

There was a lot of hype, and the Underground World of RAD was excited about the 60 Minutes episode that aired last night 3/11/18. Oprah Winfrey was on board! She was presenting information about developmental trauma! We mothers of children with Developmental Trauma* had high hopes that our story would finally be heard! 

If only it were that simple. We know, better than anyone, that our stories are not simple. Life with a child with Developmental Trauma Disorder/DTD aka Reactive Attachment Disorder/RAD is anything but simple. Even the names aren't simple!

So, 60 Minutes and Oprah had to start somewhere. And where they started was at the beginning. What is Developmental Trauma? What creates it? Oprah brought in her own background of abuse to help tell the story. She hit important points:

• Introduced the public to the concept of Developmental Trauma. Didn't mention Reactive Attachment Disorder/RAD--which I believe is a huge step forward for everyone. RAD needs to be taken out of the DSM (manual used to diagnose mental health disorders). This disorder needs to be described in full and the DSM needs to be using DTD instead of RAD. Therapists using the DSM to diagnose would have a much clearer picture.
• Introduced Dr. Bruce Perry and his work.
• Brought Oprah's power and influence to the field.
• Touched on Trauma Informed Care and two of the places that are teaching it.

What the episode didn't (understandably) delve into, or even touch on:

• Loving parents (often adoptive but can also be bio, step, or foster) who are raising children with DTD/RAD and who no one believes because the behaviors of these children are confusing and triangulating.
• While the 2,000 children at Saint A are being given true "wrap around services" (everyone in contact with the children are on the same page and have been trained in trauma), the families who have children with DTD/RAD are not. We are still struggling with getting anyone to believe us, let alone help us, because there is a:
• Lack of Trauma Informed Care training within the community: schools, health professionals, churches, adoption agencies, family and friends.
• Yes! Relationships! But what about when the child with DTD/RAD is severe and is physically, psychologically, verbally, and sometimes even sexually abusive to his/her family? When living with these children, safety is above all else.
• Even if we had true wrap around services for our children with DTD/RAD--what about the rest of the family that has been hurt? DTD/RAD moms are targeted and siblings (aka Glass Children) as well--they need massive support too. (Take the Glass Child test here.)

It seems DTD/RAD moms feel a sense of...excitement that Oprah shed ANY light on it and a sense of resignation that it didn't go where we needed it to go. This just touched the tip of the iceberg. 

I'm choosing to focus on the incredible fact that Oprah started the conversation within the public realm! I hope she continues. I plan on sending her information myself! Also, I hope that all of the DTD/RAD moms who spoke out after the Florida shooting will continue to do so. I believe that together we can make a difference.

60 Minutes--watch Oprah's segment focused on Developmental Trauma here.  
It's 13 minutes long.

Oprah talks about the 60 Minutes episode on Developmental Trauma
 

Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, artist of 30 years, and Reiki Master. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one healthy and one with DTD/RAD), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations DTD/RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of DTD/RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.




* Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) aka Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

How does Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) Develop?


A child with RAD endures enough fear to change the way their brain develops.

Coming from a loving family, it’s hard to imagine how an innocent child can become abusive. As adoptive parents we’re told, “These children have come from hard places.” and yet, it’s still hard to understand what exactly creates children who harm their family members.

So, let's find out about one of the many ways this happens--come with me…


A beautiful baby boy is born, ten perfect fingers, ten perfect toes. A miracle. His mother, who is supposed to love him more than life itself—hurts him, or his mother, who is supposed to love him more than life itself, doesn’t or can’t protect him from abuse.

He cries, but no one comes to feed, change, rock, or soothe. If they do come, his life gets a lot worse. He learns to be silent. He learns that no one will help.

He’s two now. He doesn’t speak. He only hears furious screaming at home. It’s dangerous to make any noise at all. He sits in the shadows, making himself as small as possible.

The massive growth his brain should be doing during this time, slows. Some areas don’t develop at all.

He’s three years old. Nothing he can do can make the fear stop. There is no hope. Time crawls by and the only thing he know is that life is full of horror and the one who should love him, caused it—either directly or by not protecting him from it.

He should have learned connection while being fed, looking deep into his mother’s eyes. He didn’t. 

He should have learned laughter and giggles while playing peek-a-boo with his mom. He didn’t. 

He should have learned that his cries meant something to someone and been held, fed, changed, rocked. He didn’t. 

He should have learned that he meant something, but he didn’t.

What he did learn is that the natural love a child has for his mother only equals abuse and terror. So much terror that it feels like he might die from it.

Eventually, if he's fortunate, someone notices and he’s removed from his mother. He’s placed into a foster-adopt home with a family who immediately falls in love with his cherubic face and who knows that children should be cherished. This child, who has been bathed in fear his entire life, comes into a loving and healthy home. He has experiences he’s never known. Kind, soft words. A warm bath. Clean, dry clothes. As much food as he can eat. He is terrified. What does this mean? At least before he knew what to expect. He has never known love, has never known stability or health. What does he know?

A mother’s love is untrustworthy and terrifying.

His adoptive1 mother quits her job to stay home with him. The family showers their new child with love. Younger and older siblings want to hold and snuggle the tiny toddler. He recoils in horror.

He can’t make eye contact because no one taught him how.

A gentle scolding and he stares off into space, going within to hide.

He rarely cries. Instead he screams. For hours. Every day. For months. His “fury” is evident but no one really understands—he’s not furious, he’s terrified. He can't connect because any connection to mom threatens his instinctual sense of survival.

When it comes to mom and the people, pets, or things that mom loves, he hurts like he’s been hurt and shows no remorse or empathy. His brain didn’t develop in that area.

His behaviors are brushed aside because he’s a child and crashing, breaking, kicking, and hitting happens. But no, not really, not like this.

As adoptive mothers, we are told to, “Love them more. Hold them more. Spend more time.” No one tells us that for some of these children a mother’s love creates a deep, irreparable terror. No one tells us that the more we show our love for these extremely traumatized children, the worse they get and the more terrified they are.
 





Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, artist of 30 years, and Reiki Master. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one healthy and one with RAD), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.




___________
1Children with RAD can be bio or step but are most often adopted.

Friday, March 2, 2018

What is trauma?

I most often talk about trauma in reference to children who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and the families who raise them but I'm often asked, "Well, what exactly constitutes a trauma?"

Psychological trauma is an individual's experience of a one-time occurrence or ongoing condition where:
1. The individual cannot integrate their emotional experience (overwhelm) or
2. The individual experiences a threat to life, body, or sanity.1

Common examples:
  • Experiencing war as a soldier or close to home
  • Assault: physical or sexual 
  • Domestic violence: experiencing directly or witnessing2
  • Adult abusing child: physical, psychological, sexual
  • Natural disasters 
  • Terrorist attack
Less common examples:
  • Witnessing3 death or injury
  • Child on child abuse: physical, psychological, sexual
  • Divorce
  • Adoption, even as an infant. (Loss of bio family at best, or worse, the child is removed from the bio home because of abuse or neglect.)
  • Neglect: emotional and physical
  • Verbal abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Incest 
  • Nontraditional domestic violence (where a child harms the family): experiencing directly or witnessing2
  • Medical interventions
You may be thinking, "Oh please, my parents divorced and I'm just fine." Your point is valid--for you. Here's the thing about trauma though: it's a subjective experience of an objective event. Not everyone responds to an event the same way. Two people can experience the exact same thing, one will walk away unscathed and the other will be traumatized.

The more powerless you feel in a frightening situation, the more traumatized you will be. 

Psychological effects are likely to be most severe if the trauma is:
  1. Human caused 
  2. Repeated 
  3. Unpredictable 
  4. Multifaceted 
  5. Sadistic
  6. Undergone in childhood 
  7. And perpetrated by a caregiver3
And that is where many of the children with Reactive Attachment Disorder come from. When you read that list, it's not hard to understand why these children are the way they are.

Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, Reiki Master, and artist. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one healthy and one with RAD), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.



 --
1Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995, pg 60

2 Witnessing trauma: The more attached you are to the victim, the greater the distress. It is particularly horrifying for a child to witness violence in any form toward their mother/primary caregiver both in and of itself and for fear of losing their main source of security.

3Sidran.org

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Underground World of RAD--why are we "underground?"


The Underground World of RAD are a group of parents and caregivers, usually moms (adoptive, foster, bio, or stepmoms) who have, or have had, children with Reactive Attachment Disorder living in our homes.

We are “underground” because children with RAD have a specific set of symptoms that make it hard for the outside world to detect what’s going on. Professionals, including therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, clergy and teachers are most often “snowed” by the child. The child looks, to the outside world, as if she were a perfect angel-- while at home she is full of rage and abusive behavior. 

Why is she angry and abusive? Because Reactive Attachment Disorder is caused by trauma. Children with RAD have been abused and/or neglected when they were very young and their brains didn’t develop in the typical way. They really have a right to be angry. They do not have a right to be abusive.

Here are a few of the symptoms that relate to this particular piece of RAD, where the child fools the outside world:

• cannot give or receive honest affection
• often engaging and charming, but only superficially
• false allegations
• gaslighting 
triangulation 
• extreme manipulation
• little eye contact

When the child with RAD is at home, she is angry and abusive. She’s often frightening to be around. Often the nicest thing she has to say is, “I HATE YOU!” while pushing mom away.

When mom takes her kids outside to play with the group of neighborhood kids and mothers that gather in the afternoons, the child with RAD is sunshine and roses. She waits until her mom is talking among all the other mothers and then runs up with a big smile, throws her arms around her mother, and beams up at her, “I love you so much mommy!” As soon as the other mothers start to gush about how sweet she is, she angles her head so no one else can see her eyes and they meet her mother’s, throwing her a triumphant smile.

In the early days of this happening, the mom acts instinctively and pushes her daughter away. The lie is too much for a new RAD mom. The other mothers are horrified. (As time goes on, the mother resigns herself to this display and steels herself for the smiles and hugs that hurt.)

And this is the beginning of a life of isolation from friends.

This same story often plays out inside the home with her parents. When dad is home the child with RAD is easier, maybe not sunshine and roses, but much easier to live with. The moment dad leaves the house (even just to the garage or to get the mail), his daughter lays into mom and younger siblings doing things that, if he had seen or heard, would have had her father charging back in like an angry bull. So often, he never sees the abuse. He sees what she wants him to see. Later, when the kids are in bed, he finds his exhausted wife curled up in bed sobbing. Through the tears, she tells him what her day was like. He is confused. His daughter seemed fairly happy all evening. His wife is distraught. Her anger slowly fades to depression. He begins to wonder if she’s not well…is that why she keeps telling him stories that are obviously blown out of proportion? Has she not attached?

And this is the beginning of a life of isolation from her husband.

Grandma is visiting! The child with RAD really puts it on for her grandmother and they bond over makeup, nail polish, and clothes. Grandma is ecstatic over her girly granddaughter. She’s fun and sparkly. Sure, she’s a “spirited child” and “quite the handful” but her bright smile and booming laugh are infectious. While mom gets her kids ready for bed upstairs and away from grandma, her daughter says hateful things to her and pushes her away, hits her brother, and kicks the dog. Later, when mom, in tears, tells her own mother about what is going on, it’s brushed aside, “Oh well…you and your sister were bratty sometimes too.”

And this is the beginning of a life of isolation from her family.

Due to the nature of RAD most of us are not believed. Many of us have taken to online groups (and if we’re lucky, in-person support groups) where we can speak the truth. It’s such a relief to find that we are not alone in this life of fear.

And so, Reactive Attachment Disorder remains largely misunderstood and hidden.

There are many safe groups out there, most are closed and you have to ask to join, some are even considered “secret” where someone has to invite you to join. And yet, there are thousands of women who find their way in and find solace in a tribe of sisters who are enduring daily abuse in their own homes. 

Are you a parent in the trenches, or have a child with RAD somewhere in your family? Join the facebook group called The Underground World of RAD. This is a safe place to find support. This is also a place where we will be educating professionals. You can learn more once you're there! If you're a mental health professional that would like to learn more, please contact me julia@TheMotherRanch.com

Please feel free to share this post (and maybe share just a little of your own story.) Make sure to set your own settings for your facebook post to "Public" so others can share as well.

We are getting the word out! 170,000+ people read my last post and it's all because of you! I see your posts flying across facebook and feel the power behind your words. I see you telling others, "Please share, I've made it public." and I am in awe of your power. I've gotten dozens of emails telling me stories like, "I posted my story on facebook and a long lost friend contacted me. We had the best talk, she listened and really heard me!" or "I posted my story on facebook and 60 people had supportive things to say!"

I see you. You are vulnerable, with your heart exposed to the world--scared but doing it anyway. 

Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, Reiki Master, and artist. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one healthy and one with RAD), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.