The Cycle of RAD

 My Perspectives Over the Years

All of us Trauma Mama’s have the ultimate goal of healing for our RADlings. Of course, healing is a relative concept. Our RADlings, by definition,  have been exposed to early intense trauma. This inevitably affects the development of their brains.  The formation of personality is considered to be genetic and environmentally determined.

First, look at the genetics. If our RADlings were conceived by parents who themselves came from strong genetic stock, the odds are very good that they would not have RAD and would still be with their biological family. So most of these kinds have susceptibilities to FASD, mental illnesses, and all sorts of other disorders.

RAD is a self-protective response to trauma, neglect, and abuse so intense that most people really can’t conceive of what these kids survived. RAD really defines how they perceive and react to their world. Personalities are formed by how children perceive and interact with their world. My 5 year old Hope has a personality and is trying to solidify it. Hope will never be easy going. She will always be intense and strong willed. It is part of the RAD, but as her personality develops, it will incorporate the intensity and stubbornness into it.  The same interconnected experiences that formed RAD are also forming the RADlet’s personality. With out healing, our RADlets are headed  for Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Disorder, or even  becoming a  sociopath.

Even when our Radlets experience healing, that does not necessarily mean complete healing. They will never be what they would have been had they had experienced functional love from the very beginning. Their personality is forming in the midst of RAD and some of RAD will be a part of them forever. My oldest RAD, when younger, only felt loved when someone was spending on her. She has done a lot of growing and experiences other gestures as love. Still, buying her something is the fasted way to make her feel loved.

My oldest RADish is 25 years old. There seems to be cycles of easier years interspersed between harder years. 7 and 8 were difficult and then healing seemed to be happening until she was 14 when we went off on another spike of RAD behaviors. 18 and 19 were good years- she stepped off the cliff when she realized she wasn’t ready to grow up after she graduated from high school. We just started another easier cycle the last eight months or so, where she seems to be maturing and healing. I don’t know, at this point, if we have another crash ahead of us.

My goals have evolved over the years. First, I was going for normal. After many years in the trenches, my goal was simply to keep them out of jail. Now, with a more balanced perspective, my goal is to help my children  heal as much as they are capable of healing, and give them as many tools as I can so that they are as productive and happy adults- at least as productive and happy as they are capable of.

3 thoughts on “The Cycle of RAD

  1. Interesting about your oldest and gifts.Have you heard of or read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman?There are online tests that can help "find" primary love languages.For me gifts are dead last… lol… but it is very interesting concept.I read 5 Love Languages AFTER our RADs had their conjoined meltdown… Perhaps something could have been avoided. It appears for my son I may not have been "speaking his love language" as much before his portion of the meltdown.He was close to 18… and after reading the book, I would "figure" his primary love language to be "acts of service." I was trying to prepare him for life outside of our home as an adult… and began having him learn to do many self-care-tasks on his own. Things I used to do FOR him.It makes sense (in hindsight) IF acts of service is his primary "receiving" love language. He may have felt quite un-loved in my efforts to prepare him for life after High School.

  2. It's amazing how our perspective and goals change. I get you on the keeping them out of jail or not getting pregnant kind of goal. But really you just do the best you can and hope the child can take some of it in. I comfort myself by asking what they would be like without us?

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