One, Two, Three, Four- I Declare a RAD War-
By Kathryn Taylor
(Part 2 is dedicated to my friend, Natalie, who has encouraged me so much lately.
She said I must write four parts to this story when I had only intended on writing two.
Nat, now I know why. Thanks)
I wrote “1,2,3,4-I Declare a RAD War” in response to a therapy session I had with my kids. Let me first say, I do believe our Attachment therapist is ideal for our family. She is a God-send and is very sympathetic and concerned for each member of our family. She is very knowledgeable and understands RAD well.
It is terribly hard and invasive to let professionals into your family, especially when it is vastly different from the norm. Sometimes, I cringe when I watch a show like Oprah or Dr. Phil, and they take cameras into homes of families to help them. Our lives, with war-like surroundings... bizarre rules... empty, ravaged bedrooms, and the like, are so shameful and embarrassing. I imagine how America would react to spy on the daily battles we have in our home. When professionals reassure me that they know and understand RAD, I still have serious doubts.
No matter how much a person thinks they know what we go through, they have never lived it. A person could read The Diary of Anne Frank and never fully experience the terror of armed Nazis beating down their door... Nor could a person watch the movie, Titanic, and ever comprehend how it would feel to plummet a hundred feet into the frigid waters of a liquid grave as they hear pitiful screams for help all around them... Watching Jurassic Park is great for an evening thrill, but how many therapists and psychiatrists would volunteer for a week long drop-off on the island if it were a real place?…. I wonder how often their calming techniques, pills, and non-reactive responses would be used during their one hundred and sixty-eight hour layover. I bet, most of the time, some kind of survival mode would kick in. But, I also believe there would be a few arrogant professionals, who would try and get the prehistoric beasts to sit in a therapeutic circle and agree to give up meat and violence.
In therapy, with RAD kids, there seems to be a lot of focus on the parents changing, while the children are allowed to “continue communicating with behaviors". This being because no one can force another to change. We parents are asked many questions about OUR past hurts, OUR childhood, OUR triggers and weaknesses. It feels like the morning inspection at boot camp. Is there any dust on my spit-shined heart? Can you bounce a penny off my bed of tears? Is my gun fully loaded with empathy? Are there any fingerprints of shame on it’s barrel?
Somehow, I feel violated by the process. Maybe if I had recently adopted, or had a young child, or I were fresh in the game, or my RAD children had been in residential for the last six months, I could do it. But, to enter into the middle of a war that has been raging for years, where parents are in Rambo-mode, trying to survive... wounded and battered... the enemy is primed and locked on target… strong and in charge from gaining so much ground...
Wow!!.. What I have just written here is exactly what Christ did!! He entered into the middle of a war that had been raging for years. Satan has God's children locked on target... and is gaining ground. But, unlike me, Jesus made no excuses. He didn't see things as hopeless, even when things didn't make sense. He completed the task God sent Him to do here on earth.
I wasn't sure how part 2 of my war-story was going to end… until last night. As if things could get any worse, is when you realize it could get incredibly worse making before look like a walk in the park. I discovered that there is another woman in my husband's life. He claims it has not gotten physical yet, (which of course was a lie) but he is deeply involved, enough that he is considering leaving me to be with her. He says it is mostly him and what is going on in his world. But, of course I know we both have our baggage. I know there are things that I have done that have hurt him… Then, there is this war in our home that will not end, a war that has done such irreparable damage to us all. How much sacrifice does it take to heal these kids? How many lives have to be destroyed to break through this shell of rage? When will God release me from this task? When will He draw that line in the sand for me? Which one of you out there will cast the first stone? My accusers?! Those who have said that I am guilty, that it is my fault what is happening in my family, will they revel in the glory of my family's ashes? Will they dance upon the evidence that seems to point to me? Those who condemn me are filled with their justifications. I am buried with my own grief, grief born in my childhood when my father walked out of my life to become somebody else's father. Grief born when my step-dad violated our relationship. Grief from when my adopted son rides a pink bicycle dozens of miles from home to get away from me, to be with someone who got rid of him like an unwanted puppy... and grief of having an adopted daughter who says that she would rather be prostituted by her birth-mother than to be my daughter… And now, the grief of being a wife, when after twenty plus years, my husband has put me on an equal playing field with a barmaid.
No matter what happens… No matter who leaves me and walks out of my life... No matter who says, "You are not my family any more."... I will always be their mother, and I will always be his wife, because I have earned every ounce of love I have for them in my heart. No one… Not a million demons… not a hundred stone-throwers… not a dozen disorders… or even one adulteress… can take that love from me, because forgiveness will strip away every ounce of strength, from every last atom that comes against me and my family. I stand before all of you now and declare that I FORGIVE THEM ALL!…
set your warrior angels about each and every member of my family, right now, in the name of Jesus and by the power of His blood, deliver every one of us from the grasp of the evil one who seeks to destroy us. No matter what my enemies say, I know that God loves me, and He is on my side and wants my family whole. I am a warrior-mom and a warrior-wife and even though deep inside this armor I am nothing but a child, I will fight, I will always love my family, I will survive, and Jesus Himself, will one day call me from this tomb. He will call me by name, and I will live again.
All rights reserved, 2005 ã Kathryn Taylor
Copying without permission for non-personal use is forbidden
It has been two years since I have written this article…
I now know why the therapists focus on us moms… We are the axis. The man may very well be the head, but there is also a very good reason why “it is not good for man to be alone”. Very much like when your hand is an inch away from your face, you do not know it is a hand; given a little distance, one can see things far more clear. You see, we all respond and see things a certain way because of who we are and what we have lived through. We think everyone sees and interprets the same way, other people, our therapists, our spouses… and, our kids. It is NOT true. It is very important to know why we act the way we do. The way we interpret what is going on is very instrumental in how we deal with our kids, our spouses, and our circle of family and friends. Everyone of us comes through our own childhood with hurts, wounds and false perceptions. It governs how we relate with people. We may want what is best for our families and our marriages. But, our emotional health is at great risk when we are dealing with circumstances beyond the norm. Our weaknesses, like cancer, eat away at our emotional health. We must find the strength to work on eradicating and/or healing those hurts and wounds to be sound enough to care for our troubled youth.
I feel ashamed to read of my determindness above about standing firm and fighting to keep my family together. It is easy to see how I lost that battle... Bottom line, I got mad at God, began drinking, rebelled and chose to FIGHT with my flesh. There was such anger, disappointment, resentment within me, much like my RAD kids live out everyday. I don’t see that I am any better than them. I was every bit a mess as they were. I feel like I understand them better than anyone in the world. I love and miss my family. KT