… continued from here
The root cause of RAD is abandonment trauma or failure to attach. Physical abuse and sexual abuse are much easier to treat than a core, learned belief that one is worthless or bad. Most of the children have been misdiagnosed already and prescribed inappropriate medication that didn’t work, and the worst part about this is that they have lost precious time. The younger they are when I get them the more successful our work. Time is of the essence, and bonding is supposed to take place in the very young.
Many people think violent children are bad seeds and their parents are victims of these children, not realizing that these violent children suffer excruciating injuries at a very young age. Each of these children is unique and different. Some are arrogant. Most of these children who kill are boys, however we are having an epidemic of “mean girls”, too. After the attachment trauma, boys are often disciplined more harshly for their defiance and disrespect of authority. They often engage with other RAD children and begin competing for top dog, and at some point, testosterone kicks in.
Some RAD kids are profoundly self-conscious, like most of the mass murdering shooters we recently read about. Some cannot bear to be touched. Some are highly sensitive to certain sounds. All initially refuse eye contact, unless it’s on their terms.
They have come to believe there is something wrong with them, and their experiences with rejection during infancy and repressed rage lead them to believe that they are not only unlovable, but inherently bad or evil. That becomes the essence of their identity, as well as their jaded worldview that everyone is out for themselves.
Further, some medications push some patients, even children, into violent states of psychosis, a level they may not have attained without the catalyst of psychotropic medications. In other words, some children arrive at the psychiatrist’s office simply depressed from childhood experiences and leave as time bombs from medication. Others are near a tipping point and psychotropics put them over the edge. Psychiatrists Peter Breggin and Yolanda Lucire, as well as investigating journalist Robert Whittaker and many others, have been warning the public and writing about this phenomenon extensively. These experts have been evaluating medications that put children and adults at risk of suicidal or homicidal psychotic choices. In the meantime, conventional psychiatry recommends medicating these children without testing them first, even though there is a test to identify a person’s reactivity to medications (Lucire: 2011). You might say I am writing about the conditions that can lead to identifying these time bombs or at-risk children with or without medication and Dr. Breggin et al., is writing about what puts them over the edge if they haven’t already tipped. To be clear, the children who become diagnosed all have emotional problems stemming from childhood experiences but they arrive at the psychiatrist’s office with an array of backgrounds which aren’t all necessarily RAD. Some have been close to exploding and are profoundly affected by the medication and some never would have harmed themselves or others without the meds.
All have already been or could be dangerous without help. When they get my help and I watch them get better, I know I am doing what I need to do and sometimes I wonder how many lives were actually saved. My real wish or drive, however, is to prevent these unnecessary injuries in the first place with information and brainstorming.
Of course none of this means that the parents of RAD kids were mean-spirited. Mostly, they have been misguided by bad advice. Some of these parents are regular or almost regular people, or at least they seem so. They may be defensive. They are usually not very good communicators, themselves. They are predictably not open and expressive, as a rule. They are not good with hearing their children’s feelings. They may even be secretive. These characteristics become family traits that impede self-reflection and healing.
Well-intentioned, good people in their lives, often give them advice and recommend socially acceptable choices that will hurt their children. Some of these advisers have the voice of authority and are grandparents, pediatricians, clergy, therapists, neighbors and teachers. Their harmful advice, like, “Put your child in daycare” or “Take a vacation while your baby is too young to notice you are gone,” may not be obvious to the rest of us.
Once the child is old enough to show signs of defiance and defensiveness, parents often imagine that the problem is genetic and then resort to home schooling, diet changes, or medication, attempting to change their child’s behavior, but never addressing the real root cause, abandonment trauma. It doesn’t work. In fact, the child’s behaviors get worse as he gets older.
Some mothers I have worked with recognized the signs early. Others couldn’t face the fact that their children were in trouble until they had to, something we can all understand. Some thought it was a phase and others thought they simply lacked good discipline techniques. Others thought or were told the problem was genetic. Some parents dislike their child and can’t keep it a secret. Some see themselves as victims and their child as the enemy. Some are single parents with more responsibility than they can handle. Others love their child enough to admit they made mistakes as soon as they can find out just what those mistakes were.
Some biological parents insist they are innocent of any mistakes and blame the child. They may say she was always that way, but they just want to know how to manage her. As long as parents blame the child, we won’t get results. When parents accept responsibility, half the battle has been won.
Some of the moms are not their biological moms and have adopted children who suffered major abandonment trauma in early childhood. Since their child was adopted, they may be even more likely to think the problem is genetic rather than attachment trauma. Maybe they understood the ramifications of adopting a child with a broken attachment. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe they thought they did, but didn’t.
They all have a tiger by the tail.
Continue reading: I Am Adam Lanza’s Therapist: Getting Help and Becoming Help