Monday, February 21, 2011

Embrace the RAD

Last week I did something I NEVER thought I'd do.  I embraced RAD.  Before you haul out and clobber me hear me out.  Pretty please.  I'm going to muddle through and try to splain myself.  If something doesn't make sense please let me know.

During therapy and all the explaining of attachment cycles (as in previous post), Kristy has been actively telling J's RAD brain that we appreciate it coming and protecting her when she was little.  BECAUSE if she didn't have RAD she would certainly be dead by now. There is no doubt about it.  It served a purpose to keep her alive and it worked.  BUT...that she could tell her RAD brain that it could take a little rest "if it wanted to" because now she had a mom that could handle it and protect her.  Our homework for the past few weeks was to daily tell her RAD brain how much we appreciated it coming to protect her when she needed it the most.

OK...so y'all know about pink love right? ("Pouring" love in J by touching foreheads and humming sounds as it goes in.)  The color of her love is pink so that's why we call it by the color.  After every therapy session I "pour" pink love in her head.  I also give some to Little J.  Little J is the part of her that was so hurt when she was so young.  Little J needs love too.  No one was there for her.  No one saved her.  It was just one more trauma after another raining down on her.  Little J's love color is pink also.  Last week I had the stellar idea to ask her if RAD needed some love too.  She closed her eyes and asked RAD if it wanted love.  IT DID!  So then I told her to ask RAD what color it's love was.  She closed her eyes then said it was red.  Imagine that!  So then I told her I was going to give her some red love just for RAD and asked her if she would give it to "him." (she says her RAD brain is a boy).  I proceeded to pour red love into J's forehead that she was supposed to just give to RAD. 

I have been giving RAD red love every day whenever we do J's and Little J's pink love.  We have had 8 glorious days.  Like over-the-top, unbelievable, can't-believe-life-is-this-good, better-than-NT, is-this-really-my-kid days!!!  Freakily so because there hasn't even been a tiny little blip on the radar. 

Now you know the blog curses are going to get me.  I don't care.

Kristy and I always have a little 5 minute wrap up session without J after therapy.  Kristy was very proud that I thought to do this and also explained it as embracing all of her.  Just like I have so many different parts of myself and have to accept all of those parts, the good and bad, to be a whole and healthy person, so should I embrace all of J.  Let me tell you that it is HARD to tell RAD that you love it.  BUT.....by envisioning RAD as what kept her alive and helped her survive during all the trauma I can indeed embrace it.  I do NOT focus on what it's like to live with RAD or the behaviors.  Only on the fact that RAD helped my daughter survive until she came home.  For that I am grateful and I can genuinely give RAD love for protecting my child. 

So I am consciously remembering that I am so appreciative of the people in my life that ACCEPT me and LOVE me.  All of me.  The good and the bad.  It's very freeing for someone to give me this acceptance.  Why should RAD be any different?  Don't we all want to be accepted unconditionally exactly where we are right now?  Am I not grateful for the people that protected me when I was a baby?  RAD was the only "person" that protected and "saved" her from volumes of abuse.  Shouldn't I be grateful for that?  Plus I have found that the more accepting I am of myself and others the more willing they are to reciprocate.

So I've forgiven RAD and am honoring and embracing it because it saved my daughter's LIFE and I've found a way to be grateful for it.  For today anyway I am embracing RAD.  With love.

Now you can clobber me.  Respectful clobbering will be published.  Mean clobbering.....probably not. :)



The quote of the day is from an anonymous friend.  We were emailing back and forth the other day and she made some profound statements.

"We have had struggles with our daughter since she was about 2 years old (adopted at birth), and I’ve just finally reached the point of being willing to call it attachment.  Therapeutic parenting works wonders with her, and ‘typical’ discipline is a flop!"

I get the being willing to call it attachment.....being willing to call it RAD.  It's tremendously frightening to admit and define what you're living in. Truthfully it doesn't matter what you call it.... just do the right things so that the problem will get better.  Do the right thing so the child can heal.  Just do it.

19 comments:

waldenbunch said...

Does it not just blow you away?!! So incredibly happy for both of you. You have worked harder than I can imagine. I get it, from both sides. The attaching and not attaching. One gives me hope and one keeps me on my toes. Gotta love it.

Christy said...

What a beautiful post...so full of love for your daughter and embracing all of her. I love the Pink and Red love idea...brilliant ;)

Diana said...

What a great post!! I'm going to work more on this. I've kind of been doing it already, but I'm going to put more of a conscious effort into it. Living with RAD still sucks buckets, but I love my kids for who they are.

Hannah_Rae said...

So many "ah ha!" moments in this post. The only part I want to clobber you for is the last sentence. Sometimes I don't know how to "just do it..." because I don't know what the "it" is. Trying.

I need an ear piece with an amazing trauma-mama or papa on the other end walking me through some of this crap. But I am getting better at controlling me...at putting my big girl panties on. So that's my accomplishment for the week.

Blessings!

Hannah

marythemom said...

What color love do you need? I'm sending you lots of hot pink until I hear otherwise. I'm so proud of y'all!

Mary in TX

Mom of 5 said...

Such a great idea, and HOORAY for the good days!!!

The Lundys said...

Wow, I so needed this today. Embrace it, thank it, makes total sense!

:)De said...

Sending you love too.

J. said...

No clobbering here, just love for you for sharing a great idea and great wisdom too

Momma Too Many said...

Thank you so much for reminding me that I need to love ALL of my radling, not just the parts I like the best. Beautifully written, and your heart for your daughter shows in every single word. Thank you for inspiring me!

Nobody said...

RAD is kind of like chemotherapy. It poisons you, but it just might save you. Makes sense to be grateful for it.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Great post, and great job by an awesome mom!
It's funny, I was just thinking recently that I need to accept Genea more as she is, instead of trying so hard to help her mend the broken parts. Accept her and love the package as is.

Kerrie said...

Huh. I had not EVER thought of it that way. I've only been lately trying to wrap my mind around the paradigm shift of accepting Princess as is instead of trying so hard to "help" (change) her. Interesting. Thanks.

robyncalgary said...

i love the idea of sneding love to all parts of her, little j, big j, the RAD etc. i think i need to pour some rainbow coloured love into all parts of me, the ones i like or not. because they make me who i am. then hopefully the next step is letting those ones go that i dont love? anyways not to make this about me, yay for you and j! shes such a special girl, and im so glad your lives came together to be a sweet loving family <3 great post!

Barb G said...

Awww, how heartwarming and encouraging! Thank you for that image of loving her RAD for saving her. I will definitely incorporate that into our talks about RAD. We tell our son that RAD thinking was what he needed to survive and he was very smart to survive as such a itty bitty, but now that he's older and able to think better for himself, the RAD thinking is afraid to let go and let him trust his parents to make good decisions for him, and afraid to let him make better decisions for himself. We've been working on recognizing the RAD thinking and him talking with us when he knows in his heart that RAD thinking is wrong. Thanks for something we can add to that! I am grateful for RAD helping him survive too! No matter how hard it is now.

Sarah said...

Wow. I think I will need to sit on this and come back to it. Loving my son *just the way he is* including all the not so great parts? ....I definitely need to keep working on that. But it does sound like a project worth working on.

Rachael said...

I read this post this morning and asked L what color she thinks her love is on the way to school. She is very skeptical of whatever crazy thing I am going to try to get her to do in order to talk about her feelings, so she kept asking why. I told her I'm just curious. After asking why a few times, she thought about it and said, "Silver." I asked her what color Scared Baby L's love is. She said blue. We got to school before I could ask her what color her "mad" is. She did say, "My love is silver because it wasn't strong enough to win first place (gold)."

Trauma Mama said...

Great post! I love that you had the idea to give RAD love. Amazing!

BT said...

Thanks for this post, Lisa! I spend so much energy and time thinking about how much I hate RAD. I have never tried thinking about it as the thing that was necessary to help P survive all he went through. We talk continually about him being such a survivor and that that is something he knows for sure about himself: he's a survivor. But I need to focus on loving all aspects of him, and I think RAD or some of its inclinations will always be part of him. And it's important that HE loves all aspects of himself.

Incidentally, RAD is a person to P also. It's a "he" for him too.

Finally, P has started to talk a lot lately about the "battles" that go on inside him between his brain and RAD. The things that help his brain win the battles are the "weapons of love" which are fortified every time M and I do anything loving toward him, ESPECIALLY when he is not at his most likable. I couldn't believe it when he described it to me in all these terms. In the past, he has sometimes spoken about how harsh or critical reactions from us "feed RAD." Both descriptions make me see very clearly how important every single minute interaction we have with him is in the healing process. Just have to keep this at that front of my mind when the going gets rough.