We have heard all the things, from all the people. And here is the thing… we love our son. But I know first hand that love is not always enough. We know that trauma may manifest itself for ever, and we know that our child, who’s heart is so worth fighting for, may struggle with attachment always.
The very foundation of all healthy human relationships is trust. We are designed to connect with others, most especially our family and loved ones through healthy, reciprocal relationships. When we have this, when we relate to others in healthy ways, almost everything we do is done out of love and is done with trust and belief that the people we are in relationships care about us in return.
We are all in relationship…and if we are healthy, at the heart of our healthy relationships, is TRUST.
For children with attachment issues/disorder, trust has been broken at the most basic and foundational level. When the building blocks of our children’s brains were being built, our kid’s were built broken…Their basic needs for food, water, safety, shelter, or security were not met, or were only met in scattered anxiety producing ways. Their bodies and brains were altered.
The world became an unsafe place, people are not safe and cannot be trusted. Their brain and body often goes in and out of survival mode, and our children are often in fight, flight, or freeze mode. Their little brains are programmed differently…
The effects of this can manifest in so many ways, but for us, the effect of this broken trust looks like a little guy who is hyper vigilant, non-trusting, where relationships look scary and connected feelings are a thing to be avoided at all costs. It looks like a broken and hurting little boy that is also very dishonest, and manipulative, in order to protect himself and control all situations he is in. Our little guy is so cute, and completely charming. He is a master charmer…
I purposely don’t share many of the details on this blog of our fight for attachment with our son, partly because it just feels so private and I want to protect baby J. There are so many things that are hard to put into writing when you are in the middle of the fight for attachment with a child who has a trauma background. It’s hard to describe the things we do every day to try to win our son’s heart.
But so many parents have said it so much better than I could, so I will post some links from other parents who are working with children who have RAD (reactive attachment disorder). They are helpful if you are parenting a child who comes from trauma, and they are helpful if you are the friends or family of parents in the trenches of attachment parenting.