I Was Thinking...
You know, as I look back and forward I have to say one of the most painful pieces of the journey has been and continues to be the way other people judge our life and the choices we make in parenting our children. For a long while, it was what made me feel the most hopeless and isolated. The very people I looked to for support now questioned my every move, treated me like there was something wrong with me and, most importantly, wouldn’t help me the way I needed to be helped - the way I asked them to help me.
I have never felt so alone. I felt like I had to fight to prove my sanity all of the time. I was called controlling, impatient, angry, bossy and many other things. I endured rude and disrespectful questioning from random strangers, from family who I thought knew my heart until their questioning came and then of course “professionals” in every field. It was terrible! Needless to say, we lost friends along the way. We made difficult decisions in regards to being part of holidays and other family events. We didn’t go out in public much. We just survived. Alone.
As time passed, I began to educate them. I no longer just shut up and let them have their say. I talked about the impact of trauma, the scars that neglect and starvation have on a human being, and the symptoms of RAD that my daughter exhibited every day. The anger or tears that used to accompany my answers to their questions and comments were no longer there. A kind of acceptance began to take place and for the most part people were less likely to comment. Well, not in my presence anyway. I could breathe a little better. More time passed and for two of our daughters it is now glaringly clear to some of those people WHAT we were trying to accomplish and that we HAVE accomplished it. While our girls still have struggles related to their abandonment, our attachment is strong and secure—they have their “one and only.” For our oldest daughter, the work continues. We have come a long way and she has her “one and only” as well as she can have a “one and only.” People still question our parenting choices regarding her and, while it is amazing this questioning still continues, I won’t let it impact how I parent…I know this works!
After twelve and a half years, I now know there are so many lessons to be learned.
The reality is…if you haven’t lived with a hurt child, you cannot get it. I can now confidently say that most of the questioning and commenting – especially by family – was really rooted in concern for us. Some of it even about feeling unsure about their own parenting choices when they saw the lengths we were willing to go to help our children heal. Honestly, sometimes we couldn’t believe what we were living through—how could others, especially when they never saw the “ugly” we lived with?
Another reality is that until we believed that we had to do this differently and stop questioning ourselves, until we committed to the fact that healing meant convincing our daughters we were in it for as long as it takes and NO MATTER WHAT, our daughters wouldn’t believe it either and healing couldn’t happen. We have to believe in our power to heal!
Finally, our story speaks to the great importance of surrounding yourself with those that are living it. It is in fact the very reason I am here writing this blog. If it is up to me, there will never be another family walking this path alone.
You are not alone.