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Reactive Attachment Disorder and Rhythms

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Reactive Attachment Disorder and Rhythms

Aarin Harper

Do you ever feel out of sync?

(An excerpt from Tom’s journal in the new LifEdvice book, INSIDE: Understanding How Reactive Attachment Disorder Thinks and Feels, by Timothy L. Sanford, MA.)

Do you read Tom’s words and think, “yah, that’s me!”? That is the feedback from RAD adults after they read this book. For RAD adults there is a distrust of patterns and repetition, particularly in the context of relationships.

Some common symptoms of reactive attachment disorder in adults:

  • Distrust: adults suffering from this disorder may not be able to trust others whom they are very close with.
  • Anger issues: They are unable to control their anger and may become very destructive sometimes. They are very short-tempered and argumentative and always live under a lot of frustration and tension. They are also unable to get friendly with others when they are not angry and due to which they try to isolate themselves from others.
  • Negative behaviors: They have a lot of negative emotions and try to spread it to their surroundings. They want to feel others in the same way as they feel and sometimes may get very depressive if they are unable to do the same.
  • Control issues: They always have a tendency to control the people who surround them and for that they can quickly adopt manipulative tactics, cheat and lie to control their environment and caretakers.
  • Impulsive behavior: They take decisions or do things on impulse without thinking whether it was right or wrong. Some of them may regret their impulsive decision, and some do not even feel any regret.
  • Resistance to love: They are not able to receive love from others or to give love in return as they don’t even like to get loved by others.
  • Irresponsible: They are a very irresponsible type and don’t even take the responsibility of their duties. They are not governed and don’t allow others to rule over them.
  • Addiction: Adults having this disorder may indulge in many severe addiction issues such as gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc. The habit may sometimes be different from the traditional – like an eating or shopping addiction.
  • Helplessness: They often feel very helpless and think that everyone around them is trying to accuse them whenever there arises any error. This helpless feeling may lead to depression and become the primary reason for getting isolated from others.
  • Confusion: They are unable to find the optimal solution of any typical problem and hence get confused doing anything of their own.

(From Med Health Daily, Reactive Attachment Disorder in Adults, by Emma Scott)

I’m listening to the movie White Christmas as I write this. This is a movie with a lot of music and dance in a post-war setting. Like almost every classic holiday movie there is romance, friendship, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to overcome, and then success! Many of us live in a world where this is our pattern – the patterns may have different duration but are still fairly predictable. We may occasionally feel anxious about the unknown but we have a script in which our movie ends well. After all, we are the lead actor and that’s how most movies go.

For the person diagnosed with RAD, or un-diagnosed but with RAD symptoms, the script turns into Rules of Engagement because we are in a war! Patterns can’t be trusted and predictability can end in death - not literally, but psychologically and emotionally. Where there is rhythm and the dance of relationships for most, there are dangers and booby-traps for those with RAD. For the RAD person survival - “DON’T DIE” is the ONLY goal. It’s war! Tim uses war and survival as an analogy for living with RAD. Can you identify? Do you know someone, that if you viewed their world from this perspective you could start to get a sense of why they are reacting the way they do?

Author Timothy Sanford, in INSIDE: Understanding How Reactive Attachment Disorder Thinks and Feels, uses a compilation of the experiences of many of the clients he has seen over the years to create a journal written by “Tom”. In the text of Tom’s journal he writes what you would expect; thoughts, feelings, and maybe what you wouldn’t expect - homework from his therapy sessions with “Sandy”.

This book is written by a therapist for therapists. This book is written for adults with RAD or un-diagnosed RAD. This book is for those who care for someone with RAD or RAD symptoms. This isn’t a self-help book in which you follow the 10 steps and you or another will be cured. This book is truthful about what RAD is, how it may occur (maybe not exactly what you expect), the long road ahead for healing, and very importantly – HOPE for a healthier future! The Afterword contains specific tools helpful in healing.

Since this is the holiday season and keeping with the topic of RAD –

We at LifEdvice wish you peace and hope - now and for the New Year!