As one who tries to grab hold of all help and inspiration wherever it might appear, I often find encouragement by reading the daily reflections written in 12-step and other spiritual literature. I interpret these readings my own way based on my own experience, and sometimes can add value when passing them along to others.
We know that the wilderness of discouragement and confusion can be great surrounding our RAD teens, confounding us as parents, but also blinding our troubled and seemingly immutable children. The central lie at the center of this, however, is that we are trapped in the inevitability of the quagmire, and that the prophesy of an unhappy outcome is certain.
I recognize at least two things that keep me living in my familys unpleasant past, and which negatively predict our future. One is habit my habit is to go to that dark place, full of impending doom, where I am totally alone. My focus is on what is or has been, and not what could be.
The other obstacle is the unwillingness of my partner in this journey: my child! I am so invested in the changes I want to see in him/her, that any evidence that those changes are not taking place depresses me tremendously and makes me lose hope. And back to the dark place I go.
A few things that I have observed hearten me. One is the transformational effect of reaching beyond and above my own negative thinking, when I am able to do it. There is good company there. Others amongst us who have made the journey have managed to tap into the power of the positive. In our community of parents there are those that despite setbacks, are able to rest in the encouragement around them and trust in the process of change at the hands of our counselors and caretakers. And what a relief!
Another thing is this: my child might not be able to change right away. S/he might not get it, or be too stuck and angry. I can be reminded, however, that loving actions can speak clearly to him/her when mere words cannot. To carry out those loving actions myself without resentment, I might need to detach a little and make sure that I can feel safe. My conviction is that in this lies the promise of healingif not now, then someday.
Susan H. Calo parent