This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Too long in the Car

I visited Kitty in the RTF yesterday. On the way there (it's a 3 hour drive each way), Hubby and I had a long conversation about the kids and our marriage – very draining.

Once at the Center, we had an IEP meeting (I was late for) at 11am, then we were supposed to have family therapy at noon, but the IEP meeting ran late (since we started late and because IEP meetings for Kitty are never simple).

We did manage to squeeze in family therapy from 1-2pm and Kitty was NOT happy (which might be a good thing cause it means we’re getting under her armor).

She started by reading an essay that apparently is a requirement for moving up to the next level. She spoke eloquently and it was well written. It nearly broke my heart. She basically talked about feeling that it was her fault she'd been dumped in foster care. That she used to cry for her sisters every night (who remain with birthmom). That she worries about her sisters still in the abusive home and that they don't remember her (it's been 5 years since she's seen them and she probably won't see them again for a long time).

The hardest part was that she spoke about the pain and not seeing any point in living. She was shut down for most of the rest of therapy.

Afterward we had visitation and she was ANGRY with me for bringing her there and for letting the therapist take away her books (which she’s been using to escape/ dissociate), but didn’t want me to leave early. I hope this treatment helps and we don’t end up worse off than we were before!

On the way home there was a horrible accident about ½ way home in the middle of nowhere. I ended up sitting with a ton of other cars for over an hour. It would move a little every now and then, but that could have been cars giving up and turning around. I kept thinking it would clear up soon and there were no crossroads for miles and I had no idea how to navigate them or even if they would take me far enough past whatever was happening on the other side of the “hill.” Don’t know what all happened, but saw a helicopter leave about 10 minutes after I got there, and a lot of fire trucks. When I finally drove past there was a semi burned to the ground (nothing left but the under carriage and a small part of the back of the trailer).

Of course I’d had to pee, before I got stuck and there was nowhere to “go.” Luckily I made it to dinner with the family without embarrassing myself! Still tired and stressed.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cat vs Bear

Kitty (diagnosed with RAD, bipolar, processing issues, C-PTSD, and pretty much emotionally over reactive...), after months of being extremely tough to live with and meltdowns, is currently in an RTF to work on her severe trauma issues. Bear, her bio 1/2 brother (18), has similar diagnoses, but instead of being emotional, he tends toward intimidation and verbal aggression. In the past he was physically violent, but is now better medicated.

He is severely traumatized too, and his issues with women and relationships are significant. He's spent the last several months antagonizing Kitty or avoiding her (so he doesn't have to deal with her emotional reactions), not so much maliciously as much as just he doesn't see why he should treat anyone any differently (they should understand it's just the way he is).

When they were little (before they came to live with us) they were abusive to each other (and while only a year older, he has always been significantly bigger). I know she perceives him as one of her abusers, and the rest of us still have PTSD from his violent outbursts when he first came to live with us.

Now he's asked to visit her (not sure why), but I had to tell him she doesn't want to see him, because of his most recent behavior:

  • He threatened to strangle her when they were alone in a parking lot after an adoption support meeting - we were still talking to other parents so not right there

  • He and Bob have been semi-blatant about not wanting to hang out with her due to her emotional reactivity. They've excluded her and Bear has tried to pal around with Bob more (although she's not that thrilled with him either and has taken to isolating in her room)

  • While riding home on the bus, he turned to the girl sitting next to Kitty and started telling her she shouldn't hang out with Kitty.

  • He yelled at her in front of the entire bus when she accidentally wrote on his hat (she was handing a pencil to someone else and Bear brushed her hand out of his personal space).

  • ...

Bear's reaction to the news was that he's not going to deal with her ever again. Gotta love their Black and White thinking.

When I pointed out the impracticality of this, as well as the fact that he needs to be working on relationships with his family so he'll be able to have healthy relationships with other women in the future... he continued to state that he's going to ignore her until he moves out at graduation.

Problem is that's not realistic. For one thing that's months away, for another there's a pretty good chance he's not going to be able to move out when he graduates (no job, nowhere to go) and he NEEDS to work on his relationship issues (with all women not just her).

He insists that he's NOT going to work on his relationship issues with her, or me. I've been trying to figure out how to increase the "pain" enough to make him want to work on it. He's been ignoring the issue for years, and just stating that others are going to have to deal with it.

He's been having issues with his latest Kleenex girlfriend (Bailee, the "back-up girl: from our long text conversation a couple of weeks ago). He was invited to go dinner with the girl and her mom. He didn't ask us. He hasn't done chores in weeks. He's been refusing to do any relationship work in therapy... and Hubby basically said "No" when Bear mentioned it.

Next day on the way to his psychiatrist, Bear brought it up again. He started talking about feeling uncomfortable with letting the girl and her mom pay for him. We talked about this for a few minutes and needing to work on his relationship skills with family, and then I mentioned that his point was moot, because Hubby had told me he'd said, "No" to the trip. Bear tried to argue with me, but I just said that was my understanding, and refused to engage.

He pouted. We got to the psychiatrist's office and he refused to talk to anyone. Luckily he was semi-compliant and sat in the offices, and even signed some paperwork he needed to sign (for SSI when he turns 19).

That evening when he got home from school he sat down next to me on the couch and leaned in. I can count on one hand the number of times he's done that (if you don't count the inappropriately sexual hugs and cuddles when he first got here). He didn't say anything for awhile, he just sat there and watched TV. Then he asked me to give him a haircut. (Well, it's better than walking up to me and demanding I do it when I'm in the middle of doing something else or taking time to myself).

So what do I do with two seriously emotionally disturbed kids who have major relationship issues that seem mutually exclusive? I worry that Kitty can't heal with Bear intimidating and picking on her. I worry that Bear will continue to refuse to heal and we will have to continue living with him.

Videos of Cat vs Bear for your entertainment! One Two

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Visiting Kitty

At our last family therapy session we talked mostly about some drama that Kitty had started. Apparently her roommate had been talking about another girl behind her back. Kitty felt the other girl deserved to know what was going on. The roommate felt betrayed of course. Kitty seemed fairly clueless as to why this hadn’t been the best choice, but was trying to follow the Center's rules about accepting blame. Friday was the roommate’s last day so hopefully the Wiccan stuff will go with her.

The hair flipping/twisty thing was gone (She’d started a weird hair tugging/twirling/flip thing with the bangs right in front of her face – it was VERY distracting and annoying, but we'd made big efforts to ignore it.), and she seemed a lot calmer (and a little more distant).

When I went back to visit her this last weekend, it was as though I were a distant relative. She was nice and polite. Gave me a hug, but spent most of our visiting time talking about TV shows and movies (most of which are ones she’s not allowed to watch at home), when I tried to redirect her, she would comply and then the next thing I knew she’d be back to talking about TV.

In a couple of weeks we’ve talked about having Bear be part of the session. I don’t think Kitty is anywhere ready for it, and although we’ve been working with Bear about being kinder, gentler and less intimidating/threatening around Kitty he’s definitely not on board with it.

He’d asked to go last week and I told him Kitty doesn’t want to be around him (since she feels he threatened her life twice). So now he’s rejecting her since she rejected him. *sigh* I think we shouldn’t do it, but I’m worried that she’ll be coming home soon, and have to deal with him (his theory is he’ll just avoid her completely until he graduates and leaves, but I’m not so sure he’s going to have anywhere to go so will be around a lot longer).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Courageous Movie Review

We watched Courageous this weekend (by the same people that made Fireproof and Facing the Giants). It was EXCELLENT.

I LOL (and I don't mean that thing we write when something was kind of funny - I mean I literally laughed out loud until I cried) and COL (cried out loud, tears streamed). Even Hubby and my 18yo son, Bear, "teared up." The only one not as effected was my teenage daughter, Bob (although she laughed just as hard as the rest of us). It's not really written for teenage girls.

It's like Fireproof is to improve marriage, but for Dads to improve as parents.

One of the most powerful quotes to me was, "I don't want to be a 'good-enough' father." (After his friend asked him why he wanted to change his relationship with his children, and called him a "good enough father."

It could be a tough movie for kids of trauma. How they handle it would depend on their age, maturity and of course issues.

Clearplay wouldn't be necessary for most of the movie. Although most of the main characters are police officers so there are some intense scenes involving violence, drug dealers, shoot outs, and chase scenes... but no one is ever seriously injured.

There's quite a bit of gang related stuff, including a "beating in initiation," although most of it isn't visible.

Of course there are quite a bit of issues with fathers, but it's handled pretty positively. There's a report quoted often in the movie that people who grow up without fathers tend to end up in jail or dead. My main concern was that if Hubby didn't "step up to the plate" then Bear would be resentful, but Bear thinks Hubby does an


The main characters lose their 9yr old daughter to a drunk driver (while she's at a birthday party). They don't show any of it. There is a funeral though.

I highly recommend the movie, but definitely have a box of tissues. I hope it has a lasting effect on Hubby's relationship with the kids. I plan to buy it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I text now!

With my old phone, I would occasionally text when forced to, but it was a pain. I had to push the number 3 three times to get the letter F... you know, it took forever. Still I'd discovered it was fun to torture my "captive audience," by sending them love texts - telling them how much I love them. As teens (and a tween) they ignore me of course.

For Christmas I got a new phone with a little keyboard. I've probably "spoken" to Bear more now than I have in the 6 years I've known him! lol

Hubby and I were on our way back from visiting Kitty in Metro City (a 3 hour drive):

12/30/11 4:55 pm Hy mom this is Bear how's Metro and will u be back for dinner
:) love Bear <3

4:47 Metro n Kitty were ok. See you in about an hour or so.

5:04 (text from Bear's ipod app he uses for texting) Hi mom its me Bob are you gonna be in town for dinner
:) love Bear <3

5:07 I just told Bear n Poppy that we'll be there not 2 long after 6 pm depends on traffic.

5:08 Alright well I'm not with poppy and Bear didn't tell me that
:) love Bear <3

5:09 Ok. Love you Sugar plum!

5:13 She's sick now
:) love Bear <3

5:14 Who?
I <3 Hubby

5:16 Bob she's gagging so hard she fell over
:) love Bear <3

5:22 Just because I called her Sugarplum? You wouldn't gag if I told you how great u r (awesomely wonderful) or how much I love u (bunches!), would you, Sugar Britches?!
I <3 Hubby!

{Sent to all 3 kids} 5:32 Aren't y'all glad I text now my little Honey bunnies?
Love, Mom
I <3 Hubby

No response from any of 'em.

Bear sent this text in the middle of the night. I didn't see it until the next morning.

1/6/12 11:23pm Hy mom this is Bear I'm having problems breathing and snacking and having chest pains like crazy

On the way to drop him off at Grandma and Poppy's so Hubby and I could drive to Metro City to visit Kitty, we talked to Bear about how he was feeling (and reprimanded him for not letting us know sooner). He said his chest pains were better, although his arm hurt a little too. I thought it might be heart burn, or more likely it was the usual psychosomatic issues. I asked him to talk to Poppy (who used to work in the ER) to let him know what was going on and to let us know if it got any worse, but that I wasn't too worried about it.

Within the hour I got a text from Ponito that Poppy was taking Bear to the hospital. I immediately called and told him that wasn't necessary (and that I had Bear's insurance card anyway).


Less than a hour later, Bear sent Hubby a text asking if he could go to the movies with a group of friends. Hubby and I immediately started laughing. So much for being about to die. He'd been laying around on his tookus for weeks and now he wants to get to go somewhere unsupervised with a bunch of teens with nothing to do. Don't know why he can't get that he has to build trust first.

1/7 9:46am It's up 2 Grandma. She's got a lot going on 2 day, and she really needs help with the stones.

{Grandma needs some landscaping blocks laid. Ponito, only 12, has been working for days helping her. Bear has been sitting around on his tookus. Plus he had some kind of training he was supposed to go to after therapy, so wasn't going to be able to spend the night - and Hubby and I were going to have to give up our evening alone. He'd taken on a job (scam) selling knives and apparently they'd strongly suggested he get some extra training. He was fired less than a week later.}

10:38am Mom I don't have to go {to the training} tomaroow he said
I don't have to

10:41 Ok, why don't u swing by the house after therapy n pick up ur
stuff n meds.

10:45 Garandmias kinda pissing me off to

10:46 Sounds like something else to talk about in therapy.
Anything I can help with?\

11:45 Ok

1:23pm Mon I got a ride to the mall can I go if I get a ride back {friend's parent} said
he want to go c the movie to

2:48pm 4 a kid who almost went to the ER this am that's not a good choice.

3:57 Can u have Gma call me please?
{Grandma told me he had been a jerk all morning and hadn't helped at all beyond one tiny bit of help unloading one of the many loads of stones, that they'd not given him a choice about)

4:23 So I'm fine mom and it ws from stress {his therapist that he apparently called} said but I really wanna go

4:26 What did u do to help out today?

4:27 I helped move rock out of the car

4:27 After the walk then I put them in place

4:28 Today?

4:28 Yes today

4:30 Can I please

4:31 Where r u getting the $? U owe a lot.

4:32 My friend said he was pay for my christmas gift

4:34 And I get payed monday and I'll do work for gradmia tomaroow for money

4:36 All the $ u r getting paid is spoken 4.
I guess have {parent of a friend} call Dad n confirm.

{He knows one criteria for going is an adult must be present}

4:37 Ok

{Bear calls us and lets us know that the plans with the adult have fallen through. We are not shocked. In fact we'd suspected that the parent never even knew he was involved, and Bear had been hoping we'd not check}

4:48 If gramdmia takes me can I

4:49 Or poppy

4:57 I'll ask them

4:58 Ask who to what?

4:59 You still have no way home

5:03 It cool hay I don't want to hang out with them bailee's up and talking to me but she want to know if me and her and some friend can hang out MLK day
{Hubby and I are laughing. Gotta love sour grapes.}

5:04 At our house?

5:05 At {the mall in the city) or some thing ike that I don't want to it's to far her friend want to go there

5:09 What a weird coincidence that her friend wants 2 hangout at the {Big city mall} 2?!

5:12 Her friends and I'm trying to get Jammie and some of mine to go so we can all hang out!! And be teenagers and hang out and have fun and act like we all have lifes.!!

5:13 But me and Jammie really don't

5:15 The person whose life u r living wants it

5:16 Since u r not using it

5:17 Lol really funny I'm trying to use it I just don't know how and I want to spend
that day with her

5:18 Or at lest a few hours

5:19 It's over a week away.

5:21 I know but I want make plans

5:23 After all right now she is only ur backup. In another week u could have made up w/ {really recent ex} or found a new love (and new backup girl)
{This was kind of mean, but only a couple of days before, he was devastated about recent ex dumping him. We suspected it was more about the fact that he'd had an argument with his "back-up girl," Bailee, that same day}

5:24 What makes u think I don't like bailee

5:28 I didn't say u don't like Baillee. I just called her ur backup plan. Have u noticed u usually have one? I think it says something about the depth of relationship u r ready 4.

5:30 Mom I'm sorry u fell that way but I want to be with her and she likes me and I like her

5:35 What about {recent ex girlfriend}? I'm just saying u got over her really fast. And u were engaged not 2 long ago {to a totally different girl}. I'm not sayin u don't like Bailee. I'm just suggesting u try 2 take things slower. Get 2 know a girl b4 you get emotionally committed.
{He hadn't bothered to tell us about the engagement. We'd found out from Kitty after it was all over. He lied to us in therapy about the circumstances even after he knew we'd found out - to make it seem like he hadn't told us to keep us from "getting mad at him." His therapist thinks this is a "good sign," because he knew we wouldn't approve of an engagement at this point in his life, which means that HE knew it wasn't a good point in his life to be engaged.}

5:44 That's y I want to hang out with her duff that's how u get to know people

5:46 True. Just want u 2 notice ur patterns.

5:51 I know I'm done making that mistak I want to get to know her and take things from there if things work out

5:55 I don't know wat 2 say. I hope u CAN follow through. We'll be there 2 help.

5:56 Ok I think I may take u up on that

5:58 U do realize that means u r going 2 have to talk 2 me at some point, right?

6:00 About wat

6:00 Anything!
6:01 Everything
6:02 SOMEthing!

6:03 Ok will do

Friday, January 13, 2012

Interior Design Question

In order to move Ponito upstairs to his own room (and get him out of my sewing room), we have to convert the playroom to a bedroom. To do this we'll need to add a door to the opening in this room. I looked, but I don't have any pictures of this particular wall. Although I have one that shows a tiny portion (you can see the angled wall that's causing me trouble on the left.

For those who can read blueprints, the room that's causing me grief is labeled Family (the computer program I used had a limited number of label choices). It's in the lower left corner.

There's a light dotted line that makes this room look rectangular, but that's just a flaw in the software. In reality it's one big opening. One side of the opening is the wall that ends at the corner of the bathroom (the bathroom "opening" shown is really a door) and the other wall makes a 45 degree angle into the hallway. About 18 inches down the hallway is the doorway into a bedroom.

What I need to do is find a way to span the 5' 4.5" opening from the corner of the bathroom to where the angled wall meets the hallway. Which means nothing is square! (In the picture that looks like it will make the hallway too narrow by the stairs, but I must have had a measurement off because there's plenty of room). The ceilings are 8 foot.

When I was a kid, my dad made a bedroom for me out of a breakfast nook, by bolting together some louvered closet doors across the span with two of the doors being openable. (This is not a picture of my room). My doors didn't go all the way to the ceiling (they were closet door height) and if you bent down you could look up the louvers to see in my bedroom (I was 16 that was really embarassing), but the point was it was probably relatively inexpensive and could be removed when we moved on the next year.

Of course MY point was that while it did keep my siblings from just walking into my room anytime they wanted, it did NOT keep them from lobbing marshmallows and assorted items over the top of my "wall" and of course you could see into it, which really wasn't cool.

I want something that feels fairly permanent, is cheap and easy to install, and gives him some privacy.

Edited to add: I do have a safety concern for Ponito too. Our kids don't have locks on their doors and we haven't had any issues with sexual abuse in this home, but I do feel he needs to have a door that at least makes noise if someone enters. People here are in the habit of knocking on closed doors, but see open doors (or just curtains?) as an open invitation. Plus Kitty sleepwalks and his room would be right next to the bathroom.

If it muffles sound (since it's right next to the bathroom) all the better.

These things like hotels use to divide big rooms into smaller rooms are cool, but probably way out of my price range.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Starting a new business?

Thinking about going back to doing seamstress work again. What do y'all think? What would be the best market to get into?

a) try to break into the Anime/costume business?
I've been making elaborate costumes for a looonng time.

**Unicorn Centaur Princess


**Purple People Eater


b) design clothing for those live size jointed dolls? Don't have any pictures of this, although I've done period pieces for smaller dolls

c) bridal/ bridesmaid/ prom as an independent (not for a company)

d) custom clothing for people who don't fit standard sizes or want something that's hard to find

He's 6 foot 7 inches tall

Discreet, stylish nursing top

e) bridal alterations or regular alterations for a company

f) teach sewing to teens/ adults

g) custom bedding or curtains

h) Custom machine embroidery (can't figure out how to put pictures on here)

How should I market myself?
a) Etsy shop (not that I know anything about these)

b) website and try to do long distance sewing from measurements

c) only local clients

If I do this then I need to find a way to put a door on the old playroom and move Ponito's bedroom up there so I can have my old sewing room back. We had moved me out of it when we'd decided to split up the girls so they each had thier own room. At that time the kids actually played in the playroom.

We had put Bob in my sewing room because she was the only one I trusted next to the front door and away from everyone (all the other bedrooms are upstairs). A year or so ago, Ponito and Bob switched bedrooms, don't remember why, just remember all the furniture moving was tough. Ponito likes the idea of moving to the playroom because it's twice as big as his current room. He was a little disappointed when he found out the PS2 wouldn't be staying.

I need my old downstairs sewing room for several reasons.

  1. Having clients climb the stairs or going into the family parts of the house is never a good idea. My old sewing room was right by the front door.

  2. What I'm using now is small enough to be a small walk-in closet and I could never work on wedding dresses or other large pieces of fabric (like bedding or curtains) or have clients in there. It's too crowded to even be able to close the door.

  3. Has to have a door to keep out the cats. We have a long hair cat that LOVES fabric and hiding in my fabric stashes. If I leave fabric out for a moment unattended he's laying/ shedding on it. If I cover it with plastic to protect it, he's been known to pee on the plastic.

  4. I need to be in a central part of the house for when I'm needed. Especially when Kitty gets home.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How's Kitty doin'?

Hubby and I went to visit Kitty and have family therapy on Saturday. We had a bet to see what her personality would be when we saw her. I bet she'd still be regressed (chewing her finger, carrying around stuffed animals and a blankie and clinging to Mommy) - probably wishful thinking on my part. Hubby bet she'd be completely repressed (total denial that she had any issues at all, pretending everything was fine).

Neither one of us was exactly right. She was more angry. She gave me a polite hug, but didn't hug Hubby. She sat down next to me, but didn't lean in.

The therapist had given Hubby and I an option of what to talk about at the session:

  • Kitty's new roommate who also has RAD (we'd discussed the fact that Kitty doesn't really have an understanding of RAD - in fact I would have said she didn't even know she has it)

  • Kitty's most recent violent episode (after an argument on the bus with Bear, she came home and blew up at Hubby, culminating in her slapping his face, spitting on him and trying to kick him to the point where she had to physically be restrained).

We chose the episode with Hubby since her memory of it would be even dimmer later than it probably already was. We spent most of the session talking about what happened. Applying DBT techniques to what happened, and figuring out where we went wrong.

I can't pretend I know a lot about DBT. Basically it appeared to be identifying the emotions, checking the facts (like getting mad because someone was late, then find out they had a flat tire and couldn't help being late). We went through the most of the event.

Hubby and I came away from the session:

  1. We all acknowledged that Kitty's tolerance level is WAAAAYY lower than most people (which we already knew)

  2. Hubby and I defensively tend to start trying to "check the facts" (perception/ reality check) with Kitty, while she is still probably too hot to handle it (still in fight/ flight/ or freeze mode).

  3. Kitty is nowhere near mastering the process of DBT (not really a surprise). I don't know that she is going to be able to do so. I'm still trying to learn it myself (if anyone has a good book they can recommend I'd appreciate it).

  4. Kitty was definitely in a blaming mood. She wanted what happened that day to be mostly Hubby's fault for trying to do a reality check, and talking about how her perception is distorted. (Like it often is, and we often mention because we are trying to help her understand and work on this).

After the therapy session we had a family visit with Kitty. We spent most of the time talking about a new book series that she started reading when she got to the treatment center called Sweep. As far as I can tell it's a romance novel that's designed to promote the Wiccan religion. Kitty really seemed to be associating with the main character, who is manipulated into exploring being a witch and whose parents are strict Catholics who are adamantly against it.

We let Kitty know that we would be supportive of her exploring other religions (although she's been adamantly Christian for years and very upset when others aren't), but this is NOT a good time to be trying a new religion. We found out later that her new (RAD) roommate has only been Wiccan for about a week and a half and the person I spoke to said that she's only doing it to tick off her parents.

Kitty says this roommate is the first person she's ever just automatically "clicked" with, and that they are best friends. She insists that her roommate prayed to the "Goddess" for Kitty to be her roommate and she was her roommate! There is no such thing as coincidence therefore this was "proof" that the Goddess exists.

We had a long conversation about this with Kitty. We tried to be supportive but letting her know we thought this wasn't a good time to make decisions. She was pretty anti-parents.

After visitation was over we ran into the family therapist and talked to her about what was going on. One of the books actually belonged to the roommate and they had gotten permission from someone to let Kitty borrow it from her (normally not OK). I let the therapist know I felt Kitty was vulnerable and this wasn't a good option. Of course Kitty walked up behind us, and overheard part of the conversation. *sigh*

When I got home I sent this e-mail to the therapist:

Don’t know if you realized that Kitty overheard at least part of our conversation about Wiccans and the Sweep books. Which means of course that she’s going to be upset about any changes that you might make, and blame it all on me, rather than focusing on the fact that it was against the rules (for a reason) and not in her best interest. I did do some research into this series and it really isn’t even a good representation of Wiccans, it’s just a romance novel pretending to be one, apparently with the purpose of indoctrinating kids into this “faith.”

I’m really not against Kitty exploring other religions, I just feel that the timing is wrong (she’s got enough to deal with right now), and that the only reason that she’s doing so is because she wants to please her new best friend and have a group to which she can belong (we did discuss cults with her a little). Kitty has been adamantly Christian for years, even being confirmed in the church last year and being upset about kids in the hospitals or at school who weren’t Christian. I don’t honestly believe that she’s got an adult understanding of her faith, but with her black and white thinking, processing issues and wanting to please and fit in, I worry that she’ll make a lasting decision based on faulty information.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions on how we can address this in conversations, even though it is something that I’m assuming will be handled by {the treatment center}.

Here's a review of the Sweep book I found. I plan to use it in our discussion at therapy tomorrow. I also found the books at the library and will try to read one tonight (it's bath night!).

"I am Wiccan and after reading the Circle of Three series by Isobel Bird, I was looking for some more Wiccan fiction. I had heard good things about the Sweep series and I am here to let you know that it was all lies. This author has obviously read a Wicca 101 book and used bits and pieces to produce this grotesque distortion of our religion. There were several things wrong with this book and almost all of them violate the basic principals on which we base our workings.

1. No good Wiccan would invite people to a circle without telling them before they got there what they were going to be doing. Most of us used to belong to some form of Christianity and do not appreciate it when people try to impose their religion on us, so we try not to do it to other people

2. That "grounding" they did when Megan or whatever her name is took in too much energy?
The exercise would have been believeable if they were telling her to concentrate and release some of the energy back into the earth. But they weren't, and the best thing to do in order to ground yourself is to eat something.

3. Some groups might be selective about who they let into their group, but it would be based on their attitude towards Wicca and how well they follow the basic principles, not on whether they "did it right" or "felt like witches". We are willing to teach anyone who is willing to learn.

4. The way Bree is acting about Cal ("I love him!" and so on and so forth) makes me think that she might be under a love spell. The fact that she slept with him also concerns me. If she is under a love spell, Cal has committed a very serious breach of Wiccan laws. We DO NOT do spells that will mess with a person's free will. It's the basic rule you first learn when studying Wicca "If it harm none, do what thou will". The only circumstance I could think of where this would be acceptable is if you were doing a spell to bind someone from causing harm. The reason Cal sleeping with Bree concerns me is because some people will use the fact that Wicca is very open when it comes to sexuality to take advantage of people. As their teacher, it would be a breach of the coven's trust to take advantage of a fellow member like that, especially if Bree is under a love spell.

5. The scene where they're all skinny-dipping in the pool is not cool at all. Being skyclad (Wiccan term for naked) while performing rituals helps some to get closer to the earth. It's
not for everyone and even though they weren't working any magick, Cal should have let the main-character-who's-name-I-can't-remember leave if she was uncomfortable in that situation.

6. There are such things as blood witches, but they don't have supernatural powers. They're human, just like you and me. The only difference is that they might have a stronger connection to Wiccan teachings at first, but anyone can build that up over time. If you aren't really
concerned about the religious facts being right, this book is horrible even from a literary standpoint. The whole book comes off as being soap-operaish. So if you're looking for a mature look at the Wiccan religion, check out the Circle of Three series by Isobel Bird and stay far, far away from this series."

Friday, January 6, 2012

Parents of Trauma "Find a Friend" Network

An amazing lady and blogger, who just organized a Christmas "Trauma Mama gift swap, is starting a new networking for parents of kids of trauma. I'm definitely participating. She sent me the following letter:

I've realized there is still a great need out there for parents of hurt or otherwise intense special needs kids to be able to find others in their area who are living this same crazy life. I'm reaching out to all my trauma parent friends to let them know about a parents network I'm putting together. My hope is that this will be a means of helping parents from all over the place and from all walks of life be able to find each other and support each other in real life.

If you are interested in learning more about this network, the details can be found on my blog at I'd love to have as many people as possible sign up. The more people that do, the more likely it will be that people will be able to find each other and make connections with each other.

By all means, feel free to pass this info on to your other friends who may be interested as well.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

How is Kitty doing?

The holidays were laid back and quiet (a refreshing change!). We pretty much decided to keep Kitty’s world as quiet as possible before Kitty left, although it was tough to keep her from raging and overreacting. She did finally admit the meltdowns were because she was scared we were going to leave her at the treatment center, and not because we were doing anything inappropriate (two meltdowns over me helping with her laundry and packing, lots of accusations and moaning). With assistance she was able to keep from escalating to violence or hospitalization.

When we got to the treatment center they kept me busy with paperwork and so there was a lot of time when Kitty was just standing there and I wasn’t able to comfort her. We had to leave and go find a specific pharmacy which took over an hour because Poppy (my step-dad who drove Kitty and I), got lost. When we got back they almost didn’t let us see her again. She clung and begged and bawled, but was compliant when they told her it was time to go after a few minutes.

Kitty and her family therapist called on Christmas day, but it was much earlier than it was supposed to be, so the family was in the middle of opening gifts before the grandparents had to leave. I had to balance her needs with getting back to Christmas and finishing unwrapping presents (which sucked!). She only wanted to talk to me and Ponito. She did ask Hubby to come to family therapy so he worked extra hard so he could go (he does contract work and we can't afford for him to miss hours so he worked 11 hour days). Bear asked me to tell her he loved her and missed her, to which she responded, “Yea, right.” Gotta love that black and white thinking. She refused to accept that he could love and miss her after he was mean to her earlier. She cried and begged to go home. She promised to “be good.” It was heart wrenching.

The following Friday, Hubby and I attended family therapy. The family therapist had at least skimmed the 50+ page life history document ( I later e-mailed her a cleaned up version with a table of contents). We talked for awhile about Kitty’s need to work on her trauma, which I reinforced with Kitty when she got there (that the stuff she needs to work on is that with which she least wants to deal). Kitty wasn’t crying and begging (much), but she has obviously regressed (and we were told she’d behaved this way the whole time she’d been there). She came in wrapped in her new Tinkerbell blanket and carrying stuffed animals (all of which she got for Cmas). She had her fingers all twisted and was chewing on her ring finger a lot (something she’d started during the last hospitalization, but hadn’t done during the 2 days she was home – with the occasional reminder to quit from me) and now had broken skin on the finger. She quit with redirection from me, but the minute she walked away it was back in her mouth.

Apparently the day before family therapy, two girls had gotten into a fist fight in a hallway (right next to Kitty) and at least one of the girls ended up in juvie. All the girls were told to go to their rooms when it had started. Kitty said she ran into the nearest room, curled up in the fetal position and hid. She was still obviously freaked out by the whole thing.

She was excited about getting to wear her own clothes when she reaches a certain level the following week, and being able to have visitation and make phone calls. When those start we’ll be able to talk to her on the phone on Thursdays and only be able to visit for 1 ½ hours on the weekend and no more than 2 people at a time. We’ve already decided not to bring the kids for a little while. There’s group therapy on Wednesdays, but we can’t make that many trips to the nearby Big City (3.5 hours one way).

After therapy she gave us hugs and walked away.

Hubby and I are going for family therapy again this Saturday. Afterward we’ll be able to stay for visitation. It will just be Hubby and I this time. Kitty's therapist can’t meet the following weekend, and we can only afford to travel to Big City once a week so I’m leaving it up to the family therapist as to whether or not we should call in family therapy on Tuesday and visit on the weekend so it won’t be so long between getting to see her.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adult Attachment Disorders: Dismissive

Child: Anxious Avoidant attachment.
Adult: Dismissive Attachment

As infants and young children, children with Anxious Avoidant attachment usually grew up in environments where their parents were not able to provide them with consistent and reliable emotional support, although their functional needs were met (ex. food, clothing, educational opportunities...). They grew up in an emotional void. They learned how to shut down their needs for care and comfort by focusing on play and exploration (ex. sports, school, music, working...) because it was too distressing to keep reaching out and not receive the love and support they needed. They were praised for their competence.

As adults they cope with distress by fending for themselves, focusing on achievement, shutting off dependency needs, and just carrying on. They tend to be loners, regarding relationships and emotions as being relatively unimportant. Their typical response to interpersonal conflict and stressful situations is to avoid them by distancing themselves (or organizing them). They have a difficult time with letting people in; they do not trust that others will really be there for them when they need them. It is comforting/ soothing for them to be by themselves. Their lives are not balanced: they are inward and isolated, and emotionally removed from themselves and others.

They desire a high level of independence, which often appears as an attempt to avoid attachment altogether. They view themselves as self-sufficient and invulnerable to the feelings associated with being closely attached to others. They often deny needing close relationships and seek less intimacy. They deal with rejection by distancing themselves from the sources of rejection.

{Marythemom: Obviously, this explains a lot about why I have serious difficulties in my relationship with my RAD kids who reject me constantly!}

People with a dismissive style of attachment disorder select relationships and lifestyles that prioritize work, achievement, and intellect over intimacy. Relationships with friends, parents, spouse, and children are important to them, but family and friends may complain they don't feel that important to dismissing individuals. This is because dismissing individuals value their individual strengths and abilities to solve problems over emotional connections in relationships. They are often highly successful because they can focus on problem-solving and disregard the emotional aspects of the situation.

On the whole, they seem to be strong, confident, capable people who have very little emotional distress. Negative emotions are considered private and sometimes seen as unimportant, or unnecessary, or as interfering with the problem-solving process. As a result, these emotions are often pushed aside and the individual is no longer aware of them fully. This creates a dilemma about becoming more connected emotionally to themselves and other people: to do so, they may have to first deal with their own underlying feelings of insecurity, rejection, unworthiness, sadness, and anxiety before they can be available to themselves and others.

I received the diagnosis of Dismissive Attachment Disorder when I was tested during Bear's recent intense neuropsych eval. The diagnosis does not come from dealing with my children's issues (although that has aggravated it); it comes from my childhood. I believe this diagnosis probably describes my father as well, and while my mom is an amazing woman, her bipolar disorder was not diagnosed and treated until I was in high school. There were times when she was dealing with her own mental illness and was not able to be there for her children.
I always knew I had attachment issues. This particular diagnosis surprised me though. I just assumed my attachment problem was more about trust issues, particularly with men. When we were dating, Hubby put up with a lot from me, and just wouldn't go away no matter how hard I tried to push him away. (Turns out he has a combination of Dismissive and Secure Attachment.) His staying with me no matter what has helped me heal toward an Earned Secure Attachment.
One reason I felt comfortable adopting teens, was that I assumed Hubby would be able to hang in there no matter what like he did with me and that I would be able to help the kids by emulating what Hubby did to help me. While I care about my kids, I wasn't able to feel his level of empathy. Hubby is hanging in there with the kids too but he isn't as devoted to them as he was to me.

The good thing is that my attachment issue actually helps me to approach discipline less emotionally. It is easier for me to stay calm. It is NOT helping me deal with Bear's attachment issues though. Instead I'm struggling to try to force myself to continue to connect with him. Most of the time, I just want to walk away from him.
In the letter written to me by the person that did Bear's neuropsych eval. She stated I was an excellent case manager for Bear, but I need to work on the emotional connection. We're still filling out a daily questionnaire, and one of the questions is, "How close to Bear did you feel today?" Every single day it feels wrong to answer, "Not at all" so sometimes I answer "Slightly" even though it's rarely true. I can't wait until we're done with this assessment.

Adult Attachment Disorders: Fearful/ Unresolved

Attachment disorders in adults are called by different names, but still have the same causes.

Child: Disorganized attachment.
Adult: Fearful Unresolved Attachment

As infants and young children, the children's parents were there for them sometimes, but at other times failed to protect them from trauma or make them feel safe. (Could be due to caregiver's drug use, mental illness, and/ or their own attachment issues). As children they detach completely from their feelings during times of trauma for survival, and as adults, they continue to be somewhat detached from themselves.

They desire relationships and can be somewhat comfortable in them until emotion closeness is expected or desired by the significant other. At this point, the feelings that were repressed in childhood can begin to resurface and, with no awareness of them being from the past, they are experienced in the present.

Bear has developed what we call "armor" to protect him from responding as though he's reliving the attachment trauma. We have been unable to breach it and help him process his trauma.

Hot/ cold; come here/ go way. These mixed feelings are combined with negative views about themselves and their partners. They commonly view themselves as unworthy of responsiveness from their partners, and they don't trust the intentions of their partners.

Little events are often interpreted as frightening, scary, and can easily dysregulate them. Often when the attachment system is activated and leads to disorganized behaviors, being overwhelmed and flooded and losing the ability to think and use good judgment and coping skills. Behavior may be out of control and explosive. They are unable to see resolution to problems and feelings.

Kitty has been working on attachment for over 4 years, and while she was physically and emotionally numb when she came to live with us, she has been slowly removing the protective layers. I believe this is why she's becoming more overwhelmed and dysregulated as she becomes more attached.

Similarly to the dismissive attachment style, people with a fearful/unresolved attachment style seek less intimacy from partners and frequently suppress and hide their feelings. Their lives are not balanced, and they do not have a coherent sense of themselves, nor do they have a clear connection with others.

This is the type of attachment disorder that Bear was diagnosed with, and Kitty probably has too. Due to drug use and mental illness, their biomom was most likely inconsistent in her parenting, and definitely didn't protect them from abuse.

Don't know what all this means for Bear down the road. His armor is thick and firmly in place. I hope Kitty is healing, and that's why she's struggling more.

New Year's Eve and Resolutions

We had an extremely quiet NYE. The kids stayed at Grandma's, except Bear who spent the night at a friend's. Our traditions include eating black eyed peas (the more you eat, the more luck you have - it's a Southern thing!) and to spend the day doing what you want to do all year. So Hubby and I

New Year's Resolutions:
Do this more often

Get more and quit leaving Hubby like this

Get more exercise so I stop looking like this
Find out more about attachment disorders in adults and work on my own healing

Find and get a good job

Give the house a good cleaning

Word for 2012

I used to do this, but haven't done it in years. My friend GB's Mom inspired me.

The word I've chosen this year is "PRESENT." As in being present and engaged in life (not gifts).

Since being diagnosed with a "Dismissive" attachment disorder (during Bear's thorough neuropsych evaluation), I've struggled with trying to figure out how to heal and work on this.

Part of Bear's neuropsych evaluation is a daily questionnaire where one of the questions is "How close did you feel to Bear today?" It hurts to check the box for "Not at all," and sometimes I chose, "Slightly," just because I can't stand to check "Not at all" every day.