Monday, January 18, 2010

Is Attachment Disorder Contagious?

My kids have a cycle. It starts at the top when life is grand. The motivation to change is high at the top of the circle. Optimism prevails. Life is as good as can be for him/her and she/he has been able to manipulate things and people to get most of what they want. They are loving and appear attached at this point ... wanting life to be as grand for you as it is for them -- and wanting you to feel good about them.

Then trouble comes. They start to slip. Something goes wrong -- a boy or girl doesn't like them any more, they get caught in a lie, or get arrested or something. And then they begin to spiral down.

You can watch things unravel. Life starts to fall apart and suddenly the parent is the enemy once again. The hugs stop, the glares start, and cooperation ceases.

Then they hit bottom. Hard. Major hopelessness and depression. Pure hatred and anger towards parents. Absolute refusal to do anything at all.

And then for some reason the tide turns.... something goes right and suddenly, at the blink of an eye they are back on top again.

Problem is, the top is back to back from the bottom. There is no ladder to climb to get to top after hitting bottom. It's a circle and the line is crossed almost instantly. And since I have executive functioning of the brain and I do have a working memory when they hit bottom TWO DAYS AGO.... and hated my guts.... and wanted me dead... and stole from me and lied to me..... that stays in my mind.

So then when suddenly they are on top of the world, and the "i love you" moms and the hugs are coming at me full force, I understand attachment disorder. I understand a lack of trust. I understand not wanting a person to touch me. Because I remember yesterdays pain.

Attachment Disorder isn't hereditary but it may be contagious. I think you can get it from your children.


Jennie said...

ROFL, OMG! this is what I said to my therapist one time and she just laughed at me. But i was serious! I swear bipolar, ASDs, ADHD, RAD, ALL of it is contagious! lol

GZimmy said...

Wow! Is that attachment disorder? Then it seems three of my four kids had it at one time or another. I thought it was normal teenage stuff. Hormones and the like. I think I'll have to think on this a while, and maybe post something on my own blog about it.

Claudia said...

Actually Gary, the teenage stuff isn't the attachment disorder. It's the way I feel that is the connction.

Kids with attachment disorder do not trust anyone. They do not like to be touched. They shy away from affection and love.

It's the response they create in me after several trips around the cycle that I was referring to as attachment disorder...

FosterAbba said...

I hear ya!

Other Mother said...

Well said! And I agree with Jennie too -- I think at times we have it all!

Lisa said...

What is it called when you are so traumatized by your sons raging and unpredictable outbursts that you cringe when he wants to hug you? When you pretend you don't see him coming towards you and veer off to another room just to avoid him (when he's now in a good mood)? I feel so guilty doing this, but we're talking 15 years (he's almost 16) of absolute hatred directed at me and then when he's done - you're supposed to forget anything happened too. I've now been accused by his bio-sister (one year older than him) of holding grudges and not forgiving them - that they forgive me, but I just keep rehashing the past with them - I'm so UNFAIR. I am trying so hard to learn from what they show me - not expecting too much, not letting them sail thru life with no consequences, etc., but what I'm learning is to keep my guard up and they don't like that. I'm learning to protect my heart and my sanity by not letting them affect how I feel every minute of the day - and yet, in some moments, I am stunned into complete silence (not the norm for me) by their utter lack of reasoning, their blind hatred of me just because they are ticked off at the moment. I'm tired of being blamed for everything that goes wrong (due to their poor choices) and given no credit when good things come along (due to MY diligence, planning and fore-thought). Sometimes I wish I had the selective memories they have, just so I wouldn't feel so bad all the time.

Claudia said...

Lisa -- we're all with you at some point on this one. I tried to explain it to John this morning -- that even if he doesn't remember last week, I do !!!

Hang in there -- focus on the good. You don't need to feel bad all the time. There is some good somewhere. ;-)

marythemom said...

Oh I could have written Lisa's post except my son is 16 not 15. I also agree with Jennie. Although I do have a genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder, I also know my issues with it would not have been as severe were it not for my kids (I did make it 36 years unmedicated after all). My kids have definitely caused the whole family to have issues with PTSD as well.

Thanks Claudia for this post!

Hugs and prayers,
Mary in TX

Hopewell said...

Exactly the "Circle of Life" for my son to a "T".