I have to steal words from others to get you in the emotional place to understand our relationship with Roman. This is courtesy of our therapist, who posted this as a preview to an article she sent a group of us:
I know you have heard… “He’s just so cute and seems so sweet.” Or, “She behaves so wonderfully for her teacher.” Better yet, “I don’t ever see any misbehavior!” Comments such as these, for a parent struggling to develop a relationship with an attach disturbed child, is not just a slap in the face but reaches inside and takes a tight hold on those growing roots of fear. “It must be me?” “What am I doing wrong?” How do you explain this phenomenon, this abstract concept of ‘being attached’? How do you explain that what is being experienced when rebuffed by a child, your child, is something nearly unexplainable? How do you express the intimate loneliness, the loss of reciprocity so innate that it should be effortless?
Roman wants me so badly that he pushes me away. I'm sure that only makes sense to a few of you reading. He hates needing a mom - and he hates having to depend on parents. He has verbalized to me, in deep sobbing moments, that when I get angry at him he expects me to get rid of him. He gets so emotional, and so "over the edge" with his emotions, that he told us tonight he felt like he was going to die (in the throes of a rage) because his emotions were so strong. It's hard trying to parent a child like this. It's exhausting... it's lonely...
It's a lot of work. Imagine planning for an emotional outburst a week before Event A happens. Or some random change in the schedule means a half-hour meltdown & helping him deal with it later. I know you can't, gentle readers. But we (all of us) as parents of attachment-issue kids begin to suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ourselves. We emotionally flinch when we hear a tone of voice or certain words. We avoid doing things that "regular" families do because we know what it would mean later (grocery store? Too stimulating! Something unusual or special on a school night? Dysregulation for 2 days afterward).
So sure, we smile & say everything's fine & we're doing okay. Because I know my attempts at trying to explain life with Roman will never make sense to others.