How Reactive Attachment Disorder impacts our family

You would do not believe the impact that stress can have on the human body. Well, maybe you can. I mean, anyone that’s a parent, let alone a special needs parent, is probably all too familiar with stress.

This past week has been extremely stressful for the Lost and Tired family.

It’s started out fine but then that sneaky bastard known as Monday, showed it’s ugly face once again, throwing our lives further into chaos.

Between Gavin being rushed to the ER at Akron Children’s Hospital for another autonomic crisis then returning home for almost a week, planning for our next wraparound meeting, Elliott being home from school all week with a nasty sinus infection, scrambling to locate resources that will help us with our pending gas shut off tomorrow and trying to keep the bill collectors at bay, I think we’ve had it.

Lizze in particular has basically just shut down.

Gavin has what’s known as RAD or reactive attachment disorder.  This a direct result of the abuse he endured at the hands of his biological father when he was very, very young and he had forced visitations.

Anyway, one of the major problems we experience with him as a result is this RAD is his constantly psychological and physical towards Lizze.

He’s doesn’t hit her or rather,  he hasn’t hit her in awhile.  What he does do is more of a sexual nature.  He’s always touching her in inappropriate ways.  He’s brushing up against her Mommy parts and has done this for years and years. 

He’s done this to everyone at one time or another.  This began at a very, very early age. 

He also does things to her simply to fuck with her head. For example, he’ll move something that she’s looking for.  Then after she’s been looking for awhile and is visually distressed, he’ll put it somewhere she has already looked, numerous times.  He doesn’t laugh or even let on that he had anything to do with it going missing or being found.  He derives pleasure from Lizze feeling like she’s going crazy. 

The only reason we know this has happened is because he’s actually been caught red handed.

When he’s caught, he completely freaks out and we have what can only be described as cataclysmic tantrums.  These are tantrums and not meltdowns because he does these as a means of trying to get us to not punish him. He figures that he can ware us down by screaming and destroying things.

In this video, you can see an example of one of these tantrums.  I know that it’s hard to watch and even harder to believe but this is all manipulation.  If I had given him what he wanted, he would stand up and walk out of the room as if nothing had happened.  That’s actually happened on a few occasions.

These tantrums, more often than not include various degrees of self-injury.  These are a few pictures of the typical results of one of these tantrums. Again, these are not meltdowns as are common to Autism.  These are willful acts meant to manipulate Lizze and I.

Having him home, even though he was well behaved, for the most part, creates a level of distress in the house that simply can’t be overcome.

We can no longer coexist with him anymore, at least for right now. 

While he was home this week, he was caught slipping into his old habits and I had to remind him of respecting Mommy’s personal space, on more than one occasion.  As a result, Lizze was basically living from one anxiety attack to the next. 

It was so bad that the wraparound team wanted to put her up in a hotel until Gavin was back at her parents.  She had a nervous breakdown during the meeting and everyone was very concerned about her. Thankfully, we were able to get Gavin back to his Grandparents house this yesterday and Lizze is beginning to unwind.

Right now,  her body is just shutting down and she’s pretty much been asleep all day. I suspect that it will take a few days for her to get somewhat back on her feet. 

The boys have been fighting more than usual but that’s what happens after Gavin spends time at home. 

The residual stress, still present in the house, even after he has left, is weighing heavy on everyone. 

I realize that this is difficult to understand but those of you that have experience with this can probably relate to what we are going through. I need to try and lighten the air and get everyone to have a little fun. 

Life has to go on and we need to move forward, no matter how difficult it may be.  Thank God it’s almost Spring and the boys can hopefully return outside to play and we can return to our nightly trips to the playground.  🙂

I hope that we can sustain the current arrangements that we have with Lizze’s parents to keep him living there and out of the home.  It’s a lot to ask and we are so grateful for their help.

If anyone should have any questions, please feel free to email them or post them in the comments. 

This site is managed via WordPress for Android, courtesy of the @SamsungMobileUS Galaxy Note 2 by @Tmobile. Please forgive any typos as autocorrect HATES me. 😉

Check out my #Autism Awareness Store to find really cool and unique #Autism Awareness Clothing and Accessories, designed by me. 😉

For more ways to help the Lost and Tired family, please visit Help the Lost and Tired Family.

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
0 0 votes
Article Rating

Join The Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

most voted
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Didn’t finish that. Is that what his differing conditions/ disability ,if I may use those words do to him? :'(


I do know exactly what you mean about stress Rob. I call it emotional hangover sometimes, it just wipes me out. I hope that peace and serenity comes for your family. How does Gavin go when he goes back to Lizzies patent, does he have meltdowns over there? In this video he says he can’t stop. Is that really what hiscondition does to


TrishMorrin I *love* the term “emotional hangover” and I’m going to use that to try and explain what I’m experiencing on my own blog. But that term is simply genius because that’s exactly what it is! I’ve been “sleeping it off” all day, only I can’t sleep it off. It’s always there.
As for what he means by “stress,” it’s a constant level of anxiety and well, stress. It’s trying to keep things calm and happy. It’s trying to keep as much space as possible between me and Gavin so that he is unable to physically/sexually assault me anymore. It’s trying to keep things as low-key as possible to keep him from psychologically assaulting me. It’s basically walking on eggshells to try and keep things from getting out of hand with Gavin and throwing me into even more anxiety and panic attacks. Does that help?
Also, if you ever have any questions for me or just wanna chat, please feel free to contact me on Twitter or Facebook, TrishMorrin . (Or anyone else. 🙂 {lol})


fibromamaby3 TrishMorrin I can’t imagine what it must be like for you have to go through this with your own son. Khai is 8 and he has show inappropriate behaviour in the past but it stopped for a while, but now he’s doing it again. Grabbing my breast and I thought he was just being silly, but he’s doing it more often, Putting his finger near our bottom . We now live with just Khai, myself and Warwick. Shanoha my 12 year old went to live with her dad 3 years ago. She spends less and less time with me. Breaks my heart. It can be very stressful at times when someone else is in the house. Warwick never had kids around so he is doing quite well at 52 years old , but I know khai really stresses him out. I am trying somewhat new with him and he is really over the top at the moment . I feel like I am walking on eggshells myself. I am trying to be positive with khai ,but I tend to yell a bit, so am trying teal hard. I had an emotional hangover yesterday, ibwas so depressed, thank goodness my daughter took khai out to see some monster trucks with her kids. Khai won’t go outside and play, because the mosquitoes eat him alive, they are so bad because of all the water. He’s driving me batty and he doesn’t want to be at his dads , Do you guys have Skype, I would love to talk face to face or voice to voice.