RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths?

Posted by: Dianne E.

RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 05/11/05 09:52 PM

03/18/05 07:12 AM

I'm new to this discussion forum but have been looking for a source of information and support for a couple of years now. My partner has a child almost 13 years of age and after nearly 3 years of research I and other members of my family (observed from a professional perspective) have come to realise we have a "fledling psychopath". His mother wanted rid of hime by the time he was 7 years old because she couldn't cope with him and ny partner got sole custody. It is such a long story that I will break it down into more digestible sections and share my story with you over time. I would really appreciate any advice or information other members have found useful.

At this point I would just like to give you a brief outline of behaviours and events that lead to this conclusion.
Constant, pointless lying even when confronted with the truth, manipualtion and conning all he comes into contact with, stealing from his own home, school and our friends/relatives houses. Bedwetting usually around 4 nights per week often a lot more sometimes hiding 3 or 4 pairs of wet PJs and denying wetting and other times proud to tell all who will listen, selfish, greedy, stealing and hoarding sweet foods and drink (he once ate 9 Kit Kats and drank 4 litres of lemonade in one go), total lack of hygiene, encopresis (not going to the toilet for weeks on end and leaking). Destructive, either his own or other peoples property, absolutely no remorse when caught doing anything however bad, emotionally redundant. Cruel to younger children and samll animals-fortunately he is a coward and scared of anything bigger than a kitten. All his play is fantasy land, he dresses up and leaps around "killing" everything he comes across, all his toy figures are laid out in a death scene each with a weapon embedded in it. No friends although his facade of geniality cons people into thinking he is pleasant. School work is appalling although he has a good reading age. He is the laziest person I have ever come across and won't do a thing for anyone even though he expects to be given whatever he wants. He stamps and cries whenever he doesn't get his own way and expects to do what the adults are doing. Whatever he does is "forgotten" after the dust settles and he behaves as though nothing has happened. No punishment has any effect whatsoever and he does the same things over again.

There are so many other things but I wanted to keep this short and focused. In some ways I am fortunate because it is not my child so have no affection for him. I did all I could to make his life as good as it could be but everything I did seemed to make him worse as he had to manipulate harder to get control away from me. He had his father "sorted" before I came on the scene and resented me although I made sure he wasn't pushed out in any way, in fact I did the opposite. Nothing worked and for my own sake I had to mentally get out of the situation. We were very lucky to get him into a State Boarding School as it had come to the wire-it was either him or me that had to go. We are now like ships that pass in the night

If anyone wants to know about the UK state boarding system please contact me -it is one of the UKs best kept secrets.


Dianne E.
03/18/05 07:30 AM

Hi Jan, welcome to the forum.

I am very interested in the UK boarding school situation. I have followed the efforts of the UK to enact laws to keep Psychopaths locked up after they do their sentence for crimes. Has anyone done an evaluation and give you a diagnosis for this young boy?

This is a very interesting topic and it sure needs more light shed on the subject. Thank you for coming forward to discuss this. Dr. Hare now has a "Youth Checklist". Along with Psychopaths outside of the prison system and youths we are just starting to enter some new territory as far as discovering and diagnosing them.

I look forward to hearing more of your story and trying to help any way that we can.

How often do you have contact with him? Are there any other children in the family?

Best Regards,


03/18/05 01:20 PM

Hi Jan,

Welcome to the forum.

I don't quite know how to help or support you, for although your story is very sad and I am certain that you and the boy's father must feel sad and frustrated, you don't have a specific question, nor do you ask for support around any one issue. That you both probably need support appears obvious.

What can we do for you?

Without knowing anything about your relationship, I would imagine that it has suffered some dents and bruises and that perhaps that is where you should invest some of your energies now that the boy is away at boarding school.

I can only try to imagine how truly unpleasant it must have been to live with a child such as you describe. He sounds as if he is totally out of control in almost every way, even his poor body is out of control (encopresis), which must be a huge strain on his immune system and general ability to perform even the simplest tasks. I mean, he is slowly being poisoned with his own waste matters.

Has he been getting medications that could produce such a back-up in his system, or what could be the reason for this?I HAVE read that some people with mental disorders, which psychopathy is not, do have problems with their body image that relates to elimination, but I have never heard this particular thing mentioned in connection with personality disorders, nor have ever read about it in connection with psychopaths.

Has the boy been recently and formally diagnosed by a child psychatrist and if so, what is the diagnosis? How is he doing in the boarding school? Is his behaviour any better or just being kept under control in a strict environment?

I take it that he is not coming home for visits, although he may be allowed visitors. Have you visited with him and if so, how did it go?

So long as he is not a feature in your home environment, perhaps you both need some "time out" to relax and get back to caring for your relationship with each other. You relationship must be very strong and mutually supportive or you would not have managed to stay together through all this.

Please do not feel that you have to answer any of the questions. You are more than welcome to just write. Must of us here have discovered that simply writing about our ordeal can be a very freeing.

Take care,


03/18/05 02:09 PM


Since I know nothing about encopresis, I have checked some websites. Among them this one:

Encopresis website
Here's an excerpt.

"What is encopresis?

Enco p resis is soiling that usually happens because of constipation. About 1-2% of school age kids have encopresis, so it is not uncommon. In children with encopresis, formed, soft, or liquid poop leaks from the anus around a mass of poop that is stuck in the lower bowel. The bowel can get so stretched that your child can no longer feel the urge to poop, and the anal sphincter (the muscle around the anus that holds the poop in) can get very weak. Sometimes the poop takes up so much room that your child's bladder doesn't have enough space. This can cause bedwetting. "

I thought it interesting that the constipation could become so severe that it would cause bedwetting, which you also describe as a problem with the boy.

Encopresis is severe and profound constipation that makes it very painful for the child to eliminate. The pain can be so severe that the child will REFUSE to even try. This in turn can lead to an total absence of recognising having an urge and on and on. This in turn can cause distended bowels that press against the bladder, causing bedwetting. The bedwtting is involuntary. The encopresis is involuntary as well.

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/20/05 06:55 AM

03/19/05 05:52 AM

Hi Nan

Thanks for taking the time to do some research on encopresis, I have also found some interesting info. There are 2 types of encopresis one is a physical problem and the other a mental one and often not classified as encopresis. What I didn't mention was this child uses encopresis to have control so falls into the second category. It is not a permanent problem. Even when I gave him a high fibre diet and a daily dose of "Syrup of Figs" he stll manages to hold on if he wants to. He very rarely leaks. He also has a toilet ritual and closes the blinds, day or night, although there is nothing but fields outside the bathroom window and the bathroom is upstairs. He then takes all his clothes off and will sit for a long time. On a couple of occasions he has smeared the excrement around the bathroom and on my face towels. Because he has to take his clothes off to go to the toilet it severely restricts when and where he can go. Hitler also had a "smearing issue". The bedwetting is not related to the encopresis as has virtuall admitted he wets the bed on purpose, even when his bowels are empty he still wets. I once found him lying face down on his wet quilt that was on the floor was waiting to go into the washing machine. His face was buried in the wet part, when I asked what he was doing he replied that he was tired.

I will go back and find the information I found as it may be relevant to others because it was written from a forensic perspective not just a physical bowel problem.

You may like to look up "The McDonald Triad" which gives the 3 behaviours linked to forensic behaviour. Bedwetting is top of the list. My siter and brother in law are senior prison officers and say bedwtting is common in the prison population. With this child enuresis and encopresis are used as weapons to control situations and entirely his choice.

03/19/05 08:09 AM

Hi Di

I am pleased to join the forum and will share my info on the UK state boarding school system. Go to www.isbi.com this gives a list of all UK schools then you can narrow the search to the state boarding system. Parents pay only for the board and lodge element which is approximately £2000 per term so fairly affordable. I don’t know whether there is any funding available for “statemented” children. We felt it was the only solution for us because the child (who I will refer to as R) was destroying our lives and it was impossible to live under the same roof as him. We didn’t alert the school to the problems we were having for a couple of reasons, firstly we wanted to know whether the behaviours were directed solely at me and secondly because we were worried the school may not accept such a disturbed child. He comes home for school holidays but spends about half of that time with his gran as he is the only grandchild.

When he is at home he just watches TV all day, he has no friends and has been banned from the neighbours houses either for stealing or being spiteful and cruel to younger children, destroying things or just making fun of adults. Anyone who knows him soon realises that the “little charmer” is only conning them to get something from them, once he gets what he wants he reverts to type. I can’t think of one person who likes him after the initial meeting.

R went to see a psychologist 2 years ago and was assessed as having “attachment issues of the avoidant type” although nothing was actually put in writing because of the long term stigma. We were told nothing could be done to help him as there is no cure and that we would have to find coping strategies until he was old enough to leave home. It was my sister who suggested that we research Reactive Attachment Disorder, she is a probation officer specialising in family welfare and she spotted the situation the first time she met him. I have come to believe that RAD and psychopathy are one and the same thing and as we gain more knowledge I think this will become more obvious. The checklist for RAD is a junior version of Robert Hare’s checklist for psychopaths. I have seen Hare’s Youth Checklist and it is very relevant to what we are dealing with. I have also read Harvey Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity which is no longer available in print but can be downloaded from Harvey Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity free book download

This is a must for anyone dealing with a psychopath, fledgling or otherwise.

R has a half brother from his mothers’ second marriage but he doesn’t express any desire for contact with him and the mother has very little contact with R anyway. My partner (N) left his marriage when R was nearly 2 and had constant contact until he was 6 when the mother insisted that he take the child permanently as she could no longer cope with him.

My son has grown up and left home and is a very loving, caring and well adjusted young man with no hang ups whatsoever. He even recently said when he has children he wants me to show him how to bring them up as I did such a good job with him. You can imagine how proud I was to hear him say that. I tried to be firm’ fair and fun. I was doing exactly the same with R but it was totally useless as nothing works with him- he just stepped up the anti the more I did for him. I even did more for him than I did for my own son because I was desperate to help him. What a waste of time and effort!

We are now at the stage where he is out of sight and out of mind for most of the time and when he comes home I have very little to do with him. I feel so sorry for N as he had a child for the wrong reasons (he thought it would help his ailing marriage) he hasn’t a clue about kids sot looks to me for guidance. He doesn’t know anything about normal kids let alone severely disturbed ones. And I am totally out of my depth with this kid.

I am secretly hoping that R will go back to his mother as she doesn’t impose any rules and he would be given total freedom to do as he wants (she will do it for the money which would be cheaper than school fees.) She has recently renewed contact now she thinks N has come into money –she doesn’t realise it is a state funded school .


Dianne E.
03/19/05 11:42 AM

Hi Jan, very interesting comments about RAD, I did a bit of research. It sounds to me like this is something they are saying about kids before giving them the label of Psychopath:

In reply to:

In reply to:

While these kids can be healed, they have to want it, and the prognosis is not good. Without healing, these kids grow up unable to form healthy relationships with other human beings. Too often, these kids develop into sociopaths devoid of conscience or concern for anyone other themselves.


I posted a question at their forum to see what the reaction is to if this RAD diagnosis is just a early way of saying the harsher reality of Psychopath?

What has been the feedback you get from the school? How is he behaving?


03/19/05 02:47 PM

Hi Dianne,

I checked out the RAD org. and read the section about What is RAD?

Excerpt from that page.

"RAD kids have learned that the world is unsafe, and that the adults around them can’t be trusted to meet their needs. They have developed a protective shell around their emotions, isolating themselves from dependency on adult caregivers. Rather than depending on their parents or other adults to protect them, the protective shell becomes the child’s only means of coping with the world."

While I can see that a great deal of the information on the site point toward these children being fledgling psychopaths, I can also see that the above explanation points to the idea that parental neglect is the cause of RAD. Here, the issue is not nature and nurture as is still the prevaling, although not conclusive, thought about the origins of psychopathy, but rather nurture by itself.

As far as I know, there is still NO conclusive evidence that psychopathy is created by the parent, the caregiver or the environment.

If RAD is created by the parent, the caregivers or the general environment during the formative years then, however difficult the child, the child cannot be said to be at fault.

In fact, my first thought when I had read the RAD site was that were I the parent of a child with such a diagnois, however tentative, I would feel terribly guilty and horrified to have been the direct cause of such an illness in my child. That, in my view, cannot be helpful to the parent. It certainly cannot be helpful to the child.

I was also struck by the notion that a neglectful parent would not be likely to visit a site such as RAD. The many forums posts point to a very high level of parental engagement and willingness to try anything if only to help the child.

I believe that it is against the law in the UK to label a child a psychopath, however much the diagnosis seems to fit the established criteria.

I'd be very interested in any replies you receive to your inquiry.



Dianne E.
03/19/05 03:48 PM

Hi Nan,

This is a very interesting topic that Jan has presented.

There is a reply to my post at the Delphi Forums RAD Discussion

I am pondering this around in my mind, thinking about what parents of fledgling Psychopaths have said in the past. It may seem kind of circular but perhaps a child who is a fledgling P is the one doing the rejecting thus making it harder for the parent to really embrace the child. Maybe the parent/caregiver is repelled from developing the bond and it doesn't have anything to do with being bad parents but perhaps a child that is the one doing the rejection? Am I making any sense?

I lean toward the nature aspect of Psychopaths so perhaps a less socialized P (for example the type who would end up being part of the 30% P's in the prison population) could be diagnosed with RAD since they in fact did have a very lousy childhood? Then I could go in another circle and if every child with a lousy childhood ended up being diagnosed with RAD, I don't know, this is a very interesting thought to process. I am still mulling over much of this so I hope I don't sound confusing.

Do you think we should have a separate topic thread for RAD and or/fledgling P's?


03/20/05 03:48 AM

Hi Dianne,

"It may seem kind of circular but perhaps a child who is a fledgling P is the one doing the rejecting thus making it harder for the parent to really embrace the child. Maybe the parent/caregiver is repelled from developing the bond and it doesn't have anything to do with being bad parents but perhaps a child that is the one doing the rejection? Am I making any sense? "

Yes, you are! The old question of what came first? The chicken or the egg.

Yesterday, was my introduction to RAD kids, so I know very little about it. It appears to be a very severe case of 'Do you really love me' with the child doing its level (unconscious?) best to prove the opposite to the point where the parent is quite literally wringing his/her hands in despair of ever bringing home to the child that it IS loved.

In my life, I have met adults who seemed in need of temporary help and support, but it was not a temporary thing. These people were in such deep need that lending a hand was not enough. Their need for love and support was like a deep well that you could NEVER fill up, no matter what you did and it almost seemed as if they wanted to swallow you whole, i.e., their demands for attention were heavy and continual and so was the acting up, the continued creation of one crisis on top of another. The feeling I got was that NO amount of love, attention, help and support would enable these people to feel loved and more importantly, deserving of love. NO, I am NOT discussing the P.

"I am still mulling over much of this so I hope I don't sound confusing."

Not at all! We are both a little confused at this point because RAD is new to us and something we have not come across before. Certainly, I have not seen it mentioned in any of the books or articles I have read on psychopathy. However, it seems very important that we make a real attempt to understand RAD.

Personally, I am very loathe to label a child or very young adult psychopathic precisely because the label is so all embracing and therefore incredibly damaging. I have never known what to say or what to suggest when a parent writes a post asking, 'Is my child...?'

"Do you think we should have a separate topic thread for RAD and or/fledgling P's? "

Yes. That's a great idea. Jan is proof that we need more information and more ways to help and support parents and caregivers of difficult children.

Thanks for the link to the replies to your post. I will continue to educate myself on the RAD subject and incidentaly, Aspergers Syndrome, which JimEnigma has written a very informative post about.


Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/21/05 06:02 AM


I was pleased to hear that Nan and Di have researched RAD. I have been studying this for nearly 3 years now and that was what lead me onto psychopathy. The latest research seems to indicate theat RAD children are born that way and their siblings can have exzctly the same upbringing and yes it can sometimes be a neglectful upbringing but the siblings do not go on to have behavioural problems. From my experience R's mother did not bond with so his father took over his care (he worked from home) so the child did have the potential to bond with soemone but chose not to. I think we have to look at where psychopaths come from....they don't wake up one morning at 21 yeards old and suddenly become one, it is someone that is developed over years. I just think that not many people have made the correlation between RAD and psychopathy and would love to see some research doen on this. If RAD was caused by upbringing then it would be "curable" but i think diagnosing RAD is just to give the condition a "child friendly" title as no-one wants to say a 12 year old is a psychopath. R has been with his father for 9 years and me 3. I think if there was any progress to be made we would have done so by now but in reality he gets worse as the months go by.
I now feel certain that it is nature not nurture and until someone comes up with a "cure" we just have to protect ourselves from these people.


I have attached an article which I found very useful
My 15-year-old has Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD). However, until he is 18 years old he cannot be “officially” diagnosed nor treated as such. Consequently, he is not being treated at all. Not that that makes much difference. There does not seem to be any hope for him. Everything I read says it is basically incurable and untreatable.
I was the first one to realize the truth when he was about 12. Having been, in the past, a practicing psychotherapist, certain behaviours caught my attention; lack of appropriate emotional response, unwillingness to take on any responsibility, ability to manipulate, lack of social skills and immaturity, lying and blaming. I hoped it was something else. But, as time passed, it became undeniable. Finally, we took him for intensive testing. Off the record, our suspicions were confirmed. On the record he was diagnosed with “conduct disorder”. Over time, his behaviour has worsened.
He is now textbook ASPD with the exception of displaying cruelty to animals. Since they cannot make an official diagnosis of ASPD until he is 18 they refuse to "officially" treat him as such. He smokes pot, fails every subject in school and refuses to do schoolwork, steals anything we don't lock down, lies constantly, blames everyone else, displays strange sexual behaviours, cons anyone who will buy it, refuses to obey any rules at school or at home, and has already been arrested 3 times. He honestly does not believe rules of any kind apply to him. He sees any attempt to place limitations on his behaviour as a challenge to prove he cannot be controlled. He has no real emotions (doesn't even grasp the concept) and seems to truly not comprehend there is a problem. As long as no one crosses him or requires anything from him he is charming, witty and pleasant. Otherwise he is either acting like we are the problem children he must tolerate or he becomes angry and verbally aggressive. We feel like his prisoners most of the time.
There are other, less threatening associated problems; poor memory, poor planning skills, inability to project consequences to behaviour, boredom due to bland emotional life, leading to thrill seeking. He does not comprehend the connection between work and reward and believes he will succeed in life simply because he wants to. He believes anything he wants is “owed” to him. He is incapable of comprehending “others” as separate from himself and is oblivious to their wants or needs. He knows no boundaries and does not recognize the rights of others nor respect them. He doesn’t understand why others find his behaviour intolerable. The hardest thing we had to accept is that this child is incapable of loving. He does not love us. Not in any true sense.
Initially, no one wants to accept he is ASPD. We have been through numerous therapists. They waste a great deal of our money and time while we wait for them to finally come to the same conclusion everyone else eventually comes to. Then they refuse to attempt to treat him. We have gone through the same thing with his schools. He is the master at identifying and latching on to a co-dependant teacher of counsellor and exploiting them most of the school year before we finally get the call of resignation and agreement that he is indeed ASPD. We have repeated this over and over. We begin every school year and every first counselling session the same way; begging for them to address this for what it is as opposed to trying everything else that has already been tried unsuccessfully. We usually have put up with the attitude that they know better. We have been told they are sure he does have emotions, he just suppresses them. We have been assured they can get to the bottom of it all. Most of the time they are a little arrogant about it. Most of the time they treat us as if we are horrible for believing such a thing about our son. But, eventually, they admit defeat. Then they act like something must be wrong with us to have birthed such a twisted kid.

We have managed to learn a few things that may be helpful to other parents of ASPD kids. We have learned:
§ the definition of true powerlessness. We cannot “fix” him or help him.
§ it is not our fault or a failure in out parenting abilities.
§ to deal with him unemotionally. ASPD’s find emotional people scary. We also refrain from using “feeling” words in our conversation as these words mean nothing to him.
§ to never show any real depth of feelings for him beyond being pleasant because he interprets this as weakness and will exploit it. We only deal with him matter-of-factly.
§ to not try to project our own feelings or those we believe he should have on him. The best he can do is imitate those emotions for the purpose of exploitation.
§ to be absolutely consistent. He sees inconsistency as weakness and will exploit it. Consequences must be swift, immediate and without emotion and without fail.
§ to describe possible consequences only in what he has to gain or lose. He has no concept of right or wrong except in relationship to his own discomfort or pleasure. Guilt is beyond his abilities. Shaming him only annoys him.
§ to not waste our time explaining why we must say “no”. Our explanations only provide him an opportunity to look for a loop-holes or argue in an attempt to wear us down.
§ not to expect him to learn much from experience. He won’t.
§ to act the same toward him when he is being charming as when he is not. We try to maintain a consistently even response at all times.
§ to acknowledge but not reward good behaviour. If we reward it, he sees it as a new method of scamming.
§ to suspect underlying motives to sudden charm or helpfulness. There always is one.
§ to avoid feeling sorry for him. It makes us weak and he exploits it.
§ to be tough and to not allow others to malign us for our "harsh attitudes".
§ to remember we cannot “hurt his feelings.” Sometimes harsh words are what will get his attention, at least temporarily.
§ to deal with him with our own best interest at heart because nothing we do will change him or his behaviour. We can only protect ourselves and others.
§ to accept that this child is a predator. He will use and abuse anyone to get what he wants without any concern for the victim.
§ to understand that, although he appears to be evil he is only concerned with doing and getting what he wants. He is oblivious to the harm it is causing others.
§ to love a child with ASPD can be deadly both to them and to us.
§ to disassociate from love for him as much as possible for our own survival. We have had to except he will, most likely, end up in prison or dead and can only hope he doesn't hurt too many along the way.
§ we can only do the best we can because there will be very little help for us along the way and probably none for him. We cannot possibly expect others to understand. Unless you have been there, it’s almost impossible to comprehend. More than once we have had to deal with others who see us as the monsters. More than once we have had to defend what little sanity our methods provide against “caring” people who want to come to our sons ”defence” , projecting their own emotions on to him.
We are sure he will leave us as soon as he can. We stand very much in his way of what he wants to do and refuse to cater to him. We won’t try to stop him. Socio-paths rarely maintain a relationship with anyone they cannot use. He will move on to the next “sucker” who will support him. It seems the best we can hope for is he will end up as a con-man as opposed to a rapist or murderer. We have grave concerns that he will be released on society and probably do much damage to others before (if ever) he is stopped. We also fear what will happen if he marries and/or has children. We feel helpless to protect whatever future victims he may encounter. We can only protect our family and ourselves.
I know this isn’t what you want to hear. I know you would rather hear that something you could do would make a difference. I wish I could say that is the case. But, so far, it has not proven to be so. I have not tried to give you hope. I have tried to give you strength and courage and to let you know you are not the bad one and you are not alone. Most of all, I have tried to share the tools that have helped make our lives with a sociopath more manageable; a way to survive until he is old enough to go. A day we are looking forward to.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/21/05 09:09 AM

Just found an interesting quote which you might like to follow up.
"People are going to say, if you've been abused as a child, if you've been deprived, if your environment's been so shocking, then inevitably that's going to have consequences in the way that you impact on your environment and on other people. But it's just not enough. It's an inadequate answer. If you look at areas of deprivation in the world, if you look at Third World countries, if you look at children who've got nothing, who've been abused, they don't turn automatically into psychopaths. This is something that is innate to the child, which the child is born with — not, I would stress, directly inherited. It's not that if your dad's a psychopath then you're a psychopath but it's much more to do with a combination of genes working together or not working properly together that creates a predisposition for this."
Martin Smedley, a specialist in
caring for seriously disturbed
children, cited on Equinox,
Channel 4 (Britain),
December 7, 2000

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/21/05 10:03 AM

Hi Jan thanks! I couldn't agree more; these have always been my thoughts also.

In the last month or so on CourtTV here in the US there were two cases of teens that murdered. One young boy (Chris Pittman) at I think 13 murdered his grandparents while they slept. He had a "rough" childhood, abandoned by his mom, strict dad, shuffled around etc. He laid in wait till they were asleep, premeditation. He then burned the house to destroy evidence. His defense tried to use the "Zoloft" defense - they were backed into a corner since the kid gave the cops a full confession. There was testimony about his past, which certainly raised some red flags from my armchair. His ENTIRE family bought into the Zoloft defense and supported him. It was unbelievable. His family tried to make light of incidents in his past like chasing his sister down with a baseball bat etc. CourtTV Coverage of Chris Pittman Trial

The other case was a young teen named Sarah Johnson who from all appearances came from an excellent home. Loving parents, money, nice home etc. She was mad because her parents put their foot down over her relationship with an older (I think he was 19 or so and she was 15) illegal immigrant. She also laid in wait and murdered her parents using a high powered rifle, literally blew off her moms head while she slept and shot and killed her dad as he emerged from the bathroom. Interesting that her family appeared to be more functional and EVERY ONE of them testified against her for the prosecution about her odd behavior. I.e. her obsessing over needing a manicure after her nails were clipped for DNA and wanting to go to a basketball game the night of her parents funeral. CourtTV Coverage of Sarah Johnson Trial

I certainly am not a professional but from watching most of both trials I would have to guess from this armchair that both of them were fledgling Psychopaths.

It showed a sharp contrast in upbringing with the same results being murder.

My father was a hunter and collected guns. Back in those days there weren't locks on guns and they were just around the house. Things in my household were not great but it never entered my mind to go get one of the many guns that were all over.

To brush off bad behavior and blame the parents was a therapy thing in the 80's. We all make choices, none of us are perfect but bad parents in my mind aren’t a valid excuse for bad behavior. There is something deeper when a child is unable to be managed and is downright evil/psychopathic.

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/27/05 08:02 PM

This is a condition which has rendered a child unable to
trust, and enjoy loving, intimate relationships.

Typically children with this disorder exhibit no conscience
and are extremely difficult to parent as they need to be in
control of everything in their lives. They often feel the
rules only apply to others, are consummate victims, and are
often victimizers. Targeting moms with their hate;manipulate
and charm: dads, therapists, workers, & total strangers.

Traditional therapies haven't been particularly effective
in treatment (except in the mildest cases) because they are
based on the presence of trust. Confrontational therapies,
which include holding therapy, HAVE been successful, but
have often been viewed as too intrusive by the general
therapeutic population. Thus, there are only a handful of
trained attachment therapists in the US; the east coast in
particular is sadly lacking. However, the cone of knowledge
IS widening, and, because of the efforts of parents groups,
recognition is gaining and kids are being referred to the
appropriate helping professionals. In addition, children
that are treated in attachment and bonding centers (such as
the Attachment Center at Evergreen Colorado, Human Passages
Institute, The Attachment and Bonding Center in Ohio)
usually bring along their home-based primary therapist who
is trained in follow-up therapy and identification at the
same time that the child is being treated. This is a boon to
the child's home state because it is likely that the results
will be quicker diagnosis and treatment for *other* AD kids.

Here is a list of the symptoms: CHILDREN WITH ATTACHMENT
following: ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~

Superficially engaging and charming - phoniness;
problems with eye contact;
indiscriminately affectionate w/strangers;
lacking ability to give and receive genuine affection (not cuddly);
extreme control problems (often appearing in covert or sneaky ways);
destructive to self, others, things;
cruelty to animals;
chronic, crazy lying;
lack of impulse controls;
lack of conscience;
lack of cause and effect thinking;
learning lags and disorders;
abnormal eating patterns;
poor peer relationships;
preoccupation with fire, blood, gore;
persistent NONSENSE questions and incessant chatter;
inappropriately demanding and clingy;
abnormal speech patterns.

(Remember: MANY...MOST...OR ALL of these!)

Posted by: JustAMan

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/28/05 01:32 PM


Ive been wondering where all the child psychopaths have been hiding for some time. Obviously 'child psychopath', no matter how accurate, is NOT the sort of stigmatising label any therapist would wish to slap on a kid... some euphemism that is emotionally neutral and which nobody really understands is obviously needed.

From what I've now seen its pretty obvious that Reactive Attachment Disorder as defined in DSM-IV is synonymous with Child Psychopath as described by Hare in Without Conscience but NOT used by pediatric psychiatrists.

"Left untreated, such children can maim, kill and torture without conscience or feeling. They can start fires, kill pets and terrorize their families. It has been said that untreated RAD children grew up to be such persons as Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Adolph Hitler, the teenagers who shot up Columbine High. They feel no remorse, have no conscience and see no relation between their actions and what happens as a result because they never connected with or relied upon another human being in trust their entire lives."

Excerpted from:
An Overview of Reactive Attachment Disorder for Teachers

See also:
33 point Checklist for RAD

...pyromania and cruelty to animals are also two of the indicators of the child psychopath, mentioned by Hare in Without Conscience.
Posted by: Nan

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/28/05 01:58 PM

I feel that the recent emphasis on "fledgling or child psychopaths" to be, at best, disturbing and at worst, misplaced.

As far as I know, and nor withstanding Robert Hare and other renowned researchers, no one has anything but a hypothesis about the origins of psychopathy.

We do not diagnose psychopathy or its origins here. We can only present the latest research. However, as we all know, some of this research deserves the label co-called.

None of us are doctors or serious researchers, so all we can do is present the research AS IS. Please!

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/28/05 02:21 PM

I have been extremely interested in this RAD diagnosis. I agree with JustAMan that it sure is described with the same set of "symptoms" of Psychopaths.

I do agree with you Nan that this certainly is a serious diagnosis to put on a child. I am curious what the reception has been and how many Psychiatrists are being trained to conduct Hare's new evaluation.

I wish we could get a consultation with Dr. Hare. I suspect he must be seriously considering this very issue or he wouldn't recommend his latest Youth checklist for the 12- 18 age group. I can see why a very young infant can get the diagnosis of having RAD and it would seem like a later age would be more appropriate to consider screening for Psychopathic traits.

All of this is still rolling around in my mind. I hope I haven't presented this as my viewing that all RAD kids are fledgling Psychopaths, I just tend to dig into the research. I am very puzzled and with each question it seems like more pop into my mind.

Posted by: Nan

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/29/05 01:41 AM


I agree that the information is interesting.

However, anything that is obtained a-priory is necessarily suspect, i.e., you want to prove XYZ and you collect all the information that support what you want to prove.



Posted by: Nan

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/29/05 05:08 AM

Thomas Szasz, M.D., is professor of psychiatry emeritus at SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York. He is the author of Fatal Freedom.

He has also written the book: The Manufacture of Madness.

"Long ago I became persuaded that it is not possible to understand modern psychiatric practices unless they are seen as manifestations of a popular madness; and that it is not possible to perceive them in such a light without being familiar with the history of psychiatry, which furnishes ample evidence to compromise its moral and scientific pretensions."


"As recently as 1938, Karl Menninger—the undisputed dean of American psychiatry in mid-century—declared: “In the unconscious mind, it [masturbation] always represents an aggression against someone.” (Emphasis added.)

None of psychiatry’s classic mistakes—from masturbatory insanity and its cures, to the disease of homosexuality and its compulsory treatment with “aversion therapy,” and to the attribution of the cause of schizophrenia to reverberating circuits in the frontal lobes and its cure with lobotomy (rewarded with a Nobel Prize in Medicine)—are “innocent” errors. Invariably, the false belief and the medical interventions it appears to justify serves the needs of the believers, especially the relatives of “patients” who seek control over the misbehavior of their “loved ones,” and the physicians who gain prestige and power by “diagnosing” and “treating” misbehavior as if it were disease.

We fool ourselves if we believe that psychiatry’s current popular delusions—such as the chemical causes and cures of depression, schizophrenia, suicide, and so forth—do not fit the same mold."



Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/29/05 06:01 AM

Hi Nan

I think in my case I just trawl for any information I can find then evaluate that to further my understanding rather than use it to make a diagnosis. (also the fact that I'm not qualified to do so) Some of the information is irrelevant to my situation and some describes the circumstances perfectly. If we were to ask for an assessment for R then we would have to provide indications of why we think it necessary. Unfortunately here in the UK no-one will diagnose a child unless it is a medical condition. The only other hope we have is if he is caught by the police for an offence then the authorities will have to take notice.

This is why the forum is so useful so we can share experiences and knowledge but we do all seem to be saying the same things whether it is about a child or an adult.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/31/05 07:56 AM

Just found another interesting web site.

The author seems to be using the traits evident in RAD and and translating the condition as psychopath. It looks as though others have already made this connection.



**edited to make link clickable, be back in a bit to read and comment, Di
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/31/05 07:28 PM

Thanks for the link, Jan, the site is very interesting.

This is meant for discussion and NOT diagnosis but I have been wondering about when we develop our conscience.

DSM-IV: Reactive Attachment Disorder

The American Psychiatric Association

The child who truly acts without a conscience is likely to be suffering from RAD - Reactive Attachment Disorder.

You don’t have to teach your child to walk – he’ll figure that out on his own. But left to his own devices, he won’t develop a conscience. For this, parents need to intercede. A conscience is our internal moral compass, a guide within us that helps us distinguish right from wrong. We begin to see an emerging conscience in children at around five or six years of age, but the groundwork for its development starts long before that.

Developing a Conscience
Posted by: kwindish

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 04/01/05 10:29 AM

Sorry I'm not up on the current DSM, but RAD sounds interesting. I put together my own experience with book information in order to come up with that page you refer to. Other people are quite an inspiration for me, especially when they don't mind talking about their psychopath experiences.

By the way, this is my first post and I'm glad to be here!

Ken ... syntheory.com
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 04/06/05 04:55 AM

Hi Ken

I found your article very interesting as it seems to confirm what I have been researching about RAD. You may, by now, be more familiar with RAD and these conditions do appear to be the same. I would like to add that I also believe some children are born that way and others go the nurture route.
I would like to see any other info you have posted on the forum.
I am prepared to discuss my experiences quite openly as that is the only way the problem will get recognition and attention.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 04/07/05 07:34 AM


I dom't know whether any of the members have seem the following before. It is from a RAD presntation but not sure who presented it.

All to often these individuals grow up untreated and become sociopaths without conscience and without concern for anyone but themselves. This condition was made popular by the recent academy award winning movie "Good Will Hunting." But unlike the movie, the hero, or heroine rarely drives off into the sunset to have a happy ever after life. More realistically, parental dreams are lost, and they grow up uncaring and without social conscience

**edited to make link clickable, Di
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 05/07/05 08:28 AM

My opinion is that, assuming they while lacking in conscience, intellectually know right from wrong; RAD and Psychopathy are one and the same.

RAD simply is what you call it when he's a kid... once he's 18, he's a psychopath.
Posted by: kwindish

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 05/11/05 09:52 PM

Freud said that the conscience is the superego and is fully formed by 5 or 6. I think that it's child abuse to not discipline one's children. The fate of the psychopath is a sad one; they typically grow old all alone regreting the path they trod. I can't imagine them remembering their damage with a fond smile when it gets close to their time to die.
Posted by: Shelley

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 10/24/05 11:54 AM


I know that this is an old thread, but I cannot resist the temptation to post here. My sense is that RAD is best left as a descriptive rather than an explanatory model. Where it explains RAD behaviour as emerging from poorly developed attachment, it would appear to suggest that the cause of RAD is poor nurturing on the part of of the parents (a nurture explanation). And to me this smacks just a little too much of mother(parent) blame. I don't think that there's enough evidence to support this, and in fact, as others have pointed out, there's lots of evidence against this -- not the least of which is that many, many children are raised in a much less than optimal environment, but relatively few grow up to be psychopaths -- and we certainly don't see whole sibling constellations of them.

I don't have a problem with attachment theory as a descriptive model -- it certainly describes how people respond to others in terms of their interpersonal relationships. But I'm not sure that I would agree with attachment (or RAD) where it places the cause for different styles of attachment at the level of a lack of nurturance or inadequate nurturance.

Instead, I would argue that the a lack of apparent attachment on the part of the fledgling psychopath (perhaps RAD) emerges because the child has a damaged or limited capacity to bond with others at the outset (a nature explanation).

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 10/24/05 01:30 PM

Hi Shelley, I couldn't agree with you more. The odd thing is if you look at the description of RAD you will find it is the exact list of symptoms used for defining a Psychpath.

I also agree on this parent blame game. I think from what a parent said a long time ago that in looking back she felt that she in turn rejected the child because the child was doing the rejecting.

Many, many people are raised in less than desirable environments and certainly don't turn out to be Psychopaths. I think and I am not any kind of authority but it seems like the blame the parent situation is way off base. If you read at the RAD forum, which I do, the similarities of these kids match up perfectly. Most of the people there are foster and grandparents. Their general theory is enough love will change these kids. This is only my opinion but my view is they are only ensuring that they will end up with a very well socialized Psychopath. If you have a kid and the best recommendation is to put alarms on their doors to protect everyone else in the house you have a much bigger problem than just a kid who needs more love, in my opinon.

If I were to take a guess it seems like RAD is just a "diagnosis" of a Fledgling Psychopath. I find this entire area of discussion very interesting.

Posted by: Shelley

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 10/25/05 04:47 AM

Hello Dianne,

I'd agree that RAD seems to work best as a description of the fledgling psychopath, and I do understand the problem with labelling kids early on. However, I really hate to see people promoting the idea that with enough love, you can fix these people. I just don't beleive that to be the case and while I agree that loving them more might teach them to be "better" psychopaths, I think some of the greatest damage is done to the family, who come to believe that everything that the psychopath is and does is all their fault for not loving them enough.

It sets the family up for years and years of guilt and a ton of abuse at the hands of the psychopath. The parents/family hang in there, take the abuse, fight desperately for the lost family member, and do so because at some level, they accept the blame for the outcome. (I think If you look carefully, you can see many of these people in here -- people who can't break the tie and who hang in there out of hope that this time, he will change.)

An interesting topic, but one that leads to the next question: If we accept the idea that these kids can't be changed, whatever do we do with them??
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/04/06 11:19 AM

Thanks to Jan for this great checkilist:

Symptoms of RAD in Children
· Superficially charming and engaging, particularly around strangers or those who they feel they can manipulate
· Indiscriminate affection, often to strangers; but not affectionate on parent’s terms
· Problems making eye contact, except when angry or lying
· A severe need to control everything and everyone; worsens as the child gets older
· Hypervigilant
· Hyperactive, yet lazy in performing tasks
· Argumentative, often over silly or insignificant things
· Frequent tantrums or rage, often over trivial issues
Demanding or clingy, often at inappropriate times
· Trouble understanding cause and effect
· Poor impulse control
· Lacks morals, values, and spiritual faith
· Little or no empathy; often have not developed a conscience
· Cruelty to animals
· Lying for no apparent reason
· False allegations of abuse
· Destructive to property or self
· Stealing
· Constant chatter; nonsense questions
· Abnormal speech patterns; uninterested in learning communication skills
· Developmental / Learning delays
· Fascination with fire, blood and gore, weapons, evil; will usually make the bad choice
· Problems with food; either hoarding it or refusing to eat
· Concerned with details, but ignoring the main issues
· Few or no long term friends; tend to be loners
· Attitude of entitlement and self-importance
· Sneaks things without permission even if he could have had them by asking
· Triangulation of adults; pitting one against the other
A darkness behind the eyes when raging

Symptoms of RAD in Adults
· Avoidant
o Unreasonable or inappropriate anger
o Hostile
o Overcritical of others and self
o Intolerant of rules and authority
o Lack of empathy or remorse
o Views others as untrustworthy and unreliable
o Shallow/Vain
o Feelings of self-importance
o Feelings of entitlement or arrogance
o Self-reliance; prefers to work alone than with others
o Views relationships as threatening, or not worth the effort
o May be a workaholic, as a way of avoiding relationships
o Feelings of being unique
o Grandiose or unrealistic fantasies
· Anxious/Ambivalent
o Compulsive caregiving
o Feels underappreciated
o Many short-term relationships
o Idealizes others
o Possessive; makes unrealistic demands of partners in relationships
o Preoccupied with relationships, and easily makes declarations of affection
o Obtains feelings of security through relationships
o Sees relationships as imbalanced
o Oversensitive to rejection, easily gives in to jealousy
o Sees others as being difficult to understand
o Unable to understand the concept of altruism
Extreme emotions
· May Also Include

o Prone to depression
o Socially inappropriate behavior
o Impulsive
o Manipulative
o Risk-taking
o Self-mutilating behavior
o Often do not remember much of childhood experiences
o Darkness behind the eyes when angered
o At risk of abusing their own children
Children with RAD may become adults diagnosed with sociopathic, narcissistic, antisocial, or borderline disorder
Posted by: HappyMomAnna

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/24/06 11:46 AM

Hello everyone!

I am new here and wanted to introduce myself. I am the daughter of a Dx Psychopath (which has been an interesting life) and the Mother of an 8 year old adopted daughter (placed at the age of 5) who is RAD--Reactive Attachment Disorder!

I found this site and thread on a search because I run a forum for parents who adopt special needs children from the Foster Care System and RAD is one of the hot topics which tends to lead to many debates. I am very interested in learning as much as I can so I can help my own daughter and others.

I myself find the simular critiria to be very interesting and would love feedback.

This link goes to a thread where the topic has come up.


Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/25/06 04:26 AM

Hi HappyMomAnna

As soon as I get my DSL sorted I would love to correspond with you about this topic. In the meantime perhaps you could go over my earlier posts to get some background into my situation and the research I have done over the past few years.

You may be interested to check out Dr Essi Viding who I recently had a meeting with. I will post the info she gave me as soon as I can. There are some links to her research in that section of this forum too. Justaman recently added those links to one of his posts.

Posted by: rprovolone

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 05/19/06 10:47 AM

The description of your son sounds remarkably like our daughter, N, who is a classic sociopath. She is 20 years old and has recently left our home (although she tells everyone that we kicked her out). Your advice is very much appreciated. I wish I had these insights a few years earlier. When N lived with us, it was like we were waiting for a bomb to go off. The tension and anxiety level were incredible and no one in the family (including her) was happy. She has been in one type of therapy or another for the last 10 years. She was institutionalized three times last year (the final episode was not voluntary).

It has been a real relief to not have to deal with N. For our own benefit, we have pretty much broken off all communication with her. She called on Mother's Day to wish my wife a happy one (my wife refused to talk with her, so N left a phony message on her cell phone). My wife has handled this much better than me. I have had a very difficult time accepting the fact that our daughter has ASPD - not rationally, but emotionally. The hardest thing for me is to forget that I love and care about her (as you put it, disassociate myself from love for her). I realize that any further contact with this person I never knew would probably do more harm than good. She is such a parasite (I used to call her an emotional vampire)! Now that she realizes that can't get anything else from us, she'll forget about us, if she hasn't already.

Advice from interested observers (including our psychiatrist) is to avoid her at all costs. I understand that this is the best thing for all of us, but I can’t help feeling sad that I’ll probably never see or speak to her again. I’m sure I will come to my senses eventually. I’ll close by saying that it’s comforting to see that there is a family with the strength and fortitude to deal with this situation the right way. I hope we can follow your example.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/26/08 06:10 PM

Yessssssssssssssss......Finally ( I found this topic!!)
This is what I ment when I told in another topic about what we call in dutch; The bottumless well syndrom...
It's what you people call RAD in english.
hhwhwahwh now I see the word it's plane logic.

When I send my son away from my house. Somebody showed me a news paper..this was 3 weeks after my son has left. On the newspaper there was this cry from a mother; 'My son emotionelly killed me!'
I read what she was saying and recognized some things. To be honest; I wished my son was like that!
I contacted the people from the organisation and they asked me that same conversation to be a contact person for my part of the country for there wasn't anybody yet here.. I refused. Just got my diagnozes, just got some peace now he was no longer living with me.
Just over a month after that he came in my house, uninvided and broke everything he could get his hands on because I didn't want to do what he ordered me.
My phones, television, stereo, tables, lights, broke windows and put holes in my doors,ruined my plants, everything he could put his hands on was beaten and thrown against walls.
He try to frighten me saying he would kill me if I didn't get in the car with him and his ( very agressive) father immediatly. I refused.
After he was gone I asked some neighbours if I could use their phone and call the police. The police was there very soon after and told me to flee. I refused again. I knew my son would find me so there was no point in going anywhere. On top of it all, I had a younger son who was living with his father ( another father) and he wants to come home every weekend.
I called the organisation again and said I would do the job. If I still would have to deal with his kind of person, oke..but only in MY way and not being supressed by him. If I had to live my life that way , than as possitive as I could possibly make it.

Within a week I got 29 parents( both fathers and mothers) who want to come to talk to each other. ( surpisingly because there was nothing in newspapers and so on yet!) Now I got a nice house but no room for 58 people so I rent a space somewere else and we came together.

I learned a lot from this meetings.
I did this work for over a year, put everything in order, rent a school every 2 weeks for meetings. invited people for the next year to tell something about this disorder. psychologist and so on, people who worked with difficult children. I put the financial part in order and than handed over the work to another, nice woman. I want to foccus on healing and living!
I realized then that I was under the influence of terrible people for all my live and want to see if there was anything else in live than trouble..( there is!!!)

Anyway... I learned about a child psychiatrist who is in Belgium. His name is prof. Adrieaanssen ( University of Leuven)
if I remember correctly he found that IF those children could learn anything, it has to be without a chance to attache. So;
he brought some children in a boarding situation. They lived in a group for 3 weeks. With people who took care of them and who gave them strickt rules.
After 3 weeks the childen where moved to another place. They lived there with the same set of rules but with different people to take care of them. After 3 weeks the children moved on again.

He found that these children have the capabillity to learn 'acceptable' behavior but only when they don't see anything else and the caretakers are very firm and always change so children can't get to know them close..

The children where not able to get familliar with the envirronment, the people and the habits in a place. before they could, they moved to another place and even another building in another city.

if I could put this in dutch I would find discribing this a lot easier .....( LOL)

I think about another event now.
After I was the contact person for little over a month I had to travel to the other site of the country ( nearby for peope in the USA, for us this is far!!)
I could stay with the woman who organisted the whole thing and we had a big meeting. She now showed me the pictures of her children...She had a daughter and a son. The son was the RAD.
they where both grown ups at that time.
I seem to notice something and couldn't say what...
It didn't get clear at that time what I thought I was looking at.
So I asked the people from my meetings to bring babypicures from all of they're children.
I took pictures I had of my 2 sons. I studied them at home but still couldn't put 'my finger on it'...

On the next meeting we put all pictures next to the other and I took time to just look... I took some pictures out that gave me the creeps and left others to rest...
While the group had they're meeting I was in another room just watching the pictures.
The feeling didn't leaf me... but still I wasn't able to point out what I felt was wrong.

Finally I saw something but still wasn't sure.
I look at all the pictures now and compared them..I took some out again..diffrent ones and studied them again and again... I was very tiered already but I had to know what it was i was loooking at.
It was something about the way the body was held..
I took osme pictures that were oke in my eyes and some that weren't.
I took them to the other people of the meeting and showed them and asked them what it was we were looking at. Could they pick the pictures of the normal children and the children who have this syndrom?
And yes they could..and all without one mistake!

Now what we seem to have found was that when babies are around 3 months they lay on there back in a certain way.... mostly there legs are held high and they move there arms, they will have turned there heads toward the person who is making the picture.
These children we are talking about don't... The lay down like a grown up. Straight legs and arm resting on the table....

We found a proffesor in holland who was doing some studies on babis in the whomb.
With echo ( I hope you know what I mean with echo) he seem to have found that even in the whomb these children can be recognized by how they pose they'r body.

(I can try to make 'echo' clear; It's a test forinstance with pregnant women. They make the child visible with ultra sound.)

I wond if anyone her knows something about these things.
Iam sorry that I an;t tell what happend after this with our findings because I stopped the work. If needed I could contact the lady of the organization agan and aske her about it..Please let me know if you are interessted.

Sorry if not everything I write is very clear. This is not my own language and sometimes I can't express my self in the way I like. If I have to make things more clear than please say so , I will try to tell it in a diffrent way than, hoping it will be more clear,no problem!
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/27/08 03:36 AM

Hi Segaya

I am extremely interested in what you have written and would like to discuss it further. I would like to do some research about what you said before I do to see if I can get some background to this topic.

RAD is a term which seems to be used for a wide variety of behavioural disorders and the psychologist I saw is very wary about using it as it doesn't apply in many cases and hides another possible diagnosis.

For some parents a RAD diagnosis gives them comfort that they think they can do something to help the child -which can be false hope. For them giving a condition a name gives them a starting point to look for information.

RAD is often diagnosed in adopted children and lack of attachement gets the blame. There is another theory on this which I find more credible with my partner's kid. RAD was mentioned when we looked for answers but we moved on from that.

We call the ultrs sound a scan so I know exactly what you are talking about.

I'll be back later.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/27/08 03:48 AM

Hi Jan,
I will try to make contact again with people from that organization to find out more about this. If I know I will tell on this forum.
Love Segaya
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/27/08 06:05 AM

hi again...
I found the phone numbers of several people from that oganization and spoke to them all..
I was very surprised that I heard that no follow up came after our findings with the pictures...grgrgrgrgr. I stopped that work so I trusted they would do it...
Anyway I will try to search for information about this proffesor that did research to the babies.You will hear from me again.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/28/08 07:57 AM

Hi Segaya

Did you mean that you ran a support group for parents of children with RAD?

Most of the psychologists do not use the term RAD and I was told by one them that this is an American term and has no medical credence. To me it sounds like a nice way of saying something that sounds like an illness rather than the prelude to psychopathy or at best anti social behaviour.

I still believe that there are primary psychopaths who are born that way through the spectrum to anti social people who have been affected by their upbringing because they have that propensity. There are people like yourself who have had a terrible childhood but do not go on to have these conditions.

There is some research on children from places like the orphanages in Rumania where children are totally neglected and have no stimulation and it is thought their brains don’t develop in a way that allows them to experience emotions. Bonding with a parent or caregiver is supposed to happen straight after birth and if that doesn’t happen then the child may never learn how to bond with anyone.

I can understand that a child who was never comforted from birth learns to not trust anyone and therefore doesn’t form an attachment but I’m not sure this would apply to every child who has suffered neglect as I have heard of people who live appalling lives from birth but do go on to from loving relationships. Do you identify with this?

From what I understand is that the professor’s theory was to keep children from attaching by moving them every 3 weeks but when you read about RAD the theory is that the children must learn to attach so the opposite should happen.
Children with RAD are not supposed to be able to form attachments anyway so the only reason I can see for constantly moving them is so they don’t get to study the parent figure and learn how to manipulate them.
I would think the firm rules support this idea by not allowing manipulation.

I do know what you mean about the body posture, my partner’s kid had a strange way of holding himself by which I mean the way he stood, walked etc. He never swung his arms even when walking quickly but he did tend to run everywhere even as a teenager. Do you know the way I mean-like toddlers run everywhere but the grow out of it by 6 or 7 years. He ran with his legs sort of cycling high in the air with his arms straight down by his sides. He reminded me of John Cleese doing ‘his Ministry of Silly Walks’ sketch. Did you ever see this on TV?
He walked with his head tucked into his shoulders as though he hadn’t got a neck and with his arms stiff by his side. He kept his chin down on his chest and looked from under his eyebrows rather than straight at you. He looked sinister and creepy. His eyes were blank and I noticed in every photo of him there was no shine in his eyes and his smile was a sneer not a happy grin.

On the few occasions when he first tried to manipulate me he would lie on the sofa beside me as though to snuggle up but he was just stiff and it was impossible to cuddle him. This was when he was trying to do the cute little boy act to get something from me. It didn’t last! He did things like this that no other kid his age (he was a teenager at this time) would do, it just wouldn’t be ‘cool’. He knew that people showed physical affection but he didn’t know how to do it and his attempts at being physical were always inappropriate.

I don’t know what his body posture was like as a baby as that is not the sort of thing my partner would remember and I didn’t meet the kid until he was 7 years old. He looked about 4 or 5 then nd behaved like a child a lot younger. He has always been undersized but has a very large head which is nearly as wide as his shoulders and his shoulders are extremely narrow. He never reached any of the intellectual milestones and is now what I would consider backward but I’m not sure he is as backward as he makes out.

I have never heard about the baby in the womb research, that sounds fascinating and I do hope you can find some links.

I look forward to finding about more about this,

Regards Jan
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/28/08 01:08 PM

Hi Jan,
Yes that is exactly what I mean. But.... I just started it...not knowing anything about it at the time, except for my experiences with my son. I just was used to work with groups of people in supportgroups. People are people...( as long a they are not p's...)

I didn't do it for a very long time. as I told , after a year I handed the work to some other, nice woman who took over. I still don't have very much knowledge about it other then what I saw on the documantairy of dr. Hare and what I lived with my son and before that with my so called parents.
Since reading on this forum I understand that my knowledge is quite a lot , but not more than others here. The knowledge I do have is from my work with people in trouble and teaching them how to cope with it. It's doesn't really matter what kind of trouble they're in... As I said before it doesn't matter where the pain and frustration and lonelyness is coming from, it 's all about taking care of ones self and this way be able to face the world and all there is in it.

Most of the psychologists do not use the term RAD and I was told by one them that this is an American term and has no medical credence. To me it sounds like a nice way of saying something that sounds like an illness rather than the prelude to psychopathy or at best anti social behaviour

This is exactly what the parents of this supportgroup heard when they give the thing that was wrong with they're child a name themselves.
Proffesionals just don't except it. I, later founding out about psychopathy, made the connection in a diffrent way as you do... They didn't recognize this what you call RAD as they don't recognize the existance of psychopathy.

My feeling about it didn't change over the years... I still think this has to do with ego.
The proffesional workers in the field of psychiatry just don't want to except that this disorder is existing because they don't know what to do with it.... If you do not acknowledge the disorder to be there, then you don't have to do anything with it. You don't have to study it, you don't have to deal with it, you don't have to deal with parents and loved ones , you don't have to treat it and above all,you don't have to admit you can't do a damn thing about it.....It's all about loosing face as we say it!

I could wish they would see it as an illness... An illness can be cured mostly... I think the reason the don't call it a disease or illness even is again..they can't do anything about it, so they just don't acknowledge it.. it's the easy way out.

There is some research on children from places like the orphanages in Rumania where children are totally neglected and have no stimulation and it is thought their brains don’t develop in a way that allows them to experience emotions. Bonding with a parent or caregiver is supposed to happen straight after birth and if that doesn’t happen then the child may never learn how to bond with anyone.
I can understand that a child who was never comforted from birth learns to not trust anyone and therefore doesn’t form an attachment but I’m not sure this would apply to every child who has suffered neglect as I have heard of people who live appalling lives from birth but do go on to from loving relationships. Do you identify with this

This is something I put a lot of thinking in;
I looked indeed at my own youthyears and to that of my sons.

Indeed things happend that made him worse.
His father was very aggressive and once get his way in my house without permission after we just divorced. He tried for several hours to rape me, He beated me, strenglled me and so on and my son was watching it all. I try to get to him to save him ,but I couldn't.
I was the protecting, loving mother, whatever...my son was the most importend person in this world and I would do anything for him. I know...and I am only saying this because my younger son will never read this... I was much closer to him than to my other son who was born 8 years after the first. I did everything with my son, there wasn't even one day that I went away not taking him with me. ( one..I almost forget...he broke his jaw that day!!!)Other people noticed this and say they wished they had a relationship with they're children like I had with him....This made all that followed very hard. I saw my son going the wrong direction and I was helpless, couldn't do anything to prevent it to happen.
Now, looking back, knowing more and know about the sighns.... He was acting strange even before the thing happend with his father;
The fact that he didn't cry for over a year when he was so young... The not being able to feel any pain, the fast way of learning skills far ahead of his age. The interest in material things,more than toys. The way he moved, His skills of the big movements was increddible but little thing like making drawings or paintings, or little things kids do at a certain age...He just couldn't do it and still can't. till making big movements is a skill he has.
If it's is footbal, soccer, baseball, dancing, tea'kwondo, playing the piano.. it's all far better then others.
So, he started out as a child who had to develope psychopathy in the longer run.

As I look at my childhood;
I am a person who is capable of love and I do have a consious.
For example...
When I was almost 2 years old we went to live on Aruba. this island was part of the Netherlands. my father was in the marine and so there was this possiblity for the family to live there for 3 years.
There on the beach, I was alone and surrounded by three men in uniform. I will spare you the details but I want to tell that my feelings and thoughts were about;"they aren't suppose to do this to me'....

I wondered a lot where these thoughts came from. Aspecially as I learned more and more about psychcology ans sociology.....
I was sexualy abused since I was a few days old..Nobody told me ever that this wasn't suppose to happen to a child..Why did I know this was/ is wrong????
We all 'know' a child learnes about good and bad and values by skills teached by parents, schools, and envirronment.

I came to the conclusion that a ( nomal) child does have an inner knowledge of good and bad. All children are different and some will hold on to this knowldge where others simply aren't able to. This, I think, have to do with character and personnality rather then with upbringing and learned skills.

I came to the conclusion that If the child is born to be a psychopath he/she will be. No matter how carefull you are as a parent, no matter how you protect your child and give it the love it should have. There will be a moment in time this will come to survice and show.

From what I understand is that the professor’s theory was to keep children from attaching by moving them every 3 weeks but when you read about RAD the theory is that the children must learn to attach so the opposite should happen.
Children with RAD are not supposed to be able to form attachments anyway so the only reason I can see for constantly moving them is so they don’t get to study the parent figure and learn how to manipulate them.
I would think the firm rules support this idea by not allowing manipulation

You understand well. I am sorry I wasn't more clear about it.

Because this proffesor made scans for a long time he was certain this children can't learn to attach. he was working with these type of children for a long time by then and I guess he tried something new here.
I think he wanted to know ; if children are not able to attach then what other ways are there to make good behaving adults out of them.
The attachment programs are plenty and mostly don't do what they ment to do...This was an experiment and it worked.

I try to get in contact with this proffesor who did the reasach on the scans...but it will be hard to find him and get to know waht I want to..I will do my best and as soon as i hear something you are the first to know!!!

I want to ask to all readers.....If you are a parent or if you do know parents of children who you think are psychopaths please look at there babyphoto's and compare them to other children. Do you notice anything in the way they hold there body or other things???
Please tell on this foum what you think and found?
Love Segaya
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/28/08 05:30 PM

Hi Segaya

I think we have both come to the same conclusions about RAD, the development of psychopathy, that true Ps are born that way and the attitude of many of the professionals. I hope that it is ignorance on the part of the professional rather than they are trying to cover up an unwillingness to admit defeat.

Do you mind if I ask about your early relationship with your son? You said you did everything together, did he give you anything in return when you showed him love? This is a very hard thing to ask about your own child but did you see in your son the child you hoped to have and excused things you saw rather than have to accept things you didn’t like? Do you remember the first things that made you think something was wrong with your son, was it when he was a baby or much later?

I understand what you mean about the big movements. My partner’s kid never played with toys and certainly not construction toys like Lego that needed fine motor skills. He didn’t draw or paint because he didn’t have any imagination. Unlike your son, this kid was pretty useless at everything. I can’t think of one thing he did well apart from reading but that is an unknown quantity as it’s impossible to know what he got out of a book or whether he was really reading. I did see him hold book upside down for a whole afternoon so know he sometimes wasn’t reading at all. He spent the time watching me while I read but I never understood what that was all about.

You said about things your son couldn’t do that small children do and still can’t-well my partner’s kid can’t blow his nose and basic things like that. He doesn’t have any dexterity for things like tying shoelaces and certain simple words he can’t say.

I do recognise what you say about the greed for material things, this kid wanted things constantly and many things that other children wouldn’t think of. Also sweet food items, for example if I let him choose a packet of biscuits in the shop he would insist on having 2 or even 3 packets and if I refused he would stamp his feet and swear and behave like a baby. He wanted all the latest crazes (like most kids do) but he wouldn’t wait or save or barter with other kids and had tantrums as soon as he came out of school and would try to wear us down till we gave in. I NEVER gave in whereas his father used to before I was around so he knew it was me he had to break and get rid of.

I’m really looking forward to information on the professor’s research. Maybe it suits kids like this not to be in a position to attach to anyone. If they can’t attach and don’t want to attach then maybe it’s the best way. My partner’s kid would stay with anyone as they were a potential source of supply for him to work on. For him people were just something to exploit and when familiar people had been used up then he was quite happy to move on to the next source.

Posted by: Damaskrose

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 06/12/08 01:24 PM

Reading up on rad and my daughter exhibited many of the signs but we had no idea... she could be so charming and good that if ever we got close to thinking we should go for help she seemed to improve for a while and we took it to be just normal childhood stuff. By the time we realized how serious it was it was way too late. She was a teen out of control. I think that adoptive parents should have more support and advice about these attachment disorders even if the child appears ok as they will often not show for years afterwards or be hard to define by a lay person. Out of the 33 listed signs I note our daughter had 29! and she was adopted at four after having two changes of caregiver and twice being abandoned by her birth mother in foster care and possible sexual abuse in foster care by older girls but yet she was presented to us as being a well adjusted child with mild issues relating to being shy and parted from her mother. We were so naive we had no real idea of what could lay ahead and we were in truth not equipped to deal with it. I grieve for my child and my family......
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 06/12/08 02:40 PM

Hello Damaskrose

I have heard it said so many times when parents are fostering or adopting a child that they were told the child doesn’t have any issues. If only…how would the agency know what it is like day to day, the child is not in a position to display the full range of problems until they are in the family environment?
Most times there is the ‘honeymoon’ period when the child settles in and works out how to manipulate the mother, father, siblings, grandparents, teachers and family friends. Each person plays a role and can be pitted against each other, some will say the child is wonderful and then blame another person in the circle, usually the mother. It seems to be the mother figure who gets the most aggression and the one who has to be brought down.

It is my belief that true RAD and psychopathy are the same thing but the water is muddied by RAD being over diagnosed when another condition is more likely. RAD is a more acceptable term to use and sounds like a medical condition therefore deserves sympathy so parents feel less threatened or guilty.

I understand you feeling grief, you have lost the daughter and family you thought you had. Do you think the other children feel the same or do they accept she has gone?

I feel you are going through a period of exploration and having to come to terms with what you are beginning to have confirmed. I’m sure there will be some bad times to come but also some relief in knowing that you are not on your own.

Posted by: Damaskrose

Re: RAD or Fledgling - 06/12/08 03:59 PM

The youngest two were babies when she left and have only fleeting contact over past few years. My youngest daughter went to the cinema with her last year though and commented that C kept looking at her strangely. The oldest two boys seem to just accept that is how she has always been aloof and on/ off with joining in family stuff. Only this year we have started talking as a family about it and their insight has been that they felt she was only being a typical annoying sister but they knew she lied and pretended to be different ways with different people. My eldest caught her out in lies many times though and he felt she tried to blame him for some of the thefts etc but he did not tell me at the time. She used to tell them she wished they were dead but hey all sisters do that but he still feels she really wanted him dead as she went into detail. They remember good times too and I guess it was not all bad. It just feels horrible when you realise what was happening and you were so blind to it. I think we were so not on her level that she just played around and found it easy until teen years when we started saying no over boys and staying out all night etc.. Then we felt the wrath. I think these children are very intelligent in many ways but emotionally vacant. I have my concerns that she is hurting a once good friend of mine who has tried to help her I believe she planned the friendship right down to moving into a flat above her. But I am not getting involved it will be a waste of energy.

Although I do not blame the agency involved I do feel angry that social workers gloss over the issues to make the child as attractive as possible. The rad children slip through because they know how to pretend. I think at four years old this child was able to sum us up quite quickly and was way ahead in social manipulation. That is worrying. Someone who knows us and our daughter said do not ever ever have other children she won't be able to accept it and I feel that was my ultimate betrayal to her. She kind of accepted the two boys as they were there to begin with.
They see her driving around but do not socialise. She lives very close I think they find it hard accepting how she has discarded them but they aren't surprised.

She also rang me up drunk one time and said don't ever tell anyone I am adopted and don't you dare tell the little ones. She meant the youngest two and I found that odd because she tells people she is adopted and yet also I remember she got angry when her brother D found out she was adopted. He had only been two when she came to us. I think he was bout eleven when he asked about it. In her mind it seems she can tell who she wants but we must not discuss it. I think there is something important in that bit of information to do with control. I am interested in this now only to work out what is best way forward for mental health of all concerned. It is only by writing and remembering that truths will surface.

As these children get older they often hide who they are and yet the clues I feel are there and I am one of the main care givers I know much about this child and now my mind is not being manipulated anymore by love it seems to need to document what I know. My daughter ruled the family because we loved too much and hid our worries about her or pushed them aside we wanted her to be 'normal'. Now I am in control because I am starting to understand. She will try to find a way in I know she will be angry now all her sources of information have dried up but talking to the boys has made me realise that we were trying to have a good family life. If we made mistakes they were just that. We did not plan or connive to hurt others. And so though we had drama linked to the rad fledgling I think we can live with ourselves. I wasn't the best mother but I did not get up each day and plan to make her life worse.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling - 06/13/08 02:52 PM

Hello Damaskrose

There are some very interesting family dynamics. I recognise a lot of what you say, the strange looks I totally identify with. My partner’s kid would look at me for hours when I was reading a book or watching TV, I have been told that this is how Ps learn other people’s reactions and expressions, it’s called mirroring. (We are assuming your daughter is psychopathic which at this point is supposition as she has not been diagnosed with any disorder so we really need to be careful about making judgements.)
Psychopaths then use what they learn and apply it as though it was their natural response in other circumstances, Sometimes it’s not appropriate and they get caught out in their false response.

I also understand the different persona for different people and occasions, acting seems to come naturally. I can see that her siblings would accept her for what she is, I think we all did that with our siblings and just got on with whatever went on, Children are adaptable and more resilient than we give them credit for.
What were the good times to your children remember, it’s always good to focus on the positive? Being honest –were those times because your daughter made them special and memorable or would the others have enjoyed themselves in the same way if she had not been there?

Being blind to a situation is understandable, how do any of us deal with something we don’t understand? We keep on being positive and putting in more effort and when that doesn’t work we beat ourselves up and try something different.

I know what you mean when kids like your daughter are thwarted, they hate the word ‘no’ and carry on regardless of the consequences. Punishment insensitive!

One thing you mentioned that got me thinking was your daughter telling some people she was adopted but didn’t want you to tell others-yes-very much a control issue and reminded me of my partner’s kid and his bed wetting. He didn’t like some people knowing like the neighbours daughter (younger than him) but was quite happy to get the sympathy vote from older people. He did not have a physical problem to avoid any doubt. He used it as an attention seeking device.

We all make mistakes, it’s life, if they weren’t mistakes they would be deliberate actions. I think we all say we have not been the best mothers in the world but we all do our best and that is all we can do. Hindsight is a wonderful ‘gift’ and we all look back and think we could have done things differently but what has been done cannot be undone so why beat yourself up over an impossibility.

It’s time for you now, you obviously did all you could to bring up a family to be happy and healthy. I hope you don’t mind me asking but was there any reason your daughter’s adoption was not openly discussed within the family as soon as she came to you?

I feel confident that you are taking a strong position and have had the blinkers removed so you will find ways of coping. You have other children who need your support and will appreciate you for what you do and who you are.

I hope you are getting the support you need.

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling - 06/14/08 10:46 AM

Hi all, since Jan has been the first to get me intrigued in all this RAD stuff. I had the opportunity to ask a Psychiatrist last week if he was familiar with RAD, he said yes, they go from RAD to (can't remember the next diagnosis so will ask again) to ASPD. He was very clear about the progression from RAD to Psychopath's. I asked if he had any RAD patients and he chuckled (not in a mean way) and said no and he wasn't recruiting any.

Posted by: Damaskrose

Re: RAD or Fledgling - 06/19/08 06:46 PM

hi jan I agree my daughter has not been diagnosed and so I do not presume to say she is definitely one thing or another. I am just trying to make sense of it. To reassure myself i did not imagine all this. I initially thought she may have npd but I read somewhere that npd and some other personality disorders do not normally manifest until teens. I believe that my daughter had issues from age four. She did not smile easily. or indeed show any emotions easily. You asked why we did not talk about the adoption when she first came to us well she had done some work with a social worker prior to placement and had a life story book and As I remember she even had a mixed race social worker especially do some work with her as it was felt she might have issues relating to her white mother abandoning her. She spoke of her mother and new boyfriend as not wanting her because she was black. She said to one other child G would like you as you are white. G was the mothers boyfriend. Quite an observation for a four year old?

We did try to talk to her when she first came. But as I said she acted very uncomfortable she did not like looking at the pictures of her mother. i think because she was grieving so much. After trying to interest her in the photo album she had with pictures of her birth family with no response, we finally just left the album in her bookcase. She seemed to want to fit in and not be reminded of her difference to the other children. I tried on occasions to talk to her but it was a no go area. Her birth mother contacted us when she was about 14 and We asked our daughter C if she wanted to talk or write to her but she would not talk to her direct but she did want to see her birth father who also contacted her about the same time. Looking back our daughter had an awful lot happen at that time psychologically she must have been in incredible turmoil. The birth mother had gone on to have other children and moved abroad. I think we should have asked them to wait and took the contact slower maybe when she was older? It may have been after repressing it for so long the reappearance of birth mum and dad on scene was too much for her to handle with everything else.

But on the surface our daughter did not let a lot show from day to day. She acted out but it was mostly undercover activities or at school. Looking back she seemed to get a thrill from hurting others without being found out. When she was younger she got found out but as she grew she became better at hiding what she was up to. She was not the in your face kind of child. in fact now I think of it she has never told me to my face she hates me or shown anger it has all been sneary comments or weird statements she tells others though. We would have arguments and i would be emotional and expressing concern etc and she would be like sarcastic but not communicating how she felt truly.
She had an uncanny knack of being able to shift the blame most convincingly on to another party. So she got away with an awful lot I think. Like a pot that simmers and then boils over that is how I see her character. She simmered for a long time until I believe she was old enough to really control her life and no longer had a need for us. This is all only my understanding of it of course.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling - 06/21/08 09:18 AM

Hello Damaskrose

Oh how I know how that feels! Trying to make sense of what you see going on but don't believe your own eyes and ears. How many times do we question oursleves and ask what 'we' are doing wrong to provoke these things then feeling guilty for thinking a child could behave the way the are and feel there must be something wrong with out parenting techniques.
Then we wonder if we are going crazy but there is no-one to ask to confirm we are not.

My partner's kid would not speak about his own mother after he went to live with my partner and it sounds like your daughter behaved the same way. His mother couldn't cope with him any longer and I think his behaviour started about 3 years of age and by 6 she had had enough because he was destroting her new realtionship and I think it was a lot to do with the fact she had another child, that seemed to be his trigger. I know you said the same thing happened when you had more children.

I identify with so much of what you relate, especially getting good at the covert behaviours and becoming more skillfull at it. it's so hard for outsiders to accept this and blame does get passed on. The snearing and sarcasm, the venom and the evil looks-I recognise all those things.

The only reason I asked about the adoption was because you mentioned your other children didn't know she was adopted so I wondered if she found out late in her childhood and it was a shock to her.

It's so hard to get any sort of diagnosis here in the UK but I sometimes wonder if it matters if the child gets a diagnosis or not because there is no treatment or therapy available anyway. I think we all know what the diagnosis would be if there was an opportunity of finding out though.
I really admire your courage and determination to stick by your daughter until she left home, I could never have done that with my partner's kid...it was him or me -and me leaving was the only option I thought I had but when the situation turned and the kid went back to his mother it was party time! My partner has suffered massive guilt that he could let a kid go back and live with a woman like his ex. He didn't really have a choice because the kid went of his own choosing. It had come to the point when he couldn't get anything past me, I had the full measure of him.
His mother is not too bright and the length of time they had no contact was a good opportunity to play on her symapthies and start working her over. Our positions are slightly differently as my partner's kid has no contact with us at all and I can't see that changing.

I suppose all you can do now is not give your daughter any information to use against you and to completely ignore anything she tries. If she gets nil reaction she won't get any satisfaction as she won't know whether what she has done has reached the target.

At least you are coming out of this and have your children to look after. It is interesting to hear all the things you say and I hope it helps to keep posting here.

Best regards
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling - 05/26/09 10:43 AM

Interesting list of people who will evaluate youths:

Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/15/10 03:56 PM

Hello, I am new to the group, and have tried to read what members have already written, so that I won't be too redundant.

It is my feeling that the terms Attachment Disorder or Reactive Attachment Disorder are already making the assumption that voluntary attachment is the underlying problem, whereas voluntary attachment is simply one manifestation of the disorder. I would argue that the disorder should be renamed.

In order to understand RAD, we need to get past our emotional reactions and explanations and understand the science of it. RAD is a form of PTSD. PTSD is BRAIN DAMAGE caused by trauma so significant that our brains release destructive toxins that permanently kill brain cells. Since the destruction is physical, the extent of the brain damage and the recovery from the damage can vary hugely between victims.

We imagine that RAD is most likely caused by abuse and neglect. But someone here posted that there are children all over the world that are impoverished and in abject neglect, many also abused, who do not become RAD. The cause of RAD must be far more brutal in order to result in toxin-destroyed brain cells. So WHAT causes it?? In order to further frame the cause, we must realise that a pre-natal child has already fully BONDED with the mother in utero (involuntary, but critically necessary attachment), and RECOGNISES his or her mother by scent, voice, and heartbeat, just as an animal does!! We quickly lose this ability over a short time, but we must, must, must understand and respect this involuntary though deep bonding - because to break it by maternal separation (or by excruciatingly extreme - not casual - maternal neglect) is to risk causing permanent stress-related trauma of separation so severe as to liken it to torture. When a pre-verbal child is separated from Mother, while it may seem to us adults that this is not unduly traumatic, we are very, very wrong in our assumptions. Maternal separation at a pre-verbal age is tantamount to the most depraved of human torture, and results in the same physical brain damage. I argue that it is maternal separation any time after birth and up to pre-verbal growth that perpetrates most of the RAD conditions found. What used to be known as "crack baby syndrome" has been debunked, and we now know that when we incarcerate mothers for drug usage, thereby separating them from their newborns, it is the separation, and NOT the "crack," that causes RAD.

Many here have accepted that RAD (which is a variation of PTSD) is a form of sociopathy. But why aren't post-verbal and adult PTSD sufferers also sociopaths?? The difference between post-verbal and pre-verbal (RAD) onset of PTSD is the growth of the human brain. The human brain is the only brain that that grows, and the most significant growth of the human brain is during the pre-verbal stage. (Please bear in mind that I am not a scientist, and my grasp of this stuff is rude at best.) A prolonged severe trauma to a pre-verbal brain can cause damage unlike any damage perpetrated on a more fully grown brain, because the pre-verbal growth of the cortex and cerebellum can be stunted. These are areas of the brain that are thought to be centers for coping with consequences and for developing a conscience, reflexes and conditioning that are already fully formed (although perhaps compromised by PTSD damage?) in post-verbal or adult brains.

Without a sense of consequence, we cannot develop trust. Without trust, we cannot develop conscience or voluntary attachment or voluntary love. By trying to therapeutically treat the attachment aspect, we jump ahead of the extremely necessary basis for voluntary attachments, namely consequence, trust and conscience, and the years of cycling between all of those features that contribute to a mentally healthy, functioning and socialised human.

Are RAD children sociopaths? Yes, I believe they are. I agree with those here who have asserted that sociopaths do not register normal fear - neither do RAD children. RAD children can also have no reaction to pain - other than to perhaps develop an enjoyment of it, but only if the source of the pain is at the hands of another person, and if that person is controlled by the sociopath.

All emotional feelings may be processed and reduced to physical sensation by RAD children. For instance, affection and love are complex emotions in a normal human and thrive on an evolving cycle of trust, which the RAD child will instead try to re-engineer into inappropriate sex and other physical titillation, even to the point were they invite (and enjoy) sexual and other physical abuses. RAD children are insatiable for physical sensation, though never indeed achieve satisfaction.

RAD children do participate in a form of attachment, but it is predatory. In order for a RAD child to prove a bond, he or she must make us to do something for, or to, that child that we would never in a million years to for or to anyone else on earth. Take me for instance - I do not yell, get physical, swear or lose control to anger or frustration with anyone, and certainly not with my children - EXCEPT with my adopted daughter when she lived with us. And only when she got me to that boiling point, and kept me there by her relentless mind-games and emotional blackmail, did she seem in any way satisfied. She did not fear me in the least, and would seek me out to provoke. I was a toy, like a cat with a mouse, and the game never grew dull for her. I could be provoked for days on end and never show a reaction, maintain my level of authority (only after years of self-training), but eventually I would break. And this is the manner inwhich we had "bonded." Once I figured this out, all I wanted to do was to UNBOND, UNATTACH. Any therapist who suggested attachment therapy got a firm "NO" from me. When a child wants to destroy those who threaten to attach, who would want to further pursue any such thing??

(I have found that most attachment therapy ends up focusing on the caregiver instead of the child. When the therapist becomes frustrated at the inability to alter the child's behaviors, the caregiver becomes the target for change instead. "Curing" the caregiver does not make sense to me at all.)

Other "bonding" attempts with my daughter were between my young sons and my husband, trying to get them to engage in sex with her. She made sexual approaches with all sorts of people, most ofwhom would have been guilty of statutory rape had she been successful. Again, she would try to entice people do things with her that they would never to with anyone else. She also convinced children younger than her to steal from their parents and from stores, which I consider another misguided bonding exercise, where my daughter would prove that the children would do this for her and for noone else. She cultivated her teachers to single her out negatively, just to reap the intense one-on-one attention that she craved. I finally understood what negative attention was, and why she so desired its individualised intensity over and above the more diffused (shared with other children) positive attention.

A RAD-sufferer's sense of consequence is somewhat developed, but mostly as it applies to others. The rest of us are absolutely supposed to comply with known consequences, and if we don't, a RAD child will accurately detect this and cry out an objection. So on some level, they understand consequences. But the RAD child accepts no jurisdiction of consequence over him- or herself, to a level of absurdity, and does not believe that consequences apply to him, despite all the evidence to the contrary. The RAD child will repeat for years the same negative, self-destructive or predatory act -- yet will not repeat actions with positive and appropriate consequences. The choice of negative versus positive consequences is not random. The child opts to repeat the negative rather than the positive. It is the lack of randomness that proves to me that this is a sociopathy.

Serial killers are profiled by this same prediliction for repetition, the lack of randomness. Even as adults, they will perform, with painstaking accuracy, the same murder over and over again, even to the point of choosing victims who have the same physical characteristics. This is RAD to the max!

RAD children were diagnosed as autistic for a while, before the concept of RAD emerged. I can see where RAD might be confused for autism - the social and interpersonal data is processed very, very differently by a RAD child, as it is for an autistic person. The majority of professionals still misinterpret and even outright reject the RAD pathology entirely, especially in view of our society's penchant for eugenics, deliberately severing children from undesirable homes and placing them in more advantaged households. Identifying a child as RAD seems too extreme to our society, but to call such a child a sociopath is well beyond our society's ability to fathom and accept; a child cannot possibly be a sociopath! I argue that these children are children only in body, and that their minds are not at all the minds of children.

How to treat it? Maybe the answer is to start with re-patterning the framework of consequence. For newborns, the process of understanding consequences begins immediately. They do not immediately equate consequences with anything or anyone, but over time, they learn who does what and eventually why. With a baby and natural family, the primary caregivers provide the environment for the consequences, most ofwhich we hope are good ones, while some are necessarily negative. But with a separated child (even if later reunited with Mother), these are not the optimal conditions for patterning, because the involuntary attachment has been severed through trauma. I argue that lessons of consequence must be rigorously patterned in a therapeutic, non-caregiving environment, though reinforced by the caregivers. Since diagnosed children are older and probably already verbal, the patterning would have to be quite different from that given to an infant or toddler. It sounds cruel to suggest the Skinner Box approach of mild electric shocks versus a candy-coated M&M to cultivate appropriate use of consequences, but that's where I am leaning. Whatever it is, the therapy has got to be industrial strength, and not some feel-good love-is-the-answer failed approach.

One interesting recent discovery with adult PTSD sufferers: The injured war vets who were immediately treated with morphine were one-third less likely to suffer later from PTSD. I am guessing that the morphine was sometimes enough to ameliorate the emotional trauma and thereby prevent the secretion of killer brain toxins. My heretical suggestion is to administer morphine immediately to newly separated pre-verbal children to lessen the physical trauma of separation. The irony is that society will be more enraged by this suggestion, and shriek about child abuse, over and above the dire warning not to separate children at all. I contend that child removal alone IS CHILD ABUSE in its most heinous form. Unfortunately morphine medication does not prevent the involuntary attachment bond from being irreparably severed. We clearly do not yet know anything about the repurcussions of a severed involuntary bond without the toxic brain trauma added to it - can a separated child be DRUGGED into loving an exchanged new family?? Drugging of children by Child Protective Services is routine, in order to lessen the children's desperate grief and acting out due to separation, but the drugging seems to be more in the best interests of the artificial family rather than in the child's best interests.

If you have managed to slog through this, type-o's and all, I thank you for your patience. It's good to finally find such a group. In general, RAD chat groups tend to be more restrictive, continuing to perpetuate the child-separation-and-adoption cycle, and discouraging terming RAD children as psychopaths.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/16/10 06:17 AM

Hello RAD grad

Welcome to our forum and we look forward to hearing more from you and what brought you here.
I have spent many years researching RAD as well as psychopathy so was very interested in what you wrote and was keen to read to the end of your post.

I will go through your post and address everything you discussed in turn but firstly I will write about my thoughts on the issue. We seem to be in agreement from our own personal experience.

I do believe there is such a thing as Attachment Disorder that occurs because a child does not get the focused attention it needs from a primary caregiver in the first months of life. According to the research of Professor Sir Michael Rutter these children, if placed within the right family, will improve in a relatively short time. I have posted this research but can do so again if you can’t find it and I would love to see the information you have on RAD being a form of PTSD. Please could you either post a link to it or direct me to where I can find the research?

Rutter’s research shows traumatised children from Romanian orphanages, nearly all improved, apart from the small percentage who had another condition as well. His statistics seem to be in line with average figures for any condition occurring. That is the good news.
I also believe that there are many factors that AD or RAD is ‘diagnosed’ and not all of them for the right reasons. The main two being ignorance and money.
His research would show that the effect of their trauma is reversible in most cases therefore it would appear that there is no permanent brain damage caused but some children will not improve due to other concurrent disorders. Whether they can just adapt by learning how to achieve positive outcomes which in turn brings reward could be another issue.

I think John Bowlby’s research has been relegated by newer information as the circumstances where it was conducted were too subjective.

You may have read my posts and the reason I originally came to this forum but if mot I will give you a very brief history. My partner had sole custody of his kid who had behaviour issues that we tried to get help with. Our initial research led us to think he had RAD but it just didn’t seem to fit what he was doing so we persevered and eventually came to the conclusion (with an indication from a child psychologist) that he was a fledgling psychopath. As you know children under 18 years cannot be ‘diagnosed’ a psychopath only as having Conduct Disorder.
This sort of situation could have made us follow the RAD route as it gives a problem that has a reason, a cause and a possible solution. The positive side of this would be that it gave us something to work on while he was growing up but on the negative side we would have just been harbouring a potential psychopath.

This child had all the right conditions to attach to both his mother and father from birth but didn’t. He rejected his mother and refused to ever settle with her despite what she did for him so my partner took over his care as he worked from home. This kid continued this pattern of rejection/non attachment the rest of his life. He is nearly 18 now.
As the statistics show 1 to 4% of the population is psychopathic it’s my belief he was part of this minority. Of course there could be in utero toxins as well as genetic predisposition (his mother has a personality disorder) or both- that cause this to happen and maybe that is where your searches have led you?

Next we need to think about the word ‘sociopathy’. That word is used in various ways and has different connotations to psychopathy. Many use it in the context of society or environment being responsible for behaviour therefore not as serious as psychopathy. Some use it to apply a name to those who commit non violent crimes like the average con man. They may even be attached to someone or a pet so could not be described as psychopathic. It has been decided in medical terms to describe the disorder as Antisocial Personality Disorder then further define it as ‘with psychopathic traits’. So I prefer not to use the word sociopath.
I can see how you would say “RAD children are sociopaths” in the broad sense of the term if you use the former perception.

Going back to in utero conditions, I agree with what you say about ‘crack babies’ and this could apply to other toxins too. I am a firm believer in genetic predisposition to personality as well as physical attributes. If your read Dr Essi Viding’s twin studies research you will find some very interesting data on this.
We are all 50% genetic make up from each of our parents so we must inherit the predisposition to many things in our personality not just physical features. My sisters and I were brought up in the same way and have very different personality traits we can identify in our parents but we learned our morals from them so all have the same standards of behaving. Things we are and things we do.
We were brought up more like the ‘Skinner’ model but because we did have conscience we could be persuaded why we shouldn’t do certain things. We did get smacked for certain misdemeanours but we knew we were wrong so the ‘punishment’ was justified. I can say I was never hit, it was more a tap. The point being we were able to learn unlike a punishment insensitive psychopath.

With my partner’s kid there was nothing we could punish him with. We started by taking toys away until his toy box was empty but he didn’t care. We moved on to sending him to his room until he became like a prisoner in solitary confinement but still no effect. Shouting had a counter productive effect as he would smirk with a self satisfied smirk that he had control over our reactions to him. We had tried all the usual positive things like star charts and rewards before going down the punishment route. He was never smacked and I think even if he had been it would have made zero difference. He loved any attention as you say, negative attention was more important to him than positive. It would also have demonstrated our anger and loss of control so he would win again. We had to hide any negative emotions we had so we remained in a stronger position.

I can see why therapy ends up being for the parents if we are really dealing with psychopathy( not RAD) as there is not cure or therapy for it. We need support to get through life with a psychopathic child, especially when it’s a biological child. Most parents just have to live with it until the child leaves home. We were fortunate that my partner’s kid went back to his own mother but I know it’s difficult to dissolve an adoption placement.

There are so many similarities and co-morbid disorders that can be so difficult to identify and it concerns me that many children with Autism will have the same characteristics as a kid with psychopathy. FAS and FAE children too. What if they were to receive the ‘therapy’ recommended for RAD?

What is frightening is the propaganda about RAD in the US. Many children are being ‘diagnosed’ with RAD because there is a ready market of therapists and clinics ready to take the insurance claims. To get insurance pay out the diagnosis needs to be fixable if not curable so the range of disorders is broadened to include ADD, ADHD and many other alphabet soup combinations.

I have also found information that primary school teachers in the US are given a checklist of behaviours to look for in the children starting at their schools. This is based on the hyped up RAD checklist and includes every single behaviour any child would exhibit at some time. If this isn’t bad enough they are warned that up to 33% of children are suffering from RAD and need to be ‘diagnosed’ early therefore they need to be alert and get these children into ‘therapy’.
Where do you think they get this information from…..therapists and clinics? Where are teachers recommended to refer these identified children….therapists and clinics?
Looks like these places have their marketing in place, a ready made supply of patients and a source of income?

I am very interested in what you say about morphine administered to war veterans to ameliorate PTSD. Could it be that it replaces endorphins? Maybe PTSD destroys the ability of these hormones to function? I’m sure there must be some later synthetic medication that might produce the same results as morphine and not just methadone substitute.

There has also been research showing that people having therapy for their issues do not have a better outcome long term than those who just ‘deal with it’. The ones who had a strong support circle of either friends or family had the best long term outcomes. The main reason stated was that having therapy validated that the person had a serious problem and needed outside intervention to fix the problem. I suppose it allowed the person do dwell on it and even magnify it whereas someone sharing their problems in a non therapeutic setting would minimise the problem to a manageable level.
When you think how our friends react when we approach them with a problem, they tend to play it down so it doesn’t take over from reasoning how to cope with it.
They help us look for reasons, causes and solutions rather than internalise our feelings of hopelessness and impotence.

I suppose this comes full circle to Rutter’s thinking and he is a proponent of positive family dynamics that have been shown to help children suffering from real Attachment Disorder.
When you read the DSM-1V criteria for Attachment Disorder it is very different to the extended checklists promoted by many attachments therapists.
There are two sorts of attachment disorder. one where the child avoids attaching to anyone and the second where they have an indiscriminate attachment style. Of course both styles will lead to certain behaviours but attachment style is distinct from conduct disorder. True Attachment Disorder may well just present as basically as the outline of the two styles with no obvious behaviour problems. I have yet to see on any RAD forum a parent describe their child as only having an attachment style with no behaviour problems.

To sum up I would like to see the facts presented rather than the hype we read about. There are a very small minority of children with Attachment Disorder (I’m not even sure that the word Reactive should be included)
There are children with Conduct Disorder (fledgling psychopaths) and there are children who have the first due to the second.
Autistic children who have Attachment Disorder.
Children from antisocial backgrounds who are brought up in the sort of home that overlooks the usual rules of society and will have a % of psychopathic parents who produce children with a highly heritable disorder. There may be a higher psychopathic proportion than average families.
Some children have parents who think that a highly active child has conduct disorder and can’t cope with it.
There are some children who are spoiled brats who behave like conduct disordered children.
And everything in between so let’s call a spade –a spade!

Have your read about RAD at Delphi forums? I find that place seriously disturbing! Often parents post there with a vague notion their children have RAD and they are immediately validated and ‘diagnosed’ and pushed towards therapists, reading materials,/DVDs, home spun therapies and clinics. Even to the untrained it is obvious that the majority of these children have some other problem but no-one seems to challenge what is said. I once posted about the RAD/fledgling issue and what a storm that created! A question not even a statement had them whipped up into a frenzy. I don’t ever see research posted there only anecdotal evidence….and as for success …well….I rest my case! Obviously they all know better than Professor Rutter….then they talk about ‘healing’ as being an option.
If a person from outside the US posts they are ignored…being cynical I would suggest that is because I wouldn’t be part of the US system buying therapy. It makes me wonder if some of the members are paid commission for people they push towards clinics and therapists.

There is some very dodgy stuff going on with therapeutic foster homes and adoption placements etc. You may well have come across some of this and it’s all about making money.

I’m so pleased you have written so lucidly on the topic and look forward to hearing much more. I would really like to know of all the information you have found useful.

Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/16/10 01:09 PM

Jan, thank you for your thoughtful response to my brain-dumping -- first-time posters like moi can be so long-winded... This is stuff that has been rattling in my head for years, yet largely unexpressed, because all my friends go glassy-eyed if I bring up this topic at all. It is so gratifying to find someone who will indulge in this conversation!

As far as the relationship between RAD and PTSD, the bulk of the psychiatrists in the U.S., assuming they recognise RAD at all, believe that a RAD diagnosis must be accompanied by a diagnosis of PTSD. Many clinicians embrace the cluster of RAD symptoms but refuse to classify a child as RAD, and will instead classify the child as suffering from PTSD. The latter frustrate me, because the effects of pre-verbal PTSD differ markedly from post-verbal PTSD, due to the differences in the resulting physical brain damage. One of the recent therapeutic approaches is to treat child RAD sufferers with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), which was formerly used only with adult PTSD sufferers.

There are those who distinguish between PTSD and C-PTSD (Complex PTSD), in order to correlate PTSD with attachment issues. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_post-traumatic_stress_disorder - wikipedia has some really interesting stuff that is otherwise very difficult to isolate via google searches.

If there is the possiblity of Attachment Disorder without PTSD, due to non-focused care-giving, then perhaps this is the AD which is curable by love and conventional therapies. But pre-verbal brain damage to the cortex and cerebellum creates a human that cannot respond to such therapies. It does not matter whether the child is swept up within seconds of its birth into the arms of a loving and otherwise stellar family, because this will not necessarily circumvent the brain damage caused by maternal separation or perhaps maternal trauma to the uterus. Can the brain be so damaged in utero - sure, I see no reason why not. Are some humans predisposed to suffer this type of brain damage? - yes, of course, becuase the human brain is a physical entity, with all levels of resilience and weakness.

But RAD is also described as an AVOIDABLE and PREVENTABLE disease. So it is NOT inheritable, per se. What is inherited would be the neurological ability, or lack thereof, to deflect the physical brain damage or even re-wire the neurological paths around the stress-damaged areas. For example, two children in identical circumstances will evolve differently, as you write yourself. The same is true of war combatants who are in the same fox-hole when their buddies are blown to bits. One combatant goes home to become a successful CEO of an enterprise, and the other combatant goes home to live on the street, forever re-living the horrors and unable to cope with everyday life. They have different neurologies that either permitted them to become stronger, or completely destroyed them. This is not a matter of character, where one combatant had more self-esteem, and the other combatant lacked the moral strength to move on. PTSD is physical brain damage, not a character flaw. The successful combatant possessed a physical neurology that avoided damage, whereas the unsuccessful combatant's brain was eaten up by the stress toxins. Is PTSD avoidable? YES. Just as PTSD-RAD is avoidable. Either don't create the trauma situation in the first place, or find some way of preventing the release of the toxins.

I agree with you that people, even in the same families, have different personality traits, much of it inherited. I do distinguish personality traits from the physical resiliance of the brain neurology to damage, although that very resilience is also just as likely to be inherited.

What I am seeing is isolated science, with none of it combined effectively to arrive at the cause and prevention of PTSD-RAD. Until the cause is traced, the cure or the avoidance will elude us. We have proven that human babies recognise their mothers immediately upon birth. We have proven that maternal separation causes severe anxiety in babies. We have proven that pre-verbal PTSD stunts the growth of brain areas. But we have yet to combine the studies and the knowledge gained to arrive at the conclusion that pre-verbal maternal separation (or maternal trauma) causes permanent and devastating stress-caused brain damage. As a society, we cling to the supposition that childhood abuse and neglect cause PTSD-RAD. We see the "proof" - so many (supposedly) abused and neglected children are in foster or adoptive homes. We just KNOW that these kids were abused and neglected, because we are TOLD they are, and even the scientists BELIEVE this premise (why would the government LIE about such a thing??), and base their studies and results on the premise of pre-existing abuse and neglect.

I am going off on a tangent, as I am sure you note. My tangent is based on the knowledge that children are removed from their families on the flimsiest of excuses, lost forever to their families, all "justified" by fabricated allegations of abuse and neglect. (Yes, there is a LOT of money involved in the child removal industry.) A large percentage of these kids become dysfunctional. Why? Well, because we truly believe they were abused and neglected, and there are the court records that "prove" it. A perfect answer. It's just not the truth. I argue that, whatever the true reasons for separation may be, pre-verbal children who are simply removed from their mothers suffer enough separation trauma to damage their developing brains for life. Since by definition, foster and adopt children are separated children, I argue that we cannot ignore the effects of actual separation itself, while blaming dysfunction on everything else - mother was a drunk, house was filthy and diapers were not changed, kids were locked out of the house. Maybe these conditions (if at all true, and I doubt a lot of it) add up to non-PTSD AD, if such an entity exists, but that would be very mild and quite reversable, wholly unlike PTSD-RAD. If it's reversable, it ain't PTSD-RAD.

Jan, I did read a little about your personal involvement with your partner's child, and fully empathise. Only people like us who have experienced these kids by living with them, can fully understand the frustration, guilt, fear and stigma associated with our coping. Just like you, we found no effective punishment, and like you, progressively removed toys and privileges til there was nothing left to remove, to no avail. I confess to experimenting with spanking (a new experience for me), but I soon figured out that the spanking was actually titilating my daughter, and she enjoyed the spanking more as the pain was increased -- this gave me the creeps, and I decided after that not to lay hands on her for any reason whatsoever, including touching for affection, because all touching, soft or hard, seemed to stimulate her sexually. As with your partner's son, my adopted daughter has also severed ties with us. They even seem close in age to each other. With my daughter gone, my family is finally my family again.

I did not know children under 18 years cannot be diagnosed a psychopath. Very interesting. Aside from the clinical refusal to diagnose, there is certainly a societal refusal to classify a child as a psychopath. Big mistake. As far as you coming to the realisation that you were haboring a potential psychopath, I hear ya loud and clear!!!

You distinguish between sociopath and psychopath, whereas I use the word interchangeably. I have no reason to argue your assessment of the difference, and readily agree to use the term psychopath.

As far as RAD therapy being focused on the parents, the redirection is not to support the parents, but rather to criticise them, as if the child's inability to respond to therapy is due to the parents' faulty conduct.

You ask what if autistic or FAS/FAE children were to receive the same therapies as RAD children. I do not know the answer to that, although it certainly is a thought-provoking question. My concern would be that the treatment should be tailored to the cause of the dysfunction rather than the similar manifestations of the various dysfunctions.

That school-administered behavior checklist that you have discovered -- we have the same in the U.S. The U.S. is increasingly passing legislation mandating the schools and hospitals as clearing houses for identifing mothers and children to be funneled into therapy and therapeutic drugging. One act is called The Mother's Act. Once the government starts "offering" therapeutic resources to an "at risk" family, the family has little choice but to "accept" the treatment. But we love these umbrella protections, and vote for these services all the time.

The results of the morphine with regard to preventing PTSD were not anticipated, and I marvel that some scientist was able to either stumble upon this conclusion, or deliberately seek to support a hypothesis. I agree with you that futher study is strongly merited. PTSD is a real crippler.

I share your frustration with the RAD forums. I don't have to imagine that furor that blew up around your suggestion that RAD might lead to psychopathic ends - I have myself made similar inquiries only to be immediately silenced. Since RAD is so closely linked to adoptions, and adoption is sacrosanct and a burgeoning enterprise, we really tread on thin ice when we suggest a fatal flaw. I also grew to mistrust the guidance of psychiatrists, pyschologists, social workers, family, friends - while they all somehow knew exactly what I should do, they all equally missed the crux of the problem, and hindered me far more than they helped any of us.

I’m glad and grateful to meet you here! You have permitted me to speak the unspeakable. In my heart I know I am seeking the truth, but this search is verboten in society.
Wishing you a good weekend,
Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/16/10 06:07 PM

Jan, you asked for some published references to support my ramblings. Not so easy to find without memberships to some exclusive professional groups, but here are some summaries which might give a glimmer of understanding. The entirety of what I am trying to piece together (my belief that separation of biological mother may cause irreversible brain damage in children that leads to PTSD-RAD, resulting in untreatable psychopaths) has not yet been published to my knowledge. The supporting knowledge exists as isolated topics, but has not been merged together

Effects caused by loss of biological mother -

http://brainmind.com/NeurologyMaternalNeglect.html - this includes the finding as follows:
"In fact, studies show that even abused children placed in foster care do more poorly than abused children who remain with their abusive parents (Bass et al., 2004; Harden, 2004; Kortenkamp, K., and Ehrle, 2002; Lawrence et al. 2006 NSCAW 2004)."

"Children between the ages of 9 months to 3 years, who are removed from their mothers, even for brief periods, suffer extreme separation anxiety, and they experience incredible stress as demonstrated by their crying when separated. As will be detailed later, stress can damage the brain and the immune system, via the secretion of cortisol."

There is no mention of children younger than 9 months, a significant omission.

* * * * *


"The earlier the stress caused by maternal separation, the greater the offspring's later social difficulties."

'“Understanding the mechanisms at work in parenting and the effects of disruptions to the bonds created between parents and children is vitally important,” says Bruce McEwen, PhD, of Rockefeller University. “It directly influences all individuals, and has an effect on society – interrupted parental bonding can cause behavioral problems in school and the workplace, affecting almost everyone.”'

I am reminded that in the olden days, when newborns had to be incubated, or as infants or toddlers had to face hospital surgeries, the biological mothers were separated from their children as part of hospital protocol. Some brilliant soul determined that this separation had adverse effects on the children's health and recovery, and nowadays, mothers are encouraged to be with their hospitalised children as much as possible.

Can newborns recognise Mom? -

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob...fd2829912e80e9d (sorry for the long link)

Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

Frontal brain activation in premature infants' response to auditory stimuli in neonatal intensive care unit

Yuri Saitoa, , , Rie Fukuharab, Shiori Aoyamac and Tamotsu Toshimad

aTokai Gakuin University, Japan

bPrefectural Hospital of Hiroshima, Japan

cHiroshima University, Japan

dPrefectural University of Hiroshima, Japan

Received 22 January 2009; revised 2 April 2009; accepted 6 April 2009. Available online 2 May 2009.

The present study was focusing on the very few contacts with the mother's voice that NICU infants have in the womb as well as after birth, we examined whether they can discriminate between their mothers' utterances and those of female nurses in terms of the emotional bonding that is facilitated by prosodic utterances. Twenty-six premature infants were included in this study, and their cerebral blood flows were measured by near-infrared spectroscopy. They were exposed to auditory stimuli in the form of utterances made by their mothers and female nurses. A two (stimulus: mother and nurse) × two (recording site: right frontal area and left frontal area) analysis of variance (ANOVA) for these relative oxy-Hb values was conducted. The ANOVA showed a significant interaction between stimulus and recording site. The mother's and the nurse's voices were activated in the same way in the left frontal area, but showed different reactions in the right frontal area. We presume that the nurse's voice might become associated with pain and stress for premature infants. Our results showed that the premature infants reacted differently to the different voice stimuli. Therefore, we presume that both mothers' and nurses' voices represent positive stimuli for premature infants because both activate the frontal brain. Accordingly, we cannot explain our results only in terms of the state-dependent marker for infantile individual differences, but must also address the stressful trigger of nurses' voices for NICU infants.

Keywords: NIRS; NICU; Premature infant; Frontal brain; Auditory stimulus

* * * * *


Of human bonding: newborns prefer their mothers' voices
AJ DeCasper and WP Fifer

By sucking on a nonnutritive nipple in different ways, a newborn human could produce either its mother's voice or the voice of another female. Infants learned how to produce the mother's voice and produced it more often than the other voice. The neonate's preference for the maternal voice suggests that the period shortly after birth may be important for initiating infant bonding to the mother.

* * * * *


The biology of human parenting: insights from nonhuman primates

Dario Maestripieri,

Department of Psychology and Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

Received 20 September 1997; Revised 5 May 1998; accepted 13 May 1998. Available online 15 January 1999.

Primate and human parenting have often been viewed as completely emancipated from neuroendocrine influences and primarily dependent on experience, social and cognitive processes. A review of recent findings of primate research on the neurobiological regulation of parental responsiveness, the causes of variability in parenting styles, and the determinants of infant abuse suggests that primate parenting is more sensitive to neuroendocrine mechanisms than previously thought. The findings of primate research can have important implications for human research and encourage the investigation of biological influences on human parenting.

Author Keywords: Endogenous opioids; Infant abuse; Hormones; Parental behavior; Oxytocin; Pregnancy; Primates; Serotonin; Temperament
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/17/10 06:13 AM

Hi RAD grad

I’m only too pleased to read your posts and share information. I have had the same reaction as you when you talk to people with no experience.
Sometimes we see some connections but not quite sure how they come together so it’s good to have more than one person bringing their perspective to the information and research.
I know I mention Rutter a lot but I do think he speaks a lot of sense and he advises to question everything including the professionals and research. Things move on. Just because we are just ordinary people doesn’t mean to say we know less than a ‘professional’ about some things. I ask constantly which professional has lived with a psychopath like we have? We are the professionals for that. In fact I did a presentation to a group of professional psychologists and educational psychologists and they were all fascinated to hear a first hand account of day to day life with a psychopath. They had seen plenty but only in clinical or research settings and we all know how these kids can manipulate any situation. I had to smile at one of them (as did the rest of the group) when he suggested that positive rewards and praise would improve the kid’s behaviour, he was the educational psychologist and wouldn’t know what a psychopath was if he fell over one.

What is even more worrying is when I met a child psychologist who said she had never heard of childhood psychopathy and didn’t want to think about it because it was so unpleasant for her! She doesn’t live in the UK but it’s probably not rare.

I have heard it mentioned that Complex PTSD is being talked about in relation to RAD, I’m not sure whether it’s intended to be a completely new diagnostic term or an addition to the RAD diagnosis.
I should make it clear that I firmly believe psychopaths are born that way from their genetic make-up but I think there may well be something in what you say. Are the genes damaged by stress…..could very well be and fits well with what professionals say in the nature/nurture debate. Chicken or the egg dilemma?
I can only relate my experience and knowledge and we don’t know if my partner’s kid suffered any in utero barrage of hormones that led to him being born with an inability to attach. His rejection of his mother was instant. As far as we know she said she didn’t drink alcohol while pregnant but as the child she had in her subsequent marriage has the features of FAS we will never know for sure. I know she smoked cigarettes while pregnant and I have read one piece of research about maternal smoking and toxins passing through the placenta.

The kid did not suffer from stress or anxiety and was in fact at the other end of the spectrum. As psychopaths are anxiety free and usually fearless I think he fitted that model better. His attachment issues were he didn’t give a cuss for anyone else. He could move from person to person, place to place almost with excitement that he had new prey to target. He never once showed any signs of missing anyone including his own mother when he lived with his father and she stopped contacting him. When he went back to live with her he dumped his father instantly. He knew we were not going to be a source of supply any more so of no further use to him.
It is not the sort of reaction you get from a child and it’s like being psychopathic is a very adult thing to be.

I think AD or RAD is a completely different thing to psychopathy but the two can be present in the same person. Lack of attachment is a symptom of psychopathy so it’s very difficult to separate them. I’m trying to understand your perspective on this and I can see you are taking steps further back than I am. I find this very interesting and will explore what you say. I still keep coming back to AD being just a style of bonding/attaching and not related to all the checklist behaviours propounded. If a child doesn’t bond/attach to another in an appropriate way then other issues will arise but I can’t see it being related to criminal behaviour in any way.

The checklist I was referring to are ones from the US. We don’t hear AD/RAD being mentioned over here as it is so rare and only applies to children from observable traumatic circumstances and seems to go hand in hand with failure to thrive and lack of stimulation. Therefore children from places like Romanian orphanages are seen to be the typical victims. Thinking about what you say about pre and post verbal trauma I’m not sure how that would fit as it could cover both times. Maybe you could explain a bit more on your thinking? I suppose many of these children would have no attachment issues if born to another family. It is not lack of bonding ability but lack of opportunity that causes their inability to attach and can be repaired?

I suppose AD is preventable to a huge extent, if every pregnancy was trauma free and every child had a positive bonding experience from birth but that’s not a realistic expectation. There will always be unpreventable situations but there must be a % of people who are born psychopathic with not particular cause just as some people are born with any other disorder such as cleft palate or autism.
Again to mention Rutter, he talks of the resilience of children being quite remarkable so despite terrible circumstances of early life they do not succumb to their situation.
My own son was premature and in an incubator for his first week and was fed through tubes and I couldn’t hold him but he had absolutely no attachment issues yet he would be a perfect case for a RAD diagnosis by the Delphi people.

As for therapy given to children purported to be attachment disordered who may have autism is appalling. The methods used such as forcing eye contact and being held is what they cannot tolerate and when they rage against it they are broken like horses. With FAS the learning difficulties are a huge part of the problem and you can’t repair that damage with any therapy. This is a big reason why proper diagnosis is necessary. I agree with you totally ..horses for courses….right diagnosis, right therapy or no therapy in the case of psychopathy as it’s known to make matters worse.

As far as I can see psychopaths have a choice how they behave and act and know what is right because they are capable of doing the ‘right thing’ to get what they want. If it was just RAD then they would be aware of the need to fit in with society and make the right choices as the acceptable way of doing things as a rational choice to avoid the stress and anxiety of being caught out and punished.

I have found a couple of forums for adult survivors of ‘RAD’ so I’ll find the links for you. A lot of the sites for research and data will allow you to join if you are ‘studying’ the subject of their site so it’s not always necessary to be connected to any institution.

I will reply to your second post later rather than give you too much to read in one go. It will also give me time to read the links you posted, thanks for those! I will enjoy reading. I’m trying to go deeper into what you say as I can see what you are getting to. Maybe we can prompt future research if we can come up with a reasonable hypothesis by coming up with different connections. Wouldn’t it be good if we could find a physical scar or mark that would identify these disorders? By exposing behaviours like some of the bizarre things they do we may find some common denominators to add the Dr Hare’s checklist.

Are you able to tell us a bit more about the problems you have encountered because of your daughter? I get the feeling that although she has caused you all terrible problems you still have some affection for her? I say that because I feel you are trying to find a reason and rationalise why she is like she is? I have the luxury of not giving a toss about my partner’s kid and just pleased I never have to set eyes on him ever again. The only problem I have is knowing other people out there will suffer because of him.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/18/10 06:39 AM

Hi RAD grad

Thanks for those links, there were some very interesting findings. I can see what you are saying now about PTSD. What I can't fit into the equation is psychopaths do not have a startle response like the rest of us. They have a total lack of anxiety and fear, I consider fear the same as anxiety as explained to me by a psychologist. They also don't process negative stimuli as anything bad. There is research on psychopaths tested for their responses to fearful, nasty and neutral stimuli and there wasn't a negative response to the things you would normally withdraw from. They just don't care.

One part of the research I found quite disturbing, if you read the following link then the piece afterwards you will see what I mean. This person does not seem to use a specific diagnosis and applies therapy regardless of disorder.


In other work, Martha Welch, MD, of Columbia University 's division of neuroscience, found that reintroducing nurturing—specifically touch—to children with behavioral problems reduced their severe behavioral symptoms.
A test group of 102 children, ages 5-18, with severe behavioral symptoms, such as defiance, aggression, cruelty, impulsivity, poor motivation, withdrawal, and inability to receive comfort or to be reciprocal, were treated with their families in two consecutive eight-hour days of facilitated Prolonged Parent-Child Embrace (PPCE) therapy, with family PPCE continuing at home.
“PPCE therapy leads to a positive physiological change in the child when parent and child resolve conflicts and reach a state of synchronous attunement,” Welch says. “In PPCE, the child learns to give and receive comfort and to modulate his or her own symptomatic behavior.”
Behavioral problems of children in the test group were reduced over a one-year period by more than 50 percent. Welch has been using the therapy since the 1970s.
Welch and her colleagues theorize that the behavioral improvements seen with PPCE therapy result from the stimulation of brain–body pathways that control and condition stress responses. “I believe that basic neurobiological mechanisms associated with early maternal-infant interaction play a critical role in a wide range of developmental disorders,” Welch says. The mechanism includes at least two peptides associated with maternal nurturing, secretin and oxytocin, which Welch is currently investigating. These peptides work in the brain and body to influence behavior and stress hormone output.
Welch's laboratory hopes to develop treatments that mimic the actions and interactions of these neuropeptides on the body and brain to reverse behavioral and developmental disorders. This work challenges a widespread assumption that severe behavioral disorders, especially among adolescents, are chronic and incurable.
“I believe that these disorders can be improved or even reversed by the body's natural peptide systems, through family therapy that restores effective maternal nurturing and/or through combined peptide therapy that enhances the mechanisms of maternal nurturing,” Welch says.

Here is the piece about prof Rutter


I will look forward to any more research you can post.

Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/19/10 04:34 PM

Jan, I got a chuckle out of you asking the pros whether they have ever LIVED with a psychopath. And I howled at the psychologist suggesting positive rewards and praise!! I am still stunned at those who deny the existence of a child psychopath. We jail children all the time, where we treat them like animals and call them criminals, and sometimes we even convict young children in adult court - so we have laws that support treating a child as a criminal adult, but cannot dare observe that this same child might be a psychopath...?

You state that you believe psychopaths are born that way from their genetic make-up. There are many paths to becoming a psychopath, I am sure, and one path my well be genetic. I believe there are also other avenues leading to the disorder. There are still controversies raging over whether autism is genetic or environmental - or maybe certain weak genetics cause us to be more easily compromised by environmental upsets.

If my adopted daughter's reaction to her natural mother were to instantly reject her, as was true your your partner's son to his own mother, I would not know. But I am guessing that my adopted daughter was deeply attached to her own mother, if involuntarily, knowing her mother by scent and heartbeat, and in severe shock when she was abandoned at the age of 3 weeks, due (we presume) to the mother's poverty. As with your partner's son, my daughter subsequently lived a life of privilege with us. There are so many characteristics your partner's child and mine had/have in common, including fearlessness - at a very young age, she loved really frightening amusement park rides. If she got badly hurt, she did not cry or even yelp in pain. She was indescriminately affectionate as a child, favoring strangers and affectionate adults among our friends, wanting very little to do with other children. When she came to us from an orphanage, she never looked back, didn't look at all confused or displaced, although she was a toddler, and well-aware that there had been a big change in her life.

You write this sentence: "It is not the sort of reaction you get from a child and it’s like being psychopathic is a very adult thing to be." Well said. My observation was that these children are child-like in body only, but your wording is better. These kids are very calculating, with triangulation skills indicating sophistication well beyond their years. Yet they do not grasp the concept of Family. My daughter understood Family to be some kind of people-formula living in separate households - each house seemed to have adult caregivers and children (the same formula that dictates that an inanimate house has a living room and a bathroom) that lived together for some reason that was otherwise inexplicable to her. She truly felt that she should be free to meld in with these other families and into the rooms of their houses at will, and later dump them to go onto another family/house whenever she so chose. Her understanding of family did not progress, and remained static from her toddler years to her teens, which is when we last saw her. It is my understanding that she has finally succeeded in melding herself into another family, but in this new family she is permitted to have sex with one of the sons, something we did not permit, much as she tried.

You mention the RAD checklist not being as widely spread in the UK as in the US. It's not really that widely spread here, either, except over the internet. If not for the internet, I would never have even heard of RAD, probably to this day. What is so remarkable about the checklist is that the characteristics really do universally describe our children, as if these kids are somehow clones of eachother.

Popular thinking is that general neglect causes RAD. What we don't understand is that severe neglect is one of the most excrutiating traumas a helpless child can experience, and must be to the level of abandonment by, or death of, the natural mother. I contend that the lack of opportunity to bond is too casual a way to describe the profound withholding of nurturing attachment by the natural mother. By the same token, lesser neglect does not cause RAD. RAD chidren are not brain-damaged due to general neglect; they are brain damaged due to severe and protracted shock of loss. We make a BIG mistake in thinking that these children can be passed off to different caretakers like a puppy or a kitten, and the damage may still not be averted even when we pass the child immediately into the care of a single, nurturing caregiver - the loss is that massive. Mother is all a newborn child knows.

You ask me to describe my reasons for distinguishing between pre-verbal and post-verbal trauma. The human brain grows, unlike the brain of other species. Stress-caused toxic brain damage to a pre-verbal human brain may cause irrepairable damage to the growing cortex and growing cerebellum, both thought to be brain centers for managing the concepts of consequence and conscience. When their growth is stunted by brain damage, it is a permanent condition to them, meaning they can never be developed. A post-verbal brain's cortex and cerebellum have developed to their full sizes, so any subsequent damage may damage areas of the brain, but not stunt the growth. This stunting cannot be reversed/repaired!! - the opportunity for growth is only during the pre-verbal years. Complete brain wiring is largely completed by the age of 10, and after than is no longer as plastic as the brain of a younger child. This does not mean that we stop developing our thinking and learning after the age of 10 (or so I hope!!), and the brain is not fully physically completed until we are 18 or so.

Rutter addresses the resilience of children for overcoming terrible circumstances. I agree. I believe that children should not automatically be removed from abusing/neglectful households, because studies prove that children of abusive/neglectful families actually fair BETTER if they remain with their natural families, than if they are moved into protective care. By trying to punish abusive or neglectful parents by removing their children, we ultimately punish the children instead, with all the best of intentions. The children who remain in their abusive homes are less prone to becoming psychopaths than are the "lucky" children who are removed for their own protections. Popular belief is that the foster/adopt homes are even more abusive than the natural homes fromwhich the children were removed - but I contend that the removed children have already been rendered psychopaths simply by their traumatic removals, and that they are abused by foster and adopt parents who simply cannot figure out how to live with a psychopath. Likewise, foster/adopt children who are psychopaths will prey upon the foster/adopt children who are not psychopaths. It is my believe that the US is a breeding ground for psychopaths, because we remove children at the drop of a hat.

Child removal is not a guarantee of toxic brain damage, but it is indeed an invitation for it. The same is true of soldiers who witness deaths and war crimes; not all soldiers suffer from subsequent PTSD (which is the result of stress-caused toxic brain damage), but it should come as no surprise that many do succumb, and no surprise that those who do suffer become dysfunctional. Your son's incubation as a newborn was not a guarantee for attachment issues, but his separation from you was a risky protocol, which is no longer practiced in US hospitals -- unless of course a social worker decides that a child must be severed from its family.

You write that psychopaths have a choice to do the right thing or the wrong thing. A RAD psychopath doesn't have this ability; with an atrophied and undersized cortex and cerebellum, which are brain centers for consequence and conscience, they do not develop either ability. RADs are very, very dangerous people. It seems they are more prone to making life dangerous because it is by our frightened or angry reactions that they get the sensations they crave, when they feel nothing else. If we were to become enraged everytime they made their beds or took a bath, they would probably do both. There is no such thing as being "just RAD," because true RAD is a psychopathy. Clinicians dangerously misunderstand and underestimate true RAD (which must be comorbid with pre-verbal PTSD or C-PTSD).

You write, "Wouldn’t it be good if we could find a physical scar or mark that would identify these disorders? By exposing behaviours like some of the bizarre things they do we may find some common denominators to add the Dr Hare’s checklist." This is precisely my odd dream, but I face huge adversity. My views are unpopular, to say the least.

As for my daughter, I have no feelings whatsoever for her, other than fear. While she was living with us, I believe I grew to loathe her and feel substantial anxiety, but with her absence those feelings have abated. I am not seeking answers that might repair our relationship, but rather to warn others.

Best regards,
Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/19/10 05:34 PM

Greetings, Jan.

Why indeed do psychopaths not have a startle response?? RAD psychopaths freeze in place, which is the closest I saw to a startle, but freezing is closer to what animal prey does when a predator is in the vicinity, since movement attracts attention. Why would my human daughter, placed 2 feet in front of me, instinctively freeze for long minutes at a time, when even the most simple-minded human would know I could clearly see her, and when she knew I was speaking directly to her? Over all the years that she was with us, even as a teenager, she did the same freeze.

At around 3 years old, my daughter sat on a pony that was supposed to be led slowly around the ring, but it took off with her bouncing precariously on it (this same pony did not run off with any other child, all day long), but she managed to hang on to the saddle with her hands, using strengh I did not know any 3 year old possessed. I was horrified that this had happened, and plenty miffed at the pony handlers, but since my daughter seemed so calm, I decided to not make a big deal out of it. Several minutes later, she indicated that she wanted to ride again, which stunned me. She LIKED the fear. Often I imagined she had a death wish. This time, the pony was kept in complete control around the ring. After that calm pony walk, she did not ask to ride again.

As far as negative stimuli, I am even remembering some of the things my daughter ate, that no other well-fed toddler would have bothered with. She ate everything in sight as a toddler. One day she decided to bite into a raw onion. Instead of grimacing, she kept eating it like an apple. She would help herself to the dry catfood at random times. She did not seem to be bothered by some very unlikable stimuli of all sorts, and was oddly drawn to it.

I could not agree with you more on the Holding Therapy bit. There are no scientific studies validating Holding as a "cure" for children suffering from abnormal psychoses. I suppose I practiced "attachment parenting" with my children, and I agree with normal children that touching and embracing is necessary. Holding is not the answer to everything, and can even be really disturbing. I refused attachment/holding therapy for my daughter and me.

I look forward to reading the Rutter article you have provided.

Best regards,
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/20/10 07:53 AM

Hi Sue

It really annoys me when the ‘pros; advise us what to do….as though we haven’t tried everything we can think of and getting ever more creative in the process. They can’t seem to grasp NOTHING works! Some things may appear to work but when you use that tactic the next time it fails miserably so gets dropped from the agenda.
The kids can see what we are doing so play games with us and let us think we have made progress only to sabotage it when they decide to.
One of the pros did say tongue in cheek that he was coming to the conclusion that if you gave a psychopath everything he wanted as he wanted it then maybe he would be less criminal and not cause others problems. I can see what he was saying and maybe it would work but there are no systems that could or would deal with that sort of creative thinking even if the initial cost outweighed the cost of keeping someone in jail.

I think there are three camps among the professionals, those who know there are child psychopaths and don’t admit it and those who know and are prepared to say it. Then there is group who don’t seem to know or even want to address the issue.
The ones who know and don’t want to say are then sub-divided according to what they want people to know and think. Firstly I feel they are concerned what people will say about them or who are afraid of ‘diagnosing’ a kid with an incurable disorder. It has been said that some kids can change as they grow up and their version of ASPD is more to do with their social circumstances so the fear of stigmatising this group would not allow them to come out of the other side. As psychopathy has no cure, what would society do with a kid diagnosed as such from a very young age? How would they be treated by the rest of society, especially if the diagnosis was made before any crimes were committed? What future chance of employment would they have? What about mis-diagnosis, who would be prepared to give a non-criminal child what is virtually a ‘death’ sentence?

Again there is no system to deal with these issues. Not until we can get a very accurate diagnosis of psychopathy will anything be considered for change. As I have said many times the name doesn’t help, if it was named something like ‘dysempathy’ it may sound more like a diagnosis of an illness and more acceptable to all and even sounds like a syndrome and something that can be worked with.

I really appreciate hearing your views and although we have some divergent views I like to hear all the information you have gathered. I’m always open to changing my views if I see and hear enough to persuade me to change my thinking. I’m no professional so I may well be wrong with my assumptions so I want to explore your ideas as well. When you say you think there are more routes to psychopathy than it just being genetic, which is one of those chicken and egg situations, and it may apply when a child has that stress overload you refer to. For instance, what if a child is genetically predisposed to becoming a psychopath and they do not get that stress overload that flicks the switch? That seems to agree with what a lot of the professionals say when they are applying the nature/nurture debate. Would that switch be flicked at some point in the potential psychopath’s life?

I suppose we have to narrow better diagnostic criteria before anything will progress. It always seems odd to me that the cut off score in the US to be diagnosed psychopathic is 30. What about a 29 score, what if they were assessed on a ‘good day’? I understand it’s a spectrum disorder so see the rationale of scoring but I don’t think it’s adequate. I agree with you totally about child criminals being incarcerated like adults so they are treated as responsible for their crimes. One thing that does disturb me is kids like to ones who murdered James Bulger here in the UK serve a sentence then given new identities for their safety but what provision has been made to assess their progress through life. I have heard that one of them is now living in the North of England with a wife/partner and their baby and she does not know who he is.
Was he psychopathic when he committed the crime? If so has he been ‘cured’?
Is it one of those situations where the child has ‘grown out of it’ therefore not really a psychopath, maybe he would have been a 29.5 on the checklist scoring system.

Speaking about your daughter, you say she was taken away from her mother because of poverty, have you ever investigated malnutrition in utero causing brain development? I believe gene or more precisely gene function can be altered by environmental situations? So is it vulnerable genes affected by environment or the other way round environment causing normal genetic function to fail?

So many questions and I don’t foresee getting any answers soon. I can see what you mean about pre and post verbal damage. I have some MRI study research so I’ll go back and have another look at that as it sounds like what you have explained. Have you got any brain studies using scans etc? I have another written by Kent Kheil (I think that’s the spelling) so if you haven’t got that let me know although I’m sure I posted in the resource section a while back. I have also read about people literally losing half their entire brain and the other part learns to take over so is it not possible that the children who do improve even though they are known to have attachment disorder are able to do this?

I keep coming back to kid’s like my partner’s who was never put through any trauma and turned out as he did then you hear of other people who have been through horrors beyond belief and turn out to be caring people. There are a people on this forum who have said this from their personal experience so is it because the brain was just primed to receive the toxic stress because of genes? Would the stress and damage have been more or less than if these children had been taken away from severely abusive parents?
One of the professionals I do trust says that a lot of it is to do with the gene pool. That makes sense to me too and that goes back to the ‘highly heritable’ debate which is slightly different to ‘inherited’.

I notice you refer to RAD psychopathy, that is very interesting. Would I be right if I took that to mean that you are saying there is one particular group of children who only become psychopaths because of this severe toxic shock of separation? If so, that could be the case, I wish I knew more and it certainly sounds like a great hypothesis to research.
I think that says a lot that we are lumping all psychopaths together under one umbrella and we need to look at the various pathways.
Debating this issues seems to bring our different perspectives closer together rather than further apart.

That was one of the thing that made me feel bad about myself initially, that I could loathe a child. I felt evil, guilty and immature. I could not like let alone love that kid and it was huge sense of relief when I allowed myself to admit how I really felt; At that point I at least felt honest.

I know what you mean about the freezing when caught out. The kid did that often and would just blankly stare and after a while snap out of it then deny doing what he was doing. I presumed the frozen delay was the time taken to come up with a denial that may sound plausible, not that they ever die. It would turn into a lying fest, each one compounding the next.

Amusing you should mention horse riding, the kid told us ne had been riding when he stayed with his uncle and really enjoyed it so we offered to pay for lessons for a birthday present as we had stables a few yards from where we lived. He refused to go and get the information so I don’t believe he rode at all and if he did he wasn’t as keen as he made out. I can’t believe he would ever approach a horse as he was terrified of the neighbours soft cat!

He would eat everything and anything he could get his hands on, with or without permission. He would eat unusual things for a 9 year old, like olives and I wondered whether he was just showing off. He was fussy in that he would pick over every piece of fruit in the bowl to make sure he got the best pieces, take one bite and throw it away. Dinner served at the table would be the same, he would be first there picking the best, taking loads then leaving it and throwing it away. He ended eating on his own. He would also have his own food then hang on his father’s chair saying things like “is your dinner nice, are you going to leave me some? I’m still hungry. “(after putting his in the bin)
There was no way he would ever go hungry, he would not let that happen. He just wanted everything anyone else had. He would go to the neighbours saying we wouldn’t allow him food! At first they thought my partner was a terrible parent until I came along and I told them the truth, they had been stung for meals and any other food on offer.
These are the things that would never crop up in a clinical assessment setting even though they are good examples of manipulation.

I would love to hear more about your life story with your daughter, What age was she when you first saw her and did she come to live with you straight away or was there a slow process to get to that point? What were the first things you noticed that made you uneasy and your reactions?

I also have some new research on autism and genes so I’ll search that out and post it next time and would appreciate any that you have.

At last I have found someone who is prepared for open debate and discussion. There is so much more to learn and the saying is true, that the more you learn the more you realise you don’t know.

Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/20/10 08:43 PM

Jan, I am not sure any of the below show anything that Hare has not already presented, but there are several sites relevant to RAD genes and neurobiology at the link below
Child Abuse Causes Damage at Genetic Level -- but on these sites, there is no validation that maternal separation can cause such brain damage, because these scientists have not yet put two and two together, and are believing solely what they hear about abuse/neglect, without ever being aware of the affects of maternal separation. If the scientists are given a child to study, and they are advised that the child was abused and neglected, this is the premise that the scientists rely upon, without ever questioning. They also do not consider that some children are abused by caregivers and other children, due to the very fact that the abused child is already a highly provocative psychopath, inviting abuse by people who do not understand what RAD is all about. Scientists studying in isolation who have come to the conclusion that maternal separation is brain damaging need to combine notes with the neuro-scientists who believe that the brain damage is always caused by physical abuse/neglect.

At the link above, please look for the following, which are click-able, and lead to other sites:

Child abuse ‘impacts stress gene’

Infant Abuse Linked To Early Experience, Not Genetics

Gene protects adults abused as children from depression
Influence of child abuse on adult depression: moderation by the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor gene.

The Neurobiology of Child Abuse and Neglect
Do Genetics and Childhood Environment Combine to Pose Risk for Adult PTSD?
Association of FKBP5 polymorphisms and childhood abuse with risk of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in adults.

Selected Publications of the Members of the Attachment Parenting International Research Group

At this link, we see brain comparison between that of a normal 3 year old, and that of a child who has suffered extreme neglect


Best regards,
Posted by: Trish.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/21/10 04:46 AM

I have not read it all as I am new and there is far too much to read.

However, I was abused as a child and made sure my children was NOT abused so I know my children especially my son was not abused. I rejected him at birth due to lots of reasons ie death of my father while pregnant with him, bad marriage, depression etc.

He was also dropped and cracked a check bone by my mum at the age of three weeks old he was taken to hospital but other than his cheek he was discharged as fine. (I often wonder if the drop caused some of his problems).

After he had been dropped my maternal feelings kicked in and I was like a rash all over him feeling bad for not loving him before.

However I was suffering from depression still.

He was ill as a child with failure to thrive (three years behind mentally and physically. Also milk intollerant and was under the childrens hospital for nine years.

Would any of the above caused his problems ?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/21/10 05:10 AM

Hi RAD grad and Trish

I need to put some time aside and read all those links and info. Thanks for all the input.
I'm beginning to see a lot of what you are saying and it's great to have such a fresh approach to the topic.

Trish, I'd like to answer what you say later when I have had some time to go through my files and find relevant information. The questions you asked have been addressed before so not unusual.

Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/21/10 11:37 AM

Jan, what you say about our kids playing games with us, it's TRUE. Like a cat and mouse, the cat plays with the mouse's mind, repeatedly scaring it half to death, until the mouse actually dies of a heart attack, without a mark on it. That's what I felt like, psychologically bashed, unable to escape, all for a game.

I have to agree with you about the trickiness of diagnosing a child as a psychopath. Our society cannot tolerate such a possibility. If a kid shoots up a school room, it's the parents' faults. Any abnormal behavior cannot possibly be coming from the child, so it must stem from the parent, and the parent must be confronted and maybe even punished. Parents of RAD children seldom get any kind of meaningful support (and in truth, we don't yet know - or we don't dare say - what meaningful support might even be), and are instead taken to task, much to the amusement of our children.

It is my opinion that these children should be institutionalised, but this will never fly; RAD psychopaths are too functional, and their true pyschopatic nature may not become dangerous for society until they become adults. And, as you state, some RAD children do change, sometimes in their mid-30's. There is a belief among some that adult RAD evolves into another diagnosis, not necessarily psychopathic, but I would have to really dig deep into my memory to dig this out. A misdiagnosis of a child, and subsequent institutionalisation would indeed be devastating, on so many levels.

I like your term "dysempathy." Depending upon the cause, it could be accompanied by more qualifications, such as reactive dysempathy, or passive dysempathy, or whatever else. And, yes, this might circumvent the fear of clinicians to use the term psychopath. I am also appreciating the concept you address, or "highly heritable," versus "inherited."

Again, I thank you for conversing with me. My views are heretical, and not tolerated by many. It's important for me to remember that I know only about one particular kind of psychopath, as presented through my adopted daughter. It does seem odd that psychopaths created by other means, seem to share many of the same traits...

The hypothesis that some children are genetically at risk for a stress overload to cause brain damage, certainly makes sense to me. Such a genetic difference would explain why some children are damaged while others are not, even while they have all suffered the same circumstances.

The James Bulger murder stunned people in the US, too, and the news did travel here. It is a revelation to me that the now-freed perpetrators have been given new identities to shield them from their brutal past crimes. If any of them are "cured," they may have evolved away from their psychopathic natures. There are RAD adults who have become appropriately socialised, often, for some reason, in their mid to late 30's. This begs the question as to why some RAD children split away from predatory behaviors, while others evolve into serial killers. I doubt any clinical therapy - or even bend-over-backward nurturing - led to any normal socialisation down the road.

We know little about my daughter before she was found, but her health was good, and there was no apparent malnutrition, and no signs of abuse or neglect. I still firmly believe that maternal separation in and of itself is sufficient to cause traumatic brain damage.

Your spelling was very close, and I was able to find plenty of reference to Kent Kiehl on the web -- will dive into reading up!

You ask, "Would I be right if I took that to mean that you are saying there is one particular group of children who only become psychopaths because of this severe toxic shock of separation?" Yes, it is precisely my intent to convey this. We already know that maternal separation causes brain damage and social dysfunction, but have not linked this to psychopathic tendencies. We blame RAD on abuse and neglect, which is a punishable crime. I contend that child removal from Mother is child abuse, and should be recognised, banned, and punishable. Pro-lifers are committed to encouraging Mothers to give birth and giving up the child, rather than terminating the pregnancy. I almost pass out at how our society accepts and encourages mothers to relinquish their infants for a "better life." YEEK!

Like you, I felt very guilty about my loathing of my daughter, and my strained attempts to keep her off-guard enough so that she did not know she had complete control. My own family thought I was out of control, and wondered how their loving mother/wife/daughter could be such a witch to a gorgeous little girl. But in retrospect, I had no other options. My goal was to keep my family safe from her, and this much I achieved. Rather early on, I gave up the pretence or hope that she would be anything but a threat to us all. I kept her focused on me, so that she was completely consumed by her hatred of me, and her quest to control me. This was intentional on my part, and for my simple purposes, this was more successful than the results other families have reported. I used the research on RAD therapies backwards - rather than encouraging attachment, I kept her enraged at me. It was exhausting and demoralising for me, but ultimately my daughter was under my thumb so much, she never gathered up enough focus to turn her attentions dangerously in many other directions. After she freed herself from me, she terrorised our town, and everyone was astonished at seeing the real beast in her. The stories I heard about her exploits took my breath away. And, yes, she was brought to the attention of our local court system.

You mention your partner's son being a "'fraidy cat," something I have heard about psychopathic boys, rather than girls. The girls seem to be tougher than nails. But I am sure there are plenty of exceptions to these observations.

More later - for now your eyes must surely need a rest from all of this!
Best regards,
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/21/10 01:14 PM

It is interesting to follow your conversations. I never received any bonding and back then people smoked and drank while pregnant. My father was a severe alcoholic and my mother has BPD. If anything it gave me strength to face challenges. I remember very little of my childhood along with my brother, we have patched together a few stories. I believe it is the mind keeping us safe from abuse by blocking the memory. I am wondering if FP kids remember much about their childhood if they tell the truth and don't lie.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/22/10 06:26 AM

Hi Sue

I have had a brief look at the links as I have been a bit short of time this week but will have a closer look over the weekend.
Have you ever had the opportunity to present your hypothesis to any professional? As we constantly say, only people who have personal experience can spot certain aspects of a condition that would not be presented to a professional to be included in any assessment.
Research is always based on a hypothesis so why not promote your ideas to someone you have come across who you think may get funding to follow this line of enquiry?

I’m still not 100% sure of your opinion on Attachment Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, RAD psychopathy and Psychopathy and where the differences are, if any.
I see AD as just a style of attaching to the primary caregiver then to other adults, it can be ‘different’ but more a style than a disorder, so can be adapted. I see diagnosed RAD as being a description of children who react because of their attachment style and in a negative way. (I’m still not sure of the RAD title or whether this is just true psychopathy in its infancy) What you describe as RAD psychopathy, as a disorder induced through stress, attachment style which is beyond repair therefore leads to psychopathic behaviour later in life and would this have happened without the stress? The final category of ‘psychopath’ which I believe to be highly heritable and often with no apparent cause.

How do your views correspond with this? I have got a few links for adult survivors of ‘RAD’ and various other sites if you are interested.

Going on my experience alone. the only reason I can see my partner’s kid is psychopathic is genetic in origin from both sides of his family. Mother on one side and his father’s brother on the other but we don’t know about previous generations apart from two aunts being Antisocial. They were aunts of my partner and his brother. This kid was brought up with every opportunity and was never taken away from his mother.
Can you tell us anything about your daughter’s first years of life and what age she was when she became part of your family? You say you know little about her background so I presume you have no idea if there was a history of psychopathy in her background? The psychologist I spoke to about heritability and gene pool, meant that psychopathy produces an environment to proliferate and produce a higher incidence of psychopathic children. Hare’s checklist includes sexual promiscuousness, often drug taking and irresponsibility, all three leave people open to unwanted pregnancies and damaged children. This is where I think your hypothesis is valid but then takes me back to my chicken and egg scenario. Maybe if we put our two ideas together we may have synergy?

I was discussing what you have been writing about with my partner and he thinks it is very possible that there could be many routes to psychopathy so it’s worth investigating further. As he says ‘what is the definitive psychopath?’ there are many forms of them from non criminal con men, domestic abusers whether physical or emotional through to serial murdering types. I suppose if you look at it like seeing a person without a limb, do we know whether that person was born with a limb missing either with a cause like thalidomide or with no known cause or if it was amputated due to an accident or a disease? In the former it was because of a known in utero condition and would not have happened without the drug but sometimes people are born without a limb and there is no known cause and possible a genetic predisposition? The latter reason is obvious and can be seen clearly that something happened to cause the problem. All of the people with the problem have the same issues but some will deal with it very differently to others.

Maybe it’s not a great example but I’m trying to think of different routes to the same problem. I have some links to information on the Adaptive Gene by Dr Grant T Harris but you may be able to find them here in resources or a Google search.

One thing that differs from your experience is my partner’s kid could and did control his behaviour when he chose to. He once went 6 weeks as the model child until he got the school trip he wanted then reverted back as soon as he got it. He knew what he should do, he knew what was expected of him and he was in control of it. No doubt he could have gone on a lot longer if the trip had been further away. He behaved differently with different people depending on what was expected of him and it was all for gain. He certainly knew how to behave and he knew what wasn’t acceptable, he definitely made his choices to suit himself. He could even tell you what was good and bad behaviour, what was acceptable and not acceptable.

One of the links you posted has some information on Neurofeedback therapy but as far as I’m aware is not approved by the FDA and on some of the web sites highlighting quack attachments therapies warns against it as being bogus and expensive as well as claiming ‘cures’. As you say you believe RAD to be incurable what is your opinion on that therapy and have you come across it? ‘Hawthorne Effect’ comes to mind with some of the claims of some adults and parents of children with ADHD purporting to have degrees of success with it.

I understand exactly what you mean about keeping your daughter on the back foot….I did that too!!! I never showed any anger even though I was boiling inside, I sometimes smiled sweetly when he did or said something that should have had the opposite reaction. I treated him as though he was nothing more than a bad smell in the house because he had his sights set on me. I was the one who had to be annihilated because I was the one who could see right through him. Psychopathy seems to be very misogynist and it’s usually women who report being the victims in the family situation, maybe this is related to your lack of attachment to a mother figure theory?

Your daughter sounds as though her behaviours were overt and angry but we endured sly, covert, sneaky behaviours. We would ‘find’ things out rather than being faced with issues. It was also like being led on a paper trail to the ‘prize’ if we didn’t pick up on the scent and he was getting bored waiting for us to notice. Going back to him knowing how to behave this game, was part of that.
There were even times when he would verbally indicate that he had done something and teased attention out of us if we had missed it. For example if he had stolen something, out of the blue he would say something like “have you seen the poster on my bedroom wall?” to get us to look in his room then it would go on from there once he had got us into the room. Then it would be “I can’t find my *******” inducing us to help him find something supposedly lost then the next day when he wasn’t around I would check the room near the poster and the stolen item would be there.
When he came home from school next day he would be waiting for the reaction. If we carried on as if nothing had happened, the excitement would get too much for him and he would lure us into conversation inviting a reaction. Oh my, did we play some games! If he thought we were the slightest bit annoyed he would smirk with pleasure. The best way to deal with it was to make him return the article in person but it was pointless as a punishment because he wasn’t embarrassed but just angry because he hadn’t got the result he wanted of making us angry. A week in the bedroom after school for a week to complete the ‘punishment’ had no effect whatsoever, It just gave us a period of relief.

I look forward to hearing more from you.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/22/10 06:31 AM

Hi Di

My partner's kid never reported having any memories of anything, He never said he had dreams or nightmares. He never talked about having a plan, goal or daydream of doing something, it was as though he was empty.

As you say about lying, if he had reported anything we would never know if it was true or said for a reason.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/22/10 06:57 AM

Hello Trish

I'm sorry to hear you were abused as a child. It's a credit to you that you have overcome this and made sure your children were treated well.

Were you suffering from Post Natal Depression when your son was born as that seems to be different from normal depression? It's not unusual for mothers to find it difficult to bond with their babies in the first few weeks. Your son was 3 weeks old when your nurturing kicked in and many babies, especially premature babies, are kept in incubators for months and grow up without personality problems so i don't think you can take any blame.

Did your mother look after him during the first few weeks so he did have someone he could attach to?

Also I have never come across any research that says psychopathy is caused by something like a fall or an injury. It's only natural to try and find a cause for things that go wrong but sometimes nothing can be identified.

I don't suppose anyone could tell you with hindsight whether the illnesses or conditions your son had were the cause or the effect of his behaviour issues. Many children don't get a proper diagnosis and go through life not getting any help when there is help available depending on the correct diagnosis.

Do you feel the diagnoses he was given were correct and did you ever get any advice on how to deal with him? You obviously know how to parent well or you would not recognise the difference between this boy and your other three children.

Are you able to tell us more about your son and what and when you noticed his beahviour was strange?

It's good to hear you have a supportive husband now to help you cope if he comes back to you.

Posted by: Damaskrose

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/22/10 10:54 AM

hi rad grad
I too had an adoptive daughter who displayed similar behaviour. She is grown up now and we are estranged. But I feel she suffered from the traumatic seperation age three from her mother. She held this anger and pain with in. Social workers do not seem to get it that some children cope fine but others never recover and offering these children for adoption is like a time bomb. The trouble is who can diagnose which children will be ok. Who would wish to write off a sweet little four year old as a fledling psychopath? These children need special care with people who are aware of their suffering and personalities and who can warn others and try to engage with the children themselves. I never got help for my child. I tried to understand on my own and this has damaged all of us. Still I now understand much about dysfunctional families and children and this has helped me. Knowledge is the key. I feel these children thrive on our ignorance they go under the radar. Once they are grown they will not change. I think you may be on to something concerning these children and the way they are studied. I feel too that as I did not know the condtion my child suffered from our relationship could have become very abusive when she was a teen and I sought to modify her deviant behaviour. I felt that I came close to losing control of my anger as I came face to face with her manipulative and sneaky mind games and treatment of others. She would never admit to anything unless I caught her red handed. She would plan and execute these nasty little attacks on people at home and school. Only certain people saw through her and I was one. She is full of very very cold calculating anger and too late I see that the way to win was to stay calm and not engage with her. As you stay calm she gets progressively angrier and then you see the psychopathy.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/22/10 11:39 AM

Hi Damaskrose

It's good to hear from you again. I'm so pleased you have posted!

Your story is so similar to RAD grad I'm sure you will have a lot to share.

How are things going for you and the little ones? I know you were very busy after your move to a new location and you were also working. Are you still cycling to the beach or has the weather been a bit too cold recently?

I'd love to hear from you and get an update on how life is for you now. Do you ever see your daughter now? I remember when you last posted you were concerned that she was influencing one of the older boys.

Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/27/10 06:00 PM

Dianne, I am saddened for you that your childhood was so bleak. It appears that you have been able to put everything in perspective, against some considerable odds, and been strengthened by the adversity you faced. I hope the same for your brother.

As far as blocked memories, some psychologists try to recover repressed memories, yet another controversial area that has, however, gained credence by our U.S. judicial system.

As you allude, many fostered children have a problem with lying. Part of their lying also shields them from realising what they themselves have done, and that compounds the fantasy stories. The fostered children will often create a really bad guy, to make him or her look far worse than anything the children have done. Once the stories are created and proliferated, they take on a life of their own, and way into adulthood these stories become more and more real to them. Lots of comparatively privileged people lie, for one reason or another, and many outwardly functional people are even compulsive liars who might even be rewarded at their jobs for lying particularly well, but in my mind, this is not the sign of a completely well person.

I am straying from the subject, sorry...

Anyway, I am glad you have freed yourself from your past, as much as is possible.

Best thoughts,
Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/27/10 07:35 PM

Jan, I have reached out a couple of times to clinicians who have written articles, and once even got back an answer that indicated an interest, but for the most part, especially since I have no credentials, my views are not worth the time to review. Face to face with clinicians, their outrage at my suggestions has been palpable. They have gotten downright threatening with me. I am confident that my hypothesis will be proven someday, but it will happen without me.

My opinion of RAD is predicated on it being caused by preverbal PTSD, akin to human torture - nothing like merely disjointed nurturing. Any other attachment disorder is beyond the scope ofwhat I am addressing. I am not looking at attachment disorders that are caused by confused nurturing. Those disorders might well exist, but I am not prepared to discuss them, and nor do I believe that PTSD-caused RAD is the only attachment disorder on earth. However, brain-damaging PTSD-caused RAD is the only attachment disorder that I have studied. I would argue that PTSD-caused RAD is NOT "...just a style of attaching...," but will not dispute that some might suffer ill effects from confused nurturing. I do not disagree with your view, but I do believe strongly that under certain circumstances, messing in a big way with PRIMAL attachment can cause a psychopath to emerge.

Thank you for your offer to put me in touch with adult survivors of RAD. My views do not go over well with them, either, and discussions can get very heated and emotional. I'd just as soon steer clear...

I truly do not know anything about my daughter's heritage, but her condition is far more prevalent among children who have been separated at a preverbal stage, and quite rare among children who have not been separated. In developed countries, it could be argued that governments routinely intervene with already-disfunctional families, so this would presumably explain that the children are believed to have inherited those dysfunctions. But in undeveloped countries, perfectly normal parents with no psychoses or addictions are often forced to part with their children, many thousands succumbing to promises that their children will have a better life if they are given up into adoption. Why is is that so many of these children are also RAD psychopaths? While most separated children do fine, I will guestimate that 20% are seriously out of whack, and a percentage of those are psychopaths - not due to inherited disorders or to moderate indifference.

I will google the Adaptive Gene by Dr Grant T Harris, thank you for this reference.

You state that your partner's child is different from my daughter because he chooses his behaviors based on the circumstances. Your partner's son's behaviors actually seem very much in line with those of my daughter. I have done a poor job of explaining, but my daughter does precisely the same. Depending on her use for someone, she could be the most sweet and compassionate darling, charming people's socks off, cultivating an entourage of defenders who would fiercely champion her. But she is not capable of feeling anything back. All the people in her life are no more than chess pieces.

I spent quite a bit of money sending her to nice summer camps, mostly so that the two of us could get a break from oneanother, and she would have a marvelous time, bonding instantly with all the counselors and some of the girls, but only if the girls had home lives that she coveted. After telling all her local friends that I was forcing her into a hateful summer camp, she wanted no part of coming home afterward. My daughter did succeed being accepted into other people's homes a couple of times. Her conduit into the home was sometimes a girlfriend, and at other times, a boyfriend. She would learn either how her conduit attached to the family, and about any strife between her conduit and the rest of the family. Then she would methodically cause a deterioration of affiliations between the conduit and the family, and eventually take the place of the family-beloved conduit entirely, after fostering alienation between her conduit and the family. But once her goal was achieved, then she would wreak havoc with a very surprised family, and ultimately be ushered out of the home.

I am not surprised that many attachment sites are disclaiming any successes from neurofeedback, because it flies in the face of the other therapies being offered. What the disputing clinicians are not admitting, is that NO therapy has been statistically successful for PTSD-caused RAD. (I make no claims about treating other attachment disorders, if they exist.) I do believe that some kind of neural therapy might someday be successful for PTSD-caused RAD sufferers, but only if it can generate the growth of the stunted brain.

Like you, I tried as hard as I could to keep my reactions in check, and did comparatively well, for the most part. However, under constant provocation, I did crack. When I was most in control, I would try to look amused, and think of preposterous tasks for my daughter to perform as penance for her lying and thieving. No other child would have put up with the senseless tasks, but messing with the rules of the task would keep her amused for hours, days, weeks, and even months. I am remembering one senseless task, where she would need to walk in a circle around 4 connected rooms, and count up each time she saw me. The rules became ridiculously complicated, to address each of the ways that she tried to get my attention while playing the game. For instance, she would sometimes not increment the number after several rounds, just to see if I were paying attention, so I let her do this several times, and then told her she would have to start way back at the beginning. What normal child would have put up with this stupid requirement, hour after hour, day after day??? But at least I knew where she was and what she was doing.

After reading that these kids will naturally target the mother figure, I decided to give her something to target, something to keep her busy full-time, and this was an oddly effective way of diminishing her otherwise much more destructive behaviors. If I could get her to focus on really stupid contrived games with me, she seemed to have less energy to wreak havoc with anyone else. Again, I canNOT imagine a normal child ever, ever being drawn into such stupid games, but she could not stop herself from being drawn in. I turned the tables by playing games with her, instead of her being the only one to play games while everyone else around her was being earnest. Sounds really cruel on my part, but cruelty was not my aim - my only goal was to exhaust my daughter, in order to keep everyone else relatively safe.

The games I contrived took a toll on me, however, since this is nothing I would normally do, and the games did drive me out of my mind. Now that she has severed ties, the games are over, and what a relief.

We recently attended a family reunion, and there was some explaining as to my daughter's absence, but it is not that unusual for someone of her age to have claimed independence, so this is all I offered by way of an explanation. For the first time, mingling with family and friends was uncomplicated.

Best thoughts,
Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/27/10 07:40 PM

Jan and Diane, my daughter basically relived the same day over and over again, never progressing, maturing, or being creative. By her living the same day month after month, year after year, she made sure that the rest of us who had to live with her, also did not progress in our relationship with her. However, even her younger friends soon outgrew her, and she had to seek friends who were ever younger than she. I imagine that if these children truly do not dream, they do not progress...?

Best thoughts,
Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/27/10 07:45 PM

Hello, Damaskrose. It seems that you and I have been living much the same life with our adopted children...! I'll think of what I can write back to you, but you have pretty much said it all already.

Til a little later,
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/28/10 06:22 AM

Hi RAD grad

It makes you wonder why professionals choose to research what they do. Surely it’s people like us who have such intimate experience can advise them of areas we would like answers to and that will hopefully open up avenues for ‘treatment’ or even some help or support for the victims. We could tell them what we would hope to gain for ourselves from research. It feels as though much of the research is done for the professional qualification at the end of it or even the worse possible reason….ego. It may just be that funding is only available for certain things so they have to fit their theories around that.

Whether we are right or wrong with our theories, the only way to prove or disprove them is through research, I think it’s just as important to disprove something as to prove it. I find it out of order that anyone should be outraged when you approach them with a situation you have thoughts on. When people get defensive it’s a sure sign they are feeling vulnerable. Maybe you came up with a smarter theory than the professionals you approached? I can see why they wouldn’t want the ‘little people’ like us coming up with hypotheses that may be very plausible. Did you get any further with the person who expressed an interest?

I suppose when you think about it, your theory, if proved right might make all the previous research redundant OR the wrong conclusions. That would explain defensiveness.

I think I understand what you are saying more clearly now. My reference to AD being s ‘style of attachment’ I see as being at the low end of the scale and able to be helped.
I think there is every possibility that your idea is right that some irreversible damage may be done before, during and straight after birth. What I don’t understand is why would it make such evil people as psychopaths….could it just as easily produce people with a ‘couldn’t less attitude’ and don’t do any harm to anyone? Or people of low emotional intelligence that are easy going maybe to the point of irresponsibility but again only harmful to themselves.

Perhaps there should be different words to describe all the different presentations as we are using ones that already exist and applied to a specific group of symptoms.
It would be so difficult to find out which children have a propensity to severe damage and which ones are resilient and that comes full circle to the question, would their psychopathic tendencies be triggered at some other point in their lives if they were born less resilient into a 'normal' family life?
This is my chicken and egg conundrum. If you were looking at out situation for instance, what would you say could be the cause of the kid from hell being a fledgling psychopath? He was planned, wanted and nurtured from the second he was born and he did the rejecting almost immediately. My partner can’t think of anything that would even make the pregnancy stressful let alone damaging.
As I said all we know is his mother has a personality disorder and also my partner’s brother and a couple of aunts on his father’s side of the family. So we see at as the ‘highly heritable’ version. This is where different names would be useful.
Then that brings me to the other issue I grapple with, are a % of people just born with that ‘personality’ style just as a % are born with another disability or any other thing?
It seems the same % of births apply to Autism and many other things. The figure I have come across many times is 1 or 2% across the board.

I found Dr Harris’ work interesting to explain that sort of thinking.

Oh how I hear what you are saying!!! How these kids can come across as being little angels and what terrible parents they have to be so critical of them ….amazes me. The kid would do the same, go to the neighbours at mealtimes saying we were not allowing him to eat that day and he was hungry so they would set a place at the table for him. Once when I was criticised by a neighbour I soon put her right and she was shocked to learn the truth because he had appeared so credible. As if he would put up with not having food on a regular basis!!! He was very well fed and would still help himself to anything he could steal from the cupboards. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I found empty packets put back in the cupboard then he would deny all knowledge. Whole cake, whole packets of biscuits and even a huge bag of peanuts that I bought for a party, 2 litres of fizzy drink (5 litres is a UK gallon). I’m surprised he never threw up at the quantities he ate when he gorged.

I recognise the scenarios, the kid would get sent home on a regular basis once he had got past the honeymoon stage. He would get sent home for being spiteful to younger kids, lying, being destructive and goodness knows what else as the nighbours didn’t like to tell us but I never understood why they didn't. He would run in the house, go to his room to hide in case they came to speak to us then later casually saunter back to their house as though nothing had happened. Talk about a thick skin!
One furious neighbout came round to see us as she saw him through the window doing damage in her garden and she wanted to confront him. We dragged him from his room and he looked her in the eye and denied what she witnessed, he even blamed the little girl next door. He would not accept she watched him, he lied, denied and got angry. He just shrugged, said a quick sarcastic ‘sorry’ and walked off.
A few days later he knocks on this woman’s door and asks to come in and have coffee and muffins with her…..All those days sat in his room after being told to reflect on what he did were a waste of time. He learned how to try her out again and do a better job next time. Punishment insensitive.

I learned how to play games too! It was the only way to keep him under some sort of control. I had to engineer getting the results I wanted from any given situation by being creative. I didn’t mind in the least that he hated me, it kept him occupied some of the time and I could predict his possible actions and found it amusing when he did what I predicted. It is a bit wearing having to be 10 steps ahead the whole time but you can’t really expect others to take over as they can be so easily duped.

Going back to therapy, when people have strokes they often lose a part of the brain function and the brain can sometimes learn to do tasks by opening up new pathways or utilising other pathways. Maybe it’s never too late to repair some brain damage, maybe repair is the wrong word, it could be that the brain can be triggered into using other connections. That takes a willingness on the part of the patient to want to improve their functioning but psychopaths don’t want to improve their functioning in the same way and the ones who do not come to the attention of the judicial system will not get any sort of diagnosis or chance of therpy.
That is why children need to be identified as psychopathic at a very young age, firstly because parents will be able to present their child to a professional and also if there is a chance of improving brain function then surely a young malleable brain stands more chance of change?

It’s too late for people like us because the kids have gone from our lives and the next lot of parents will go through the same as we did. I agree with you that the only reason for pursuing these issues is the hope that we can make someone listen so it doesn’t repeat generation after generation.
These kids are the partners and parents of the next generation and so it goes on. I can’t see that my partner’s kid will bring children up in any normal way and heaven knows what they will be like if they inherit his personality! When I say personality, he hasn’t got one in the usual sense, he is like a movie screen and the images you see displayed are an act, an amalgamation of observing other people. His ‘personality’ is a negative, empty one. As psychopaths have many sexual relationships and are irresponsible, having lots of children is more likely. If you look at this in the light of Dr Harris’ work it becomes more obvious about the heritability factor.

Thanks for having such a healthy debate. I hope you don’t feel I’m just challenging what you say. I think it’s vital we question everything and are able to look at the other arguments and hypotheses to move anything forward. Who knows who is right? It could well be you, me or any other ‘little person’ but unless someone listens it will never be considered by professionals. We need to keep these debates going! That is where our strength lies that we can debate and discuss so openly without ridicule because we are not professionals as in qualification, we are professional in experience.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 01/29/10 05:21 AM

Risk assessment for youths

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/01/10 07:47 PM

Hi New to Group
Like others I feel forced by my daughters violent/calculating/narcissistic/rad behaviors that after her menses quadrupled her tantrums and intensity. We adopted her at age eight, she is now 11 years old. She has been charged but not arrested for battery against me and my partner. She is a victim of abuse/physical/verbal/sexual. She seems stuck in the same patterned behavior since she was removed from her mother.

Annually she runs away, hits peers in our home, steals (cell phones/money/paper), she has stolen from stores with no repercussions after taking her and stolen items back, weird fascination with animals,likes to ruin floors by urinating on them, wipe feces in showers, continues to have enuresis issues, bites others, performs the predatory stance,etc. She likes to up the anti when no response is provided. We have attempted RAD therapy but the closer we got to her or the thought of getting closer to her she struck us with her fists repeatedly using the bed as a spring to jump me.

She telegraphs things before she does them such as poisoning. She talked about poisoning after hospital stay then put one or more of her medicines in my partners coffee. She told me one day I'm going to kill my partner and your going to watch. She asked what would happen if she threw the car out of gear while driving. She is in the hospital as I write. She has broken into neighbors house and stole money. We have been fortunate to have one good year out of four where there was no physical aggression. She has no remorse unless she thinks it might destroy her chance of getting something later.

When I stopped providing a privileged life of dance,etc. dolls, etc. she turned on both of us but also the year the menses came. She experienced great loss the year we adopted her (2009) her long time counselor left for a better job, her school of four years and great network was gone, she got adopted, etc. I struggle with hope and despair. Her mother and grandmother are not the most upstanding citizens. Her father has never been known, he was a john. She has RAD, bi polar, intermittent explosive, sensory integration issues, adhd, mood disorder nos, disruptive behavior, and whatever else I missed. I thought she was misdiagnosed and had her tested for autism but that was ruled out.

She recently went on a tirade because she couldn't find something. She tore off the doors, repeatedly struck at me, repeatedly attempted to bite and strike my partner, attempted to kick through doorways breaking door frames. She didn't see anything wrong because she was mad. She also threatened to report child abuse. She didn't seem out of control but actually very controlled and accurate in what she set out to destroy. I told her she won and I quit. After almost four years and threats to others and our lives. She recently has telegraphed she wants to drive a car, I can't do this anymore with her. It is a sick and twisted game in her mind that she plays all by herself. She has been out to destroy everything I have so she can have me all to herself because she says that's all she wants not two parents but one and I'm the one she picked. She won't stop until she gets to what she wants no matter who gets hurt in the end because after all she is getting what she wants no one stands in her way. She will cry if she gets hurt but will feel justified when hurting others.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/02/10 03:04 AM

Hello Sahmera

Your daughter sounds like one of the most difficult and challenging children we have heard about at such a young age. Were you warned of the challenge you were taking on before the adoption?
There are so many issues in your relatively short post so if we start with your family dynamics. How is your partner handling the situation between the two of you and with your daughter? . How is your partner handling the situation between the two of you and with your daughter? You mention ‘peers’ in your home, are you referring to your other children or other adopted children?

When was she diagnosed with the various disorders, before or after the adoption? I always find it very confusing when children are given a cocktail of disorders as it doesn’t give you a starting point to try to find either therapy or medication to help. Some conditions can’t be helped this way so ways of coping have to be found as with autism which seems like the one condition she hasn’t been diagnosed with.
What concerns me about multiple diagnoses is it can be done to cover every possible condition that may be covered for medical insurance purposes. It could be that one condition has clusters of behaviours that overlap with others.
Can you tell us more about the history of her diagnoses and any recommended treatment?

I have to say that here in the UK RAD is rarely diagnosed and reserved for the clearest cases rather than being used to explain other unidentified problems, but your daughter does seem to have the right circumstances to be considered for this diagnosis but may well have other conditions as well. Has she been screened for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome or Foetal Alcohol Effect? If you information about her mother’s pregnancy it might help you find out if anything could have caused her harm, maybe drug taking? I have often wondered about testosterone overload in the uterus and if it causes more aggressive children.
As you have arrived at a forum for victims of psychopathy can you tell us what made your search under this topic, is it because you suspect she may have the sort of Conduct Disorder that leads to psychopathy?

Anyone in your circumstances needs to look after themselves first and try to take a step back to assess the way to find a way forward. This girl might think if she gets rid of those around you then she will have you to herself and that is worrying. My partner’s kid (like all kids doing this) wanted rid of me in the belief that he would then have his father back under his control. I’m sure he thought he would then only have one person to manipulate.

Being realistic, have you considered relinquishing your daughter back into the system. I have heard that adoption can be undone in exceptional circumstances and I would think you qualify for that! You obviously haven’t had any training to deal with a child like this and you have other people to look after and protect. It may sound harsh but she is one person but there are others to consider. Do you feel you would be seen as a failure if you told anyone you want this girl out of your home? Do you feel you can allow yourself to tell people you want this?

It’s not your fault you can’t cope with her and it’s not going to get any better, in fact the older she gets will bring more problems.
Maybe you know the solution you want and that you are testing people’s reactions by telling us what you are going through? I certainly would be the first to say you have tried your best but this situation is too much for you to handle, it’s time to end it.
I say that because I know we couldn’t have done more for my partner’s kid and it just got worse and he was destroying all three of us, now he has gone two of us have survived.

I’m sure I’m not the only one here who would say this is far beyond nearly every persons’ capabilities, as you already know the professionals can’t offer any help or solutions so how do ordinary people like us cope?

Please feel free to write as much as you like because often just getting things out of your head allows you to see things from another perspective. If your best friend told you what you have told us….what would you tell her?

Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/03/10 05:24 PM

Hello, Jan, still here, although it may seem as if I have fallen off a cliff (strange expression if you think about it...).

After Sahmera's description of life with an adopted daughter, my breath is taken away... I thought I had it bad??

You ask why professionals discount those of us who actually live with psychopaths. Wish I knew. But these professionals certainly do not curry my cooperation by discarding my concerns and arbitratily expected me to march in time. Scarily, when we with children do not cooperate with clinicians, it is all too easy for them to pick up the phone and report us for some kind of child endangerment. Professional control freaks are another category of predator, and the laws protect and foster them, but that's a whole other can of worms. And you are so right that their hackles are really raised by a non-professional suggesting a radically different hypothesis.

No, I was not successful in pursuing more of a conversation with the clinician who emailed me back, agreeing that maternal separation might lead to the attachment syndromes that were proven erroneously blamed on maternal cocaine usage.

You ask why pre-verbal brain damage would result necessarily in evilness, in psychopathy. It seems to have a lot to do with where the damage is done, and for some reason, pre-verbal PTSD brain damage is focused on the cortex and cerebellum, which are areas of the brain believed to be related to the management of consequence and conscience. The intelligence is NOT affected. Those of us here do not have to think very hard to imagine an intelligent being with no conscience.

I have thought quite a bit about how a personality develops when a sense of consequence is blotted out. It starts with a philosophical question and ends with tangibly disasterous outcomes. A sense of consequence is one of the most basic sophistications that separate us humans from animals. (Animals are not evil, but if they had human intelligence, they might well be evil in comparison to humans who generally have a highly developed sense of consequence.) A sense of consequence is one of the most basic building blocks for trust. Trust becomes love. Trust and love become conscience. Strip away conscience, love, trust and consequence, and what do we have? - something a heckuva lot worse than non-PTSD attachment disorder.

Once stunted, the cortex and cerebellum do not grow. Period. The amygdala, or animal brain/reptile brain/survival brain, on the other hand, becomes highly attuned. Humans still possess an amygdala, though most of us have little use for it any more. With the amygdala constantly on the ready, as it is in non-domesticated animals (moreso than domesticated animals), the afflicted human is always in fight-or-flight mode. Animal pups who are play-fighting with other pups are really practicing as predators and prey, imprinting survival mechanisms. A human who constantly creates situations which put him or her in peril, is practicing what the amygdala convinces the brain it needs in order to stay in peak survival training. I truly believe that my daughter was trying to hurt and also get hurt all the time, as part of her survival instinct, her need to practice for the constant danger that possessed her brain. Kill or be killed. It was all a constant drill a perpetual challenge to confirm to herself that she was in danger, even if she had to deliberately create the danger just to validate herself. There are others who must be better at putting this into words.

You mention the resilience of some children over others, where some children are more affected than others by torture-level trauma. This is very much the case. In adult trauma, some adults in the exact same circumstances do not suffer PTSD, while others become utterly incapacitated by it. This is because the brain is a physical entity, and physical healing properties will differ, just as a flesh wound will heal differently for people who are physically variant.

Just as you write, the brain is indeed often resilient enough to make new pathways after a stroke or other damage to the brain. And it is true that women's brains allow them to re-path more successfully after a stroke than do men. But a fully grown brain is different from a pre-verbal brain. Unless the stunting of the cortex and cerebellum is somehow reversed while in pre-verbal human development, there is no way known to generate the growth of those two parts of the brain at a later stage in life.

This question that you pose: "If you were looking at out situation for instance, what would you say could be the cause of the kid from hell being a fledgling psychopath? He was planned, wanted and nurtured from the second he was born and he did the rejecting almost immediately. My partner can’t think of anything that would even make the pregnancy stressful let alone damaging." -- I have no explanation for this. But my hypothesis does not discount other paths for resulting psychopathies. I suppose it is possible for a cortex or cerebellum to be stunted without trauma, just as anything else on a human body. Maybe other members of the child's family have brain atrophies that are somewhat similar, but you know I am just making wild guesses here.

I do not believe that personality differences are magic. I don't believe that they materialise out of thin air, even if they are independent of actual experiences. If identical twins who live an identical life are markedly different, I believe that the twins have physically neurological differences which can account for the personality disparaties.

What is still inexplicable to me is how these children seem so uniform in behavior. They are irresistable to strangers, who act as pawns to protect these monsters. They refine triangulation to an art. We are all dehumanised to them, mere tools or prey. Even when we know beyond all doubt that these kids are lying, we get that dark, lifeless stare when we confront them with the evidence, and it never changes. They will repeat the same bizarre behaviors, sometimes altering a single isolated variable, just to test and compare the outcome, and then do the same over and over again. They actually desire to be discovered by some for the very same behaviors they want to be hidden from others. The list goes on and on. Do they have international conventions while we are sleeping to sync up all of their quirks???

You really struck me with this one: "He learned how to try her out again and do a better job next time." YES!! Other children dress and re-dress dolls, or play hide and seek over and over again -- but these psycho-kids' toys are us adults! Normal children may have no remorse when a doll is left undressed, and the doll does not punish the child, but waits patiently for the child to play with the doll later, or just leave the doll unnoticed. That's the way the psychopathic child sees us adults, as mere toys that exist only for their form of play. They hone their lies and manipulations on the same adult, no matter what that adult may do to tolerate their lies or fend them off. We adults are not permitted to choose what kind of toys we are, nor when we can quit the game.

Like you, I learned to play the games as a game aggressor, which infuriated my daughter. Like you, I found my daughter to be eminently predictable. She is really very programmed and programmable. But evenso, not improvable. It frustrated me that I could predict and funnel her behaviors enough to enrage her and foil her, but not to get her to drop the evilness for more than a few seconds at a time. In tiny slivers of time, she could see her mistake and the futility of it all, BUT IT DID NOT LAST.

It horrifies me that these children will have their own children. I have not witnessed such a development myself and hesitate to even make any presumptions. But I do hold my breath a lot.

I love that you are challenging me, and jumping into debate with me, Jan!! In all other cases, such a debate would have been long over, yet you and I are still bouncing ideas off oneanother. I could be very wrong in my ramblings, but it is so nice to just be listened to so considerately.......

Have a very nice rest-of-the-week!
Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/04/10 06:30 AM

Hello, Damaskrose.

Just as you are estranged from your adoptive daughter, so are we. My thoughts were so mixed and confused when she left, worrying if she had really left or if and how she might return...worrying what to say to inquisitive, often unsympathetic, family and friends...worrying whether she might try to litigate in court...worrying about all forms of revenge...worrying that she might try to contact family and friends. But so far things have been rather quiet. We were recently robbed, largely of my jewelry (I feel the loss most of our family heirlooms), and am certain my daughter was connected to the robbery since it was not a forced entry. But compared to what our lives were like when she was living with us, even a robbery seems like nothing of consequence. A robbery, if that is the only fallout, is a small price to pay for freedom.

The family and friends that I so feared informing of her independence actually seemed to forget her instantly. They did their usual gushy inquiries when she didn't appear with us at events and gatherings, and they didn't instantly accept my simple explanation that she had emancipated herself from us, so I found myself going into some further details. What surprised me is that this was the end of it, especially after all the previous oohing and ahing over her, all the syrupy attention she always got, all the gushing concern over her welfare. They were all under her spell for so long, but the long-running spell evaporated almost instantly.

I agree with you that social workers don't seem to "get it," even the ones who supposedly specialise in adoptions. I always had to remind myself that these particular social workers were actually on the front line of an adoption enterprise, and even government adoptions are oddly enterprising, financially motived. These social workers are supposed to facilitate adoptions and keep costs down. They will be discouraged from advertising that RAD even exists, or the extent towhich it affects anyone, and will certainly not be willing to pay for never-ending therapy, unless there is a robust funding incentive.

You ask how it might be possible to know in advance if a child is afflicted with RAD. All children are so cute, so needy, so irresistable, most especially RAD-afflicted children. I think even if I were warned, I wouldn't have heeded the warnings, assuming that I was gifted enough to compensate for any challenges that a child posed. How wrong I was.

It's more than a shame that you were not supported, that you were not given any respite. Yet you are head and shoulders above the parents and caretakers who respond to these children in violence, especially when these children trigger responses in us that we never even knew we had.

Not all manipulative people aim to channel eruptions and violence around them, but these kids definitely do this. I can only imagine that they are answering to a neurologically hard-wired instinct that requires them to constantly be in an artificial, even self-created survival mode. The minute they feel safe, they methodically ruin it, with an almost surgical approach. There is something wrong with SAFETY.

When she left us, my daughter burned through a dozen welcoming homes; she accepted the invitations of people she had cultivated to protect and nurture her while she was living with The Witch (me), but the minute she moved in with them, she horribly abused their hospitality, and immediately got thrown out into the street with less and less of her belongings, sometimes only lasting at a home for a mere weekend. As is typical with a RAD-sufferer, she tried the same behaviors over and over again in other homes, on the belief that she should be tolerated. I paraphrase Albert Einstein: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. But I would add to that for RADs - RAD sufferers are safety-aversive - part of their psyches want them to get away with their behaviors, but there is a strong aspect of their psyches that require they be punished and threatened for their behaviors, and they will not stop when they achieve their goals for permissiveness. Their ultimate goal is to achieve danger. This is what makes RAD sufferers so very threatening, in my view.

You write that your calmness caused your daughter to become angry, even psychopathic. In my experience, my daughter hated calmness in me, too, and would go to extremes to unsettle me, most often using my relationships with others to engineer them against me. Calmness is safety. Safety must be destroyed. It seemed very sophisticated for her, even as a toddler, to enlist my friends and family to do the actual destroying, but strangely, her triangulation methods remained quite consistent over the years, not developing. And after my daughter left home, she turned on the very people who assisted her most.

I do hope life is calmer for you now that you are free. It takes a while for the churning of separation, and for the scarring memories to let go of us. But the first time in years, I get up early, looking forward to each day, savoring my happiness. There is still a little tingle of worry everyday, but it is in a separate compartment. I hope the best for you, too!

Best thoughts,
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/04/10 07:30 AM

Hi RAD grad

I’m so pleased to hear from you. I was worried that you felt I was being too aggressive and you didn’t want to engage in any further discussions. I enjoy our debates as we can say things that we couldn’t say to others without the experiences we have. We can suggest theories and hypotheses from what we have observed, who is to say we are wrong? The only way to prove anything is to disprove what it isn’t so every aspect has to be considered.
I think you have considered so many possibilities that you must have hit on many things that are accurate. What I particularly like about our discussions is you support every one of your ‘arguments’ with factual information, you don’t fob me off with a vague proposition.

I don’t feel my situation was that bad when I read stories like yours’ Sahmera’s and Jenna and her husbands but it caused me a lot of distress so I can imagine what other consequences you all have to suffer. I know I won’t stop investigating this subject until I feel I have either come to a conclusion and there is a possibility of a solution or a ‘cure’ is found. The third option will be neither, in my lifetime.

I do wonder if some professionals are defensive because we have no training but do have knowledge that isn’t available to them and they need to find financial resources to gain that knowledge after many years of training. I have to ask myself what are their reasons are for researching the things they do, is it for a qualification or a desire to help people like us? We search for answers, we research looking for a cause, a reason and a possible solution, if not for ourselves because it’s too late for us to benefit directly but for the next generation of parents.

I have found the legal profession to be some of the most arrogant people I have come across. When I have witnessed the ‘law’ making errors of judgement and there is no appealing, it makes me so angry. At the moment, I have personal knowledge of 2 mothers asking the courts to do a ‘risk assessment’ on their (sexually) abusive ex partners who want unsupervised contact with the children and a judge takes the view that the mothers are just being uncooperative with court orders. One was told she ‘she was a whisker away from being sent to prison’…..for what?? Wanting to protect her children???? Both are having to fight to be heard and action brought to address their concerns.
I feel in one of these cases the judge is either condoning abuse or hasn’t a clue it exists….I rather favour the former! I have heard there are paedophiles within the judiciary.

Each time I read one of your posts I gain more insight into your information and it often seems like another way to say what I’m saying and when I question your thoughts it is also questioning myself so I hope you don’t feel I’m deliberately being oppositional? My belief is the truth is the truth so all questioning does is follow a path to find it. It’s like an unknown object hidden in a box, if that object is a gold ring then that is the ‘truth’ and no amount of questioning will change that but it will narrow down information to identify it. Even if I think it’s a piece of string and ask all the wrong questions it will still be the ‘truth’ ….it’s not a piece of string, it’s a ring.

As far as I’m concerned ….keep bouncing those ideas around! I could be just as wrong as the next person and I hope if it can be proved that I am then I will be wise enough to accept it.

OH these behaviours! Why don’t we make up our own checklist? I howled with laughter when I read ‘do they have international conventions while we are sleeping’. I often wondered if what they do is as physical as symptoms for a disorder where there are visible symptoms. The brain would definitely be the reason for that, if a certain type of damage makes a body function in a certain way then equally it could make patterns of behaviour.

These are precisely the things the professionals don’t get to know about. Stupid little things like chewing the ends of pencils until they are in shreds but when metal pen is substituted that also get chewed to destruction. Insisting on designer labels but putting the clothes over an unwashed body, he refused to shower or even wash till he stank and didn’t care when we commented but if we would dare say a word about his designer gear…all hell broke lose!
If there is a way of doing something…he deliberately did it the opposite way such as knife and fork in the opposite hands, trying to form words back to front when writing, getting into the car was even done in a peculiar way by getting in backwards and turning around to sit down. Asking a question when we had just given an answer. If we asked him to shut a door, he would open it. If asked to turn a tap off the rest of the taps in the house would be turned on. Same with a window.
Anything and everything, crazy meaningless things. Maybe for effect or attention I really don’t know.

It horrifies me too, that he will breed. The family( mother’s side) history isn’t conducive to child rearing. Even if he had a ‘normal’ child what sort of upbringing could he provide? Unfortunately these are the irresponsible types that do have lots of sexual encounters therefore more likely to breed.

I look forward to hearing more!

Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/05/10 07:14 PM

Jan, my gosh, I welcome your inquisitiveness!! In no way do I find your curiosity aggressive, except in a GOOD way. You want answers, and so do we all! If you want clarification from me, then I am challenged to reword and use better illustrations. If anything, you help me to strengthen my hypothesis. Between all our theories there must be a glimmer of a new direction, and if not, then at least this correspondence is very therapeutic. Just as you say, there are so few we can converse with in these terms, and most of our community of like-minded warriors are people over the internet that we will never meet. I sense that you and I do indeed agree, and that we are fervently seeking the right words and proofs.

It is clear that your experience with your partner's son was life-changing for you. It most certainly was for me. Like you, my experience has led me to seek answers. With my daughter out of my house and everyday life, it is finally possible to put a few thoughts logically together, instead of constantly having to be in battle mode. I agree with you that our research and debate will not help us, but may very possibly someday greatly assist those in the future.

The legal profession?? They are from another planet. One of my best friends became an attorney later in life, and since then, I do not know her. Besides the arrogance, the courts and law enforcement are corrupt, and all of them consider themselves to be above the law, while they consider us beneath the law, not worthy of the laws of due process. Anyone who disagrees with the court becomes an enemy of the court, and truth and justice are swept aside. For the 2 Moms with court issues that you reference, if they are in UK, then perhaps this site will lead them to support: http://www.the-real-picture-of-uk-social-services.i8.com/index.html . If they are in the US, then a good site is familyrights.us .

I'm glad you burst out laughing at my imagining international psycho conventions while the rest of us are sleeping! Only people like us, who have experienced the same, can even fathom such an odd little joke. If psychopaths are the way they are due to similar brain anomalies or damage, then this might explain why they have so many behaviors in common. The behavior checklists are the most compelling argument for the uniformly odd behaviors and I am sure we could add much to a checklist.

You mention ghastly hygiene. We experienced the same, and I have heard just this from other parents and caretakers.

Going back years, I noticed that my daughter would never open a door, even at the age of 4, and it occured to me that this might be dangerous for her someday, so I coached her to open the front door to our house so that she would know to get out if necessary. She was FURIOUS at being made to do this, but I would not relent. After that, whenever we left the house, I made sure she opened the door, and she did as I wished. But if we came to another closed door, even in our own home, she would not open it - unless she and I went through the same ritual of "training." Where was the sense in this?? This is not typical child's behavior, and this was only one of a billion inane circumstances.

Humans learn to GENERALISE, they learn to apply their knowledge to other situations by making general assumptions, such as understanding that door knobs all work basically the same way, and for the same reason and for the same function. For my daughter, she required that everything be isolated, and that rules be made specific to each door knob. In some other situations, this was how her mind worked, but in other situations, she just used this illogic to control me. She forced me, as it seemed your partner's son forced you, to be very, very specific and precise -- "I want you to turn off the tap, and not turn on any other taps, and then I want you to sit in the red chair with your hands folded and not move until I tell you to get in the car, and when I tell you to get in the car, you will do so immediately, and you will not cause me to speak to you about needing any corrections before or after we get in the car." If I was not specific enough, my daughter would punish me for allowing her to act or think independently, by doing something outrageous that I had not addressed or accounted for in my instructions. So while it looked like she was battling for independence, she actually craved being totally controlled, moreso than I could ever control her. What would a professional clinician say about this? Since they have no answer, we who ask the question must be mistaken about asking the question in the first place.

The odd, disjointed behaviors that did not involve adult manipulation, were just as weird. My daughter had about 20 Barbie dolls, and always wanted more. She never showed any interest in them once she got them. But one day, I noticed that one of the Barbie's heads was snapped off. Then I noticed another and another beheaded Barbie. The obvious concern is that this is acting out killing someone (and I don't discount this concern), but the other thought that occured to me is that my daughter could not understand why the head would not pop right back on, so she did the same thing again, and still could not believe the result. Then perhaps she did it again, just to enjoy her disbelief? And this is when I began to understand psychopathic serial killers... Whenever I read about serial killers, and their repetitive ritualistic actions, their recreation of the same murder over and over again, I see my daughter's behaviors. Yeah, just a little disconcerting.

On that eerie note, back atcha, Jan! What do you make of this??

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/06/10 03:34 PM

Hello RADgrad

I’m pleased and relieved that you didn’t think I was challenging for the wrong reasons. I thoroughly enjoy brainstorming and appreciate feedback even if I am way off the mark. It’s good to know someone can offer alternative options with supportive information.
Many parents find it hard to go too deeply into their problems as it is so painful. I haven’t got that problem and am willing to dig as deep as I can to make some sense of what I went through. I also like to be challenged as it does help organise the thought processes and decide whether I’m coming at the situation from a personal perspective and therefore not objective. You are right, we are both seeking the same end point and are bringing all the knowledge and experience we have to the party to get there. There are bound to be similarities and differences so it’s great to compare.

Yes again, you are right that this kid was a life changing experience for me. I have never experienced anything like it before so upfront and personal. I suppose I have had glimpses of other peoples’ similar problems but I wasn’t involved, so must have been one of those who thought …’I blame the parents’ when they witnessed a kid like ours doing what they do.
Since I left the 24/7 high alert situation I can reflect on what we went through and over time the rawness has healed a great deal. I can now laugh about a lot of the things we endured and came to accept as our way of life. With hindsight it was bizarre and I don’t know how we came to accept things as they were. I suppose we had no choice. Those who were aware of what was going on were as helpless as we were, the rest either didn’t see, didn’t care or were manipulated or in the case of the grandmother, in total denial.

Don’t get me started on the legal profession! One of my barristers (I don’t know what your equivalent is) told me that the courtroom is “pure theatre”. In other words the representation who is the stronger player/actor is successful. We even have the judge who looks as though he has rifled through the dressing up box, complete with wig, to spout jargon making ridiculous decisions about peoples lives without knowing the people involved. I have seen them get it wrong and we all have to walk away and accept it. It’s all about money too. The one whose money lasts longest stays till the end and gets the result they want. I won’t say justice, just they get what they want.
I have lost all respect and credibility in the judicial system, it’s a complete farce.
Thanks for those links, I’m going to spend some time looking at them as they will be very useful.

You have confirmed a few things that are helping me formulate a new checklist for childhood psychopathy. Hygiene! The kid never washed, he hated water, he stank, he pretended to shower. He smelt like a wet dog when he got warm. He didn’t care. He wet the bed most nights and still had to be frog marched to the shower even when we said his school mates would make fun of him, he didn’t care.

YES ….the list of instructions….if you didn’t go through the whole list he would miss out various stages because ‘ we didn’t tell him to do it’….well, I suppose he wa right we didn’t on that particular occasion as we had said it every day for a week we thought it might be taken as given it had to be done. Example….the school rule was no coloured T shirt under the white school shirt …so what did the kid do EVERY morning…put the dark T shirt on and we had to say every day ‘go and take it off, put a white one on’. By each Friday we would think the message had got through… NO …but as we didn’t tell him on the Friday morning he seemed to think he would get away with it. Of course Monday came round and off we went again as though last week never happened. It was the relentlessness of saying the same things every day until the list was a mile long, it was exhausting. We eventually put a list of rules on the notice-board to point to rather then go into battle. Gran saw it on one visit and we got a lecture about our cruelty…in front of kid from hell of course, so you can imagine how effective that tool became!

Tell me about the dead dolls!!!
The kid manically collected Lord of the Rings figures and at the end of each session with them, they would be laid out on the floor…all dead and killed with ‘weapons’ in them like a scene of carnage. It wad the same with his lego men, he didn’t know how to play, only fantasising death and murder. Maybe practice for the future?

Definitely more checklist items, the play/toy death/destruction, the constant repetition of bad/negative behaviours, the failure to learn from negative responses to their behaviour, the enjoyment of negative reactions to their behaviour rather than to anything positive, sabotaging anything good or nice to get negative or angry responses, making out they are doing what is expected then drawing attention to something bad, often asking for attention for it, as though they have allowed you to relax for two minutes then need to be jerked out of it. Maybe pleasure in controlling pleasure to pain?

The repetitive behaviours we had were opening all the windows throughout the house, leaving them off the catch to blow in the wind, them he would leave the house. Putting ALL the taps on throughout the house then going out. Toilet issues (some too disgusting to go into) never flushing despite what was in there as though it was left a s ‘gift’ for us to find. Wetting the bed but he never woke or got out of bed because of it, he would stay in it till he got up in the morning, he seemed to enjoy being in it. Asking the same stupid questions day after day as though he would get a different answer in the end. Tapping, scratching, nail biting, making noises, jumping behind me to startle me and smirking when he did it.
The list is endless and as one behaviour dropped off that weeks list it would be replaced by something else that was added. The old ones would come round again in time.

It winds me up even thinking about it, thank goodness I will never have to see, hear or smell him ever again!

You asked what I made of all the things these kids do but I really don’t know other that they practice their craft and maybe the childhood opportunities they use will be substituted with adult ones as they get older, such as people for the dolls. The windows are practicing gas-lighting maybe?

I will have to think more about this sort f behaviour and what it represents.

I look forward to hearing more from you as usual.


Posted by: Maria09

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/08/10 10:42 AM

This is my first post, so I hope that I am posting it to the right place.

I have read through all the posts here, and I believe (hope) that I have finally found some people who will understand what is happening to me.

My 21 yo son was adopted by us when he was 5 years old, and quite quickly we adopted two more boys. The saying act in haste.........

Over the next few years two of the boys were diagnosed RAD, While the first boy Sam was not diagnosed, mainly because I never took him to a psychologist. From the day he came home he set situations up. First of all he endlessly spoke of how great his foster mother had been, all the great things she did for him. How she was so much better than the cow of a mother he now found himself with! He used to phone her asking if he could return. He didn´t seem to notice how she had no time for him, and was soooo pleased to be able to hand him over to me.

This boy argued about everything. He spent 15 years stealing, bullying, abusing the other children in the home. He talked endlessly in a sexual way, he never missed an opportunity to hurt a child at home or at school. He was lazy, selfish and opinionated. He took our possessions and used them as his own. He would always try to get other children to gang up on his brothers, and one of his favourite hobbies was to tell the most awful lies about us to others to gain their sympathy. As he got older he drank far too much, ran up dept without us knowing, stole credit cards etc etc,. Out of the home, around people who were important to him, ie those who had status, money or something else he wanted, he was, and still is, Mr nice. Quiet, thoughtful. Pleasant and good company. I can´t tell you how many times I´ve felt like being sick while watching his act.

One year ago following increasing aggression in the home, he was at last shown the door. He immediately got himself half the town running around after him. He has instigated a hate campain against me, his father and his siblings. We have heard how he had to ´escape from OUR violence by jumping from an upstairs window. How we used him as a slave....on and on and on. How does he get people to believe all this?????

On top of this my two RAD boys now 16 and 18 continue with their own strange ways. I read here that these kids stink! I can´t begin to tell you how filthy my two are. One continues to wet the bed every night. At 18 he will still get back into it, soaking from the night before. He has bad teath, and acts like he has rabies around water. They both do everything opposite to what is asked. They steal non-stop especially food. They both more or less ignore me unless they want something and the only time I get to see their eyes is when they are lying.

For years my husband and I have hardly dared to go out because of their behaviours. Even our families have distanced themselves because they cant stand the boys. The parents at the youngest boys school got up a petition to have him removed, only the head told them that as a state school, the kid had a right to be there. All this despite super human efforts to be calm with the kids. Take them on trips and days out. Show them kindness etc.etc. When once I said this to Sam he laughed in my face and said `Sucker´

I feel beyond sad: I am worn out. I feel stupid for getting myself into all of this. I am exhuasted and quite frankly, I hardly know what is happening anymore. My reality has been so distorted by all the boys lies for so long now I find myself doubting my own sanity.

I´m sorry this is so long. I know that all of you here have your own awful problems too. I wish people would get told about this before they adopt. Everyone is so concerned about the child being ok, being safe, not being abused but nobody wants to hear that sometimes its the kids that are being abusive. I dont want sympathy, I got myself into this, but just once, over all the years it would have helped if just one person really knew what it was like to live in my house.

Thank you for being here.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/08/10 04:07 PM

Hello Maria

You have posted in exactly the right place! Hello and welcome.

I can understand what you are saying and can probably read between the lines too. When I read posts like yours it takes me back to when I was in the place you are in now but I was fortunate that I only had to endure my partner’s kid until he was 14. I could never have lasted until he was 18 let alone 21. Having two more children with problems must be draining, do you get any respite care for them? I feel a prison sentence would be less onerous than bringing up three children with such severe problems.

Did you find puberty was another step in your oldest son’s aggressive behaviours or was it just a slow decline?

How did you go about getting a diagnosis for your two younger boys? Can you tell us more about the background of all three of them if you know anything at all. It’s incredible that adoption agencies are either ignorant or pressured to achieve targets that peoples lives are turned upside down.

I have to be honest and say the I’m a huge RAD sceptic, I know it exists but I have found lack of knowledge and not wanting to stigmatise children with an ‘adult’ disorder makes it a soft option in many cases.

I approached our problem from the perspective of RAD and it just didn’t fit but the child psychologist seemed to feel more comfortable allowing us to think this was the problem. We were told the kid had ‘attachment problems of the avoidant kind’…..well maybe he did but that was only one of the many symptoms of the real condition. It was only when she said that seeing him again or attempting any kind of therapy would make him worse did I realise what we were really dealing with.
It further confirmed what I thought when she said there was nothing she could do for him but she could continue seeing his father and me if we needed support. We declined for many reasons, the first being she should spend her time with children that could be helped and also the only support we needed was for him to be taken into a care system that could cope with him. That doesn't exist so no point thinking about it.

You are certainly not stupid for getting into this situation, there could have been many children placed in your care who would have thrived. It’s not your fault.

I do hope you feel you can come here and rant all you like and will get support. Sometimes just letting go helps relieve some of the stress. You are not crazy, years of crazy making behaviour makes you doubt your sanity but the fact you recognise you feel crazy shows you definitely are sane.
I recognise the ‘Uriah Heep’ behaviour tactic…how I hated that one! When I saw people falling for that I wanted to shout out ‘don’t fall for it, he’s taking you for a fool’ but I would have looked like the wicked witch who didn’t understand children. I used to fume inside while he got away with it. If you told people quietly after the event you would get the usual retort of ‘he’s only a child’…..yes he was…the child from hell!

Do you get any kind of support where you live? Is there anything available through the school system? I suppose the two younger ones are nearly finished their education?

I would like to hear more about your experiences and what you have been through trying to get help.

Your post wasn’t long enough to get it all down in one go so please write as much as you feel you need to. I’m sure there is so much more we would like to ask.

I will wait to hear more from you and I hope we can offer you the support you obviously need.

Take care of yourself and your husband, you must be a great team.

Posted by: RADgrad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/09/10 06:58 AM

Maria, you should get a gold medal... If you are sane enough to have found this bunch, then I congratulate you for having held on to your sanity after all the emotional abuse you have endured.

Your son claiming you kept him as a slave is all too familiar!! My daughter, too, claimed this, and was actually believed. According to her, she made all our meals, cleaned our house from top to bottom everyday (gosh, I so miss this - oh, wait -- it never happened), mowed the lawn, even washed the cars. In truth, this child never made so much as a sandwich for herself, and never lifted a finger around the house. She invested triple the effort in hiding the fact that she used a new roll of toilet paper rather than simply placing the new roll on the dispenser. The roll of toilet paper is not important, but her behavior is most indicative.

After she won the heart of another town resident with her tale of slavery, the woman offered a room in her home to my daughter in exchange for housekeeping. (Gee, being a slave can actually translate into a tool for bartering room and board -- oh, wait -- none of this is real.) The woman soon found out that my 18 year old daughter had no clue how to clean anything, and the woman had to teach her how to fill and empty a dishwasher, mop the kitchen floor, swab a toilet. But lo, my daughter would not clean afterward, although the woman was already paying her AND feeding her AND housing her AND believing her AND buying her clothes, jewelry and a computer. Well, the short ending to this senseless story is that this woman threw my daughter out of the house and told her to never return, but the reasons for the eviction had nothing to do with housekeeping.

I do keep trying to convince Jan that RAD is real and physical, proven by photographed brain scans, most often the result of tangible pre-verbally suffered torture. I think the biggest problem with the term RAD is that it trivialises the condition by its very name. Attachment is only ONE of the conditions that characterise RAD. Then again, we should not trivialise attachment. Attachment is a requisite in humans in order to be a functioning society. It's not just a soft and fuzzy kitten-like emotion with hearts and flowers; it is the fundamental societal necessity. Without it, humans are Caligulas.

The closest that RAD-sufferers have to any emotion is a compunction to control. These people have few developed emotions at all, and whatever emotions they have, encompass what should be normal emotion into a dissociated lump of aggression. Emotional attachment, affection and love are too complex for them, and in order for them to classify and process those feelings, they mash them all into aggressive sexuality and other forms of inappropriate control over others. Sadness, confusion and anger, attachment, affection and love - these all can be confusing to the most normal of us - but we do not channel everything into sexuality, food-gorging and deception.

I have often asked myself why all the behaviors have to be so inappropriate? I think it is because RAD sufferers have no way of channeling normal love and attention, but they still have an inner human need to be "special" to their caretakers. What better way to be noticed and evoke a personal, unique response, by committing acts that stun those closest to them, their own caretakers? This is the closest they come to attachment, yet it becomes a travesty.

I know that our pets also possess limited ability to process complex emotions, but they do not normal pee all over the house or deliberately displease us. Why is a human that is emotionally disabled by RAD so destructive as compared to our modestly minded pets? I will guess that there is another difference between humans and animals that it is characterised by an advanced need for humans to be loved and recognised as an individual, distinct from the group. But what if humans have that need, and yet cannot process the love and affection that the need requires? I know I risk sounding maudlin, braying on about love and affection, but we humans are surrounded by affection and recognition, and completely take it for granted, and don't believe we miss it if it disappears -- that's because we are normal and our brains are normal, and we can adjust accordingly. Deranged people cannot manage even the most ideal situations, and actually function more competently when conditions are egregiously adverse, when they can operate in survival mode (using their huge amygdala brain - humans have 3 brains within one), and, conversely, when we caretakers are deprived of our kind of control and forced to rely on survival mode, our weakest area of brain functioning. Therefore, RAD people feel more secure and in control when things are NOT working smoothly or normally, since their most advanced emotional regulation comes from their amygdala.

I believe you got excellent advice from the therapist who told you there was no help for RAD sufferers. The message has not gotten across to U.S. therapists, who still believe they can treat it, and who still blame the caretakers when the treatment fails.

When do you think the two boys you still have at home will emancipate themselves and move out? Jan and I can both assure you that our lives, independent from these children, improves exponentially day by day. As painful and impossible as it sounds, I personally encourage you to open the door and let these big kids out into the world, and to lock the door behind them, as hard-hearted as I sound. You have bled for these kids, and despite what your friends, neighbors and family think, I think you are marvelous.

Best thoughts,
Posted by: Maria09

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/09/10 08:07 AM

Hi Jan and RADgrad,

Second time trying to post - hope it goes through this time!

Thanks for your replies. It´s so good to be able to speak with other people who understand the situation. Here is a little background info:

When we first met Sam he did come over as bossy and a bit full of himself, but we thought that he was just a little boy who had been through some tough stuff and was acting big because really he was scared. I didn´t warm to him right away, but I wasnt too worried; I thought that would come naturally as our relationship progressed. I feel sad now when I remember how happy and optimistic we were over having the chance to raise this child.

He was cruel to the other boys and girls in his care home but again this seemed like the behaviour of a distressed child, and although I guessed it may take years to help him, never once did I understand that this bullying child would just get bigger and sneakier as the years went by. I had no inkling that I would end up living with an abusive man.

At school he wanted all the pencils, all the paper. He didnt want to share. He thought he was better than all the other children (and most of the adults). He pushed and shoved and shouted to get his own way. His voice was heard above all the other childrens during class, and in the playground. If he didnt get his own way he hit, or smashed up the other childrens belongings. He sought out the one or two other children in his school who were bullies and he ganged up with them. He picked on anyone weaker or smaller. I was called to the school so often that I might just as well have gone in with him everyday.

Still, unbelievably, alarm bells were not ringing. He was a handful at home but was clearly a bright child and he could be delightful when he chose to be. I put in more effort, more time. I sought out activities that he would enjoy. Most of all I just hoped that he would come to understand that there was a calmer, kinder way of living. His dad was and still is one of the most calm and caring men I have ever known. I hoped it would rub off on our son. It didnt. He was hard work but at that point I was actually growing attached to him. He came swimming with me, and we took long walks. Sure, money was going missing, he had no friends, but it was early days wasn´t it?

When he was 8 yo we adopted two brothers of three and five. They again seemed like handfulls, but we had Sam and we had survived. He was getting no better, but he wasnt getting worse. We thought we could cope. social workers agreed that the two brothers were ´naughty´ but felt that there was nothing about them to suggest a conduct disorder of any kind. They did mention the 14 (yes 14) placements prior to us,but didnt seem too concerned. From the outset in our home these kids were beyond belief. They smashed windows, swore abuse, were doubly incontinent, made strange noises and seemed to manage on zero sleep. We phoned social services. They assured us that this was settling in behaviour, and would pass in time. They pointed out that we had managed with Sam, and we fell for this even though I was exhausted most of the time. But this time the warning signs were there: the day I looked out the window and they had piled up lots of snails and were jumping on them, howling with laughter. The lies that went on and on.They stole food, money, anything and everything. They had complete disregard for anyone or anything. Praise didnt work. Shouting didnt work. Distraction didnt work.Time out didnt work. Bribes didnt work. These kids ran riot 24/7, always accompanied by their loud never ending laughter. Meanwhile Sam seemed strangly pleased to have them around. In private, he encouraged and enjoyed their behaviour, especially its effect on me and their dad. He also bossed them around, and bullied them. Strangely, they would go along with him, and he was never targeted the way we were.

At school they ran in and out of the classrooms. They swore at staff and stole the other childrens food almost daily. They were both statemented and assessed as RAD, but that was it, help wise. Apart from once again to be dragged into school to take part in endless ´behavioural strategies´that never worked, nothing else was offered. My family deserted us, my inlaws did likewise. Friends struggled to cope and invitations at first got thin on the ground and then stopped altogether. They behaved just as bad at home and outside. When confronted they would just stand and stare at me, and then carry on as if nothing had happened.

Sam got gradually worse and worse. He learned to be good at hiding his nastiness. He learned to be a great liar. He learned to play one person against another. At home my purse was always locked up. Anything I valued greatly was at a friends for safe keeping. When he was 14 I caught him reading our wills ´to see if its worth my trouble to kill you´
He refused to help or cooperate in any way. He got drunk, he snarled and snapped at home but always made sure he was Mr Charming out side. He dropped out of school and has so far had many different unskilled jobs. Each one ends because his boss was nasty, or didnt understand him, or was unreasonable in some way. Yeah, right. When we threw him out he told me he was glad to be going, his childhood had been terrable, I was awful. Nothing, absolutely nothing was his fault.

The other two are still at home. They still behave as they did as toddlers! Nothing has really changed. You ask if they have finished their education. Frankly, they never really started it. They dont work, they hang around the house. Surprisingly they will do chores but mostly they are the most lazy people I have ever met. They are filthy, they wear filthy clothes. They still steal and lie all the time. They eat at the table with us in silence, which makes even this a horrible time in the house. They only communicate to ask for stuff. They play ball and other games way to young for them . They dont seem interested in joining the real world at all. No friends, no interests, nothing. I dont know what to do. Throw them out too? Sam has already told everyone who will listen that I want all the kids gone because I cant be bothered to be a mother.

Oh I have so much more to say, but I cant go on right now. If you´re still reading, then thank you for listening. I just dont know a way out of this situation right now. If you have any advice, I´d be really glad to hear it.
Posted by: Maria09

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/11/10 10:53 AM

Just a quick update, because I´m really stressed today.

18yo has just been frogmarched home by one of our neighbours - just been caught going through his workbag and money is missing. Not much, but that´s not the point. Of course he swears it wasnt him. Just admits to looking in the bag because he wanted to see what it contained.

I´m so, so tired of this. Just last evening I was reading through your kind replies. I asked my husband if he thought there was a possibility the younger boys had somehow morphed from RAD to psychopaths. He replied that J. (the 18yo) seemed to be getting a tiny bit better. I said I could,t see it. His behaviour hurt as much as Sam´s and we are both clear that Sam IS a psychopath. Now my husband is sooo upset. I don´t think he can cope with the thought that we have another Psychopath. What if we have three?

Its too much to think about right now. I wish I could send you some sound too because they are both playing cards and laughing right now. Laughing! You know, like the whole thing is in the past now. The only man in this house that I do love is drinking coffee in the kitchen, and staring out of the window - devastated by the behaviour of the boys he devoted so much time and care to, and they are practically throwing a party in the next room.

I want to cry, but really I´m trying hard to get mad instead. This isn´t fair, and I want to do something to make sure this never, ever happens to anyone else.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/12/10 04:29 AM

Hello Maria

I'm sorry to hear of your distress. I have been through a very similar situation myself when the neighbours come to visit you full of anger over something the kid did.

It puts a strain on relationships in general when you desperately need support. We were fortunate that a few people sympathised with us so did not fall out with us over some of the issues this kid caused. Some were even helpful in that they ignored the transgressions so as not to cause us further stress.

Please feel free to let rip here if it helps, we are here to listen even if we can't offer a practical solution but we will try and suggest a few things that may help.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/12/10 04:53 AM

Hello RADgrad

I will start with your comment from your earlier post….I do keep trying to convince Jan that RAD is real and physical….and I do agree with you. I think we just get crossed wires over what we call these things. I know you have done lots of research and have information so it’s great that you share it.

There is one thing I have a problem with is the word ‘stress’ in PTSD in relation to psychopathic children. From what I have found is that these kids don’t suffer from any kind of stress and do not seem to even have a startle reflex. So maybe there would be a better name for the in utero damage or even a brand new name given to kids born with physical brain damage. I can accept that PTSD will happen to some children after birth in extreme circumstances but before birth it must be a different process. I still agree that genes can be damaged or switched on before birth so in the same way the brain can be damaged by hormones. Chemicals, toxins.
What I find difficult is why psychopathy causes children to behave in ways they choose to but they are always bad ways. Autistic children do not have empathy/understanding of others but don’t often behave in bad ways, it seems their behaviour is more neutral.

I’m pleased and relieved that you didn’t think I was challenging for the wrong reasons. I thoroughly enjoy brainstorming and appreciate feedback even if I am way off the mark. It’s good to know someone can offer alternative options with supportive information.
Many parents find it hard to go too deeply into their problems as it is so painful. I haven’t got that problem and am willing to dig as deep as I can to make some sense of what I went through. I also like to be challenged as it does help organise the thought processes and decide whether I’m coming at the situation from a personal perspective and therefore not objective. You are right, we are both seeking the same end point and are bringing all the knowledge and experience we have to the party to get there. There are bound to be similarities and differences so it’s great to compare.

Yes again, you are right that this kid was a life changing experience for me. I have never experienced anything like it before so upfront and personal. I suppose I have had glimpses of other peoples’ similar problems but I wasn’t involved, so must have been one of those who thought …’I blame the parents’ when they witnessed a kid like ours doing what they do.
Since I left the 24/7 high alert situation I can reflect on what we went through and over time the rawness has healed a great deal. I can now laugh about a lot of the things we endured and came to accept as our way of life. With hindsight it was bizarre and I don’t know how we came to accept things as they were. I suppose we had no choice. Those who were aware of what was going on were as helpless as we were, the rest either didn’t see, didn’t care or were manipulated or in the case of the grandmother, in total denial.

Don’t get me started on the legal profession! One of my barristers (I don’t know what your equivalent is) told me that the courtroom is “pure theatre”. In other words the representation who is the stronger player/actor is successful. We even have the judge who looks as though he has rifled through the dressing up box, complete with wig, to spout jargon making ridiculous decisions about peoples lives without knowing the people involved. I have seen them get it wrong and we all have to walk away and accept it. It’s all about money too. The one whose money lasts longest stays till the end and gets the result they want. I won’t say justice, just they get what they want.
I have lost all respect and credibility in the judicial system, it’s a complete farce.
Thanks for those links, I’m going to spend some time looking at them as they will be very useful.

You have confirmed a few things that are helping me formulate a new checklist for childhood psychopathy. Hygiene! The kid never washed, he hated water, he stank, he pretended to shower. He smelt like a wet dog when he got warm. He didn’t care. He wet the bed most nights and still had to be frog marched to the shower even when we said his school mates would make fun of him, he didn’t care.

YES ….the list of instructions….if you didn’t go through the whole list he would miss out various stages because ‘ we didn’t tell him to do it’….well, I suppose he wa right we didn’t on that particular occasion as we had said it every day for a week we thought it might be taken as given it had to be done. Example….the school rule was no coloured T shirt under the white school shirt …so what did the kid do EVERY morning…put the dark T shirt on and we had to say every day ‘go and take it off, put a white one on’. By each Friday we would think the message had got through… NO …but as we didn’t tell him on the Friday morning he seemed to think he would get away with it. Of course Monday came round and off we went again as though last week never happened. It was the relentlessness of saying the same things every day until the list was a mile long, it was exhausting. We eventually put a list of rules on the notice-board to point to rather then go into battle. Gran saw it on one visit and we got a lecture about our cruelty…in front of kid from hell of course, so you can imagine how effective that tool became!

Tell me about the dead dolls!!!
The kid manically collected Lord of the Rings figures and at the end of each session with them, they would be laid out on the floor…all dead and killed with ‘weapons’ in them like a scene of carnage. It wad the same with his lego men, he didn’t know how to play, only fantasising death and murder. Maybe practice for the future?

Definitely more checklist items, the play/toy death/destruction, the constant repetition of bad/negative behaviours, the failure to learn from negative responses to their behaviour, the enjoyment of negative reactions to their behaviour rather than to anything positive, sabotaging anything good or nice to get negative or angry responses, making out they are doing what is expected then drawing attention to something bad, often asking for attention for it, as though they have allowed you to relax for two minutes then need to be jerked out of it. Maybe pleasure in controlling pleasure to pain?

The repetitive behaviours we had were opening all the windows throughout the house, leaving them off the catch to blow in the wind, them he would leave the house. Putting ALL the taps on throughout the house then going out. Toilet issues (some too disgusting to go into) never flushing despite what was in there as though it was left a s ‘gift’ for us to find. Wetting the bed but he never woke or got out of bed because of it, he would stay in it till he got up in the morning, he seemed to enjoy being in it. Asking the same stupid questions day after day as though he would get a different answer in the end. Tapping, scratching, nail biting, making noises, jumping behind me to startle me and smirking when he did it.
The list is endless and as one behaviour dropped off that weeks list it would be replaced by something else that was added. The old ones would come round again in time.

It winds me up even thinking about it, thank goodness I will never have to see, hear or smell him ever again!

You asked what I made of all the things these kids do but I really don’t know other that they practice their craft and maybe the childhood opportunities they use will be substituted with adult ones as they get over, such as people for the dolls. The windows are practicing gas-lighting maybe?

If this post is a little disjointed it's because I started it ages ago and have added to it. I do long posts in Word first because I have 'lost' so many in th epast.

Have a good weekend
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/12/10 05:11 AM

Hi RADgrad

I did some searching through my files and found this info.


Have you come across the XYY theory? I have also looked at testosterone overload prenatally and it seems the correlation has been considered. This might coincide with your thinking, Here are a couple of links.



This research has observed damage to the hippocampus in animals causes hyperactivity and also amnesia. That raises two interesting theories. Would hyper-vigilance be classed as hyperactivity? Could failure to learn from punishment be a form of amnesia?

Other observations of the kid’s behaviours and actions. These thing went on until he left home in his teens,
Hyper-vigilance, standing behind doors listening in to conversation. Creeping around and hiding in the room so he could listen. Coming downstairs at night to listen in. If we had people round he hung around the adults and wouldn’t go and play like other kids. He didn’t have real friends, anyone who had something would do.
He would run everywhere like toddlers do. He ran stiffly with his arms by his sides and his hands would flap. (Have you seen the comedy of Mr Bean?)
He was incredibly clumsy but I think that may have been lack of care or attention to detail. After he had eaten there would be food everywhere.
He has no hobbies or interests that he spent time on, the only things he ‘played’ with were dolls and figures to ‘kill’. He did paint War Hammer figures but didn’t ever play a game with them with anyone.
He couldn’t play a simple game of Scrabble because he couldn’t take turns, he couldn’t think of words from a group of letters and would get angry because he couldn’t cheat. He tried putting any letters onto the board as if he had no concept of rules.
He collected doll/figures avidly and obsessively but everything was destroyed.
He never conversed, all he would do is ask a series of questions to get attention.
He would interrupt every conversation with nonsense, if we had company he would change the conversation to focus on him.
He had no idea of timescale.
Would dress up in pieces of cloth and dash around outside waving ‘weapons’ at the air like something possessed. Pretend to be killing things. This had to be done in front of us, especially if we had visitors.
Would kill every creature in the garden, he asked if he could bury the neighbours childrens’ pet bird when it died. He was excited and never gave a thought to their grief.
He would make decisions on our behalf, one day he invited the neighbour round for dinner without telling me. He made out I had sent him round to ask.... most embarrassing when she arrived all dressed up. This sort of thing made me wonder what he though,t if anything, of the consequences of what he did. It would be obvious to an idiot what he had done.
Although he could do something terrible and minutes later he would act as though nothing had happened, even asking for a treat or to be taken somewhere so it made me question the timescale issue. Any normal kid would lie low for days or offer to make amends and at the very least apologise.
Other times he arranged his father to act as cab driver to take him to visit his gran who lived a distance away and never consulted him about making this plan. He would tell her he was coming to stay rather than ask.
He asked to stay with other people, even to go on holiday with them.

There are many more things and much more serious but I can only think back on these things so long before it gets me down.

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/18/10 05:05 PM

Hi ladies,
I have been busy placing my violent daughter in the hospital then another and another. She comes home worse. She recently was approved for therapeutic day school. She is coming from private school. Of all the nerve for someone to say she does so well in school its only at home she is having problems. The private school didn't understand why I pulled her out she only had a little stealing problem and three demerits for stealing and an adapted day 8-1:30pm otherwise she was great. I explained that it takes a lot of energy to hold in everything from my daughters day and she obviously was stressed throughout the day. She holds issues inside for hours, days, weeks, months, and I have seen it. She will get you back. She felt very comfortable taking her day out on us. One professional said no problems here it must be her home environment. For a professional in special education to imply that it is home life. Another so called specialist offered me a book to read. I was offered a book to read. . . . If I may say how utterly offensive it is to tell me to read this book because obviously if I had a little more understanding or patience maybe I could tolerate the abuse or property destruction with a smile instead of tears. Are they serious? My partner and I are educated and experienced doesn't make daily life any easier. My daughter is currently hospitalized again except this time I got to her before she exploded on me or anyone else. But in the emergency room she wouldn't answer questions or wait in the waiting area with me so we had the pleasure of wasting a security officers time because she was going to run. Poor thing is so damaged and confused. Sincerely I hope they can mix the right cocktail of medications, so far they have been trying for 4 months. My daughter is a very complex girl that is how everyone describes her. It seems as though when we treat the OCD we are left with rage from bipolar and if we treat bi polar we are left with rage from interrupting OCD activities. The latest hospital has discovered already that she imitates others. I explained I had to teach her all of her social skills, she can't read faces to well, another professional asked me if she was retarded because her of her patterned behavior but intellectually she doesn't fit. My daughter is very ignorant on many levels but very charming. I am always surprised at others when they discover her light switch of emotions. I told the last psych doctor she was a rage-aholic. She derives pleasure and power while being angry. We didn't complete RAD therapy because it made her more and more violent or was it the not right medications. No more RAD therapy for us, the therapist kept saying don't confront just be loving and supporting.
I discovered this past weekend that her mother was a sociopath during the adoption it wasn't mentioned just anger management issues. She just got out of prison. The day my daughter ran away this past year her other was getting arrested. The day her mother was sentenced her daughter was being sent to hospital. Her mother is continuing to abuse herself with drugs and prostitution, my daughter picks scabs/draws on herself/etc. I believe one day she will be a cutter. She likes the release or a raging maniac robbing stores. And still I hope for the best. We are applying for a special grant that will assist in paying for residential care. On my daughter maternal side her grandmother had a heroin addiction/mental illness of some kind that is not diagnosed. She is very mean/revengeful/lies/etc. Her grandmother raised my daughter for a few years, from 3-7 years old. My daughter tells me stories of revenge against her grandmother such as rolling feces into balls and placing them into her pillowcase, running away/begging for money, putting various things in her grandmothers bed for her to find. My daughter was punished by various means such as being locked into her room all day, hit,etc. Her grandmother had a pedophile boyfriend for at least a year so everyone knows she was sexually abused by her and "johns" her mother pawned her out for drugs or money. I know when my daughter was very young her mother had a car accident and my daughter was not seat belted in and hit her head on the dash and wasn't checked out by a doctor.
They told me to keep sending her back to the hospital until I gt funding for residential when she becomes aggressive. She has been in hospital five times in three months. I know RAD children like the no attachment hospitals offer. I love my daughter very much and I still have hope, hope for what I don't know. I miss the girl I knew a year ago that I played games with and rode 15-18 miles, swam, and etc. It's been very difficult, I want to salvage whatever I can but part of me struggles when I see the destruction.
Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/18/10 10:06 PM

My daughter called from the new hospital. She has a habit or behavior of turning the light switch on and off to an obsessive and annoying point. She only does this at hospitals but anyway she got very angry and put into a quiet room and proceeded to put a whole in the wall. She was angry with the staff because they had to use force to get her into the quiet room. I have to admit I was glad, it validates the violence we have endured. The night before she told me she said she wasn't coming back to me and because I corrected her on something she stated that's why I don't like you. I continued to tell her that it didn't matter I still loved her and hoped for the best. The last hospital she put her head through a wall and bit a staff. She likes to bite people that is her first reaction or a threat of violence that she will follow through on at a later date. The previous hospitalization she used her bed as a spring board to hit me and my partner then proceeded to bite and scratch us, tear the doors off her closet, kick her bedroom door in, and attempted to bite an officer. We used to put her to the floor until she calmed down. I am so done with that we mainly block and deflect most of it while protecting each other. It took three police officers and a patty wagon to remove her from my home. When her mother was her age she was running away, doing drugs, and placed into the foster system.
We have done everything everyone tells us to do because even though I know this child very well I am at a loss. I called the adoption preservation worker, that was pointless. She had nothing to offer except let me know if from a legal stand point the guardian changes so she can stop the send her funds to the new place. The previous hospital I begged them not to send her back to me but if I didn't take her I would be charged with neglect and she would end up in foster care again. I went with my family to start counseling because I was traumatized over the last rage event. I also decided to rid myself of our youngest foster child that is not diagnosed with RAD but has all the markers. I can not handle two of them. Our caseworker encourages us to work with her and she knows a family that has six girls some have RAD. The third child in our home is three months from going home. He is autistic/schizophrenic tendencies among a variety of other diagnosis. It is his first time to be out of a hospital for 1 year and be so called normal.
Since our boy is going home to his family my daughter has started a new strategy of manipulation by informing me she wants to see her bio mother. She used to get on these kicks while she was in foster care. She doesn't even know her mother, mother/daughter relationship, barely knows her brother. She knows her mother from 1 hour visits that had barely conversation and no I love you's. The mother didn't know how to interact with her. She used to use these same topics to justify or excuse her anger. I know some may be true but I also know from the situations she got herself into that it was a not true. It might sound cold but I know it is manipulation on her part for new angle to branch off. My daughter looks for new ways to work others and me. I informed her she was adopted I don't abide by the same things as foster care. I also noticed she and the foster sister periodically especially when they are stressed or not about the previous foster family, like it was yesterday. The previous foster family which was four years ago for my daughter had sexual activities, abuse, and domestic violence involved in it.
Developmentally my daughter was on target for everything. Her bio mom had an active case of herpes and she had to be born c-section. My daughter was born with a very foul odor is what the doctors notes said. There were no tests completed for drugs but I suspect there were some in her system. I know she was bounced from one acquaint-es of her mothers to the next throughout her first three years. I also noticed her longest stay was at her maternal grandmothers until she went totally off the deep end at a store because her grandmother wouldn't let her keep a penny she found on the ground. She was hospitalized several times with her grandmother. She wasn't hospitalized once with us until this past fall which was eight months after her period started, left her old school, old friends, lost her counselor of five years, and began a new school, new counselor, new friends,etc. She doesn't really have friendships though, she would say everyone she meets is her friend, no boundaries no idea of what it really means. She talks about one friend from two years ago and it is so odd because she has not had any contact with this friend but will sometimes talks about it like they are best buds. We saw this girl and clearly this girl has moved on but my daughter was in dismay when the girl rejected her for her new friends.
She has an old behavior that she came back with her when came from most recent hospitalization. She likes touching things that are shiny, soft, colorful,or whatever. She says I can't help myself I just have to touch it like she is autistic or something. She usually will touch it then when no one is around ruin in it and not take responsibility for it. She took a shower the day before she left. She tried I think to pull off the on/off switch to the shower. It was clearly loose and ready for repair after her shower but she didn't do it when asked about it, didn't know anything about it.
The private school said she kept up her grades even though hospitalized for two months but I informed them that her lack of self-regulation caused her to tear off skin on her lower lip, peel skin away from nails to bleeding, and become violent at home while trying to get caught up with homework. I looked at her grades, they gave her an A when she completed only one assignment the whole semester. They gave her an excuse for us and that was she is still transitioning from being in the hospital so therefore she didn't need to complete her homework.
When we first got our daughter she was a grade and half behind but through private tutoring once a week for one hour she was able to get to grade level in less than a year. We cultured this girl with musicals, plays, dance class, summer camp, and sleep overs.
Anyway, we are safe because she is in a hospital and she is safe from herself.
She was only home for four days before she hit her foster brother so hard to leave finger prints. I noticed that our house seemed so loud. It is so quiet but will soon become peaceful when the youngest leaves next week. It won't be easy because we do love her just can not live with her. She is young and she to has started her period. So I look forward to some sort of peace and quiet for right now.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/19/10 03:01 AM

Hello Sahmera

I am going to read through your posts. I do understand what you are going through and it's comforting when you know someone is listening.

I will be back later to reply to you.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/20/10 03:57 AM

Hi Sahmera

As I was reading through your posts I kept thinking that your daughter’s behaviour seems to cover more than one diagnosis and all at the extreme end.

My partner and I had a similar experience with a school psychologist who blamed my partner entirely for his kid’s behaviour. The kid had done the usual, grooming and manipulating a victim. He thought if he told him I was the evil step mother he would have support to get rid of me. He believed that we were neglecting and even being cruel to the kid and too wrapped up in ourselves to attend to any of his needs, including food. This man then had the audacity to tell my partner that his parenting skills were sadly lacking and by spending more time with his son he would be fine.

He either didn’t believe or couldn’t accept what we had tried without success, year after year being focused totally on the kid only for thing to keep deteriorating.
That was worse than the child psychologist saying there was nothing she could do to help this kid but was prepared to see us to support us. She had covered every type of parental style with us and saw there was nothing more we could do or try. It was such an anti climax hearing her ‘verdict’, we could hardly call it a diagnosis as there was nowhere to go from there. We were trapped and had no tools to move forward and make anything better, it was like being isolated from the rest of the world. We had to cope on out own, even the kid’s grandmother agreed with the school psychologist and was determined to work against us to prove her point.

What sort of RAD ‘therapy’ did your daughter have? You mentioned medication when talking about RAD therapy, was she prescribed medication for that particular ‘diagnosis’? What do these therapists think parents do for their children if it’s not love and support them? Every child needs a structured life and parental controls to be and feel secure. By giving real attachment disordered children too much freedom can only make them worse, surely?

Do you know if all the stories your daughter tells you about her grandmother are true?
If her mother had all these issues and drug taking I would think any children she had would be candidates for all sorts of health problems and probably their physical and mental development before they were born. Does you daughter want to see her mother because she can no longer manipulate you so needs to find another victim? That was our experience.
We had the ‘touching’ problem too but I haven’t really though too much about it until you wrote about it. The kid would touch everything on every shelf in shops and supermarkets, things in the house especially in the kitchen and food. I wondered whether it was to be annoying to begin with or if it was a compulsion but as he got older thought it was probably to get ready to steal things and these were practice runs.

We also had the destruction in the house and taps all set our out a steady trickle, lights were switched on all over the house and put back on again after being told to put them off. I don’t know if that was for attention or to annoy us. Negative attention seemed to be more important than positive.

From what you say it seems that your daughter’s behaviour was acceptable until she reached a certain age, is there anything it correlates with?
You also say that you love her but do you mean you loved the child she was, the one you thought you had or the one she is and you have now? I couldn’t even say I liked my partner’s kid let alone love him. I presumed I would warm to him when I got to know him but it was the opposite, I grew to loathe him.
It took me a very long time before I could let myself think that, I felt terrible about myself, I was the adult. Once I gave myself the freedom to acknowledge my true feelings I felt a huge relief. I felt honest.

When the kid went back to his own mother it was wonderful. We realised there was nothing we could do for him, we were worn out protecting everyone else from him but his personality disordered mother would accept a lot more than we could. She lived in an area where his behaviour wouldn’t stand out as much and there was less to steal. He also stood a better chance of being picked up by the police and into the judicial system with the possibility to be diagnosed with something.

There is a saying that if you love someone you can let them go, with me it was the opposite.

If only there had been some sort of recognition of the kid’s problems and appropriate respite care to get us through the years would have been great. This is what is needed but doesn’t seem to be available anywhere I know of.

It’s a waiting game until they leave home or get taken away.

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/21/10 01:26 AM

Definitely a waiting game. . .Right now she is in the hospital and has informed me for the one millionth time she doesn't want to come home, according to her for no reason. I informed her that children like you have no sense of family and I expect you to say that because in your short life you have been trained by foster care system and through family experience if you act a big enough fool they will get tired like the rest of them. She gave me silence after that. I told her I loved her and moved onto a new subject. She did let me know she was trying to get a packet completed so she could come home but quickly corrected herself and said I am not coming home.
She does attempt to find new victims of manipulation, because of her charming ways is easy to find a new one.
Her diagnosis grows on and on. Bi-polar, OCD, impulse disorder, sensory integration, mood disorder NOS, intermittent explosive, I know there are more but I have honestly lost track. Nothing with hallucinations but she did try to con the doctors at the last hospital saying she saw a girl in a little red dress her imaginary friend. First I had heard of anything like that from her so I confronted her and I basically told her to stop it. Amazingly enough I haven't heard word before or after about the red dressed girl.
We started having extreme difficulties after she started private school. More so it began in May with physical aggression against my partner but she was irritable and edgy but manageable. She used to go through periods of stealing but the past year she kept stealing more and more. She didn't limit herself to things at home or school she stole from camp, department stores, etc.
After her old therapist left she got a new one. The new one I fired because she was making our situation worse and not only that she and her counselor colleague were counseling my children together. She didn't want to work on anything with my daughter except play games or take her places. She had her for four months until I said enough was enough. I kept her out of counseling because she was smarter than her last counselor and is very counselor savvy. She knows exactly how and when to say everything.
I took her to a new counselor. This one was older, wiser and a lot more experienced. The counseling was not working due to my daughters lack of motivation and her behavior was getting out of control. She was becoming very angry with confrontations of her behavior. The counselor and every hospitals has told me talk therapy doesn't work with your daughter. It is pointless and I am not even going to waste your time or mine in trying it. I agreed.
My daughters RAD therapy consisted of rubbing lotion on her hands, playing bonding games, giving her a bottle/feeding her/talking to her like a toddler, play games right after school to assist in providing a loving environment in an attempt to provide for those things she had missed as a youngster. The therapist always nagging me, show more enthusiasm blah,blah, blah, do this act this way. She didn't want to hear that my daughter the night before hit me or broke something. It was difficult in therapy to be energetic but I did everything she said at home. She reassured us there would be some regression and not to worry about it. Well, my narcissistic child used it for manipulation. This is where again she spiraled out of control with extreme aggression over simple requests. If I asked her to clear the table or something such as that she took a bull stance literally. I would quietly ask her to take five in her room if she didn't go I ignored her. Usually she would up the anty to smart remarks, threats of violence, etc. Just a vicious cycle of defiance.
The only thing I know that correlates is her getting her period. I asked the last hospital to get her on the pill in attempt to stabilize hormones. They didn't do it and she wasn't home long enough to get to a doctor.
I don't like to take her anywhere anymore because I don't know if she is going to pull some behavior in a store because I wouldn't put it past her. The last time she was home for four days. She asked for this and that and I asked her what are you doing? The survival mode kicked in inside of her and I was so disappointed because to me that means I'm just another nobody in her life that she can use to get things that she will need or wants. Her fuse was so short that if she heard the word "no" she was ready to go ballistic in a matter of seconds. We used more general phrases with everything with her such as not right now/maybe later/you can earn it. She knew this language and that to became a source of frustration for her.
We have tried respite care. My daughter went around the hospital saying we left her at someones house and she didn't know if we were coming back to get her. I was so angry. I had talked with her at great length several times on our plan for the weekend. I told her to call me but knew she wouldn't. I was giving us all a break from her craziness. The respite care worker informed me she didn't want to leave. I found out later why. She was busy on the computer making Myspace/facebook pages. She also contacted three companies one of which sent me a credit card in her name. My only rule when I dropped her off was no cell phone and absolutely no computer. The next day I received three phone calls asking for her from various companies colleges/creditors/etc. I have tried babysitters but due to her manipulation and stealing it doesn't work out to well. When she was in daycare she got kicked out due to stealing from the owner. She couldn't take her book bag or coat into the house. She also was subjected to searches. She learned how to be more clever and use her foster sister's book bag to steal. Everything is a game nothing is for real until she doesn't get something she wants or has a consequence for her poor actions.
I knew my daughter wasn't going to be easy to raise but I had no idea quite frankly I think the doctors/psch docs are a little shocked themselves. She has turned her world upside down. I keep hoping I can get things turned around with medicine but understand they may not. I have a plan if they do not turn around and that is she will move into residential care.
She has always been healthy. The last medication Risperodal she developed a nervous cough. It has since decreased tremendously since the medication has stopped.
When she first came to us she could weave a story like nobody's business. She slowed down and saved it for the school teachers/friends/others that didn't know her. She would pull her hair out when stressed or frustrated but stopped after about six months or less. She quit wetting the bed through late night toilet training. She has always needed this physical release of some sort through hair pulling/wound picking/angry explosions. I kept her busy with other positive activities to teach her other outlets.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/21/10 02:51 AM

Hi Sahmera

What comes across in your posts is the sense of hopelessness, frustration and mental exhaustion from trying to keep ahead of the game.
You obviously don’t believe a word your daughter says about what she wants and doesn’t want through years of experiencing manipulation. Maybe when she tells you she doesn’t want to come then you let her know you don’t want her home either, for her own good she needs to be somewhere she can’t damage her life any further. I don’t suppose telling her you love her makes the slightest difference if she is incapable of understanding what love is. We project our emotions onto others but just because our emotions would be in turmoil in certain situations, these kid’s don’t care, it’s just a way of playing games, controlling others and getting attention.

My partner’s kid said that if his father really loved him he would buy him anything he wanted. That is the logic he applied to an emotion he didn’t have. What a great way to turn that situation round to blame the parent.

Are you satisfied with any of the diagnoses you daughter has been given? It rather does sound as though they have given her every one in the book to cover all eventualities. I get the feeling no-one has a clue what is wrong with her and they certainly don’t have a clue about therapy. I know you are pinning some hopes, maybe even the only hope, on medication but unfortunately there is no medication to mend emotions and conscience.

It’s staggering the ignorance of these therapists, they do more damage than good and who knows what qualifications and experience they have of psychopathy. When I use that word here I mean it in the true sense of the word as an illness of the psyche.
Most RAD therapy is quackery and dangerous, imagine a child with autism being subjected to holding therapy and forced to have eye contact? As diagnoses seem to be random and cover alls in situations like yours it seems like attempts at therapy were because there was nothing else to offer you. True RAD therapy involves the whole family and heavily involves the parents, any therapy that takes the manipulative child on their own is plain crazy. These people will never accept how they have been conned, they apply techniques that come straight out of a text book and expect a positive outcome like an answer to a maths question.

The stealing is always a hard one to deal with, it can be so sneaky that although we know it goes on we can’t always spot it. The stolen items are usually trivial and not taken to fulfil a need but more to deprive someone of something and a test to see what they can get away with, to fool the owner of the item. A control issue.
I remember being followed around a large store by a store detective when we had the kid with us and I let the kid wander off and do his touching everything in the hope that he would take something and get caught. I thought in those circumstances nobody would be upset by losing an item and the store would get it back and the kid would come to the attention of the police.

One thing you mentioned that is surprising is you say she gets stressed. Psychopathy and stress do not go together. Does she really get stressed or would you say she acts stressed?

What is very clear in your posts is that parents with children like your daughter need to have respite care with very experienced carers and a better diagnosis to put the children with the right carers. I did read about one environment for children in care where they moved the children from ‘house’ to ‘house’ within the system so the house parent was constantly changed and the kids didn’t have time to manipulate the other kids and house parents so easily. It appeared to work as the kids didn’t have the ability to attach to anyone had less time to do what they do best.

At present it is just a waiting game until the kids leave home but then we have the concern that they are inflicted on a society that is unprepared for them.

Could you say that there was any one thing or person who has helped you and your daughter?

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/23/10 10:10 PM

Hi Jan
What comes across in your posts is the sense of hopelessness, frustration and mental exhaustion from trying to keep ahead of the game.
You are exactly right.
The only support is my partner. The doctors and everyone else has looked to us to provide insight or information or techniques that work or don't work. They have provided minimal suggestions but we have usually tried most everything already and they have told us that. We have tried a lot of things to help her make her life better. We have endured everything using our own expertise. We accommodated, changed our schedules, patient, positive, loving, caring, sensitive to her delicate needs, etc. We have listened to others but they usually come back with she is complex and difficult. They provide me with information such as talk therapy is not going to work and basically if talk therapy doesn't work nothing else will either. The hospitals told me she has no remorse, no empathy, etc. I have been living with her we kind of figured that one out but still try. I thought we were doing a pretty good job of managing her until I started going to the hospitals and doing family sessions and workers there thought it best they offer me there reasons for her behavior. It's my fault. It's my fault because I get into power struggles, she is still struggling with her past, and others informed me I needed to read a book that offers a great explanation for the reasons behind her behavior and once we get that book and read it will be a better parent for her. You know you can't look at these children and adopt them and expect everything will be ok (sarcasm). Can you hear my frustration. I had an intern call me today asking for permission to provide one on one counseling with my daughter. I told him to have at it you need the experience my daughter will be a great one for you. One therapist informed me to be clear on expectations the next one says don't be so confrontational, another says provide structure and clear rules and consequences the next one says ease up. It has recently begun to make me crazy so I know we were very clear on expectations, consequences, rules, positive feedback, etc. We have reward charts, behavior charts, beyond consequences, and the list goes on. My daughter could tell you the same and recite the rules of the house forwards and backwards. Since everything has changed with her the rules are now grounds to dig her heels in for battle so we started walking a way from her. If she wants to fight she can fight herself. It is very predictable in our home. We changed it every so often but prepared everyone for the change at least a month in advance with almost daily reminders to the point they were saying the new rule before it had begun and implemented the new rule before its time because they were ready. I always knew my daughter would be difficult my problem is I thought she would just be different difficult not physically aggressive/property destruction.
During the summer months we provided schooling for our children to provide structure/skill retention. They read for 20 minutes, one worksheet of math, practice writing/or spelling. Practice and review materials. School time lasted approximately 3 hours with breakfast and snack time. The kids enjoyed this and requested it for the next summer and during breaks because it made them feel better. The afternoon they could watch a movie and play otherwise they went out to a store.
I did inform her I didn't want her in my home. The hospital called and asked for help in getting her out of there because she got to comfortable/manipulative. I also informed her as a family we were actually able to go out and have fun because we didn't have to put up with her b.s.
My daughter called and had a list of items she wants me to buy her an ipod, iphone cell phone, nintendo ds, nintendo dsi, and laptop. I started laughing. My girl has a fixation on electronics. She desires everything everyone else has but then will give it all away.
This is why I am hoping medication can take some edge off of her ocd, rage, and impulsivity. The new hospital wanted to put her back on Risperodal I said absolutely not try Seroquel. I suggested it because the last doctor said they would try it if the Risperodal didn't work.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/24/10 06:21 AM

Hi Sahmera

As I was going through your post I was nodding my head in total agreement, I could have written most of your post. We didn’t have very much physical aggression or medication apart from to stop the bed wetting (which didn’t work anyway as he wasn’t always doing it in his sleep). We came to accept bed wetting was used to punish us as he was a small squirt who couldn’t be physically aggressive to us.

We went through the same processes as you, we tried every approach to the kid to address every possible problem he may have been having. We tried including him in everything we did, both together as a couple and individually with our own hobbies and interests. We gave praise, encouragement, no telling off only explanations of what behaviour gets rewards, star charts with his rewards of choice. We allowed him to help make the house rules to make things work for all of us so we didn’t have to keep nagging. Although that became an issue when his Gran visited and she saw the ‘list of rules’ on the notice-board sating it was cruelty….they were rules like ‘I must wash and brush my teeth every day’ I must put my bedroom light off at 9pm on school nights’ ‘ I must not tell lies’. The rules were never adhered to and the list got ever longer as he introduced new behaviours. We still had to say each day to do or nor do everything on that list or he would disregard it and when he transgresses he would say we hadn’t told him…that day! As though the rules only existed for the time it took to write them, Like everything he did it was constant and repetitive, no chance of learning. Not only punishment insensitive but also rule insensitive.

We provided him with hobbies and activities, holidays abroad, books, toys, art materials, visiting friends and relatives as well as finding friends for him and inviting them home. We carefully chose the best school that would suit his needs. I even bought him a cuddly hot water bottle to take to bed for comfort. We were aware that a boy of that age might not feel comfortable cuddling us even though we offered and would never reject contact if he initiated it. Not being his mother I didn’t feel it appropriate to make any physical approach to him as he was coming up to adolescence.

When we saw the psychologist she went through all of these things as suggestions to help but each thing she mentioned we had tried to no avail. She was stumped, she had nothing left to offer and even praised our parenting skills! We also told her things we tried that she hadn’t though of so she may well put them in her repertoire of advice for parents in the future. Normal parenting does not work with these kids and creative parenting allows them to dictate their whims. The more sensitive we were the more he abused us and treated us like puppets and fools. The only parenting we found to have a little success was to act like prison guards so nothing got past first base. That was exhausting! The planning ahead alone took so much time that our thoughts were always concentrated on him and his behaviour.

As soon a psychologist tells you there is nothing they can offer with therapy or medication we know what they are referring to. That is the end of the road for them with that ‘patient’. They can move on to the next one and we go home and wonder what happens next, there is nothing on the horizon to give any hope for the future.

As you say, we get blamed….outsiders see us acting like prison guards and that ‘corroborates’ what the kid says about us! He then gets more sympathy. The wicked stepmother, it’s not surprising the kid has problems!
I’d love to know what ‘book’ to read that could tell us how to parent a kid like we have. I want to be the agent of that author….he would make me a fortune!!!!

Power struggles…..oh how I know those….how can we let the kid win any of them or we just get more and more. I do know for a fact we have to keep complete control of every situation The only way not to do this is to choose the battles you will not let go and ignore some of the smaller issues as though you don’t care about those. And never engage in any conversation over these matters.

What outsiders don’t understand is that they have no feelings or introspective emotions and certainly no love or affection. You can spend the entire day not speaking to them and they REALLY don’t care, they are pleased to be left alone.

I had to admit defeat with the kid for the sake of my sanity. I lived under the same roof, as though he didn’t exist, until he finally left. I would cook his meals and put them on the table and let his father call him, he ate alone because he table manners had become so gross it made me feel nauseous. He was greedy so would scoff the food down totally oblivious he was on his own. I used to watch the back of his head and feel guilty at first but as I got to feel he was an alien who had been thrust into our lives I started to look at him as an evil robot. A robot that could not be reprogrammed and therefore I was not going to waste another minute on it. The food was just a bait to calm the beast so I didn’t feel that was a waste of effort.

I don’t see anything changing so I feel I have to keep my experience high profile so someone will listen and maybe find some solutions such as trained respite carers ot research in to gene therapy.

Just remembering what life was like depresses me but at least it is behind me now and I haven’t see the kid for over 3 years but the memories are burned deep in my mind.

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/24/10 11:23 PM

I read a previous post "Other observations of the kid’s behaviors and actions. These thing went on until he left home in his teens,
Hyper-vigilance, standing behind doors listening in to conversation. Creeping around and hiding in the room so he could listen. Coming downstairs at night to listen in. If we had people round he hung around the adults and wouldn’t go and play like other kids." I was more hyper vigilant than she at keeping her in order. She went as far as trying to peek through a door to watch us being intimate. She couldn't sleep because she was interested in our conversation and everyone else s.
I tried the trick of letting her dictate and the aggression worsened, lesson learned. I have to place a cup on her door handle so that way I know when she is getting up in the night to raid the refrigerator or something else. Her latest trick is to try to get our car keys and money. The cup falls on hardwood floors no way to stop it due to the handicap door handle I put on her door. She asked that I stop because it scares her I said no so she urinated all over her floor and ruined it. She constantly smells of urine due to her poor hygiene and need to not miss anything while she is gone.
She is boring to talk to there is nothing up there. So superficial/socially inept. When she eats she moans/groans like an animal never seen anything like it. She shovels it as fast as she can and asks for more. She scrapes the plate clean repeatedly until I tell her to stop.

I am getting ready to complete the grant for residential care. There will be light at the end of the tunnel maybe not right now but there will be.
So tired have to sleep
Thank you
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/25/10 05:57 AM

Hi Sahmera

I am very interested in hearing about the grant for residential care that you are applying for. That is the sort of information that could be most helpful for other parents. Is the residential care specially for children with behaviour problems? Whatever sort of care, it must be a huge relief to think your burden will be lifted and someone else can look your daughter’s basic needs. As we know all the other needs would take more than a lifetime to fulfil and not even then.

The hypervigilance took us a while to realise what was going on as the kid was so sneaky and quiet. We got used to going round checking where he was especially, if we were having conversations we didn’t want him to hear. Even so, many times he repeated things back we had said and we didn’t have a clue how he could have heard. Occasionally we would talk about something and carry on speaking as we checked behind doors and bumped him opening it when he hadn’t heard us coming. He never got embarrassed at being caught but he did get angry he was thwarted.

Every day when he came home from school he would ask what we had done all day, he wanted a run down of each hour of the day so I would reply with “waiting for you to come home”. I was advised to say this by someone who fostered children, She had one with ‘attachment disorder’ who needed to know what she had done all day when he couldn’t see what was going on in his absence, She presumed it was a control issue.

The kid came out of his room constantly after bedtime, to go to the toilet so he could leave the door open each time he went back. It didn’t matter how many visits to the toilet, he still wet the bed. He used peeing as payback and he seemed to have plenty of things to pay us back for, like catching him stealing, lying, not giving him what he asked for, not letting him do what he wanted, stay up late….you know how it goes!

I know what you mean about boring to talk to…..the kid had no conversation, I suppose because he had no hobbies, pastimes or interests he had nothing to share and as he only cared about himself the only time he spoke was to ask for something or argue. When we had conversations he would interrupt and try to change it to focus on him. Things like asking us if we thought he had painted his model figures brilliantly……no, we didn’t! He had poor fine motor skills. He couldn’t tie shoelaces until he was 12 and even then not properly.
He was dull academically and used to ask a LOT of stupid questions a two year could answer. I wondered whether he asked just to hear his own voice. He couldn’t think things through, work anything out for himself…no problem solving skills. Yet he was so conniving he must have had some thought processes.

I look forward to hearing more from you. It sounds like our experiences are very similar.

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/25/10 10:49 PM

Hi Jan
Thanks for the laughs. The social worker called and asked the usual general yet probing questions with a sticker shock anxiety awaiting. It becomes quite comical for me. They are confused at her behavior because she presents very well, always the model child in any structured hospital type environment. She loves doctors. He actually told me a colleague asked him if she was retarded. (This is the current hospital.) We went through the usual everything her processing speed is exceptional and she entered sixth grade at grade level but now functions more like a two or three year old on many levels. I explained to him and he agreed that her behaviors and emotions are very unpredictable over the last several months.He said I don't know who I am going to get each time I talk with her. Sometimes she is bubbly the next she is telling him to shut up or cussing at him. I didn't have to tell him him anything about "welcome to my world" he got it completely. He said he believes she has a personality disorder, he also believes that some information wasn't passed on from the bio family concerning the woman. Her grandmother and mother most definitely have personality disorders of some type I thought they had anger management but he said there is much more than that going on here.
My daughter told me she got talked to over poking staff, hitting vents, running in and out of her room while others were trying to sleep,etc. She has also been takin down in restraint form and escorted many times to the quiet room.
My daughter would become very angry when we would whisper in our room. She couldn't hear us so she would slide against the wall but for me if things were to quiet because we always had our third and fourth eye and ear on high we would stop and catch her. She would attempt to keep her door open, etc. Very Very Sneaky and Quiet. I was crazy enough to stay on top of it but I didn't realize how crazy and Angry I was making her it doing so.
I had a teenager in my house that wanted to pound on her for the level of disrespect and so did the other teenagers, he was just more vocal about it. She always has to test everyone with physical aggression. One day she kicked him for no reason, he kicked her twice as hard and never tried it again. But she also had her eye on his $300.00 Zune player so she quickly went for another plan of attack and that was to invade personal space to the max waiting for him to leave it for one second so she could steal it.
She displays indiscriminate affection towards males, females too. She will flirt cozy up to the men. She is eleven. She used to do perform this ritualistic walk around men at age 8. Tow steps to the left, step to the front of them then two steps to the right not taking her eyes off of them. I used to call her out in stores when she wander a few feet away only to find her an older gentlemen as her prey. I would purposefully embarrassed her on the spot by saying I am sure this man is very nice but do you know him, very loudly.
The boring conversation today was the same robotic conversation. What are you doing back and forth after five minutes I struggle.
My daughter only knows one emotion anger other wise it is a flat line/flat affect.
Whenever she gets what she wants she gets angry very angry. When she doesn't get what she wants she attempts to manipulate until she understands I am not going to give in, then she retaliates with physical aggression or repercussions like smearing feces or breaking dishes.
I will get more info on grant. Honestly, I know we will be denied but will appeal because one of the requirements is hallucinations/hearing voices one thing my daughter has never complained about unless trying to manipulate the hospital staff.
Thank you
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/26/10 04:29 AM

Hi Sahmera

I’m pleased you can laugh, that is a good sign that you can see the other side of these crazy problems. It’s as though we can begin looking at our lives as an outsider looking in and we can see how crazy it is and we have been accepting that’s how things are. Maybe we should report more of the 'funny' things we have experienced?

Every time I read your posts I wonder if our kids are related! Their behaviours are like physical symptoms of an illness. These kids present extremely well and put on a different act/mask for each person they encounter because they need to mirror and manipulate their weaknesses. The kid used to perform brilliantly to ‘older’ ladies and was sickly sweet cute. He made a big mistake with my mother on their second meeting. When he was on her own with her he asked if she was going to leave him money in her will when she died. As she was a prison visitor she was on her toes and told him she intended to spend everything she had before she checked out.

I have heard other parents say their psychopathic kids were diagnosed as being retarded and I often thought the kid was too. I really don’t know if he was retarded or just stupid, with lack of education and problem solving skills. He seemed unable to follow the simplest instruction. If he was asked to take his plate, glass and another item from the table he would say he couldn’t because he could only carry two things. It was as though he lived in that very second and thinking the next one was impossible. I suppose it could have been that he thought we would tell him it was OK if he left the other things. He was incredibly lazy.

We often wondered if the kid was on castors because he appeared out of the blue during conversations, it was spooky, like an apparition! Any other time he presence was announced with a lot of noise and carried on with stupid noises, tapping or any other irritating thing to let us know he was there. Isn’t it wearing being on super alert all day when they are around?
At last you have found someone who recognises your daughter has a personality disorder. I have been reading a lot about foster and adoption agencies sending children to parents without preparation. There seems to be many issues such as problem children being difficult to place so parents are not warned. The agencies may well believe the child will improve once they are part of a caring family OR for the financial compensation they get for doing so. Another parent did say that the agency knew of the child’s family background and deliberately withheld that information, I presume so as not to lose potential parents but no concern for the long term prospects.
As it has been proved by research that psychopathic behaviour is highly heritable it is vital everything is known about the child’s family.

These kids do get very angry and being thwarted in anything they want initiates another pay back, usually sly and sneaky and that casts doubt on them not being able to plan ahead. I suppose I will have to think back over that one as the kid may just have taken the opportunity that presented itself at that particular moment, that could be why most of the behaviours were bizarre or appeared stupid.

The kid also used to ‘display’ affection to the least likely people…even me at times but it was done so disingenuously so totally transparent. He used women and didn’t seem to make any effort with men. I did wonder if he was gay, like his uncle, as he got to be a teenager because of certain ways of behaving. Not that would make the slightest difference but would explain some things. It was strange because I also felt at times he could be asexual.

Why do you feel you will be denied the grant? If your daughter has said to hospital staff she hears voices, whether she really does or not, could you get a statement from them saying she has told them she does? Even saying she hears voices if she doesn’t must be an indicator of a personality problem if not psychosis? Are they looking for evidence of personality disorder or psychosis. If they are looking for the latter I presume because medication may be appropriate. I have read that often finance is only available for a treatable conditions and psychopathy is not one of those conditions.

Is there any chance you could make a legal case about the adoption agency withholding vital information about your daughter that would have led you to making a different decision about her adoption?

Best of luck with your application.

Here is a good link

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/26/10 09:33 PM

Hi Jan
I dodged a bullet with our nine year old RAD child undiagnosed. We provided the agency with notice to remove her from our home due to our daughters increasing violence and this child's tantrums. She carried such a heavy, chaotic spirit. I got every spec of everything that was associated with her out of my home. In less than one hour the house is peaceful not just quiet but peaceful for the first time in two years. We will remain as distant aunties to her just because we do love her just can't live with her. She would get so mean and started picking up my daughters aggression, biting, pushing me, and throwing stuff. She is a beautiful, creative, and talented child with a whole a lot of problems yet to come.
We have one child left besides our daughter. He will be leaving in another week. I have tolerated the decline with daughter along with two other children that scream and yell almost daily because they don't get what they want or become angry with each other or just angry. We are taking a break from fostering children for a few months to enjoy ourselves as a couple again. I love fostering children. I absolutely love them in my home and watching them progress or move on where ever life may taken them. I enjoy providing opportunities for them no one else would consider.
Your post reminded me of moments with my daughter making needless noise when talking with someone. I remember correcting her many times for shuffling cards, taping her fingers, knuckle cracking, and the list goes on because she wasn't getting the attention.
My daughter never used to be lazy until recently. I t does sadden me because I worked with mentally ill and I know how lazy they can be. She is very lazy but it could be so much worse.
More Later
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 02/28/10 02:30 AM

Hi Sahmera

I know what you mean when you say how peaceful the house becomes when the disruptive child in not around, a calm descends like a clean air. I found a 'smell' went away, not only the dirty smells but also the 'smell' of something evil. It used to remind me of the old horror movies when a spook appeared and it was preceded by an evil smell.

You say your undiagnosed EAD child has left your home, could I ask who decided this child had RAD? Were you told this before the child came to you? Were you prepared beforehand? Did you feel RAD was the only condition she had?

I'm full of admiration that you look after children who must all have issues when they come to live with you. Has your most troubled daughter made you wary of accepting children with severe problems in the future? Maybe you feel you could do it again because you would not get attached and treat it like a project now you have experience?

I would be prepared to consider supervising a psychopathic child short term, in the right surroundings, but I would see it as a completely different situation.
When it is s child who you hope will become a useful member of society the expectation is hopeless with kids like we have experienced. All we can do is containment and keep the battleground as safe as possible for everyone else.
I have said many times I felt like a prison warden and had to be constantly vigilant and think creatively which is exhausting. Having to wake each morning and try to predict and pre-empt that day's tactics doesn't allow you to relax for a moment. Maybe if I was paid the salary of a prison guard and only had to work a 40 hour week then I might have accepted it.
I do remember feeling that there was no end in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel and trying to predict the outcome was scary. I started to think that the only way we would get any help would be for the kid to be picked up for criminal behaviour so considered letting him commit a crime rather than actively prevent it as we normally did. It was a dilemma as we couldn't allow anyone to be hurt or permanently deprived of anything so shoplifting might have been the solution, then the goods could be returned. What sort of person thinks like this....me...I did. That is what happened to me, he had got me thinking as I had never done before. I wanted him taken away into custody or care, I didn't care which as long as he was gone.

We never did find the owner of the gold wedding ring he stole when he was very young which has always bothered me as it may have memories for the owner. I wonder what he is stealing now after years of practice? He will be 18 soon but I haven't seen or heard anything about him for a few years now. Maybe I will see him on TV news sometime?

Enjoy your time out.

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/01/10 06:33 PM

I never thought I would find someone else that understood our language. I left work early to ensure the child got in the vehicle because of her attachment to me. I began disinfecting the house immediately. I opened the windows, vacuumed, threw out everything and anything I associated with her along with food items, it was magical.The cleanliness/freshness/like you described the evil. It is kind of funny because I would go to work saying my house is dirty no matter what I do it is dirty. My coworkers kept telling me it was in my head and I said no there's something off and dirty. When that child left my energy level jumped about four levels and I took the most relaxing deep breath and actually felt good after I took it. The next day for the first time in two years we actually slept in until 9:00am. I love her I just can't live with her. She will be getting a full scale psych eval within a couple of months that will inevitably say RAD. She had to be in the same room as me or my partner, the door to her room had to be left open as to see one of us at all times, if I left and didn't report back when I said I would she would begin searching the house for me, in the night she would come into our bedroom and sleep at the end of the bed or on the floor, if I left without notice to her personally she would search the house in a panic, she hoard foods, she doesn't have any real friends just acquaintances, she is very oppositional, pretty much the same as our daughter with out the physical aggression, many other descriptors or meanness. Her meanness was different throwing tantrums like nobody's business. She could break glass with her voice. We put up with this stuff for two years thinking she would settle down. She did a tiny bit better with medication but I see the same patterned things. She likes to have parties, I suppose because she is probably reliving the last day with her mother, she creates invitations, wants special seating, etc.
I truly enjoy working with children or adults with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness. We are taking a couple of months break due to toxic level of whatever we had floating in our house from the children. The boy will be leaving next week. I can hardly wait. The three children together was just a non stop battle of wills/attention seeking behaviors/jealousy/control/toxic waste. We have had other children in our home but not to the magnitude of all three spinning at once for such a long period with no relief in sight.
I have found that children with sexual issues carry a heavy/confused/chaotic/dirty presence. I have worked with teenagers that were predators/young children that were identified as predators. They are different.
I saw my daughter over the weekend. My partner and I went together. I am sure my daughter didn't appreciate that because she only wants me to go and visit. She had four words to say yeah and I don't know. She has ZERO conversation. I tried to entice her with a few pieces of candy so she could feel like she got something from me. My partner finally gave herself admission to say out loud she didn't like her and was okay with it.So she can now move onto to dealing with her differently in a better place than guilt.
The workers that call and say hey I got a child that needs a home wouldn't find a home for any of these children if they told the whole truth. I discovered late that this child had been tossed out of every previous placement for her entire short life for tantrums and sexual misconduct with others. We didn't have the problem of hyper sexual because we were hyper vigilant with protecting others. We got a more than healthy dose of tantrums in the beginning it was daily screaming fits. I like to see the progress because she did progress however small and if it will help them in the next home then its even better.
I understand about the looking at things differently now. Yes, I now see things differently. I will keep trying with the children because they are all different. We haven't always had to be like guards in our home. I would like a children that doesn't have sexual predatory tendencies in my house for awhile. The supervision in the house and out gets to be very tiring. The hyper awareness gets to be tiresome.

I have been waiting for my child to turn twelve so she may experience the detention system.
I have found through another friend that it doesn't work either they just assign a probation officer and no other support. The child can continue there run of stealing for quite some time before any actual consequences occur. Then it is the parents fault and you will face having your child taken away from you. Different for everyone I guess but that path didn't look promising even for me to wait for it.

More later
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/02/10 02:49 AM

Hi Sahmera

When I read about you disinfecting the house I laughed out loud. I was worse that that! We didn’t have a dishwasher while the kid was there and I used to pour boiling water over his plates and cutlery because I washed them. I used to disinfect anything he touched including the phone and door handles. I couldn’t touch his bedding or dirty clothes so would wear rubber gloves. I wouldn’t let him put his head on my cushion on the sofa. I felt that I would be tainted by his smell, as I said before, the smell of evil.

If anyone had seen me do these things I would have been diagnosed with OCD. We not only speak the same language, we behave in the same reactive ways. Makes me wonder whether ‘they’ put the word ‘reactive’ in attachment disorder because that is what everyone involved with a RAD kid does? Not that the kid had RAD, he was unofficially ‘diagnosed’ as fledgling psychopath.
I hope you get the results from the psyche evaluation for your daughter. Would you be satisfied with a diagnosis of RAD or do you think this is overused and not fully understood? Many parents feel that the symptoms of RAD are because of some other condition and other conditions are missed. You obviously have a lot of experience with troubled children so you can probably see the difference.

It must be extremely difficult for you to let the child go as she is so attached to you, it must add to the guilt that she is being rejected again. If she can attach to you then maybe she can attach to her next carer but that makes me wonder about RAD if she can attach. Has she been described as having 'disorganised attachment'? Do you know if she could have another condition such as foetal alcohol affect which can’t be seen as clearly as FA syndrome?

I was thinking about what you were saying about sexual issues and thought we didn’t have that problem but maybe we did! The kid used to walk around the house naked making me notice him. He also used to leave the bathroom door open when he was peeing, this toilet was opposite the office area and right in my vision. There was another toilet downstairs but he would come upstairs to use that one.
As he was coming up to being a teenager it was not appropriate but also very surprising as how many boys would allow a woman (even his own mother) see them naked? What made it worse is when we decided we had enough of wet beds we put him back in pull ups he would flounce around the house wearing just them. Then he would do a bouncy crawl upstairs on all fours. It made me feel sick. I suppose the controversial RAD therapists would say this behaviour was because he wanted to be babied to go back to his early attachment issues.

If he did have attachment issues it was of his own making, he rejected his mother from birth and his father took over his care as he worked from home. He was in his care all day, every day and had total attention to his needs.

I know that sense of relief your partner must have felt when she allowed herself to be honest about her feelings. From that point on I felt I could start to get back to being me, the less reactive me, the less angry me, the less guilty me. I feel there is no such thing as unconditional love. How can you love someone who is bad, why should we? Evil killers had mothers who loved them but what did they love? Was it because they felt it their duty to love their child? I know you say you love your daughter so you must see some goodness in her.

Do you think you were not warned about the child’s behaviour and many placements just because you may have been put off or was it also because no-one knew what was wrong with her and had some hope that you may be the family who could deal with such serious problems? I have heard that some US foster and adoption agencies are paid a bonus if they place difficult children, do you know anything about this?

I suppose we would have had the same situation if the kid had been caught stealing or vandalising property. A social worker or probation officer who would be suckered by him and the blame put on us. They wouldn’t have any idea of the vigilance to prevent it.

I look forward to hearing more from you.

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/04/10 04:46 PM

I spoke with my daughter and some yahoo of an intern counselor this afternoon. I was informed last night that my daughter became angry at her roommate for supposedly calling her names. So my daughter Ms. Revenge decided to tear up her roommates stuff, throw everything out of the room, refuse to go to quiet area, escorted quite aggressive with staff, but accepted a pill of Zyprexa to calm herself down. Do you see a future drug addict? She again attempts to manipulate to her own liking. During the conversation my daughter didn't want to ask me a special question so the counselor asked for her. Can she a pet. So I went through my reasons for the five thousandth time as to why she will not ever have a pet in my home. My daughter displayed aggression a few days prior to this incident and called to ask for a list of expensive electronics. Is there something I missing? After she hears the expected no she went into her I don't want to come home regime. I explained to the young inexperienced counselor that my daughter perseverate's on things until she can find something new to perseverate on. My daughter believes she is upsetting me by not coming home. Quite the contrary, it's been peaceful and quiet/resting. I said that's fine you can stay as long as it takes. Could this type of manipulation be why some think my daughter is retarded. She asks the same question every single time but with new counselor. She asks for the same exact things/performs the same behaviors, she hasn't grown at all in these areas.
I think people thought we would be able to direct and care for my daughter or they wiped there brow in relief so as to not have to care for her given the diagnosis's. I think it is a little of both.
More later
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/05/10 02:37 AM

Hi Sahmera

That seems to be so typical of counsellors, they haven’t a clue how to deal with manipulating children. It’s not only the counsellors either, it can also be family.
The school counsellor the kid had was completely duped by him and came to the house to give my partner a bad time over his poor parenting. At the same time the grandmother was telling him to give the kid everything he asked for.

They were both of the ‘give them a hug, a puppy and music lessons’ brigade and all will work out fine. We could have given the kid the earth and he still would ask for more. As you say, they ask for the same things over and over as though they have never asked before or given the reply. Same with doing bad things, they repeat the same bad behaviour and are punishment insensitive, He also used to ask the same stupid questions time after time, even things he knew the answers to and I began to wonder if it was a control issue. Could it be that because he knew how we would have to answer the questions he asked then he was in control of our responses?

I nearly took my sister’s kitten but decided against it when I saw how the kid was treating it at her home. There is no way I would let him have a small pet. When we looked after a friend’s very large dog he was terrified of it even though it was completely harmless so I wasn’t worried about him being near it. Once he got over the terror he would order it around. If it was laying down he would order it to stand up and if it was standing ordering it to sit. He showed no signs of anything other than wanting to control it. I saw immediately what he was doing and stopped it straight away. The poor thing was so obedient I would not allow it to be confused and manipulated.
He would kill any living creature he found in the garden, including ladybirds and butterflies, which I found shocking. I presumed this killing instinct would get worse if we were not around to stop it. He offered, with such excitement, to take and bury the neighbours childrens’ pet bird when it died. I felt really worried about his desire to have the dead creature. He wasn’t interested when it was alive but it’s death seemed to fire him up.

We had a similar incident when my partner got really annoyed at one of his worst malicious acts and he raised his hand to the kid. It didn’t connect but the kid threw himself to the floor and said he was going to phone the child abuse line, so my partner handed him the phone and offered to dial the number for him. He told him if he phoned they would come and take him into care and that would solve our problem. Of course he didn’t want to do anything to please us so stormed off to his room. No doubt he did something destructive in there as payback but I really didn’t care, I never went in there. He would do things like cut the legs off his pyjamas or the bottom out of his school bag or take something that belonged to us and break it up. The favourite was to pee on something.

How I wish these counsellors could get the real picture and not tell us to adopt the techniques used for naughty kids. Don’t they realise we have tried everything?
What does infuriate me is being told what to do by a person who doesn’t even have a child. What we need is for one these people to come into our homes without telling the kid they are there to observe them. If the kid was told they were a friend calling in for coffee then they might see more of what they do, like manipulate. Even then they wouldn’t get the full range of behaviours from the repertoire. It took me long enough to believe what I was seeing and I was there every day.

Enjoy your peace.
Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/05/10 04:57 PM

Brought more memories back. My girl would throw herself down the stairs, for fun. She liked the feeling of tumbling down. If I would escort her to her room she would drop to the floor making it look like I pushed her to the floor. Sometimes I would stand and clap saying you win the academy award for stunt dropping. She would throw herself to the floor, against a wall, she put her head through wall at a hospital literally.
She likes to take animals apart piece by piece. Last summer I talked with her about trying something different instead spending her summer tracking bugs. Every summer she goes out and spends hours looking for bugs yet if there is a bug in her room she freaks or if one is found in the yard or home but not when she is into her bug zone she will run away screaming.
I have stopped other children in the home from threatening or hitting my daughter. Like you said she would get them back in her evil ways like the toothbrush incidents or stealing from them or stealing car keys but it didn't always have to be that she got angry. It was control. I believe she had a master plan as to how she wanted the family to look one being without my partner. She didn't want any other children either so she would target them to go off and misbehave. She would lead them down a path of destruction.
Previously, in your blog you asked if we knew anything. We did have some of the diagnosis but I don't know if anyone could have predicted her turn of destruction. She was displaying none of this the previous year and half before.Even with her mom going through the paces to get her back she displayed no signs such as her daughter even at that age. In the psych evaluation they did say she might need more later but I assumed she would lose touch with reality or something of that nature not the hostility or aggression or revenge.
We just had it out I mean had it out with our boys wanna be counselor. The boy doesn't like her and has requested a new one. Do you think anyone has listened? No, so we once again went to bat for him now we have a meeting. For WHAT!@ Ego issues on the counselors part? He has consistently tried to change this boy into hetrosexual, the boy says I like both. He likes to cross dress at home only. Our mistake is we supported him. The counselor said we coerced him into being gay. Pleassee.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/06/10 02:34 AM

Hi Sahmera

It’s surprising how much these kids have in common. Just like you, my mind is jogged when you write about your experiences. The kid was such a convincing liar as well as capable Oscar quality acting that we got him enrolled in acting lessons with the local theatre company. We thought that may be a way to lead him towards a career in the future. He was supposed to be so keen but was soon kicked out for his bad behaviour as well as for refusing to take part.
My partner didn’t even have to raise his hand for the kid to throw himself out of the way. In public he often raised his hands to cover his head as though he was used to being beaten and we would look around to see who had threatened him.

His father had never even smacked him once and I certainly wouldn’t hit someone else’s child, especially him. If I had started to hit him I wouldn’t have been able to stop. We didn’t have serious physical aggression from the kid, he was covert and did things behind the scenes. I did see him once bullying another kid at a vending machine. He was trying to make the boy buy him something from the machine and when he saw me approaching he immediately changed and turned on the charm. He did once physically try to stop me opening a drawer in his room but he was not very strong and couldn't stop me and got very angry.

He was often sent home for being spiteful to the little girl next door, he seemed to pick on small children. He was very small for his age so all his peer group towered over him.
The worst thing he was caught doing was trying to tip my baby niece out of her buggy onto the road. He wanted to push her but ran off ahead to try to do it out of sight. We thought his one saving grace was his interest in this little one but now I feel that it was an unhealthy interest, almost a fascination. I’m not implying he would become a paedophile but it did cross my mind.

That is crazy that your boy has clearly stated his doesn’t get on with his counsellor and no-one listens….for whose benefit is this? It’s more like being for the counsellor’s. Does he really believe he can change someone’s sexuality? He must have some divine qualities that no-one else has. Does he think he can also influence how tall someone is going to be …or change their eye colour? Surely his job is to support the boy, not oppose him. My friend’s son used to cross dress in his sister’s clothes at home and we all accepted it and didn’t even notice. He didn’t do it anywhere else so he was never in a position for other kids to make fun of him. He turned out to be a lovely young man and I haven’t a clue whether he still does it and I really don’t care. He was never frustrated by people trying to change him so his personality developed as it should.

Do you think you will have any success getting the boy a counsellor who can support him?

Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/06/10 10:32 AM

We are currently working o getting him a new counselor but they are coming from a new angle. Of course they are. . .If he can't tell his counselor he doesn't him what makes you think he wants to stay living with you until he goes home maybe he doesn't want to live there and is afraid to tell you. I told them to ask him, this is for him and if he is uncomfortable in my home then he needs to leave. He wouldn't be the first nor the last to say he wants to live somewhere else. I don't have a problem with it we are temporary parents to support the child's needs and wishes.
My daughter also liked younger children so she boss them around. She would prefer to play with toddlers a the age of ten. I didn't allow it. There was one incident at a day care where she changed the infants diapers and the infant was very excited. I know my daughter and she is very inquisitive so I am sure she probably did something. The daycare provider simply said no more changing diapers not that she had permission anyway. My daughter is she wants to do something will find an innocent victim to try things out or get away things not normally tolerated by her parents. Trust me she will do everything she says she asks to do after being told no. I think what amazes me is she keeps a running tab of things I have said no to and will eventually do all of them but not in my presence. I also find it a little comical when others discover her other side, the one they deny because of her charm. It's then I get the no thanks I don't want her around anymore or will try again with her eventually leading to we can't watch her like she need to be watched or supervised.
I know when my daughter wants an argument or is going to become physically aggressive. She will position herself in a corner. She has done this since the day she walked into our home. She changed it up for a little time where she attacked wherever. But it wasn't wherever. It was when one parent was home and in a hallway. She also likes to strike from the back. It doesn't matter that I know all of her moves she is going to do what she has committed herself to doing. I may be able to postpone her aggression or oppositional defiance but she will hold onto it for weeks, months, because she is going to get back. That's why people are surprised when she overreacts to a situation she doesn't overreact she is taking advantage of the situation to complete her cycle of revenge.
My daughter is a good liar but since I know her and know when she is telling the lie she is horrible. When she tells the truth she repeats the same story no additives. The lies develop into more people, more situations, etc. She also cries when she is telling the truth because she becomes upset that I don't believe her. The cry is different from her other crying jags.
Another interesting thing about her that you reminded of is that she used to bully others. It was fascinating to watch. I could see it all before anyone. If another child had something she wanted and was refused permission by that child she would stalk them. The personal space, the "what can I say to get this kid to give me what I want look", I would eventually be the one at fault because I would interrupt her flow. She would of course take it out on me in aggression and defiance. She never would forget and when she would see the person again she would be right back there in the same situation no matter how time had passed. The kid would of course have moved onto other things not my daughter she remembers everything and takes copious notes in her head.

More later
Thank you
Posted by: Sahmera

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 03/06/10 09:31 PM

My partner went to see my daughter in the hospital today because I am tired of the hospital and scene and needed a break. Anyway, another reason they want to call her retarded.
Each time we visit my daughter she has to take the name tag off and play with it as if it were the first time she saw one. She will beg for it until we give it up or not.
Did I tell she gave away one of her outfits. She grew very short and frustrated with my partner's visitation with her because my partner is confrontational with her as am I. She takes more offense to her though. My partner described a game of "trouble" where my partner called herself a name and my daughter attempted to use the phrase plus added on bad mother. Wrong Answer for her. My partner told her in no uncertain terms that she was not a bad mother that if she was a bad mother she would be in foster care right now not in a hospital. The visit was horrible she doesn't have anything to say as usual she would be perfectly fine is dropped off a little goody bag and left. The usual forced conversations and "play" activities such as board games ensues with her OCD kicking in high gear to ensure all pieces are lined up. The other odd thing is she got away with stealing someone else s playing cards. She claims the boy gave them to her right before he left. Such a liar. She took them. Here's the issue. We had an older boy in our home last year for a few months until he aged out. He was into some magic cards. So of course for rewards or whatever we bought him a collectors book because otherwise he was carrying them around in a wooden box. He would organized them, traded up, and went to tournaments. If you see where I am going with this. My daughter is imitating this boys behavior to the inth degree. She again asks for items the same day she has an episode of aggression and defiance. Asking for allowance and cards, etc. I come to play a game of giving her little treats when I visit her. My partner gave her a few pieces of candy it seems to satisfy her craving to get something for a little while. Her hugs are so void of any love or feeling. So I started giving her back what she gives me. She did notice but didn't seem to care.
I don't know it is just so crazy. Anyway thanks for listening.

More Later
Posted by: again

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 04/13/10 06:51 PM

we went to get coulsling for 3 of our childern 2 of them we know our oldest daughter molested but the 3rd one we are trying to find out if anything happened,when we talked to the counslor and explaned what our oldest daughter has done she set up a meeting just to figure out what to do with her(the psychopath) and said that she is a rad child???she is not my bilocial daughter and i did not come into the picture until she was 2 years old.

my wife lived with her mother and step father who WAS a child molester until i met her then we started our family because my wife and her baby daughter lived with a child molester the coulnser thinks that the molester got to her when she was liveing there but that was only for 18 mounths and my wife says there were never any seign of abuse also our daughters bilocial father is a diganosed psychopath and our daughter has all the traights of psychopathy

seinse they cannot diganose psychopathy until the age of 18 are they just putting this rad diganoss so they can digoness her with something???
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 04/13/10 07:02 PM

Hi Again, I have a couple of questions, how many years ago did you marry your wife and are you still married? Did you adopt any of these childen? Is your wife or X still in contact with her family or does she make excuses for their behaviour?

What brought you to the conclusion the father is a Psychopath - was he diagnosed and how? Does he seem to hold down a steady job? and is he still with the mother of your wife?

Did the counselor just have one visit to come to this conclusion? imo unless your wife was watching the child 24/7 how can she come to this conclusiong?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Posted by: fostermom

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 09/07/16 09:17 AM

Looking for guidance with a foster daughter with RAD, PTSD, CU ,probable FASD.I am the twelfth placement and have exceeded all expectations and made it through a whole year.Threats and violence and predatory behaviors with younger children increasing,considerable unresolved "borrowing" and some minor fire starting,constant use of pornography and illicit access to the internet.

I was a new and unaware foster parent who was saddled with a notorious child and told to provide unconditional love,personal safety and lots of academic and social support.Previous foster placements,residential homes, and four adoption placements never lasted more than a few months,all ending in bizarre sudden returns to DCF,generating abandonment, and abuse charges,both sexual against male family members and physical and emotional against the primary maternal care givers.Unfortunately, the agencies, both lead agencies from the group home,the secondary fostercare agency,DCF and the clinical care staff,psychiatrist and mental health worker and therapists pursue a policy of not telling the new foster parent about the actual diagnoses,past history,and poor prognosis.Lack of understanding about how to work with a RAD child ,resulted in letting most everything go,excusing behaviors as impulsiveness,normal argumentativeness in pre-teens ,idle threats of killing me some time,covetousness and jealousy stealing, and worst sexual predatory behaviors with younger girls.

Why do they not tell you what has happened in the past placements and try to form a treatment plan to minimize further predatory behaviors and protect and advise the care givers.Had what I was told was the best year in this childs life,academic success,social success at lots of nurturing churches, camps, trips activities, learning to ride and handle horses at a very advanced level,outdoor freedom on our farm,biking,playing with dogs,visiting neighbors, anything she wanted to eat......But puberty and sexual opportunity and violence came on hard this summer resulting in running away to the neighbors,horrible stories of unfair discipline and finally stalking me at night and constantly provoking fights. Like all the previous care givers I am facing 51A investigations from mandated reporters,who the RAD child has consistently used all year to make bizzare and manipulative accusations through.

The agencies want to prove that I have done abusive things to the RAD child and justify another foster care placement or continued adoption efforts. Honestly, I know she will never succeed in an adoption and home care is tricky at best. Should I ask to get her back and continue to try to keep her safe from herself, give in to the charges and live with the danger she puts me and my friends children in?Should I try to continue working as a foster parent?
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 09/07/16 01:24 PM

Hi Fostermom, Welcome to our community. I am very sorry to read your story. There is a conversation with a member called DadofRad on this thread Adopted and RAD

If you are interested to read more of another members stories then just click on their name and you can view their posts to read their back story.

I am sure he will be around in a couple of days.

Best Regards,

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 09/07/16 01:27 PM

I am sure DadofRad and Notmyfault can weigh in on what to do. I think if you are putting your own family at risk that is a strong consideration. It is my experience but only with adult psychopaths that they seek out the nice and caring people to manipulate and I suspect that would describe you by your question (and clearly there is nothing wrong with being nice and caring). I think only you can find the answer so I will step aside and let one of them talk from their own personal experience which I lack.

Posted by: DadofRad

Re: RAD or Fledgling Psychopaths? - 10/02/16 01:22 PM

When I read your post, I immediately thought of my son and wondered if he would be like that in a few years. I recently faced charges of abandonment to get my son in the foster care system in order to protect myself and my family from his continued dangerous behaviors. His first foster placement was disastrous in that another child sexually propositioned him the first night and he gave in and then reported it. The second, like you, the foster parents were told very little about him regarding his history and even recent Hospitalization. They found out about him by accident and by me pursuing visitation with him. At first they didn't see the problems and advised me not to give up on him because they saw such good in him (master manipulator). Now, their other foster children who are even older feel threatened by him, as he continually instigates fights, hits and assaults them. My son is only 13, but his foster brother is 16. The poor older child has to share a room with him and has no safe place to turn to get refuge from his continual provocation.

Not every child like this is a psychopath, but yours sure sounds like it. Of course there will be no such diagnosis until she is 18. If she is a psychopath, all the good intentions and good environment you have cannot really change her. You may be able to shelter her, but there is only so much a normal parent can do in that there will always be unsupervised moments when you have to take care of yourself. A child like this really needs to be institutionalized with 24 hour care, but the system does not want to pay for that without a court order. My wife put it well: some people are just toxic and you have to get them out of your life before they cause irreparable harm (or distance yourself as much as possible). You are a foster parent, and you can always say I'm done and send the child back. It has been much harder for us.