It's heart wrenching as parents to realize that all the love we pour out is not being received because the child simply doesn't know "how" to receive it. We want to believe that love is enough and enough hugs will fix the problem, but for a child that did not learn what love was in the early stages of life, hasn't learned how to accept love - they were not given those basic foundations - instead of love they were given neglect or abuse. When they were young they tried for love in the "normal ways" and it did not work - so why is it so surprising that they no longer try the normal way. Instead they truly believe they are not worthy to receive love - they are bad. Now I'm not talking about realizing you have a sin nature - yes I know we are all bad -- but what must it be like to believe that you are so unworthy of love that you will not allow yourself to receive it - even though you desperately want it. This is the issue that so many of our children face. It is the reason they constantly push us away with behaviors ( sometimes even violent behaviours) because you are offering what they can not have.
Can this be overcome? Of course it can - but it takes a lot of time and a lot of work both on the parents part and the child's. The child did not form this belief over night - the belief will not be changed over night either. Funny we give ourselves a lot of time to take off the baby weight that took us nine months to put on -- same concept - it took a long time to put on this belief - it's going to take awhile to take it off. Attachment disorder kids have to learn how to be part of a family, how to accept love and how to give it. It doesn't mean they don't want it - they just don't know how to get it. That's where we as parents and caregivers come in. It's not as easy as it sounds - to teach love - it's very difficult undoing the wrongs someone else has implanted in our children - but we must remember this - they want it.
Here are 2 poems written by an attachment disorder child who is still struggling (I'm not sharing the authors name for privacy reasons) She did a very nice job on them & I think I can safely say she speaks for so many children.
All I Want
All I want is for someone to care. All I want is for someone to love me, for who I am, not who they want me to be.
All I want is for people to stop trying to change me into someone I am not. I don't want to be who others want me to be. All I want is to be me.
All I want is for someone to take time and listen to what I have to say.
All I want is to be able to escape the pain that I deal with every single day.
All I want is to know that there are people out there that I can trust. All I want is a family that I can keep forever. I want my biological family to be together again. All I want is to be able to know my biological family.
All I want is to know that someone will always be there for me no matter what. This is all that I want....is it too much to ask?
What I Need
What I need is to know that I will never be alone.
What I need is to have someone somewhere love me for just being me.
What I need is for someone to listen to what I have to say once in a while.
What I need is to be able to trust and count on people.
What I need is a family where I can belong and feel loved with.
What I need is for someone to care and protect me.
What I need is a sense of security. I need to know that I will always be safe no matter where I am or who I am with.
What I need is a home where I can stay.
What I need is to know that I have friends and family that I can count on.
What I need is to know that I will always have someone to turn to in my times of trouble.
That is all I need.