Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Now featuring theft!

And so, as we whittle our way through the list of symptoms that make for a diagnosis of RAD, we have moved into stealing. Woo hoo?

For most of her life with us, Genea has only shown the stealing habits of a typical kid but with her DSM- NOS spin. You know, swiping cookies, taking her sisters toy, that sort of thing, but with the exponential that RAD seems to add to everything. Once she took a full orange juice carton into the bathroom, slammed every last drop and left the carton weeping on the floor. We dealt with it firmly, so of course that led to a host of wonky/wtf thefts. Crackers under the bed! Binged through a box of cookies! 2 inch high crumb trail leading to her room!

This past summer though, with the Middle School of Doom approaching, she went off the rails in about 90 directions and one of those directions involved Things That Belong To Mom. So normally, we have been lucky that our RAD does not single out "MOM" for her RAD fun but has always divided it equally between The Husband and I. Sure, most people think of winning the lottery as lucky, my perspective is skewed.

While I can maintain a poker face for just about any offense Genea can think up (which took hella practice and could rescind itself at any time) , I made a rookie error late last summer and absolutely flipped my shit on her.

She had stolen my candy bar.

Not just any candy bar, but one of those uber fancy chi-chi foo-foo handmade by a glitter fairy candy bars. The kind of thing you buy yourself once a year to make just one day suck less. Dark chocolate with the perfect amount of caramel and sea salt, I pinched off tiny little crumbs to indulge in, meaning to make it last. This candy bar, I tell you, it was an orgasm for the mouth. Then it vanished.

I tried, really I did, to maintain composure as I cornered the two potential criminals and noted one no longer had beautiful brown eyes because her pupils had been replaced by 2 black cantaloupes. My poker face devolved into Freddy Krueger face and my voice may or may not have elevated to where only dogs could hear it. I. Was. So. PISSED! And so, I sabotaged myself.

Most of the Pre- Middle School of Doom behavior has faded, but stealing has evolved and progressed. No candy is safe. Box of candy for my birthday? Swiped. I left a few dollars laying on my desk. Swiped. Now expanded to lifting cash out of my purse in increments of 20. Jewelry? Gone.

Maybe it's me being stubborn, but I REFUSE to lock up stuff. It's my goddam house (though seriously if the issue were knives or antiques or something, it would be different). I can prevent her from stealing things I lock up sure, but it is guaranteed she will find something else. I wouldn't be surprised to see her hauling my couch down the street. In therapy, she blames me for the thefts. She doesn't steal from daddy because he doesn't leave stuff out. HE thinks I should lock my stuff up too.

Here's the thing- it's not impulse control. It not lack of cause and effect. Its not because she's hungry or needs something we are not providing. It's to "get" me. She actually told her therapist, "I know Mama is the one who loves me the most, so that's why I do it". Don't bother re-reading that looking for the logic, it's not there. It's RAD logic, push-pull on steroids sucking a crack pipe.

We quickly and uselessly moved through the usual. Natural consequences. Manufactured consequences. Room time. Restitution. LOTS of restitution. Banking money ahead of time. Moral discussions. Lectures. How-would- you- like- it conversations.

What is sorta- kinda working now is a combination of things. Manufactured Natural Consequences, like, "I'm sorry you can't go to your voice lesson today. You stole the money I was going to pay for it with". Hitting it heavy in therapy. Paying me back with chores. And traps. Cookie traps and money traps. I tell her I set out money for her to take and she resists stealing it, proving to us both that she can stop herself. High, super high structure with any free time being used for calming meditation. Since she has to be supervised, she has to go to bed early because no one can watch her. In my bizarro opposite world all this is actually easier than the usual day to day, and harder for her.

(that's me not reacting in the moment)

Oops! Almost forgot- If anyone has advice, suggestions, tips etc., for the love of Xanax,  puh-leaaaaase share!


  1. Holy cow girlie, you have your hands full. I admire your restraint, I really do. Sounds like you have a solution ---well, maybe not a solution but a usable working model--- in place. Good luck and keep at it. :-)

    1. Well, it didn't start as restraint, lol! The thing is, I've been sort of surprised that she didn't start it ages ago. But being the new focus of her, um, "attentions" really sucks!

    2. I hear you about the suck-age of being the focus of negative attention getting. But she actually told you why you are the focus, because "Mama loves me the most". You are her safe person and the one she can do anything to because she is sure you will always love her no matter what.
      Congratulations. I think.
      Hang in there. :-)

    3. Yeah. Its all very opposite of the usual!

  2. No advice. Just offering tea and sympathy.

  3. Oh, boy..... She didn't realize YOU had triggers, too!

    I had some quite the spate of thievery around here for a while. Ended up wearing my money and my charge card in a bag around my neck....I remember that was the same time that I'd have to sleep with the router. I looked like quite the lunatic climbing into bed at night.

    I don't quite recall what "worked". Maybe the theft wasn't as lacking in conscious motive as you are experiencing. But the safer my culprit felt, the less theft seemed to take place....and now I actually can keep a few dollars in my wallet overnight.

    I have the feeling that she has no idea whatsoever why she does it; or why it is mostly you. I just bet it is all stemming from fear based on things that happened pre-conscious memory. Being probed on WHY just forces her to make stuff up. It is possible that she stumbled on a true insight, clarified above....but, it could also be that she somehow learned she she has to "take" from the mother figure because the mother figure doesn't give everything that her baby needs.....she's still feeling a "deficit" somehow. That she would focus on something like chocolate that (as you so aptly described) gives solace, pleasure and comfort....well, that's interesting.

  4. I think you are right, that it's based in fear, because it all started about a month before middle school. Whether it's persisted because of a primal instinct thing, I don't know. I just want my chocolate back, lol! I suspect it is her regressing to a super bad habit to connect with me. Like all attention is good, whether its good or not.
    I don't' think I could sleep with all that in my bed! 2 cats and a husband is more than I want in there as it is.

    1. I have this dream of teaching in a little farm-school, catering specifically to children with trauma backgrounds. Let's find an investor! And a little farm.

  5. We are still dealing with this. He has stolen from school, out of his teacher's desk, from other kids, he stole one of every pair of earrings of mine leaving me with no single matching pair (I should start a new trend…) he stole a little girls prescription glasses and we never found out who they belongs to, he steals anything and everything. I have resorted to sewing all of his pockets shut on his clothes and giving him a clear bag to use as a backpack. He just steals somewhere else instead of school. It has gotten better, but last week he stole another child's favorite pen. When confronted with the evidence he lies and lies and lies. No one thing has worked for us. We make him apologize, return the items, work off the restitution, give the person something he cares about, etc act etc. The only thing I haven't tried is stringing him up by his toes (kidding). I really liked earrings……..

  6. oh geez! One earring? ARGH!
    I like the sewing pockets, lol, I worked with a mom once who cut holes in all her kids pockets so anything stolen would come back out.
    Yeah its maddening when they lie about it too!!!!!


I love comments! If you agree or disagree, comment away! However if you are a butthead about it, you may be excised.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...