What does the Bible say about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
Written by: Lydia D’Ross, Renewal Program Outreach Chaplain and ordained minister
“Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:4-5 New Living Translation)
It is wonderful to know that God adopted us as his children. Many people do not want God to be part of their lives and have detached by continually pulling away from God. I was thinking recently of the way these concepts relate to the adoption of children and attachment disorders such as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).
RAD is a condition in an individual which typically develops early in childhood in response to rejection, abandonment, neglect, or abuse. It is a condition in which individuals have difficulty forming loving, lasting, intimate relationships. (James Dobson)
Most often individuals that have been diagnosed with RAD often suffer from rejection, isolation or subconsciously try to minimize emotional pain by hardening their hearts against others. As they become adults, if untreated, they become highly self-focused and have difficulty feeling empathy for others. As a result, they begin to push people away from them, especially those who try to love them.
Scripture talks about the behaviors associated with RAD. 1John 4:19 says, “Those who do not love, need to be loved.” A child’s tendency to mistrust others will be broken by faithful and enduring acceptance. An adult who has not been healed from RAD, brings their baggage into their marriage, and the cycle will continue. By then, that same person has learned to push people away and even push God away because they feel unworthy or as if they don’t fit. The adult with RAD may be struggling with relationships, and be unable to express emotions.
Promoting healthy attachment starts when we accept God as our Father, and knowing that no matter what we do in life, God loves us unconditionally. Don’t run from God, run toward God. If you feel that you or a loved one are struggling with Reactive Attachment Disorder, there is hope for you.