Changing the mindset of victimhood....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by timer lady, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Admittedly, the tweedles have been victimized. There are traumas we may never know about or want to know about.

    husband & I have been looking for ways to turn the victimization attitude in the tweedles to something more positive. That of a survivor - to hold your head high & move forward. Not drown in the past.

    kt has her CD of strong girl songs. There is a great deal of redirection & redefining for kt. In kt we're seeing less of the victim mentality & more survivor.

    We've had less success for wm.

    It doesn't help to point out that others have suffered. There is too much "self centeredness" in the victim attitude. Less empathy.

    However, I'm finding that if we cannot overcome the idea of being a victim for the tweedles, they will have little ability to move forward. Little ability to function.

    I keep reminding them (when they are in victim mode) how strong they are - how much they have survived.

    It's proving, as the tweedles hit puberty, to be quite the challenge.

    I pray daily that we can stop the cycle of abuse in kt & wm. I pray that we are making the right decisions on their behalf - getting the right interventions in place.

    Just thinking outloud this morning. My tweedles have so much going for them - they just don't recognize it yet.
  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My difficult child also has a few CD's of powerful songs by women in particular. She absolutely loves the strength in Pink's music! Her music helped difficult child get through the internet pedophile incident in 2005 and then some. She's also found a lot of inspiration through music to help her with her boyfriend issues.

    I hope you're able to find something that speaks and supports wm's transition from victim to survivor - I think it's such an important piece to recovery as well.
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Linda, I may be way off base here, but that's why there's not an "MD" shingle outside my door so bear with me.
    Has anybody pointed out to the Tweedles that every time they allow the victim attitude to perpetuate that they are actually giving up power and control over there lives and handing it over to bio-mom? The only difference is now they are allowing themselves to live in those awful moments a that happened more than half a lifetime ago.
  4. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I also do not have a shingle- altho I have some pretty good PTSD of my own. I know for me, how it strikes me when someone tells me how strong I am, I want to scream. I am NOT all as strong as anyone might think. Not even close. I did not choose those things to happen, did not choose to have my dad hold a gun to my head or my stepdad to molest me or my uncle, nor did I choose mom to send me to the streets not foster care, not someone elses house- but literally the streets) I did not choose to get Lupus and have 14 miscarriages, or to have such an ill husband and have to support us so many years. I was NOT trying to self improve. It hurts and I ached and people would tell me how strong I am to live thru it. Well, I did not have a lot of choice, unless I choose suicide. and I felt too chicken suicide might hurt. so- I HATED people to tell me I am strong. I hated that I would have to be strong to live thru those things. I would much rather then to have been weak and not have had Occupational Therapist (OT) live thru those things. If being weak meant I did not have to then let me be weak.
    To tell me of others have lived thru it or worse, that made me feel like I was a ninny, it made me feel like what I lived thru was being dismissed and minimized. Or that what I was dealing with did not matter. If I am supposed to be ok becuz others have faced worse, then am I not supposed to fight for better?
    Being a victim of both sex crimes and stalking and physical violence from people I was supposed to be able to trust made it VERY hard for me to trust. My husband had to work overtime to earn my trust. and even after 22 years, I still have days when I shreik at him as if he were one of the offenders from my past. There are still things I will not do, situations I still will not put myself in......this is not all bad. Some people call it "cautious"
    I imagine kt and wm have seen first hand that people can hurt you, people are not always what they seem.....and danger can and does lurk even in places that are supposed to be safe. Sure it gives the offenders power over them, but by trying to keep themself from being hurt more um.....
    Sorry I lost my train of thought.

    I think mostly it takes TIME. and better is not the kind of lesson that can just be taught. I think it takes repeated and ongoing better experiences over time to grow the trust and to grow the idea that um.......that not everyone is going to hurt them.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    difficult child 1, in so may ways, has not "made it". Yet I see so many things in him that are not obstacles anymore that perhaps could, or even should, be.

    Tho his abuses were miniscule in comparison to the tweedles, he was still the victim of child abuse at the hands of his bio mother between the ages of 12 months and 3.5 years.

    We taught him about abuse early. We didn't defend mom in the least, we said, blatantly, that was wrong.

    And he found a little friend in the first grade. A little friend that he confided his little first-grade fears and stories, too, and for whatever reason, his little friend became his little advocate. When difficult child 1 would lose his temper on the playground and haul off and punch someone because they said they didn't like his shirt, his little friend would jump in the middle and say to the injured party, "He didn't mean it, he was abused, he doesn't know better yet" and then would turn to difficult child 1 and smack his shoulders and say "Dude, you can't DO that". The scene replayed itself hundreds of times, and somehow, thru the eyes of another first grader (and second, and third, til he moved away in the fourth grade), difficult child 1 learned from this little boy.

    difficult child 1 is a far cry from making it in the real world. He may or may not. Time will tell. But I know Cam made a difference in him. I have no idea why Cam even became his friend at that age, let alone why a little boy of 7 would chose to jump in the middle and defend a friend who's doing wrong, but he did, and I think the blatant way he handled difficult child 1's indiscressions really helped difficult child 1.
  6. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    Nomads post that came while I was typing mine reminded me of what else I meant to say.

    Someone in another post spoke of the stages of grief and it was discussed how everyone grieves in their own time frame etc. and in their own way.

    For the first half of kt and wms life they were abused, - is that correct? The stages of grief apply to more than just a death. They apply to us as our children get diagnosis'es and we have to lay aside the expectations hopes and dreams we had when we first thought of having kids. It applies to people who have lost their innocence or their "normal" childhood. Likely kt and wm did not know back when they were younger and still living there that what they were living was NOT "normal" They now need time to grieve for the loss of what they NOW know was not "normal" and they will go thru the stages of grief over it. It may take them a lot longer to go thru the stages of grief becuz they are young. It might take them their whole life.
    ALl our life experiences shape us, make us who we ultimately become. Everything they have lived thru, everythng they have experienced- it cannot be erased, it is part of who they are.
    Time and love from people who care can help soothe some of the past, but, it takes time. ANd most likely any milestone or new phase of life, the old stuff IS going to creep in for them....and they will again then have to deal with stages of grief to some degree again. They might need to know that is OK----they may need to know it is ok becuz they are who they are and they are still valuable human beings, and that the whole of them is turning out decent and good.
  7. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    wm may have the idea that a male is supposed to be more capable ofprotecting himself and maybe even that he should have somehow protected kt, too.....nevermind they were little children......he still might feel that way.
    and both kids might feel like there was something wrong with them all along to have been abused. they may feel as if they are unloveable and unable to be loved------
    and even if it is made clear the problem was not them but their bio mother------it is likely they will always still think to themself if they had been different she might have treated them better. This could be being reinforced becuz it is they who are in treatment their minds, if it was not them who was in the wrong then why are they the ones seeing all the docs, getting medications, being in RTCs and such. Sure we can tell them it is to help them.....but they are gonna see it the same way a kid sees it when a dad gets ready to spank a child and says this will hurt me more than it will hurt you. some of the insight and understanding just won't come till they are older......and till after they have more positive life experiences under their belts. - most likely into adulthood. even non difficult child kids and non abused kids need time to learn and grow etc......part of why the "legal" age is 18 or 21 for things.
  8. transformtriumph

    transformtriumph New Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    It doesn't help to point out that others have suffered.
    I keep reminding them (when they are in victim mode) how strong they are - how much they have survived.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    I haven't had much luck in showing that other suffer deeply. It seems that it works best, as you pointed out, to show the kids that they are individually strong and have made so much progress.
  9. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    My son is a victim of medical incompetence and corporate policy. His life has been so badly effected that he has a victim's mentality. I find that the more successes he has, even very tiny ones, the more he lets go of the victim's mentality. Setbacks revive the victim's mentality. I really think it would be quite difficult to let go of it as long as you are still being victimized (or believe you are) by what happened to you with no success to balance it.

    There are great stories out there about people who set aside the victim's mentality and become strong, independent people. I would suggest that either they are very strong people to begin with or that there are secret demons that don't always appear. My STBex and his sister, who were as abused as the tweedles were, are examples of the latter. (Their other four siblings' demons are right up front, running their lives to this day.)
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This post really hits home with me. I am deep in therapy right now trying to heal from abuse. I agree with dreamer that if one more person tells me how strong I am and how I have overcome so much I will scream! I know it wasnt my fault and that it was those that abused mom, the babysitter, and the guy who raped me. I realize this on an intellectual level but as my therapist says...we have to get to that child within and convince her that she is ok and can grow. I am fragmented at the child within stage.

    I really dont know how you work this all out with kids. I would think that it would take really intensive therapy with someone who deals with abuse.
  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    dreamer, Janet - I didn't mean to bring up issues of abuse for either of you. Nor did I mean to insult or hurt you by stating that you are strong.

    I know that you have to go through a process in dealing with issues of abuse; the reality is that you are both strong & survivors. You may feel fragile & it may hurt. AND you have come out the other end of this & are still surviving while going through the painful process of therapy. Things may be tenuous at times; you are still surviving.

    Having said that, our tdocs are experts in attachment, adoption & abuse issues. This will be a long road, as attested by dreamer & Janet, toward healing.

    The sooner we begin to "change", for lack of a better word, the mindset of victimization the better. We acknowledge the abuse for the tweedles, reiterate time & again that it was wrong. We also reiterate that they are now in safe environments.

    It may take years for them to start trusting their caregivers again. It's time to start this process; time to nudge them little by little to move forward.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Linda...I certainly didnt mean you!

    Are there support groups for kids this age that have been thru these things? Workbooks where they learn to put names to the feelings of what they are going thru and do things like work thru the abuse and come to where they can deal with the emotions in a healthy way? I know I used a book called The Courage to Heal workbook which was helpful. In it we worked slowly thru each step. I cant remember it all but there were things we did such as name things we felt a safe family did and things our family did to us. We wrote letters to the abuser or you could draw pictures or make collages.

    Im wondering if there is something similar but on a preteen level. It also helped that we did this in a group setting.
  13. mattsmom27

    mattsmom27 Active Member

    Love the workbook idea. Gosh I wish I could remember the workbook I had many years ago. I actually held onto it after finishing with it and reviewed it and repeated the exercises/writing and compared where I was at years later. What a difference! I loved that book. If I can grab that name from the recesses of my brain, I will post it!
    Best of luck to the tweedles. I have always been able to move fairly quickly past adult hurts and betrayals, it seems the childhood ones are the ones that stay rooted in our minds, emotions, hearts, fears and insecurities well into adulthood for so many of us. This can't be easy for your family.

  14. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    nah YOU did not bring it up----it is simply there- always there, part of who I am. just like my morals and personal values are part of who I am. Just like what my fav food is part of who I am.
    and part of it IS healthy- it is something that helps prevent me from getting into a situation where similar may happen to me again.just like you do not touch the stove for fear of getting burned,I do not permit myself to be in certain situations or circumstances.
    -- becuz I LEARNED from MY previous experiences.

    But learning to get beyond victimhood is kinda like driving a car or learning to play cannot be rushed, it does not happen easily, and the results do now show up quickly. It is something that is built on and small successes breed bigger sucesses..kinda like when it is still early winter and you step onto ice, and OK this ice here holds me, ut I am gonna go slow and be VERY carful taking the next step------and the one after that and so on....I am doubtful to just take your word for it it is safe, cuz how do you know any better than me? and if I hear any signs of cracking, I am not gonna plunge ahead, I am gonna stay rght here fornow. (or even step back)
    It is a healing process and nothing heals better than time. Yes, you can promote healing, but you cannot put it on fast forward.

    The reason I am surviving is simply becuz ----well- the opposite would be to NOT survive. The only thing I can think of is either then the situation killed me- or I killed myself so as not to survive it. and I was even more scared of suicide. so- of course I "survived" my "abuses" But that is only simply becuz I did not die. It does not necessarily mean I chose not to die....only that I did not die. and while it was happening? There were times I DID want to die. wished to die, begged to die.
    I am not sure there is another side to come out of? I am me, this happened to me, I continue to grow to learn, but, those things are still there, - maybe they are behind me depending on how you think, but----they are also still a huge part of who I am, and how I came to have my personal morals, my personal values, my own fears, my opinions. How it affected me - those are my feelings. I feel how I feel. Yes, I can learn to have a different a certain degree, - yes, I can learn more socially acceptable responses------BUT I doubt I will ever give up all of it. when people raise their voices, I no longer freak out screaming-----I simply go home. I do not hang aaround trying to diffuse things, I donot stay where I am becuz I am afraid. and rightfully so. In my life experience, - when voices raise, guns come out.
    I had to watch.....see it happen.....over and over and over that no- not everyone is waiting to touch my privates. Not everyone is gonna walk around holding a gun and wave it around and pull the trigger. You could TELL me that till the cows come home-----gosh, the people who did those things told me things, too. So I had to see for myself--over and over and over again, over years and years.....and still in the back of my head-----it IS still there------some people lied to me. the people who were supposed to keep me safe didn't.....people said they would not hurt me and they did.
    It takes time...but even with therapy, even with love, it does not go all the way away.
    I survived becuz what they did did not kill me. Sometimes I wished they would have. It has nothing to do with strength. a gun that fires 2 inches from your face does not kill you, but the gun missing your face does not have anything to do with being strong. Sex itself does not kill you - I was not strong just becuz I lived thru brutal sex against my will. There are lots of very strong people in the world who did not have bad things happen to them. Strong is what you get when you lift weights. SOmetimes in my mind, I think if I were strong, maybe some of those things would not have happened in the first place.
    I survived, but I worked with vegatative people who also were to be considered as surviving--------
    I cannot just let go of it or forget it happened-----if I do it might fester up and get bigger. and if I did, then I might also forget things I did learn from it. I am simply a person who these terrible things happened to and these things help explain why my values and opinions might be different than someone elses, and why my reactions to things might be different than someone elses.
    I am simply a person who when I do get scared and walk away from raised voices, I only want those who love me to say to themself- oh.......yes, she had to leave cuz it got heated here, but thats makes sense and it is OK. And maybe have them come with me, hold my hand, give me a hug, pat me on the back and's OK, I am here, lets go do something different.
    and it is not strength that makes me think gosh I wish I did not have that in MY history and background. Are you strong if you touch the hot stove becuz you have never been burnt on one? are you strong becuz you know now not to touch the hot stove becuz it might burn you? are you strong becuz you know it might burn you and you touch it anyway?

    My son lost his eye playing. For the rest of my life, I will always stop kids from doing what he was doing when he lost his. Nevermind thousands of kids do exactly the same thing and do not lose their eye. My child DID and I cannot erase that. ALL of you might think I am over reacting becuz I would say no, stop doing that. But it happened to us. That is our reality. You can tell me forever it won't happen again......but, I know it CAN happen, cuz it DID happen He is not stronger becuz it happened and he lived. He is not a survivor becuz it happened. and we cannot undo that he did this and this happened.

    So often we come here and say "my kid does not learn" but you see- kt and wm DID learn......and they did/do react and respond. and their responses to what happened to them might not be over the top for what they lived thru. and being born into it......they did not have time or different experiences BEFORE it happened.
    You can teach them a better outward response, hopefully.......but the truth is what happened to them should cause outrage not just in them but in everyone else, too. They ARE victims. you cannot change their history. and to I don't know-----say don;t act like a victim might hit them kinda like gee, don't be female...don't be a might hit them like gosh, how do I cut THAT part out of me?

    Yeah, it is gonna take a long time anda lot of patience and a ton of positive experiences.
    Their abuse does not sound like it was a one time WAS their life, their reality, and it is a part of them. they are gonna need a LOT of proof that that is not the norm.

    The good thing is that yes, they can still live life even with that ......they CAN learn to have opinions, and have pleasures and they can still grow.....becuz the abuses are only a part of them. there are also so many other people in the world, YES...who do go on with life.......and they already show you they can, too. wm and his glasses and his comments to you about the glasses? kt back when she wanted to keep making sock dolls?
    They ARE moving forward.they ARE living their life.

    I was wondering what kt did while you watched movies of YOUR mother? I would guess losing your mother could bring a LOT up for them. Jealousy your mom was a better mom, confusion over you losing her.....sadness she is gone......I don't know-LOTS of things.

    I know you get sick of me, I know you prolly hate when I post. Do know I do not know you, I am aware of know I post only to try to offer a different viewpoint, a different perspective, and becuz I have been sucked up by kt and wm and my heart aches for all of you. Take what applies, leave the rest......but please do know I post only becuz I DO care.even if my ideas sound ..........different. and remember, I never said I knew everything or that I was perfect or that I am right. I am ONLY a different perspective, nothiing more. I speak always only from my heart. (which sometimes LOL does cause trouble for me, LOL) and I post based on what you type- I do not have ALL the info- cuz I don't know you, I don't know the kids....maybe if I did know you in person, I might have entirely different ideas etc.
    And if you knew me in person, you might be VERY surprised who I am in person. (I am NOT at ALL confrontational- EVER----I would run away and or cry before ever instigating anything) My FIRST advice for ANY complaint is------go take a bath.....YES! seriously-----LOL-----(here I am a nurse and I say go take a bath to everything)
    I was once super hyper organized and very much in control and in charge of every part of my life, my dhs life, and my kids life PLUS my in laws......and my home and affairs were immaculate.
    My own major illness changed a lot of my life priorities, my losses of recent years changed more priorities.

    I just wanted you to know------I am aware you must think me nuts--goofy....whatever. But- I post to you from my heart. Truly. I do not post to upset you. I really really don't.
    Give yourself and your kids a hug from me.
  15. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Linda, I grew up in a very dysfunctional family setting where some abuse did occur. It wasn't nearly to the extent of what your tweedles have been through but it did impact me in that I carried comments and images around in my head on into adulthood and effected me in terms of both self esteem and the choices I was making. The two things I did that helped me move past were biofeedback to help the stress aspect. It was a simple system using a tape/headphones with instructions read in a calm voice along with a digital thermometer taped to my finger. This helped address the physical symptoms plus when I was doing it actively and became skilled I had a method to prevent the stress instead of getting all worked up.

    From there the real key to moving beyond was to retrain my mind in terms of 1) what was true about myself vs. what I had been taught about myself through words and actions of others and 2) replacing mental lies with mental truths. For me it came through a Bible Study by Kay Arthur called "Lord Heal My Hurts". I went into that study still shackled to my past and I came out of it with the skills to free myself from it. It wasn't by any means an easy process but working on it 6 days a week on my own and then meeting with a teacher and the support of others in my shoes made it easier than going at it on my own. It gave me a goal, a plan, and a way to carry out the plan and made a world of difference in my life.
  16. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    God Bless You Dreamer. And you as well Janet.

    I am forty yrs old (almost) There is one person on the face of this earth that knows some of the abuse/torture I have survived.

    The tweedles are indiviuals just as we all are.

    You can see from the post before how everyone heals in their on time.
    I believe that it is not something you can teach either.

    It is the slow realization that all adults do not take advantage of the innocient.

    I sadly can still not talk about the injustice I suffered

    I think surrounding the tweedles with good, honest, caring adults will help them understand that all adults are not bad and SOME can be trusted.
  17. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    hearthope- gosh you worded that so very well in so many less words than I had to use to say what I was trying to say. :)

    Bless you! and hugs for your pains inflicted upon you.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Linda...can the tweedles remember what happened and talk about it? Can they separate the time with biofamily and when they became your children?

    Just some questions.
  19. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    This is all so individual - so personal. Janet, as the tweedles get older they are struggling to separate their memories in bio home from memories here.

    Both kt & wm have some very specific memories of abuse; other memories are vague but troublesome. There are issues that wm, especially, will not discuss.

    I appreciate the input & responses. This thread started out as thinking out loud & has evolved into a great deal of information & ideas to take to tdocs. Many things to consider.

    I know this is going to be a long slow healing process. I know that we cannot push beyond what the tweedles can tolerate on any given day. However, I truly believe that we need to rework what hadn't been working. :warrior:
  20. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    as always- wishing you the best.
    Even things we cannot remember do shape who we become....
    As you know it is not going to be easy--but don't forget to stop and smell the flowers along the way.

    did you read my post on watercooler- about the cracked pot?
    (I think the subject line is "a couple things?"
    even if we are damaged, we can still be useful, helpful, productive loving human beings. Each of us is unique, and different and it takes a world of different and unique people to keep the world going around. kt and wm will also be unique and special people, as everyone is. when you post the tiny tidbits of things they say and do- I see 2 wonderful kids. enjoy them.....even if you have to do it smushed in between the work.