Crying for difficult child and PTSD

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by daralex, May 20, 2009.

  1. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    Not a question - just a vent and tears.

    difficult child was abused by my ex-H years ago (not bio dad) and never talks about it and refuses therapy (I am desperately looking for a psychiatrist anyway at the moment - another long story)

    Out of nowhere the other night she tells me that she was comfortable being a lesbian until she figured out that private parts are seen during intimacy with girls as well as boys. She is upset by this because she thinks her privates are ugly to the point that something is wrong (yes, I am also in the process of finding a gynecologist for her). She still feels she prefers girls to boys ( I really don't care which is her preference), but demands that we have her parts "fixed" as she is ashamed of them. She thinks the abuse did something to her parts and they have mystically become horrendously ugly.

    She also said that at times she thought I knew or had something to do with the abuse (NOT!) but she knows that is only in her head.

    She is also ashamed that she participated in the act several times because she didn't know how wrong it was and feels "oogy" about herself because of that.

    This all came out of nowhere and we talked for several hours. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear.

    I had no idea all of this was in her head on top of everything else. How sad. I cry inside for her every day.

    I just want to fall apart so badly. I want to yell, scream and cry - but I have to be strong for her so I am not allowed and have never allowed myself to grieve fully for what happened. I am just so sad for her, sad for me, angry at the situation. I have probably had it drift through my head at least once a day for the last 6 years, but our conversation caught me off guard and brought all the ugliness up to the surface again.

    Thanks for letting me get this out there - It just saddens me to my core.

  2. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Wow that is horrible. But it is a good step that she is willing to talk with you about it. But she needs to learn that none of her is ugly, and that she was a victim not a participant. As gentle as you can I would continue to ask her to see someone about it. If not a one on one session, maybe a survivors' group. You also need to let yourself grieve. You need to scream, yell and then take your anger and do something positive with it.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Sending ((((hugs))) and support...this is really hard.

    Not a doctor or a therapist, but from what I understand--unpleasant events can lead to Dismorphic Disorders....where a person develops a distorted view of themselves or their body. This is similar to anorexia leading girls to believe that they are fat.

    She needs professional help to sort all this out...

    Wishing you luck in finding someone for her!

  4. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I wanted to send you a hug - and some information via PM - but your's is disabled.

    You are doing yourself and her NO favors by wanting to curl up into a ball. YES it hurts, YES, it's awful, YES it can make you go crazy. However here's what I can tell you publically about kids who are abused sexually - they need therapy. Keeping it all bottled up inside has already caused her some serious problems. Talking about it - IS almost like living it all over again - day by day - BUT - talking about it with a therapist is like talking about it ONE MORE TIME and then learning SKILLS to cope. NOT talking about it or NOT doing anything about it because she does "want" to go - is going to cause near irrepairable damage. I know because I lived it in my marriage and with my child.

    A TON more goes on behind the scenes in your brain regarding a molestation than we realize. IF she refuses to see a counselor - HOW about a female counselor at a domestic violence shelter? How about if YOU go too -so that you can deal with the PTSD you are having from this experience as well and you both maybe see the same person/ seperately, but together?

    You and your daughter are in CRISIS.....this is huge and scary and I can't imagine what she's feeling. She sounds like she is having some body dysmorphic disorder issues and those can be helped - but not if you continue to let her call the shots.

    Do you think I WANTED to hear what happened to my child? DO you think I wanted to sit there and listen to how he's supposed to forgive and move forward? Heck no - I wanted to kill this man 10 times...and then ten more. CONSUMED my life and I could scarcely think of ANYTHING else day after day - and it will wear you out. I had NO idea what could be done.....when I found out? I was in the biggest denial of anyone that ever was when the counselor told me what she suspected. I got up - I threw her papers at her - I left in a huff, I slammed the door open - and I was so angry I could not see. I literally sat in my car, having a spasm of chest pains and migraines and she came out after me and threw some literature in my car. Later I dug it out of the trash and taped it together - because what if?

    YOU already KNOW there is no what's a FOR SURE. So go from there. You can be brave for both of you. EMDR therapy was very helpful for me and to a point with my child. BUT some of what happened to him is so painful and so horrible and horrific that he has blocked it out and refuses to speak about it......the therapist told us he may NEVER speak about it - or someday he may just come forward and start talking about it. That will be OKAY because I got therapy to be able to help him....I got prepared.....I got information. I educated myself for myself and for the well being of my son so that I could say - "Yes - here's what we can do."

    MOST if not all of me felt exactly like you and wanted to die. But I realized I can't help anyone if I don't know what is going on.

    What I'm trying to say is your daughter HAS a chance at a "normal" life - but you're going to have to be brave enough, and tough enough, and strong enough to lead her to places she's not going to go willingly because there will be pain. But think about pain one more time - and coping skills or pain for life? I'd go for one more time pain.

    Hugs & Love
    HUGE hugs -
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Like Star...I have some personal experience on this topic. Unfortunately. A couple of years ago I attended a group for sexual abuse survivors. Yes, it took me almost a lifetime to get therapy for something that happened to me from ages 3 to 18...sigh. I hope you can get your dtr help much sooner than I did.

    The book that was used in my group was excellent. It was called The Courage to Heal. It also had a workbook. Maybe your dtr would be willing to at least read and work on them at home...she would get something out of it. And it is written by a

    I had a problem for years thinking the same thing as your dtr about my private parts. I thought I was maimed. My mother told me I was deformed down there and she even took me to a doctor and tried to have surgery performed on me. She wanted them to have that surgery where they remove the clitoris and the labia done but no doctor would do that just on her whim...thank god. But all her talk and views left me thinking there was something very wrong with me which really messed me up for most of my life. I still have some serious leftover neurosis about what I look like. It took me really studying naked pictures in mens magazines to realize that people come in all shapes and sizes. (Im sticking to that story!)

    If you want to tell your dtr that there are other people you have "met" or know or have read about...something...that have had similar issues...tell her. If she would ever like to email someone...Im willing. I have been through many of her same issues. I did the whole bi thing when I was 17/18. I know where she is coming from.
  6. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Dara---at some point you are going to have to become the parent your daughter needs and lead her to recovery. A child---and even at 5"11" she is still child.You must get her into therapy. She may not want to go, she may not even talk at first---that is the therapist job---but she needs to know that you want her to be able to heal---and healing only happens when we face what has happened and learn how to live without the memories haunting us.
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in some hugs.
  8. It sounds awful.

    Fortunately there are tons of therapists out there. You will have to tour the town until you find one she will be comfortable talking with. It would properly be best seeking a female therapist when the abuser was male. Don't give up.

    She will never start talking about it with you. Sending her to somewhere inpatient won't solve the problem. It will only add to the problem because then she will start covering the real problem up with issues about being sent away.

    Another good thing is that she properly won't be intimate with the 19 year old when she hates her own body like she does. But she needs to be around people instead of using a computer or a phone communicating with the world.

    She is in the process of being comforted in her own isolated world while seeking virtual friends because they are "safe". No hugs and just turning the switch off when the conversation become difficult makes it too easy for her to redraw from the world.

    I guess that she should attend the club more but can you find the time to attend some kind of sport with her where both of you can enjoy yourself among other people?
  9. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    Thank you all for listening. I never connected the body dismorphia until I read the posts - it makes a lot of sense.

    I have been "interviewing" therapists for almost 4 weeks and have more phone calls to make today - who would have thought finding a female psychiatrist would be so difficullt! (I want a psychiatric to monitor her medication situation - among other things obviously).

    difficult child always sees the stronger side of me - but I can't tell you how comforting it is to be able to say things here that I couldn't say to anyone else - more so, saying things to others who REALLY understand. It keeps my sanity in tact! Sometimes I just don't feel as strong as I would like to.

  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I've had some experience with my own kids. I'd go to somebody who specializes in sexual abuse--it is such a delicate topic. You need somebody who really "gets" it. My own daughter didn't feel her body was deformed, but didn't feel pretty, even though she really is and boys were crazy about her. She did hold off on sex until she was almost eighteen, and has never been promiscuous and she did eventually get over hating sex and men--she never thought she was gay--but she did feel that the abuse was her own fault and, as she puts it, "I felt ashamed so I didn't tell anyone because I felt it was somehow my fault." She was raped at one of her friend's homes at age eight and didn't tell us until she was fourteen and I was so shocked I didn't know what to say so we cried together. Then, as if that wasn't enough, we adopted an older foster child who abused my youngest two kids--and he did it for t hree years. For some reason, maybe that he was caught, prosecuted, a nd apologized--those kids seem to be really doing well, however we got them into therapy with a sexual abuse therapist immediately and undid the adoption so that they knew we were on their side. Make sure the person is very well aware of abuse, and I think you should take her to a woman who won't judge her sexuality. My girls always did better with therapists of the same sex. (((Hugs)))
  11. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    MM - thank you for sharing - I can only imagine how you must feel - glad to hear they are doing ok - it's encouraging.

    The kicker is that it went to trial 3 YEARS later. There was physical evidence, difficult child was FORCED to testify, etc and they still let him go?!!!

    I lied to difficult child and told her that he got locked up. I just couldn't let her think that the trauma of testifying in front of him was all for nothing.

    Her reason for not wanting to see someone is that the therapist she was seeing at the time of the trial reccomended that she testify which was the LAST thing she wanted to do. She saw that as a betrayal and has refused therapy since.

    We recently put difficult child on Lexapro so I thought this was the perfect excuse - she needs to see someone to monitor her medications. Hopefully I can find someone that is a good fit with her.

  12. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    The tweedles abusers never went to jail ~ that might help but in the long run they are released.

    Star said just about everything I was going to say. You cannot be "traumatized" by your difficult children sharing with you each & every time. You are, as a mom, there to listen however there are times it belongs in a counselors office not at mom's kitchen table.

    I listened to the tweedles until I became ill ~ couldn't any longer. I shifted their needing to talk about these things to their tdocs.

    It's helped our relationship greatly.

    ((((hugs)))) to you this morning.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Dara, a couple of different directions here. Not that you haven't already gotten some good advice, just wanted to add an extra dimension.

    First, I attended a seminar the other night by Dr Norman Doidge, on how the brain can adapt amazingly, to learn good skills as well as bad. PTSD is an example of the brain learning bad mental habits which need to be changed. Body dysmorphia is closely linked in there too. I bought the book - "The Brain That Changes Itself".

    Now, to your daughter - she beleives she is ugly "down there" and wants surgery. BUT - a reputable surgeon won't do the surgery if the problem is not going to be fixed by surgery. And in her case, her problem is in her visualisation of herslef and that is unlikely to change. She needs to heal her mental image of hersewlf, before she can go under the knife.

    If she really is a candidate for surgery, she would have to get her head sorted first, so the surgeon knows exactly what is left to do.

    So if she really wants the surgery - then she HAS to consent to psychiatric counselling/treatment first, as a preparation for the surgery.

    If she won't accept this, then she has to accept that she will focus a great deal of wasted energy on searching for an answer surgically, to a problem which has been inflicted on her by her abuser.

    And despite her remembering that she participated and didn't fight him off - even if she was recruited to enjoy the sex, she still is a victim of abuse and cannot be considered a willing participant because at her age it can never be considered "informed consent". She was simply not old enough to know what she was agreeing to, what she was letting herself in for. Her abuser should have kept her safe but instead chose to take advantage of the situation. Her abuser may in fact have sought you out purely because you had a child tat he wanted. A friend of mine went through this, her second husband wooed her, because he wanted access to the daughter. When the girl finally stopped the abuse, the husband lost interest in the wife and instead moved in with daughter's best friend (who he had also recruited as a back-up 'girlfriend' - the creep). And in that case - no charges were laid because the mother and the girl were both confused over who was at fault (the husband blamed his wife for 'being cold' and driving him into the arms of the ready and willnig daughter - of course, not true and simply an abuser's way of trying to get away with it all). So the bloke got away with it, has probably moved on to abuse someone else. He ruined two families at least, and no repercussions for him. Hey, it happens. Too often, sadly. But the family have moved on and begun to heal, knowing he can't hurt them again.

    SO in your search for a shrink, look for someone who has knowledge of/support of "neuroplasticity" and also who will work with you in assessing her mental suitability for plastic surgery (which has nothing to do with neuroplasticity, except that in both terms, "plastic" means "moldable").

  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending supportive hugs your way. I have had limited experience in this area and my only advise is this. Please make absolutely that you find an expert therapist. Call around and ask for recommendations for child or adolescent sexual abuse issues. A well intentioned, but poorly trained, expert can cause more problems for your child. I found an expert two hours away and it was well worth a couple of four hour trips knowing that my child had the best available. Good luck. DDD
  15. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member


    Just wanted to send hugs your way. In addition to the therapy, getting difficult child involved in activities is a really good idea. She'll be able to make friends who have like interests and develop her social skills. FWIW, I think she needs something other than the lesbian group -- sports, drama, music, cooking, whatever -- something that will help her define herself in a way that isn't as focused on her sexuality. She's only 14, and if she's like many of our difficult children, three to five years younger emotionally.

    Sending compassionate hugs to both of you!