Posted by: amica | July 24, 2009

Painful Discoveries

“Why did you take us so we could live together if we were going to be miserable because of it?”

M’s question to me after once again being upset that he and H have to be separated and in their rooms while I am working. Smack! I felt that one. He didn’t say it in an accusing or even angry tone; it was a painful tone. I explained that I didn’t know then that we would be here now. But we are. And I must protect him and his sisters. He still believes he is “normal” and I am over reacting.  “All brothers and sisters fight.” He is so smart, I can’t not talk to him about things. I don’t have to tell or explain everything to him but these questions…when he is asking because he really wants to know and not to manipulate me…he deserves an answer.  I have no idea how to make him understand and honestly, I don’t try to anymore.  I say I understand it is hard and I know he is frustrated and I pray it will get easier.  I also remind him that his unwillingness to participate in anything the therapist or I suggest isn’t going to speed things along either.

I spoke with Dia at great lengths yesterday.  She is wonderful at telling me what she has tried and her grab bag is quite full!  She has suggested a couple of things, I won’t go into detail yet, but I think they are some pretty impressive ideas. Once I get my ducks in a row and she and I strategize some more, I will tell all about it. We also talked about the near future. M is 12 in Sept. I explained to Dia that I believe M is more attached to me than he is anyone else but that he is still not viewing me as “mom”. He calls me mom, he knows I provide for him and I want him to be safe and I think he really believes that.  But that mom connection, that line where I am not just a woman, a female that he lives with but his MOM – he isn’t there. We talked about how I have to be careful with what I wear because of this, he isn’t grossed out by me because I am mom, he is interested in seeing female body parts including mine. He goes to great lengths to get access to porn in 3D with movement. (this week he took my laptop off my bed where I was napping while the babysitter was there.  took into his room and proceeded to have porn time again. the password wasn’t enabled because I had been working and fell asleep.  He also unlocked my bathroom closet and took the DS and games to his room.) At 11, thoughts or pictures should be more than enough to “help” him out. But how much is RAD and how much is puberty? He goes to great lengths to get anything he wants with no fear of consequences, so porn isn’t special in that way. This happens A LOT though. His attempts to get it. Dia pointed out that sexually abused children often have sexual addictions in their futures. I don’t want to handle this extreme in either direction. Too far one way and I could fuel the fire, too far the other and I could be missing something big here. We talk very openly in my house, he knows I know about his “personal activities”, he has a VS catalogue in his bathroom (I didn’t put it there but I haven’t removed it either). Then I think, this is how I would handle it if I had a healthy 11 year old son, is handling it the same with my 11 year old RAD son still ok? Does he like looking at things where men are involved and not just women in a magazine because of the control that men appear to have in porn? He has always thought men are superior, he thinks he is the man of our house, he tries to boss me, he will do anything to overpower his sister (which could become VERY scary at some point, I can honestly see him giving into her desire to be physical with him at some point for the mere ability to have that power over her or demean her), he is as tall as me now, and what if none of this changes?  What does it mean to have a 6 ft 14 year old boy in our home with no other males? When he is still trying to exert his power? His anger? And that is possibly obsessed with sex? I won’t lie – I am more and more concerned about this with each passing day.

On the up-side:

I do feel like I am getting better at reading the kids, though. I seem to understand when there are specific underlying issues. I know H will try to get M into trouble (she is very creative) when she is upset with him.  She doesn’t feel powerful/safe enough to be direct about her anger with him so she indirectly tries to sabotage him.  I can look back over the years and see that she does this with me at times too. If nothing else, I believe she knows I am genuine, there is no dark layer underneath that she should fear so she can be direct (and loud) with me for the most part.  I also have figured out that she is a terrified child.  For so long I was torn as to what was valid, what was for attention, what was just annoying, etc. She is annoying when angry, hurt or sick when she needs extra affection, and will escalate to an amazing level when afraid. This mainly holds true at bedtime.  Bedtime has been a constant battle for the entire 5 years. It started with nightmares all. night. long. She slept with me.  Then once they weren’t every night and she wasn’t tossing and literally crying in her sleep, she moved to her own bed where I would stay until she fell asleep. Then it progressed to her coming to me if she had a nightmare but being able to fall asleep alone in her own room. For about 2 years now, she has a nightmare once or twice a week.  They were and are still always about the same general thing. H is not scared of monsters or bogeymen, she is afraid of real life encounters. The man that held a knife to her throat when she was 2 1/2.  She remembers that, vividly.  Someone WILL break into our home, someone WILL take her, someone WILL kill us all in the night (not her, the rest of us and she will be left alone). In the past couple of months, on the nights she is on edge more than usual, she will scream and yell hurtful things at me through her bedroom doors (which are glass french doors). The last time, I felt her terror. She went from screaming at me to screaming for me. Panicked. Someone was coming through the window and I believe she really thought that. I opened the door and she jumped into my arms…No more! That isn’t a battle, that is real. That is horrible and I want to hunt down and beat whoever hurt this child to that extent!  On those nights now, I ask what would make her feel safer and so far, she wants the radio on in her room.  Our deal is that it remains on the station I set it to and I can’t be able to hear it when her door is closed. Normally, I would laugh at my own self for setting rules and expecting them not to be broken.  And maybe they will but a large part of me believes she wouldn’t think of it, because the radio is helping her feel safe on some level.  And that is more important to her than defiance. We were all in the backyard the other day and she needed to use the restroom.  I was trying to grab AE so we could all go in and I told H to go ahead, we were right behind her.  She is crying at me to hurry as AE is running from me laughing and when I finally get us to the backdoor, H is still standing there…with pee running down her legs.  She was that scared of going in the house alone. She was crying and embarrassed and honestly, this level of fear is new. Not wanting to go into a dark room, afraid of strange noises, this is all basic for her but the screaming and unable to be in the house for 5 seconds alone – this is new. And it sucks.



  1. I’d like all the mom’s of sexually abused kids to get on Skype together one night – just to hear each other breathe. It’s one of the areas where I do feel alone, and absolutely cannot talk with anyone I know in real life about it, because of my daughter’s need for privacy (well, that, and the fact that most people would run from me screaming).

    Tonight, as I was walking through the store, needing to pick up some new shorts for my daughter (whose old shorts are getting tight, and so she only wears the tight ones – and is now obsessed with me buying her a padded bra – yeah, at age 9 – cause that’s gonna’ happen). ANYWHO – I saw a sales person and wanted to scream, “Um, excuse me, m’am, but could you direct me to the section for girls with a history of sexual abuse – because all of your shorts are just a hair shy of butt cheek. COME ON!”

    So, I’m no help to you. My 12-year-old attaching son is not acting out sexually and we are able to have lots of healthy conversations about sex and masturbation, etc., etc. May daughter, though … well, we sit around and wonder what her future holds.

    There are no Hallmark cards for this sort of thing, ya’ know??

  2. Oh, I so completely agree about the clothing issues – it’s amazing how society is ok with children looking like hussies????? I also agree about us venting on skype – there is so much we experience that no one else can relate to…I also can’t wait for you to get your booty down here!

  3. Ah…the short shorts! That is why we now shop for girls shorts in the boys section. Adjustable waists–I love them–and mostly the boys shorts have them. Ditto on the texas arrival Christine. Just let us know!

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