Jump to content






Photo

Looking for answers for how to help my daughter

Posted by picadillymom , 01 July 2013 · 77 views

6 days ago my daughter told me she was raped. The conversation came about because I found that she has been using pot and smoking cigarettes. It wasn't an argument, I simply wanted to know why she would choose to do these things when we've had so many conversations about it. She started to get upset and said she didn't want to tell me because I would want to ask more questions. I said well I know it's definitely not because you want to get lung cancer - is it because you want to look cool? fit in? lose weight? (she is not overweight at all, but teenage girls always think they are). She just started to cry and said that it helps her feel calm with the anxiety she gets. I started to tell her that I know that it may make her feel ok for the moment, but in the long run smoking cigarettes or pot actually increases anxiety and that's when she blurted out that she was raped about a year ago! She didn't want to answer questions although I couldn't help but try to ask a few like when? who? She said it was someone her age and that she went to a campus ministry person about it. She said she didn't want to talk about it and relive it, that she just wants to forget about it. All I can remember is feeling shock, numb, frozen. I hugged her and swallowed back my tears. I told her that it was not her fault and asked if she had felt that it was in any way and she nodded yes. I reassured her that no matter what the circumstances - if she didn't want it to happen, it is NOT her fault. I told her that if she doesn't want to talk to me about it she doesn't have to, but it is in her best health if she would be open to talking to someone - a counsellor of some sort. That holding it all in is like a shaken bottle of pop and she may have relieved some of the pressure by saying what little she did to me, but the pressure is still there and she's smart enough to know that smoking or doing drugs are not healthy choices. She agreed to consider counselling which is good. The next day was her scheduled time at her dad's house and she had planned to spend a few days there since he has a pool and school just let out for the summer. This was good in a way for me because it gave me a few days to try to wrap my head around things. I know this is not about ME and I am working at building my strength to be there for her. I cried so much. Couldn't go to work. Missed an important deadline and don't even care. Feel like I am OK, go out, suddenly feel an overwhelming urge to cry out of the blue. Having disturbing mental images of doing violence to some unknown male. I feel so helpless that I can't rewind or take it back for her. My baby girl. She's so precious and wonderful and beautiful and someone hurt her in the most private way. She was a virgin. How will she ever have a normal relationship? I don't want her to know how deeply upset I am because I don't want her to feel like she's the cause. She is not. Someone I don't even know who is the cause of this. She doesn't want me to tell anyone else. Thought I don't really speak with my ex-husband I feel like he should know - I would be furious if he kept such important information about my children from me, but that would be breaking her confidence and trust. I have avoided my sister, my mother, my friends because they'll know that something is deeply wrong. I have never experienced depression, but I am pretty sure that's what I am feeling. I just want to do what's best for my daughter. I love her so much and my heart is shattered - I can't even begin to imagine what she's gone through since the time it's happened! It's shocking that she never told me because we are very very close! It must have been a year of emotional hell for her and in hindsight it explains so much. Lots of illness, missed school, moodiness, anxiety (I did bring her to counselling, but she refused to continue saying they were stupid). I figured it was the age and not entirely unusual behaviour for her - she's always been a high spirited child and a challenge to parent. I spend lots of time with her and she's very close to me, but I also don't take her crap and she knows her boundaries with me where she walks all over her dad or others around her. My head hurts - I need to try to sleep - work is going to be hell tomorrow.



I just wanted to say I read what you wrote and I am so sorry for what happened to your daughter and I can hear how painful this is for you.

I also wanted to say that your reaction has been AMAZING to your daughter - I'm sure she will have felt a great sense of relief to have her revelation met with such kindness and understanding - you said all the right things and although you may not realise it, this will be a huge help to her.

It is normal not to tell something like this. Sad, but normal.

I can reassure you that she can have a normal relationship, but there will be a way to go on her healing journey and she will need your love and support on the way, especially as it will have to happen in her own time.

On telling her dad - I think it would be damaging to break her confidence. How old is she? You can explain that her dad will find it easier to support her if he knows that there is something difficult in her life like this. If you post on the 'healing together' forum I am sure people will have ideas about this.

Keeping those boundaries firm is a great idea - it will help her to support you. And having support for yourself is also important - you are really aware of not off loading your grief onto your daughter but you may find it helpful if you can do it with someone you trust. You may not have to tell them anything, beyond 'something bad happened that I can't talk about' or see a counsellor. Self care is also important - making sure you have things that are nice for you. It's important to model this for your daughter even while things are bad.

You will all get through this. Keep reaching out for help yourself. It is clear through your post you are a wonderful mother.

:metoyou:
I am so very proud of you for the way you dealt with this situation. My daughter was sexually abused around the age of five, and then again around the age of 12 by a school volunteer. It took her until she was 16 to talk about the second abuse, and she can't remember the details of the first abuse.

We went through the same cycle of missed schools, sick days, etc. I am in the health care field, with sexual assault training, and even though I had my worries, I thought other things were the contributor to her illnesses.

She will absolutely have a normal relationship. I come from generational abuse, and I know for a fact the most important part of healing is knowing that you have support. I never had support. My daughter has had support, and so far she has done better than I did.

I understand your emotions toward the person that did this. I would worry if you didn't have those emotions.

You are right in saying others do not need to be told what's going on at this point. Your daughter needs to get her feet on the ground, so that she gets to choose who, when, what, where, and how she tells. I'm so happy so spoke with someone. I'm even happier she is open to hearing about counseling.

This is about you to some degree, so please help yourself and do good self care. I crashed just recently because I was so focused on my daughter for such a long time that I didn't address the swirling, explosive emotions within myself, and I'm still trying to dig my way out. I had a huge set back. I didn't invest myself into counseling or other healthy choices to the amount I should have (like take a FMLA from work) I went to counseling, maintained an exercise routine but I didn't give myself permission to stop, or take a leave from stressors such as work.

My number one suggestion when working with families of abuse is for the family members to immediately find assistance/counseling. I give them the following example: If your child was sick with a chronic illness wouldn't you go to every doctors appointment and learn everything possible? Most families say yes. If you do not have a counselor for yourself, please know it's o.k. to do so if you want to. Counselors are so valuable with resources, and helping with suggestions of depression, when to see your own doctor, coping skills, etc. The other positive effect that comes from you going, is that it gives permission for the child to go.

Many thoughts coming your way, and to your daughter on this difficult journey.

:metoyou:
Photo
picadillymom
Jul 02 2013 10:55 AM

I just wanted to say I read what you wrote and I am so sorry for what happened to your daughter and I can hear how painful this is for you.I also wanted to say that your reaction has been AMAZING to your daughter - I'm sure she will have felt a great sense of relief to have her revelation met with such kindness and understanding - you said all the right things and although you may not realise it, this will be a huge help to her. It is normal not to tell something like this. Sad, but normal. I can reassure you that she can have a normal relationship, but there will be a way to go on her healing journey and she will need your love and support on the way, especially as it will have to happen in her own time.On telling her dad - I think it would be damaging to break her confidence. How old is she? You can explain that her dad will find it easier to support her if he knows that there is something difficult in her life like this. If you post on the 'healing together' forum I am sure people will have ideas about this. Keeping those boundaries firm is a great idea - it will help her to support you. And having support for yourself is also important - you are really aware of not off loading your grief onto your daughter but you may find it helpful if you can do it with someone you trust. You may not have to tell them anything, beyond 'something bad happened that I can't talk about' or see a counsellor. Self care is also important - making sure you have things that are nice for you. It's important to model this for your daughter even while things are bad.You will all get through this. Keep reaching out for help yourself. It is clear through your post you are a wonderful mother.:metoyou:/>


Thank you so much Susanna for your kind words and support. My daughter just turned 17. It's a blessing to have found this site and read the stories and know that others have experienced and risen above such terrible experiences. The irony in my world is that I had started down a path that will allow me to change careers in the next 5 years to coach young people!! I have seen too many of my children's friends where the parents are too lazy, selfish or just plain clueless in how to communicate or be involved with their children and I have had a natural gift with people my entire life. My dream is to open up a state of the art centre for young people aged 14-23 where they can learn life skills that will give them the best start possible in life. However - I just cancelled the weekend session of training that I was scheduled to attend in a couple of weeks and re-scheduled for the fall. I want to be present for my daughter as I feel this time is extra-sensitive given that she's only just confided - the floodgates may open.
Photo
picadillymom
Jul 02 2013 11:00 AM
Thank you very much, Orchid, for your response to my post. I am thankfully that type of person who will research and learn everything I can. Kind of reminds me of when she was a baby and she had this odd thing called vesecoreteral reflux (bladder flap that was not fully developed). I knew more about it than the pediatrician who was a moron - fired him and went marching back to my GP who just shook his head and referred to me to a good friend of his who was a urologist, but a far better doctor for my baby than the so called expert. It was a bit of a funny picture seeing me walk into a waiting room full of men who were getting their prostate checked with my tiny little girl in hand!! I should have used the nickname mamabear! I was an extremely shy person until I had children and I realized that they were 100% dependent upon me to take care of them.
Hello picalillymom,

I just read your post, you are wonderful. I do not know you but the response and reassurance you are givnig your daughter is so important right now. It is great that your daughter felt she was able to tell you. Speaking from someone who lives in secrecy. I am not a trained professional only a victim trying to heal. It is not selfish for you to sotp and wrap your head around what she told you. As her support you will also need to be supported or find ways to vent also. It takes alot to be a support system to someone, I am so greatful for my husband and close friend right now. But I am very aware how it can affect them.

Keep doing what you are doing, listen and support. Do not push, like our daughter I have given my therapist a hard way to go. I have trust issues and am not good an confiding into people. So I am assuming she is like that also, plus I tend to think everything is stupid. I wish I could reach out to you both. Since I cannot I will pray for you both. You are doing great, one day if and when I tell my mother I hope she respondes like you.

God Bless

tamjohn70

October 2014

S M T W T F S
    1 234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Recent Comments

Categories

Pandora's Aquarium, Inc. is not intended to be a substitute for professional assistance. All members and visitors are encouraged to establish a relationship with a trained counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist. Pandora's Aquarium, Inc. offers rape and sexual abuse survivor-to-survivor support only. Despite any qualifications staff or members possess, they are not engaged in a professional relationship with any other member. Survivors in crisis are urged to seek local help by contacting 911 or their local rape crisis center. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Service located here.