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I just found out today that my daughter is struggling with PTSD. She was raped- I still struggle to say it/write it/absorb it- when she was 14. We knew about an "incident" she had then- she glazed it over then and made it seem like just acting out as a teen- but she didn't tell us what really happened. Even then we looked into prosecuting anyone we could because we suspected older boys were involved and we were told we couldn't press charges for anything then. It was her first sexual experience and she was basically pimped out by a girl she thought was a friend and handed over to three guys my daughter didn't know. Her years after that were fraught with dysfunction, anorexia, depression, insecurity, drama and multiple difficulties. She insisted that this event wasn't as big a deal as we thought it was- she smoothed it over- probably to convince herself it wasn't a big deal so she could function and move on at the time. She finally at 24 decided to get help and be honest and up front about her difficulties with a wonderful therapist she found. How do I help her? Her therapist gave me some ideas- some books to read. What do I say and not say? What to do or not do? I'm almost relieved that we finally after all these years got the root of the issue and I feel like this therapist really can get her out of the darkness and relieve her of her secrets so she can move one and enjoy her life and do what she wants to do without the weight of this on her.
Posted on 12/26/12, 10:46 pm
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Reply #1 - 12/26/12  11:34pm
" You need to learn about PTSD. I would suggest you read up about it on some mental health sites. Understand that the person does not look sick but inside is hurting, unsure, lacks confidence and self-esteem. Understand that mood swings are common and anger is another feature. Don't take it personally. Relationship issues with PTSD are common. I would even go as far as saying talk to your family doctor and see if there is a therapist you can talk so that you can help your daughter.
Encourage her (without pushing her) to do something positive and to keep busy. Paint, journal her feelings and above all encourage her to find something to be grateful for each day. Focus on the positive. Read about positive works well for PTSD.
You are great parents for wanting to learn more and help your daughter. Just realize at some point the rage and anger will turn against you. Keep with her and don't give up your love for her no matter what. You will get her back. "
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Reply #2 - 12/26/12  11:58pm
" thank you, that's what I needed "
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Reply #3 - 12/27/12  5:26am
" I'm taking in all C.C. has to say about this (advice I can use too, thank you!) and I would only add that taking care of yourself is essential and will ultimately benefit your daughter.

Read more about your situation and it sounds like you and I grew up very much the same. I did not qualify the stuff that happened to me as a kid (12-14) as rape because it wasn't overtly violent. Failed to realize that kids that age can't give consent. I, like you, just imagined I was a particularly mature person for my age (a "hot mama", as you put it) and that I could handle it. Did not see myself as taken advantage of and not protected by a parent who knew about it until many years later (this year, when my 25 y.o. kid was victimized).

Part of the difficulty I have in supporting my daughter comes through the fact that my issues are not resolved.

The help we give our daughters is going to have to be affected by the care we take of ourselves. You would be worth that, kids or no kids. "
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Reply #4 - 12/27/12  10:18am
" "Ears open mouth shut." has been my most effective helping tool. I do not know, but I do believe I have caused more trouble spouting psychobabble than by any other means. Even I.F. the person in front of me really is published in those books, they still need to sort through it at their own pace in their own way.

Personally I shoot for simple gratitude for the honor of being invited to walk with them as they sort through what only they can know.

Blessings to you, caring mother. "
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Reply #5 - 12/27/12  11:02am
" Thanks to all of you. You're right Guayaba about how my experience affects how I'm processing this- I keep asking myself if this was rape- rape? rape? and I go over the events of what happened to me to see how and if I felt victimized although I did feel shame and embarrassment- and I try to think about it all differently. When the therapist was trying to explain how one could be victimized I joked about my son's friend who would randomly "hump" him or do weird sexually tinged things and that it made my son uncomfortable but they joked about it and she said that was rape too- I don't know if she used the word rape- but indicated that was highly inappropriate too- and I'm trying to assimilate all this info and make it make sense- The therapist suggested I read The Courage to Heal- has anyone read it? "

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