Posted by: carolg1849 | February 23, 2009

Moms Need Support

Moms Need Support – Child Sexual Abuse Hits Home: Mothers Surviving Disclosure of Sexually Abused Children

With a diagnosis of BPD there are many complex reasons that brings forth the symptoms of this disorder.  Child Truama, sexual abuse, abandonment , neglect and abuse of all kinds.  Today I though I would post this piece as it expresses the need for the mothers welfare in all this.  That often supporting the mother can be the best way to help support the child who has just disclosed the abuse.

Moms Need Support – Child Sexual Abuse Hits Home

Mothers Surviving Disclosure of Sexually Abused Children

© Karen Stephenson

In the wake of a child or teenager disclosing sexual abuse, mothers are hurled into emotional trauma. The best way to support an abused child is to support the mother.

More often than not, mothers of children who have disclosed sexual abuse have family members and friends ask: “How could you have not seen changes in your child?” These words act as a weapon and crush an already fragile emotional state. Angela Rivera is with “In Support of Sexually Abused Children” in London, England. She claims that one of the best methods in supporting a child who has disclosed sexual abuse, is to support the mother.

Disclosure

When a mother finds out her child has been sexually violated there is immediate shock. An overwhelming sensation that life has transformed from reality to surrealism shrouds the mother. This state of shock can last days, weeks and in serious cases, months.

Shock diminishes over time and many women experience physical repercussions. The immune system weakens and the cascade of negative emotions has been known to cause nausea and vomiting. Anger and guilt become entrenched in daily routines. Self-blame is common. Getting past this stage requires intensive support from family, friends and in many cases, counseling.

The final stage of healing after disclosure is acceptance. Dwelling on the abuse diminishes and daily tasks come easier once again. Nightmares may still occur and triggers will bring tears, but this is healthy.

Mom is the Target of Anger

Teenagers who were sexually abused as a young child hold a lot of anger toward their mothers. They feel their mothers should have seen signals that they were abused. As they go through sexual abuse counseling, anger comes out and it often is directed at their mothers. Children and teenagers find it much safer to direct feelings of anger toward their mothers, rather than at the abusers. Throughout the healing process for a sexually abused child, “mom” is seen to be at fault for being married to a sexual perpetrator. If the perpetrator was an uncle or other family member, the victim’s anger is still real as the child feels his or her mother should have picked up on what was happening.

These feelings coincide with the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence in Canada. They report that most sexual abuse happens in the context of an ongoing relationship between the child and the abuser. This relationship gives the perpetrator opportunity to exploit the child’s desires, fear and abuses his trust.

Life Has Changed

For some women, their lives have been radically altered. If the husband or partner was the perpetrator she will find herself on her own, often with little economic independence. She may find herself in a shelter and her life is reduced to total reliance on the system.

In cases in which an uncle is the abuser, women have lost their entire families. Grandparents refuse to accept that their adult child committed sexual abuse, therefore believing that the grandchild is a liar. The mother is seen as bringing shame to the family, as she should be “sweeping the incident under the rug” and not talking to anyone about the abuse.

There are even situations in which there were two or more perpetrators which further plummets the mother into emotional chaos. Sexual revictimization by muliple perpetrators is not uncommon and these children have more difficulties with psychological recovery. Mothers of these children experience many more difficulties in coping and recovery.

Another difficult factor that a mother needs to work through, is that once a child discloses, often mental health issues intensify. Post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality, anxiety and phobias are common among sexual abuse survivors.

 

 

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