Child Abuse Comes In Many Forms, And Is Never Okay

Learn about the less understood--but still harmful--forms of child abuse--on bettysbattleground.com

Though not yet an official diagnosis according to the American Psychiatric Association, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is being informally recognized as a more severe form of PTSD caused by prolonged trauma. Often, that trauma begins in childhood. Trauma that takes place during a person’s formative years is incredibly damaging. It establishes a sense of normalcy around abuse, creating a harmful pattern that can be extremely difficult to break from–or even recognize. The earlier the trauma begins, the more difficult it becomes for the victim to understand her experience as abnormal.

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Tales From the Other Side: “When It Happens To Your Child”

When It Happens To Your Child

Tales from the Other Side: A guest post series on www.bettysbattleground.com

I have written a lot on my blog about the trauma I have experienced. I have written about the ways trauma has affected my day to day life,  and how it haunts my interpersonal relationships. I have written about the reasons why I stayed with my abuser despite the pain and embarrassment he caused me, and last week I finally wrote about why I left: my son.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network writes that

Young children who experience trauma are at particular risk because their rapidly developing brains are very vulnerable. Early childhood trauma has been associated with reduced size of the brain cortex. This area is responsible for many complex functions including memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thinking, language, and consciousness. These changes may affect IQ and the ability to regulate emotions, and the child may become more fearful and may not feel as safe or as protected.

This terrifies me because it makes me question whether it is my fault that my son cannot tell me his feelings, thoughts, fears, joys. Is it my fault he still wear diapers at age 9? Is it my fault that he is autistic, because I let his biological father be a part of his life, even for just those short few months?

I can’t undo what my son witnessed and experienced as an infant; all I can do is my very best to keep him safe now. Likewise, any parent can only do her best to keep her child safe. We cannot always protect our children from trauma. One of the scariest moments in a parent’s life is when she discoverers something traumatic has happened to her child; whether at school, in an accident, while with someone once trusted, or elsewhere; discovering your child has been traumatized is earthshattering.

It’s a nightmare question which not many of us do want to even ponder: “What if it happens to my child?” But the question needs to be asked, because no matter how protective you are, your child may still experience trauma, and if he does, the best way you can help is to be prepared. Betty’s Battleground is grateful to have the opportunity to publish this piece by marriage and family therapist Katherine “Katie Jo” Glaves about how to detect and help childhood trauma.

Tales From the Other Side: "When It Happens To Your Child" bettysbattleground.comKatherine “Katie Jo” Glaves is joining us today to write a special guest post about children who’ve experienced trauma. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist at Mindful Therapy Group in Seattle, who specializes in working with children. She also operates out of her own private practice: Cedars Creative Therapy

 

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The Other Question: Why Did You Leave?

The question you SHOULD be asking survivors of domestic violence: "Why did you leave?"-answered

Earlier this year I wrote a post answering the terrible question that everybody asks, or wants to ask, survivors of long-term domestic violence: why did you stay?

My hope for that post was that it would provide enough information, which was personal to me but could be extrapolated to other abuse dynamics, to deter people from further asking DV survivors that judgmental and offensive question.

Seriously. No matter how well-intentioned you may be, “why did you stay” sounds to a domestic abuse survivor like “it’s your fault.” Not good.

I am writing this post, on the other hand, to encourage you, dear readers, to ask this question more often: “Why did you leave?”

People rarely ask DV survivors why they left. To many, the answer seems obvious. Of course she left; she was being abused. But if the answer to “why did you stay” is as complex as I proved it to be, then the answer to “why did you leave” is not so straightforward either.

“Why did you leave” is a good question to ask, because it encourages DV survivors to vocalize and thus acknowledge their strengths, and it reveals what it is they most care about. If we can, as a society, better understand what matters most to people in abusive partnerships, and what drives them to leave, then we will be better equipped to help more victims leave sooner, and stay away.

So here it is. The story of why, after four years of unimaginable abuse, I finally decided to leave.

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