At about the age of sixteen my world came crashing down around me. It was all of the sudden at this age that I came to the complete realization and comprehension of what had happened to me. I personally had almost completely "forgotten" until my mother and her husband took me with them to a Christian marriage councilor. It was he who discerned, I'm sure with the Lord's help that something awful had happened to me. He recognized the signs. I'm not really sure what they were. I was fifteen with the world on one shoulder and a large and growing chip on the other. He helped me work through some steps of forgiveness but for some reason it took me about another year for it all to settle in. When it did, life exploded.
I spent years wondering why the Lord let such atrocities happen to me. Every so often though He brings someone into my life who needs to hear my testimony and know that no matter how bad it was, you can not only survive, but overcome and have a beautiful life.
After a recent circumstance I wrote this. I hope it helps someone.
Dear guardians of a child with CPTSD,
Why is she throwing this attitude?
Times in her life, she has been punished for things she did do and for things she didn’t do. The rules depended on someone else’s mood or high. She’s to a point of, “Darned if I do, darned if I don’t. It doesn’t matter what I do, I’m going to be punished anyway.”
She’s also never had anyone expect her to amount to anything in her life. Everyone around her has expected her to act a certain way and end up with the same life she was born into. She doesn’t want that, but she’s tired of being treated that way so she figures she might as well be doing what everyone seems to expect of her.
What does she want?
She has no clue what she wants. She wants someone to be there for her. At the same time she wants people to leave her alone. What she NEEDS is for someone be there for her no matter what.
- She has had rejection so she feels like a reject.
- She has been neglected and deprived of love so she feels unlovable.
- She has been abused so she feels worthless.
What’s the use?
You took on one of the hardest jobs in the world, parenting a child with CPTSD. Give yourself some grace. You can’t do it right. That is because there is no right way to do it.
Don’t give in and don’t give up.
That’s what she’s waiting for, maybe even pushing for. Everyone else has given up on her. Everyone else in her life has stopped loving her at some point. She knows if she pushes you far enough that you will too. It’s only a matter of time. The sooner she can get you to give up, the sooner she can be alone… That’s not really what she wants but she’s tired of the fake. She wants something real. She will look high and low for it and mostly in the wrong places and she may never find it… unless. Someone sticks. Someone who will love her no matter what, not with material things but just be there and stand firm.
We all get hurt.
Yes, she’s going to get hurt. Don’t we all? She might even get herself killed. That’s awful to say, I know. It’s the harsh reality of life that anything we do with a flippant, “It’ll be okay” attitude can end up badly in a heartbeat. All parents need to face this at some point. There are no promises saying, if you … you’ll live. A child with CPTSD knows this harsh reality better than most. Don't ignore it and don't dance around it, and definitely don't use it against her because she is firmly convince that's what everyone wants anyway.
If she KNOWS you love her unconditionally, you’ve done your job. Your job is not to keep her alive. Your job is to provide a place of safety, love, and security. She may not choose to stay in that place with you, under your protection. That’s okay. It’s scary, but it’s okay.
- The Conqueror who rose from the grave. (Romans 6:1-4, 8:37)
- The Healer who healed the sick and dying. (Matthew 4:24)
- The One who Forgives and Believes we can "Go and sin no more". (John 8:8-12)
- The One who Empowers us to overcome the world. (1 John 5:4-5)
Simplify your boundaries.
Yeshua (Jesus) gave us two rules that everything in life falls under. (Matthew 22:36-40) The first is to love God with all your being. Face it, we all struggle with that one. The second is to love others as yourself, The Golden Rule. If you leave your clothes on the floor, is it loving to the person who has to pick them up? On the same accord, we should love each other enough to be happy to pick up after each other. But if we are constantly having to pick up after someone else, we start to feel unloving about it. All rules and boundaries can be placed in these two categories; does it show love to God or does it show love to others? This simplifies the rules. No list to keep up with. For example: Curfew = I’m going to bed at… I’ll sleep better if I know you are home by…
You will fail.
All parents do. No child expects perfection and you will lose their respect if you try to act the part. Accept it. Admit it. Apologize when needed. Then point her to the ONE who is perfect, who will never fail and who will love you both through this situation and each situation you find yourselves in along the way for the rest of your lives.