violence

All posts tagged violence

The trauma response.

Published September 11, 2019 by thefamilyof5

As expected, the girls all struggled to sleep last night. In particular, Big Girl, she had a very poor nights sleep.

I was greeted this morning with anger and irritation. She was tired and anxious. The visit yesterday had triggered a trauma response. She hadn’t been able to regulate herself and had felt increasing levels of anxiety through the night. She was already overwhelmed.

Me: help, she’s gonna blow again!

Post Adoption social worker: oh dear, not much you can do about the assessment though is there, just let the Safeguarding Social worker know.

CAMHS: increase her medication.

So much for help!

I asked for help last time because Big Girl becomes violent and aggressive when she is anxious. They made a safe guarding referral. I thought that would bring help, you know, like a crisis plan, an emergency call button, someone to bring me hot meals in the days after a ‘crisis’!? Ok that was wishful thinking.

But I asked them both for help! What they sent was an almighty shit storm disguised as a ‘Safeguarding Assessment’. The assessment that has triggering yet more anxiety in Big Girl. All the girls are now crippled with worries and anxieties, its left them anxious and insecure and wondering what the hell is happening in their lives.

There are many more appointments to come yet.

Last time, the trigger was the uncertainty around her education provision (we still don’t have answers from the LEA).

This time, the trigger is the ‘help’ they’re forcing upon her. She doesn’t want to talk to strangers and she doesn’t want strangers in her home. She doesn’t want an assessment or for people to ‘know her business’ (her words). She is scared. She doesn’t understand what is happening. She’s frightened. There is the shame, she feels ashamed when she see’s her sisters are also finding the assessment hard, when she see’s them crying and asking me ‘why?’ She feels bad.

How is this helpful exactly.

We’re heading for Rocky waters again I fear.

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The first visit….

Published September 10, 2019 by thefamilyof5

So today was the first visit from the safe guarding social worker. I told the girls a short time before she was due to arrive to minimise their anxiety building up.

Big Girl and Middle Girl remained close to me, clearly watching the window anxiously awaiting the arrival. Baby Girl went to a different room, but sat in a position whereby she could also see the window/door, and read (pretended to) a book.

The social worker was pleasant, introduced herself and explained she was there to see how everyone was doing. The girls giggled quite a bit, hid behind their hair, and briefly engaged in conversations about hobbies and books and things like that. The social worker attempted to subtly find out what access to technology they have, how often they see friends and if they get pocket money.

I’m assuming the social worker could sense their anxiety, despite their outward smiles, because she only stayed for 30minutes (she’d told me she’d stay an hour or so when she called). She asked them if they’d be happy for her to come back next week and they all excitedly chirped ‘yes!!’.

I could see the anxiety, I knew that ‘yes’ wasn’t genuine. I reminded them that she was a nice lady here to help and they could say anything they wanted and she wouldn’t mind. Baby Girl piped up defensively that she was saying exactly what she wanted to say! Big Girl looked at me with a desperate look in her eyes and Middle Girls bottom lip was quivering whilst she smiled and nodded.

The social worker left. I asked them how they really felt. 1hr 45minutes later Big Girl and Middle Girl finally stopped crying and Baby Girl assured me she was feeling better also.

When the social worker left Big Girl had become angry, very rude and obnoxious. I can’t deny fearing she was going to blow again. I commented that maybe she wasn’t angry with me, like her behaviour suggested, but perhaps she was sad or anxious. She burst in to tears. She couldn’t tell me how she was feeling so eventually I asked her to try writing it down.

Middle Girl tried to tell me how she felt about the visit but the lump in her throat and the tears streaming down her face left her unable to speak. I also asked her to try and write how she was feeling.

Baby Girl lay on the sofa, peeled a sticker from a parcel besides her and put it across her mouth. I think she said everything she needed to in that moment.

Baby Girl ‘I don’t want to talk to a social worker’

Middle girl wrote that we was worried she would have to talk about what’s been happening with big girl, and she didn’t want to, she wrote it would make her cry.

Middle Girls feelings

Big girl wrote that she was scared she would say the wrong things to the social worker and she would write them in her report still and that scared her. She told me later that taking to the social worker again felt pointless because she wouldn’t tell her the truth. She wasn’t able to tell me why she wouldn’t be able to be truthful, but she did say ‘I never am with people I don’t trust’.

Big Girls feelings

Baby Girl told me later than she is worried the stress of the social worker visits is going to make big girl ‘kick off’ again.

I didn’t tell her of course, but so am I.

Note: Thank you to everyone that’s messaged me, commented, tweeted etc recently, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support. ♥️

Asking for help.

Published September 9, 2019 by thefamilyof5

I asked for help, I begged for it actually. I cried real and genuine tears down the phone to people and asked them to help me keep everyone safe.

No help came. No one came to keep us safe or check we were ok. Ring the police was all they could say.

They did however arrange an appointment some 21 days after big girls episode first started, more than a week after her final violent police incident and only a day after we finally felt we’d come out the other side. Big girls ‘episode’ lasted 21 days in all. That’s 21 days of everyone in our home feeling scared, anxious, stressed to the max and on lock down.

Today is day 26. Day 5 of feeling it’s safe to leave the house. Day 5 of the aftermath. Day 5 of the healing process.

The appointment consisted of 2 safe guarding social workers, 2 post adoption social workers, 2 ‘crisis prevention’ workers and our contact from CAMHS. Oh, and me and MFo5 of course. It was very clear from the outset that every single professional person, around that table, felt that MrFo5 and myself needed ‘parenting classes’. Regardless of the extensive list of training we told them we’d had, that was their only solution. Parental blame. Child to Parent violence is clearly the fault of the parents in their eyes.

No consideration or understanding of early trauma.

No real concept of attachment.

No real appropriate training.

MrFo5 and I were probably the most trained, well researched and experienced in the effects of neglect, abuse and early trauma. Yet we were being told WE needed parenting classes! ‘Introduction to the teen years’ or something like that, and even then, that was only because we’d already completed the NVR they initially suggested. The NVR they explained was ‘new to them’ and they were ‘still learning themselves’.

So tomorrow begins the first visit from a newly appointed safe guarding social worker who will be completing a 40 day child social work assessment. I didn’t have a choice I was told. She’ll be visiting to ensure my children are safe and happy and their needs being met apparently.

Not only does it leave me feeling extremely anxious about what they’ll decide and what experience and knowledge they’ll be basing their assessment from, but when the girls find out tomorrow, there’s the huge potential of their early trauma being triggered by such visits. They were removed from the scary violent birth family home by safe guarding social workers. I’ve spent 9 years working hard to ensure they all know home is a place they can feel safe. A social worker will visit tomorrow (and various other days) and potentially undermine all of that. In the very least it will add to everyones anxiety levels, more worryingly, big girls. Anxiety being the trigger for every single ‘episode’.

I’m unsure how my child attacking me because she is unable to manage the pre-adoption trauma she hides inside, warrants an ‘investigation’ of this nature. It feels like an investigation. Helping me keep her and us safe during her violent episodes, was all I needed help with. That’s why I asked for help. It certainly wasn’t so I could feel vilified and bullied by people who have never met my children and don’t know the first thing about their ‘needs’.

It’s unlikely I’ll ever ask for help again.

This isn’t help.

This is intrusive and blaming.

Masking

Published August 30, 2019 by thefamilyof5

Big girl masks everything, she very rarely expresses a need or hurt. She keeps everything tightly locked inside.

It’s an absolute tragedy that masking isn’t more understood. If it was, then when the professionals saw her outward behaviours this last 3 weeks, especially at the start when she only allowed a small piece of her inner self to be seen, they’d have realised that what she was feeling was 100x’s more than what they were seeing. She needed their help.

Today Big girl seems to have turned a corner. Yesterday there was a promise of a new prescription in the post today with new medication. When I told her there was an instant wave of relief wash over her. She stopped screaming at me and telling me she would fight me for the door keys. She stopped glaring directly in to my eyes and making threats. She stopped trying to intimidate her sisters. There was a slight smile and a few questions. It seems that was enough for her to be able to see an end to her pain and relax enough for her adrenalin and cortisol levels to subside. She knew help was coming. An end was in sight.

She woke today like a completely different child. Like nothing had happened. Her new medication starts Monday.

Today MrFO5, Middle girl, Baby girl and myself can all start to process our trauma and begin to heal our broken hearts.

#CPV aka Child to Parent Violence

Published August 26, 2019 by thefamilyof5

It’s a very emotive topic, most people don’t like to think about it, never mind discuss it. Too much risk of ‘child shaming’ I guess. But it needs to be talked about more openly, it’s needs to be acknowledged as a difficulty some parents face, and it needs to be acknowledged as ‘not ok!’

Big girl becomes violent when she’s anxious, this has happened since around the age of 9, her tantrums progressed to being violent out bursts. With every incident the volatility, the violence, the anger and the danger all increase. Big girl has always directed all of her negativity and anger towards me, so of course all the violence is aimed at me also. I used to be bigger than her, I used to be able to stop her hurting herself and me.

The paramedics who came Wednesday checked her foot where she’d bruised it kicking me and a table. They checked the superficial cuts on the back of her hand that she did with a dinner knife, the same one she told me she’d use to kill me. They looked at the bruised hand she used to punch me.

People suggested I make her a sandwich since she’d refused breakfast. The police suggested she did something she enjoyed like some colouring. Camhs suggested I gave her more medication.

I’m currently covered in many bruises which I’ve desperately tried to hide from baby girl and middle girl. They know what happened, they were here, but they don’t need constant visual reminders.

No one checked my bruises or my broken heart in the 11.5hrs they were in my home and on my phone. No one made sure I’d eaten that day (I hadnt and didn’t until 9pm).

No one really knows how to react when they see/hear what happened. It’s like an elephant in the room. Because no one talks about it, it almost becomes a secret. No one dare mention anything to big girl right now for fear of triggering another ‘incident’, so egg shells it is.

Everyone continues to play happy families, well, everyone except me. I’m bruised and sore and have constant reminders of the events that unfolded last Wednesday all over my body. My muscles ache, my body is bruised, my heart is broken. I’m not really up for playing happy families. I’m fed up, I’m annoyed, I’m hurt and really not feeling very warm towards big girl right now. Not helped by Big girl who has continued her rein of anger and negativity towards me, there’s no remorse for me, or regret, she’s not sorry. She’s just continued to be obnoxious and rude to me, and only me.

Big girl doesn’t ‘need’ to be nice to me though, she doesn’t ‘need’ anything from me, she’s getting all her needs met by everyone else, everyone else is giving her the power and the drive to continue to pour her negativity in to me.

The family that dare not mention it to her for fear of her kicking off, those that over compensate and try to make her feel happier without pointing out what she did and continues to do, is wrong, the CAMHS worker who suggests I take her lunch to her bedroom when she refuses to come downstairs to eat, whilst screaming that I’m starving her (which somehow makes ME feel like I’m groveling for her forgiveness!? How does that work), the consultant who has a 5 minute chat with her alone and decides she has capacity and is in control, implying it’s behaviour, which then implies parenting is the issue, the CAMHS worker that suggests I take her to the park to have some fun.

No one checked I wanted to do these things, no one asked how I was feeling, no one asked me if it felt safe, or even if my body hurt too much to walk around a park.

Every single person that doesn’t address the huge great big white elephant in the room with big girl, enables her to continue to target me. In her eyes, I’m the one who doesn’t try to cheer her up, I’m the one that doesn’t want to pander to her by taking food to her room, I’m the one that doesn’t talk in a gentle warming tone and buy her treats, I’m the one that didn’t want to go to the park, I’m the one thats miserable and not playing happy families, but I’m also the one with the bruises and the one who is still on the receiving end of all her negativity. She is being enabled by everyone’s fear of addressing CPV for what it is! It’s NOT ok.

The world that can’t bare to think about child to parent violence. Also known as ‘domestic violence’, and it’s not ok!

More Secrets.

Published June 4, 2019 by thefamilyof5

I don’t really know where to start. Everything is feeling very difficult right now. Even structuring a sentence.

We discovered big girl has been keeping secrets, lots of secrets and for potentially the entire 18months she’s been in school.

It seems the assistant in her taxi has been plying her with money, chocolate bars, cakes and energy drinks and telling big girl to keep it a secret. So she did. Food has historically been an issue/trigger for big girl, one I thought we’d overcome.

The assistant is being dealt with via the formal route via the safeguarding team. Too disgusted to comment more on her.

As a parent, big girl is my responsibility. I’m torn between seeing her as a victim, to seeing her as someone who’s lied to me for 18 months. (I wonder how much of the violence we’ve had was due to sugar overload.) I’m struggling to move on. Big girl moved on a long time ago. We had a long weekend of shame fuelled violence and dangerous behavior, all directed at me as usual, and then she moved on. It’s not that simple for the rest of us.

Big girls relationship with me has always been difficult. I represent the thing she fears most. A mother. Connection. Love. She’s always pushed me away as far as she possibly can whilst simultaneously needing me for everything. She is utterly dependant on me for everything and too terrified of the world to change that. So she avoids ALL connection with me whilst draining me of my emotional, physical and mental energy which allows her to navigate life. I’m trying to follow the advice and not take it personally, but it IS personal. She’s lied to me. Kept secrets from me. Deceived me. Manipulated me.

I just don’t know how to move on from this. I’m hurt, I’m angry and I’m hurt some more. I’m scared for her future and I’m scared for ours. What else has she kept secret. What will be next. What could have been. Why.

I have no positive memories or connection with big girl to draw from. It’s just this. It’s just an empty black hole and I don’t know how to get us out of it, together. Or even apart.

Of course baby girl and middle girl sense my brokenness, despite my best outwardly efforts to be ‘ok’. So they’re understandably pushing those boundaries and buttons in search of safety too. I’m exhausted.

I’m feeling very alone and broken right now.

Downtime…..

Published March 17, 2019 by thefamilyof5

We had a great half term. Despite all of us feeling apprehensive about how big girl would be, she was lovely. She played with her sisters, helped out around the house, was kind, respectful, happy and slept better. Just like Christmas break.

She returned to school after a weeks break, by the Tuesday of the first week of school she was already rude, angry, defiant and tired.

Things got progressively worse, my kind gentle big girl was making threats by the weekend. By the following week she was hostile and refusing medication.

With no help from Post Adoption Support, the SEND team or CAMH’s (aside from medication) and school unable to really grasp how school effects her, we were left with little choice but to pull her out of school for a few days.

We told her Tuesday night. She was furious. We were ruining her education and taking her away from her friends she said.

She woke up Wednesday morning and said ‘good morning’ to me for the first time in 2 weeks. She’s had a great few days again. Slept better, enjoyed being with her family, been happy. She tells me she’s had a lovely time, hasn’t missed her friends and isn’t worried about her learning after all because she knows she can do more than school ask of her she tells me.

Baby girl and Middle girl were understandably upset about the prospect of their angry volatile sister staying home from school. I talked it through with them before speaking to Big girl. Baby girl said ‘I’ll support your decision mommy but I can’t promise I will want to play with her, she makes me feel scared’. Baby girl and Middle girl have made me super proud this week, they’ve been respectful and kind and Baby girl did play with Big girl after all. They’re in the playroom as I type in fact, playing with Baby girls new teddy.

Sisters enjoying Comic Relief together!

She’s going back to school tomorrow with a plan for additional down time throughout the day to hopefully stop things building and overspilling when she gets home. Hopefully school will support this. The anxiety has already started to build, she hasn’t slept as much and tells me she’s feeling anxious about going back to school. I’m not sure how many days she will last this time or how many days the rest of us will last either.

We have a reassessment of her EHCP taking place but as no one in the SEND team ever returns my calls or emails it’s difficult for me to know what this will mean. I’ve requested an alternative education provision for her, something that looks like 1:1 tuition that takes place locally but outside of our home.

Without the support of Post Adoption (who tell me it’s an education issue) CAMHS (who only provide medication) and schools inability to see what she can and can’t manage, I’m not sure big girl will get what she needs from the SEND team, which leaves our family in a very fragile position.

I wonder what will need to happen before all of the services start working together and taking proper steps to support my family.

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