This blog article is a tribute to the mothers out there in the world that have spent huge chunks of their lives fighting for the safety / healing of their children.
These women are incredible spirits and are an inspiration to us all.
I know mothers who have absolutely gone the distance for their children. These women don’t get thanked often, but I do want to let them know that they are appreciated, recognized and deeply valued.
These mothers do a lot of things right.
- They listen attentively to their children, even if hearing the horror stories of abuse breaks their heart. They want to know what happened, and no matter how hard it is to hear, they listen to every single word.
- These mothers have clearly done a good job building communication with their children even before this point. Children have to know that it is okay to tell – “telling the secret” is often one of the biggest barriers in children getting help from their abuse. The children have to have someone safe to tell, someone they trust, someone that they can rely on to help them. If the mother hasn’t already built that kind of relationship with her children, she has drastically lowered the chances that her children will ever tell her their deepest secrets of abuse.
- These inspirational mothers do what it takes to protect their children from abusers, including leaving the perpetrator in whatever way is necessary – divorce, moving to another area of the country, going into a shelter, etc.
- They take assertive strong legal action against the perpetrator such as filing a report with child protective services, filing protective orders, pressing charges against the offender.
- They withstand the pressure from other friends and family members who may, for whatever reasons, oppose taking a strong stance against the perpetrator. These mothers know that protecting their children is more important than the approval of family members who want to hide embarrassing issues in the closet.
- These mothers are dedicated to finding helpful resources for their children’s therapy and treatment for sexual abuse. This is not always an easy task, and it might require a great deal of persistence, but these mothers will persist, for as long as it takes.
- These mothers sit with their children as they cry, they comfort their children after nightmares, they let their children cling to them when “being away from mommy” feels too scary. These mothers recognize that their children have been crime victims, that they have PTSD from their abuse, and that their neediness has skyrocketed. Good mothers let it be okay that their children need this extra time and attention to rebuild their emotional security again.
- These mothers are strong for their children, even when their heart is breaking. They get their own personal support system to help with their intense emotions (believe me, being the mother of an abused child is a highly emotional situation), and they find a way, place, and time to talk about their own grief and anger so that they can be present and available for their children.
- These mothers are brave enough to honestly assess the situation, and to look closely at how their children got tangled in an abusive situation. They learn from whatever mistakes were made, and correct them. They think back to see if there were any warning signs or high-risk factors that they missed, and learn how to handle things differently now that they are aware of the abuse. They figure out what to do in the future to keep their children safe from being abused in that particular way ever again.
- These mothers spend hours and hours of time with their children, even if they are acting-out and emotionally distraught from the abuse they suffered. The mothers temper their discipline with deep understanding that their children are acting out of their hurt, fear, pain, anger, etc. These moms realize that their children’s behavioral issues are not about the children being “bad”.
- These mothers provide new and positive activities for their children to help boost their tattered self-esteem and body image. They find recreational activities, or artistic activities, etc that give their children healthy feelings of acceptance, accomplishment, mastery, positive self-worth, creativity, growth, etc.
- Protective mothers will do everything in their power to help their children overcome the long-term negative effects of childhood sexual abuse. They are determined to not leave their children to suffer in silence and isolation. These mothers actively attend their needs, provide comfort, and help their children move forward as healthy, productive members of society.
Helping children recover from sexual abuse can be a long, difficult process, but if non-offending mothers are not willing to be protective and helpful for their children, the negative affects of the abuse can multiply and worsen through the years.
Untreated sexual abuse issues lead to all kinds of additional complicating factors such as addictions, promiscuity, self harm, depression, anxiety, mental health issues, repeated involvement in destructive relationships, angry behavior, destructive behavior, sexual acting out, hospitalizations, additional abuse, dissociative disorders, etc.
The cost of untreated sexual abuse truly multiplies exponentially over time.
Mothers who are willing to help and protect their children as close to the injury-point as possible are helping their children in the here-and-now, and creating a permanent and positive effect on their children’s lives. These mothers are also making a positive difference that can have a positive influence on society for years to come.
For those mothers who are willing to protect their children, here are my very best wishes that today is the most wonderful Mother’s Day for you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping your children.
You truly deserve a good Mother’s Day today, and everyday !
Copyright © 2008-2018 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation