Domestic Violence – the purple ribbon.
Married over 33 years, survived infertility, cancer, domestic violence. If you, like me think that happens to OTHER people, and usually the husband beating the wife, classic alcohol or drugs involved. Let me share a nasty secret with you – we’ve been living with it in our home for 8 years from a child of ours.
When we adopted after 16 years of infertility, so happy for two boys, then 10 years later we added two girls, an infant and 10-year-old. We knew the going would be rougher with the older daughter, given her past. Our ideals of “love conquers all” have been dashed, but it hasn’t stopped us from trying to stop the train either. Mental health supports up the ying yang, church connections, positive mentors, medication, psych testing, love, grace, 70x7 – we’ve done it all – reading books, listening to parenting CD’s….you name it, we’ve battled this demon of violence to the point we have seriously lost the ability to parent this child. Manipulative, controlling, unwilling to obey the simplest of parenting requests like “brush your teeth please.” Nothing. UNLESS she is in the mood. Moods. We are controlled by them. And victimized by violence with anger. It sets off at any time, unknown to us what tiny thing is the tipping point.
Scars on our bodies to show the pain we’ve endured, silently feeling like failure parents. Verbal abuse abounds on us emotionally as well. Unable to find any discipline that works - time outs used, doors off for slamming, consequences for actions – some natural, some applied when we are able, lost privileges…. Nothing has beat this demon. Christian boarding school – only to be expelled for – guess what – violence to staff. This was a turning point for me as I realized it wasn’t just me. I took on so much blame for not being a good enough Mom. This time, it wasn’t me being physically hurt – yet emotionally saddened that she continues to harm others besides us – worry for her future relationships, children…..how do you stop a moving train?
Studies on RAD, lower brain stem rage, PTSD, we know it – but it doesn’t stop it. She’s had 10 years of therapy – she knows WHAT to do, but if you don’t use it – what good is it? The skills knowledge is there for her, she knows it – but refuses to use it when needed.
So, welcome 18. She’d been told what would come if she continued with her ways. A hurt adult, chairs thrown, pictures smashed and knocked over furniture,….the 911 call that changed her future came. Jail time. Bond. 72hrs away. Felony or Misdemeanor still to be determined….court date.
We’ve always had a safety plan for the other children to get them away when the violence comes. We try to get away, often trapped or having to intervene to get the others safely away from harm. They know what to do – where to go. The boys get so angry at her and want to “get” involved, we’ve remained adamant it doesn’t and can’t involve them – get away, keep the little one safe. Our youngest cries and doesn’t understand and this last time cried when she knew she was coming home and wanted to sleep in our room to feel safe. For one of my sons, I see the quiet way he deals with his anger, getting back in unhealthy ways we’ve had to counsel as well. It isn’t easy on the other children either. They too are victims. It is hard for us as parents who are still trying to make a difference!
It hurts when people say to me how they just don’t see this in her – she is such a sweet nice girl, they “can’t imagine”, implying we are liars and she doesn’t act that way with them…..walk in my shoes people. It isn’t just us – we’ve learned this. History speaks for itself. She won’t just show these demons to anyone. It is like two or more different people live inside her….
So, we are committed to seeing her through school. One more year after this one. She is in this hard time of spring with year end which causes her such instability. She is confused and doesn’t know what she wants to do. One day she is running away, the next day she talks of future events with us. We never know…..but one day, she will fly on her own and we will restore peace…one day, I pray her demon of violence leaves her and this last jail stay will be her only jail stay. One day. So, pray with me. I’m so tired of this journey, but I’m committed despite feeling hopeless and wanting to give up like everyone in her past did….I find my courage and go again…praying this time, the violence stays away longer, and longer until it is no more.
Idealistic to the end. John 1:5