Dear Readers–There’s a quiet little discussion going on in the comment section of the Black Oak blog entry from earlier this week. The latest entry is intriguing, but easily buried, so I want to post it here as well.
What happened is this. A mother and daughter came to the book event at Black Oak Books where I presented Jonathan and Sheena’s stories and what I learned in the process of writing the book, followed by a dynamite discussion with Akaya (cover girl), her support group and the audience.
On the way home, the teen told her mother that she’d been raped several years earlier, when she was twelve. The mom posted this experience on the blog. She wants readers to know that the book has an impact and that it opened communication between her and her daughter.
Now a therapist is commenting. She asked me to post her e-mail on the blog so I am putting it here:
That is a very moving letter with some important information. It always amazes me how the developmental issues that go with adolescence make it almost impossible for teens to see their parents as parents see themselves.
When I first read that her mother had been abused I assumed the daughter was sparing her motherâ€™s feelings. Instead she assumed that her mother would feel about her the way she (the girl) felt about herself.
Some people theorize that survivors blame themselves as a means of gaining some control. Itâ€™s an interesting thought, but I donâ€™t think itâ€™s entirely true.
Peopleâ€™s reactions to the book intrigue me and there is a lot to learn from them. Iâ€™m not surprised the daughter said nothing about her being raped to her therapist. Kids hint and wait for you to speak the unspeakable. Their shame keeps them silent. Once you, as the therapist, say it, then it is out of hiding. Too many mental health practitioners think they will be â€œpushingâ€ if they bring it up. I donâ€™t think that is true unless they bring it up before a relationship has been established. I recall one mother who was having a terrible time with her 3 yr old boy. She couldnâ€™t set limits on him at all and he was a tyrant. She was overwhelmed by him. She seemed actually scared of him. It finally dawned on me how much she was projecting onto this little boy and I asked her about the childâ€™s conception. It was no surprise to hear he was the product of a rape. She would not have volunteered this information though. Everything changed after that. She was able to see him, not his perp father. Anyway, it is truly an adventure.