Yesterday I wrote about my son and some of the struggles he has had. I also wrote about how sometimes we know that children who have experienced trauma related to Domestic Violence get diagnosed as having ADHD. I don't have any references for that statement unfortunately but if you want to know more I can highly recommend going to the wonderful staff at Catholic Family Services here in the city, as that is where I first heard about it. Today I want to touch a little bit more on conflict and how I see it affecting children.
Writing a blog is intensely personal, at least it is for me. I am not a trained professional in Domestic Violence counseling or therapy, and I'm not a Social Worker. I'm a survivor, so my take on it is from that angle. When I write it is from the perspective of what I myself have experienced or witnessed or even what I have permission to share that has been shared with me by fellow survivors. I have one such story in mind...
Two evenings ago I had a phone call from a woman I know who is single parenting three children after having left a marriage in which there was Domestic Violence. The reason for her call was, that as I am a Nurse, she wanted me to talk to her child who was in a panic having swallowed a small round coin. Without too much concern, I told him that he and I would have a contest to see how long it is going to take to come out the other end...not a biggie, stuff like this happens, moving on. Well last night I got a phone call from the same woman informing me that she had just received a phone call from a child protection agency wanting to let her know that the childrens' father had been in contact with them complaining about her negligence. Guess what? Trial is coming up and custody has yet to be settled. Can you guess who is trying his hardest to be "parent of the year"?
I get really ticked about this kind of thing. I have not only experienced it myself but I have watched so many women go through it. An abuser is a master manipulator, he or she will do whatever it takes to prove their point and to convince others that their version of events is the one to be believed. In the event that children are involved, they (the kids) are the ones who suffer. In our home my husband was absent a lot of the time. When he was home there was a lot of tension. Also, when my husband had time to himself, that is what he wanted to do...spend time by himself. I would watch the kids, my son especially, try and try to make his dad happy - bring him the TV remote, fetch him a beer - all in an effort to get his attention and approval. This need for attention has only increased post separation and my poor child has done whatever he has felt he needed to do to make his Dad happy.
Children don't want to be in the middle, and as parents, that is the last place we want to put them. I know from my own personal experience that I would rather bite my tongue than complain about something their father did. Why? Not because I'm a saint but because I don't trust him not to grill and question them, I don't trust him not to put them in the middle. Sadly, we can only control what goes on in our own homes, we have no say over what happens when children go for visits, we just have to do our best to pick up the pieces when they come home again. For those of you who don't even get that opportunity, just know that no matter how discouraged you are, you are understood. Remember, you are not alone.by