In 2013 Alex, Sarah, Josh, and Nicole suffered the loss of their father. He didn’t die from cancer or a horrible car accident. They lost their father because of his choice to be abusive.
The majority of the physical abuse was directed at me. Although I knew the fighting upset and hurt the children, I never realized how deep their pain was. In addition to the physical violence, I also discovered he had sexually exploited our daughter.
My children’s father was arrested and sent to prison. Unless he makes major changes, he will not see them until they are adults—if then. After he was gone I knew the children needed to get help and found Primary Children’s Safe and Healthy Families. All of my children began seeing therapists and these amazing people saved my children!
My children were withdrawn and depressed. Some were overcome with guilt, feeling they played a part in their father’s decisions. It was a very long process, but we all looked forward to our weekly meetings. It was a time and space that allowed all of us to heal. The wounds and scars left from their father’s actions are as real as any broken bone or laceration.
Along the way we were also introduced to a great program called DBT—Dialectic Behavior Therapy. My oldest was having issues with his anger and our therapist recommended this to help. It was a six month class where we met in a group environment to learn new skills. This class was specifically for me and my teenager. He and I learned so many wonderful skills that we still use every day.
After about a year in therapy it was time to help the children move on. Some of my children loved their therapist so much and were heartbroken at the idea of not seeing them again. We have been back a couple of times when they needed a little help and I’m so grateful they can return to the same therapist. Although the therapy was specifically for my children, I have reaped so many benefits through the process myself.
I am grateful that Primary Children’s recognized that there was a need in our community for those that have been injured by various forms of abuse and provided the help that children need. The scars are now smaller and their lives are full thanks to the social workers we worked with. I don’t think my family could ever thank them enough for all they have done for us.
Story Lines is a feature on Play Ground telling the personal stories and experiences of people cared for at the hospital. If you would like to share your experience on the blog, please contact us.