Helping abuse victim? Possible trigger.
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|Sun, 01-04-2009 - 6:48pm|
Firstly, my apologies if this is not entirely accurate for the board topic, but I am at a loss of where else to place this. Also, forgive me if this is rather rambled and/or confusing to understand.
Recently my sister (just a quick clarification - we're sisters by close connection, not blood/relations/household) came to the conclusion the progress she thought she has had in leading a normal life hasn't been all that progressive at all, and she is very unsure of where to start or how to go about sorting out many years of built-up problems stemming from child abuse. I will try and give a clear summary of her history to how this all came about -
She comes from a family history of mental illness in her family and her parents in particular were quite young when they had kids and had a lot of issues of their own - she doesn't even know the exact date nor location she was even born (it could be the US or it could be Canada for all she knows).
Her father in particular has a long running history of mental disorders and drug addiction, and is notorious for his lack of remorse and indifference to authority figures (ie. police). Going to jail has never been a frightening concept to him - the moment he would get out he went back to his usual routine.
My sister was brought up under serious psychological abuse along with physical and sexual abuse. She was taught that she was to be basically like a doll, what she thought didn't matter and if things weren't perfect she would be severely punished (which lead her to learn even the most basic things in secret on her own, because not knowing how to do something as simple as tying shoelaces as a young child brought physical punishment).
There were quite a few times during her childhood she told people (teachers, grandparents, other adults) about what was going on, but she was told she was lying and/or exaggerating things because she didn't like how something was, and when her parents would find out it made the situation far worse.
Because of this, she has dealt with many issues when it comes to relationships (she has been in a near-six year long monogamous relationship but it hasn't been without issues because of how difficult she can find it to relate to people emotionally, what is normal behavior and what was taught), being emotionally connected, but most of all accepting help from people.
Due to how she was treated when she tried to seek help, her trained instinctual response now is to immediately say no (as it caused even worse trouble in the past), and she also feels annoyed/bitter when people offer her help and want to help her now, because people treated her so badly when she truly needed it/asking for help caused worse situations.
Her mother died a couple of years ago under suspicious circumstances, but her father is alive and still creates a serious problem for her (just recently he has been calling her and her boyfriend's house, yelling extremely violent and sexually vulgar threats directed at her). She won't get a restraining order against him as it's been known to do nothing in the past but make things worse (because he doesn't care about authority as previously mentioned) and there is very little the police can/will do otherwise. She constantly feels stressed and trapped when this happens and it's very hard for her to not get locked into that triggered response.
She fears for her life and is incredibly scared her father will do something, as he has a notorious history of doing things; but she is wanting to undo the trained responses that were so heavily instilled in her over the years in relation to others helping her, feeling that she needs to be ready to run at any given moment (and that she can't have anything permanent in fear it will be taken from her - as everything in the past has), to feel a sense of security and just be able to control her responses to block the triggered ones.
I have known others to be in a situation almost the exact same in the past, but I am no longer in contact with them to ask for their advice in what would help her. She has no idea where to start or what would help her, so it's to me to find her methods and resources she can use.
Professional help is out of the question. As she has no idea of her birth and her father refused to give her any information years ago when her mother died, she is without any proper identification to do things most people can (things which require 100 points ID etc.), and she doesn't have the money to pay for things in full like counsellors (and she generally cannot stand them anyway).
Please don't think that this is some far-fetched situation like many others have in the past - it is very much real as much as I wish it wasn't, and I'm at a desperate end to help her because I don't think I can bear to see her lose the progress she has made over the years and all the hard work. She is an extremely intelligent and strong young woman, but this is something she finds herself at a loss to because it's all so foreign to her.
If anyone could give any resources or methods used in aide of this kind of scenario, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you all in advance!