Nothing can trigger you like your children…..

My daughter just turned 10. She will be in fourth grade. I was 8 going into 4th grade, and I turned 9 that year, but it doesn’t change the fact that fourth grade is fourth grade. Some of my worst memories, the ugliest of the ugly happened back in 4th grade. So maybe this year would have been a problem, anyway. Maybe I would have fallen back into the rabbit hole, anyway. I don’t know. But here I am, broken again.

It started out fine, innocent even. After being locked in the house, and having no in person contact for months, Kat and I were more than ready to spend our days at the beach. We started heading to the beach in May, setting up our blankets and chairs, along with a small table to hold school work—Distance learning at it’s best. We finished up the school year sitting at the beach. It was nice, and towards the end of May, neighbors started doing the same with their kids. We all started to relax a little bit, and Kat and the other kids in the neighborhood rode bikes together, and played games, finding ways to maintain distance and be safe.

By June, we were even more relaxed about playing outside. We had established a bubble of people we were interacting with and not social distancing from (mostly family, including K, and one other family that hubby and I are close with), and we were allowing Kat to play outside with the neighborhood kids. Everything was good.

And then Kat met a boy one day when we were at the beach. And she liked him, liked him like had a crush on him. I wasn’t triggered by this. I really wasn’t. I had finally climbed out of the rabbit hole after four and a half years of therapy. I was able to listen to my daughter talk about having a crush on a boy, and the only reaction I had was to smile at her.

I don’t want to spark a debate about kids right to privacy, but this is important in this story. Every few weeks, I go through Kat’s ipad. I check the apps she has downloaded, and I scan the texting apps. I don’t sit and read through everything she has typed, but I scan over things just to make sure that there is nothing to be concerned about. We loosened so many of the rules we had with her iPad because of the pandemic. We never used to allow her to message or call friends, only a limited number of family members, but everything changed thanks to the Coronavirus. So, now I scan her ipad every so often to make sure she is being safe.

So, 4 weeks ago, I went through her iPad, and found a message detailing the fact Kat had a kissed a boy. That triggered me. I flipped out, and ended up texting with Bea for most of the day. Even with that, though, I didn’t fall. I struggled, but between K, and hubby, and Bea, I stayed out of the rabbit hole. I was okay.

Three weeks ago, Kat started having problems with the boy. I believed, or tried to believe, it was normal stuff. He was mad at her, and made some threats (to draw on her bike with a marker, or to knock over a sand castle she had built. Stuff like that). The kids of the neighborhood split into two groups and they were constantly fighting. Bea and K both assured me this was normal kid drama. I had to do a lot of checking with both of them, that this was okay, that it was normal and fine. And I stayed out of the rabbit hole.

Then one week ago I found naked pictures on her iPad. Naked pictures of Kat. Pictures she had texted. I lost it. I was so triggered, I couldn’t even tell Bea. I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday in this weird falling apart fog, and I literally couldn’t pull it together. Hubby thought I was sick, and I let him think that. I couldn’t find the words to tell him. Monday therapy was awful. I couldn’t pull it together to even pretend everything was okay, and I couldn’t find the words to tell what was wrong. All the parts were stirred up and I was firmly stuck in the past. Bea knew something wasnt right, and she encouraged me to email, or text if I could. I ended up emailing Bea what was wrong.

On Tuesday, I told hubby. And we (well, mostly hubby) talked to Kat. She cried and cried about how mean this boy was being, and how he had kissed her and she liked him so much, but then he wanted her to do something she didn’t want to do (no idea what this was, Kat wouldn’t say) and he was mad and bullying her. He was threatening her and bullying and semi stalking her. Kat told us that the boy said he wouldn’t be mad about her not playing the game he wanted if she sent him a picture. And so, she did. My daughter sat there and cried and cried about how she just wanted him to like her again and to stop being mean. (Hubby talked to the boys mom, and the boy will be staying away from our daughter. Kat has lost iPad privileges for the moment).

And thats when I fell, fully and completely down the rabbit hole.

There’s so many complicated and messy feelings around this, and it hurts. It hurts so much. I’m scared all the time. I feel like I’m drowning in triggers.

11 thoughts on “Nothing can trigger you like your children…..

  1. slantgirl says:

    Alice, I am so sorry. I have nothing to offer, except that I see you and I feel this along with you. My boys are 6.5 and I dread the future that awaits us because of the last I survived. Let bea and K and your husband carry you through this so you can be what Kat needs to get her through. I hope you can find ways to remind yourself that, also, this isn’t your past, this is Kat’s present, and she is so lucky to have a mother like you to walk through it with her and just sit with the difficult things that happened to us as girls.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It’s scary parenting when you know all the things that can happen. Bea has become a lifeline again, and has been very good at reminding me how Kat is different from me. Sometimes it all just blends together, and it doesn’t feel different at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Having survived similar abuses (because that boy did pull out the manipulative card in a way other boys would not have) it made me much more aware of the dangers. That is why you checked her tablet frequently. GOOD THING!
    But it also made me feel overwhelmed and freak out when finding notes with anatomical parts shared by one son and the neighbor girl when he was about that age. It was good to have Raymond to help me realize that some of this is normal. So I’m glad you have your husband and Bea.
    I think I was a curious mix of being much more aware of the dangers of what kids could do together, and being totally in the dark of what was going on. Aware and not aware at all.
    It does open a pandora box of your own agony that can heal over time bit by bit. So the work goes on…


    • It’s really, really hard for me to know what is and isn’t normal. How do we know what is normal for our kids to be doing, thinking, feeling, when we didn’t get to be normal? It’s impossible. You are absolutely correct about being aware and not aware at the same time. It’s a strange thing to try to explain. Why does this stuff have to open that Pandora’s box? Who came up with that plan? Because, as you know, it stinks. It’s so hard to be mom when I’m triggered and falling apart and feeling more like the hurt little girl than the capable 36 year old woman that I am. I keep trying to remember that healing is a journey.


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