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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Trauma Triggers

As a control-freak, helicopter parent, how could I be so clueless?  We generally check and recheck every move, every activity, and every outing.  Downloading a couple of movies on Netflix, our usual nice evening together, turned disastrous.

Mind you, we don’t rent X-rated, R-rated, or even PG-13-rated movies.  Our family plays it nice and easy, G or PG.  Imagine our shock when the first one included curse words over and over.  Not exactly what we want our kids exposed to.

We did the smart thing and pulled the plug, quickly finding another film.  The description sounded like fun.  We didn’t feel the need to run these findings through multiple, online video ratings guides.  But maybe we should have.

Kidnappers, chase scenes, thugs chasing innocent kids, and bullying on the playground showed us that things were going in the wrong direction.  Finally, a gangster-turned-correctional-school-janitor shows his intended childish victim that he was abused as a child, revealing the huge burn mark across his abdomen.

“Turn it off,” Benedetto instructs the kids nearest the switch.

The two of us are buried under dogs and pillows and wedged inbetween children.  The kids don’t move.

The janitor on the big screen raises a metal rod to strike the child.

“DO something!” I intervene.

“Give me the remote!” Benedetto orders.

Sashenka and Pasha are immobile, mesmerized, spellbound, and petrified.  They cannot move.  My husband climbs over them, grabs the remote and hits the freeze-frame before he is able to totally switch it off.  We take a 5-minute break and put on a light comedy to clear the air.

But the damage had been done.  Maybe the movie turned out well, and it was all a bad dream, but our family doesn’t have the luxury of waiting around “just to see” what happens next.  This is family fare?

Having a snack before bed finds Sashenka at the kitchen table with the rest of us, while  holding a favorite stuffed animal and rocking.  She’s never rocked, nor brought a stuffed animal to the table. The triggers of past trauma and abuse take her back, back, back into an unsafe world where everything is dicey and dangerous.  Can you say PTSD?

She’s been rocking here and there for the past week (no rocking chair involved, for those who are not familiar with this self-soothing behavior).  We’re talking her through it, but it’s a slow go.  The fragility of the psyche, floundering even with our best efforts.

One false move, and we’re back to Square One.



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6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    It can stay buried so that you are thinking you have made progress and then as you experienced, one incident and it rears up from the depths. So sorry your little sweetheart has had to deal with it once again.

  2. avatar Linda says:

    That’s all what it takes, one little thing…
    Do you have some specific ways of dealing with all this?

    Our little lad is going through something right now, can’t explain what it is, but it’s something that has to do with the “babyhome”… oh, how I wish that he could just tell us what’s up…
    And just as life has got back to normal after the panic about Christmas… I’m seriously considering banning all holidays/birthdays ect. in our family…

    • avatar admin says:

      For us, we’re usually very vigilant about deleting anything that might upset them, Linda. I don’t think it’s strange for you to ban holidays and birthdays if that would help. I know that’s not life in the real world, but for a while, why not? They are resilient and their tolerance level does grow, but some things are just too much, period. I hope your son feels better soon. How special that you’re tuned into him and his needs!

  3. avatar Kathleen says:

    I love reading that I am not the only one who tries to be so vigilant about everything. Maybe you could do a post on good movie choices you’ve watched with the your kids lately.

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