I am new here. Here is a brief version of my son's story (possible triggers)...
First of all, I'm a survivor of CSA myself. I never told anyone, never got help at all until I was an adult. My partner is also a survivor of CSA.
I always vowed to NEVER let that happen to my own children.
Well, I am mom to two boys, and 5 years ago, my youngest son WAS victimized by an older child, the son of my partner/significant other. It occurred over the period of a month or two, during normal "play times" and short intervals where we weren't in the room, or they were in one of their rooms playing (they didn't share a room). I guess it doesn't take much time alone.
My son was 5 and the other child was 10... but not really "emotionally" 10 if truth be told.. and an abuse victim as well but we didn't know it at the time (hidden abuse by a cousin when he was younger). My son came and told us what was happening and was immediately supported, believed, and praised for having the courage to speak up.
Long story short: both boys were immediately started in therapy, and physically separated (partner and I moved apart). We eventually moved back in together after the therapists and both kids felt it would be okay but I can swear on my life that there was NEVER a single solitary second from that day forward that the children were ever alone together. Ever.
The older child no longer lives in the home as of a few months ago, due to other behavioral problems and such, he lives with a family member.
When this has occurred I witnessed a great sense of relief in my son, which leads me to have horrible guilt.. have I destroyed him by having him live with his abuser all these years since "it" happened? I always believed that because they were both children and both in counseling and such, and because I know nothing "else" ever happened, and because my son always told me he felt safe, that it was going to be okay, but seeing his relief at having the older child gone makes me wonder.
Anyway, the current issue; He is 10 now, very smart and fairly mature, and very open with me about things. WHen this all happened, he was only in counseling for a short while. He just insisted he'd rather talk to me, and was not opening up with the 2 different counselors we tried, and seemed to be working through things okay.. so I let him stop the counseling. He will often come to me if things are bugging him, and so far that's been sufficient, but I've noticed that every year around the same time as "it" happened 5 years ago he gets very anxious and has a lot of difficulty. This is the time of year, and this year in particular (oddly enough with the older child now OUT of the house), he is having problems with an upsetting increase in frequency.
By "problems" I mean flashbacks, triggers, moments where things (innocuous things) make him "uncomfortable", he's become more clingy and weepy and it's breaking my heart.
I have talked to him again about seeing a counselor. He doesn't want to but said he'd "think about it". Should I just take him anyway and trust that eventually, with the right one, he will open up to him/her?
I've taught him about journaling and he has been doing that for a couple of days now, then shredding what he writes. He says it's helping a little.
He's out of school right now due to a broken leg (we were in a car wreck).. perhaps it's being home from school without all the holiday distractions that is making him more prone to flashbacks and such?
I don't know, but I am just torn up and feeling hopeless. Even though I am a survivor myself, I don't know what to "say", if there is something one can "say", to make him feel better. I know that I didn't tell anyone which made it much worse, and I know that the flashbacks and sick feelings and panic attacks, for me, only went away with time. I am now 36 and since about age 32 I've gotten to the point where it isn't something I think about that much (my own abuse), but surely I don't have to let him just suffer it out for the next 22 years???
I am thinking of just taking him to a counselor anyway... thoughts? And aside from that, what to do? Are there books geared towards children that might help? He is a good reader and can read on a middle school/high school level if there's something out there but then again if the subject matter is too "mature" it won't help much. He gets upset and uncomfortable with Axe body spray commercials.
Thanks in advance if you have any words of wisdom, or links to sites for parents of children who have been abused (and not by the parent!)... thanks.