Secondary Trauma

As I was looking around WordPress at posts with fostercare tags, I saw this article regarding Secondary Trauma.

Here are some excerpts from a post I wrote a year and a half ago:

  • I was hiding tears a few times because of the sadness, hurt, and anger my preschoolers are dealing with. It’s not because they are hurting me or I can’t handle their behavior (though I did wonder one day!). It’s simply that I hate for them to be hurting SO incredibly badly.
  • I wish I knew what to say to them. <snip> I have a 3yr old who spends an hour crawling to me whining then rushing away from me saying “leave me alone” while kicking and screaming with a lot of “I miss my mommy” statements sprinkled in. Growling and whimpering. Screaming and pouting. He looks so angry. He looks so sad.
  • M is so much more demonstrative and going through it ALL day right now where S pretends to be an animal (usually a T-Rex) 70-80% of the time (though he whines and snaps at people on a dime) and  P stuffs it all like nobody’s business then it comes through in a whiny paragraph like the one below. She never cries…not really cries. The last two times she’s gotten in trouble, she had crocodile tears; but in 2 months, she’s never cried for real.
  • These poor kids. And I get so angry about what these people did! “My daddy whooped me all the time. He ‘pankt’ all of us. He pushed my mommy down too. I don’t understand why he whooped us all the time. I just don’t understand. I helped my mommy up and he pankt me.” BTW, this after she told about an accident (there were SO many accidents!)where she was hit in the face with a hammer. But Daddy took her to the store to get special bandaids. Isn’t he such a great guy?
  • That same night, P tells me (as we’re talking about things they can dream about tonight which has helped end the bedtime whining, behaviors, anxiety considerably) she wants to dream about her mommy and daddy. I told her to dream about the good things, not the bad. I just wish she hadn’t said it in front of her brother because I really don’t need MORE screaming all night from those back bedrooms.
  • These kids have just been through SO much. It’s insane.

Is it any wonder when a mom, foster or adoptive, is dealing with all that all day every day long term that she struggles with vicarious trauma?

Actually, after I wrote all that, a few months later, I finally went to therapy myself.  I needed to!  I just needed help to take care of myself so I *could* take care of them (and the other children, bio and foster, who were in our home)

Anyway, so since this blog is new and some may not know me yet, yes, some posts may be heavier like this.  I’ll try to put something light and fun up soon 🙂




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