Karen answers Mr & Mrs Bennett

Comment by Mr & Mrs Bennett on November 29, 2008 3:45 pm

dear karen,

in the event of further abuse reported by a child after being taken away once. this child claims to be other people and misled her teachers into believing we, her adoptive parents are abusing her. she was returned after admitting she lied for attention. now she threatens us by claiming to be dissociative, claims we hurt other parts of her and says she will report us. she is fifteen. did you know you were the way you are at fifteen. my husband and i adopted her when she was five years old. she always was difficult. we love her. now she’s changed. when did you change?

Mr & Mrs Bennett

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Bennett,

Thank you for choosing to write to me. I will try to answer your questions the best way I can, however, I am not a qualified therapist and can’t give advice. Clearly something’s up with your adoptive daughter, and she may not even know herself why she feels the way she does or why she is accusing the both of you. From my experience, as a multiple, I was in fear of being labeled and put away, and there were many times I doubted myself. If your adoptive daughter was abused before you adopted her, I believe she, or if she’s a multiple, some part of her, may believe you are the parents who originally abused her.

I believe your daughter may be afraid of her own thoughts and past resurfaced memories. She may be remembering the abuse too quickly and is in rage. What’s most important is that she is told the truth: that you and your husband didn’t hurt her. Now that she’s back she will need professional help and your support. I believe she may not understand that she is manipulating you when she threatens to report you. I believe this because I once felt the same fear and misunderstood my own actions.

At fifteen years old, I already knew something was wrong with me. I felt awkward all my life and knew it was in my best interest to keep secrets. I knew I lost time. I just didn’t know what it was called or that it was an illness.  At the time, I had never heard of dissociation. All I knew was I had large gaps in my memory. I didn’t realize how special I was until my life started crumbling at the age of twenty five. Please don’t wait so long, seek help for her now.

I admire both of you for taking on an emotionally disturbed five year old. I can tell you love her and want what’s best for her.  Your daughter is only fifteen, and you have taken care of her for ten years now. When you add the possibility of a dissociative disorder onto the change she is experiencing during puberty, it must create enormous challenges. I believe consistency will help. Please continue to seek help with a proper qualified therapist, tell your daughter you love her and will be there for her if she falls.

I wish your family well,



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