18 Year Old Psychological Problems


Our 18 year old daughter has been seeing a psychologist who is credentialed as a Christian therapist for almost 6 years. Our concern initially was depressive symptoms we observed after we moved during her 6th grade year. During the first 2 years of therapy, we discovered that she has been sexually assaulted around age 8 or 9. The assault occurred while she was in our car. A supermarket bagger (an elderly gentleman who openly talked about his Christianity) who had befriended myself and my 2 daughters months before, violated her while standing in the parking lot as she was buckled in her car seat. (She was very small and petite for her age). I had left something in the store, and it was extremely hot, and I didn't want to have to buckle her into the shopping cart again and push her over the hot asphalt). This gentleman, who I trusted, said her would stay with her while I quickly ran in and got the item. He assaulted her during the minutes I was gone. This event was suppressed by my daughter until age 13, when the memory was triggered by an inappropriate touch by a young man. Since then, my husband and I have taken a a course through our local Child Advocacy Center for caretakers of assault survivors. I learned about the grooming behavior of pedophiles and how they choose their victims. I have been in therapy to understand how aspects of my personality and our home situation at the time contributed to my trusting this. We have not been able to seek earthly justice since this man apparently passed away right before we moved. I have not been able to fully forgive myself despite the fact that my husband and others in my family have shown me compassion and understanding. The difficulty is that my daughter does not forgive me and has completely turned away from God, saying that God cannot be good if he stood there and watched while this man hurt her. I have asked forgiveness and assumed responsibility for my decision, but she has remained consumed with anger at me. Her emotional problems, which initially consisted of depression and PTSD have exploded to include panic attacks, cutting, lying, sexual indiscretions, poor impulse control, and ongoing outbursts of profanity. This has slowly destroyed our family life and has resulted in our 13 year old developing problems due to the anger, aggression, and dysfunction in our family. My husband and I continue to attend church weekly with our younger daughter and do what we can to take her out of the house and away from the stress of being with our 18 yr old, who is finishing her senior year. We are trying to accept that our daughter symptoms have become serious and are indicative of significant mental illness. She is receiving therapy 3 times a week and is on medication as well. She has to live in the house until she completes high school. My question is this: given the intensity of anger and disrespect she shows all of us, what can I/we do to help our younger daughter navigate her way through this and come out an emotionally healthy, self confident, and successful? She is doing well in school but will not see a therapist and is having some trouble socially. because of the secret she keeps about her home life. Her resilience thus far has amazed me.

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