An Update – the School’s Social Worker

God put a blessing in our lives and works in wonderful ways.  I’m not sure yet how this will play out, but I have only to believe that it can help.  As I was leaving school the one day, the school counselor suggested that I speak with the school social worker.  The social worker covers mulitiple schools, so she’s not always on site.  However, she did call me just a day later, and asked when we could talk.  We set up time – and spent several hours going through everything.  She started by telling me about having observed my children in their classrooms, and things that she noted.  It was amazing – she picked up on all sorts of things that were related, but could easily be missed in their obscurity. 

Here are some of the things that she noticed, that in themselves seem small, but when I re-thought about it, I realized how much it was all interconnected with other clues I have about the situation from my children’s perspective.

My daughter: Seems to have a need to learn more about understanding non-verbal cues from others, and needs to learn to abandon her own desired course of action in lieu of what the person she’s playing with may want.  Within this same instance, it illustrated that she needs to learn more and understand more about personal boundaries, as she didn’t recognize what was okay and what wasn’t.

The social worker also noticed that my daughter over-functions in the classroom – focuses much on what other kids need or what’s going on with them rather than focusing on herself.    My daughter was also uber-methodical (a technical  about the way she completed the task of cleaning the classroom.  The over-functioning… I’m guessing may be related to watching me over-function, as well as her father’s expectations that she do all sorts of stuff which is way beyond what should be expected of an 8 year old (e.g. doing the laundry).  The uber-methodical relates to her father’s expectations of cleaning and how she will get in trouble if any small item is missed.

Lastly, she noticed how my daughter incessently bites her nails (nerves, which I realized started at the time of the longer visitations with her father).

My son:  The teacher as well contributed to his assessment – and pointed out that he is having verbal recall difficulties.  He has trouble remembering numbers, letters, songs, the teacher’s name, other student’s names, etc.  I didn’t realize it at the time – but the piece that I connected was my daughter’s therapist’s suggestion that we also test his cognitive abilities when doing the psychological evaluation.  With further research… I’ve come to understand that memory is one factor which can be significantly impacted during times of trauma, particularly when the body is caught in a constant “flight” mode and unable to return to normal.  Ahhhh… my lightbulbs went off… of course!  He was not only witness to a physical abusive altercation with his father when he was just under a year, but he was literally being held by his father when his father choked me with his other arm.  My son’s whole life has had a raging voice echoing into it – even during pregnancy.  He is living (as his sister is) in a constant state of stress – as he never really has time to be able to find a sense of safety and security between visits with his father.  This certainly contributes to the other aspect she noticed: that he exhibits babyish behaviors in class.  He regresses at home as well – sucking his thumb, wanting to nurse and literally go back to being a baby.

The social worker pieced together various parts – saying she too thought it was possible that my son wasn’t emotionally/mentally present in the situations where his father is raging, and therefore – his memory of the traumatic events isn’t solid either.  This was something that I have been intuitively feeling is happening – but hearing her, and doing further research on the cognitive reactions to stress, I can see that it’s entirely possible that my intuition is accurate.

So what does this do for us?  1- It highlights a positive fact that we have one more facet of information that is helping to understand how this is impacting my children.  2- It tells me that their school, teachers, counselor and social worker are watching out for them closely (the counselor has spoken with my daughter twice now).  This is piece of mind that there’s another set of knowledgable people helping.  3- Since my ex is so concerned about our children’s academic performance, this may be one way to help us get the evaluation done for my son. Although, I have to consider if approaching it that way with him is the best way to go.

My point in sharing… is that maybe this helps someone else think about how the trauma of a raging parent may be impacting their child, and that these clues which may easily be dismissed without the whole picture – are important for helping the kids.

My fingers are crossed that there is light ahead at the end of the tunnel to help my kids!



8 Responses to “An Update – the School’s Social Worker”

  1. heather says:

    yeah – except he says that the best ways to deal with these are just to chronically show compassion to the NPD person…which makes a lot of sense to me as a therapist but…well…you know of course…we’re not their therapists : )

    • Exactly – and that doesn’t work for exactly that reason. We’re the ‘target’ or ‘victim’ – and me showing a lot of compassion is the same as being nice, which is misconstrued as wanting to reunite as a couple.

  2. Heather says:

    So Gabor mate might challenge you a bit on this issue, bc he’d conceptualize the rage and poor parenting as trauma issues (likely). So now I’m once again back to the question of how I parent my co-parent w/o stressing myself out or losing my boundaries that keep me safe.

    Also the talk reminds me to self nurture to be a better mom

  3. Ms. Ex-spouse of NPD says:

    My daughter is having behavioral issues similar to yours – not able to recognize social boundaries and looking out for other kids in the class. Which mirrors her experience with her dad – having to take care of her little sister and the house to avoid his rages. I will raise these ideas with the teacher at the PTC.

    • Good idea- see if you can get some more insight and examples. I found prior to this that the teachers dont make the connections between the behavior and potential causes. Only this social worker has done that, in our case.

  4. Heather says:

    Excellent person. Ignore the counselor (altho it’s nice she set u in a good path) see social worker and get all recs u can! I’m
    So happy for u!!!!

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