Last night 10YR and I were talking. He is in therapy and had an appointment yesterday. He asked if he could talk to me about it and here is part of the conversation:
10YO: We wrote out some of my worries and put them in the Worry Doll.
Me: Hmmm, only some?
10YO: Yeah, but I only have four big worries.
Me: Like your brother will play your DS games or I will embarrass you in front of your friends?
10YO: No Mom, those are stupid things. Those things don't matter. My worries are big ones.
Me: Well we can talk about it when you want.
10YO: You already know them, I've told you before. The ones I put in the worry doll today were that Dad will get drunk and hurt me or Luke. And that Dad will get drunk and hurt you.
Me: Really, you still worry about that?
10YO: Next week I am going to put in that I am afraid Dad will hurt Margo (new girlfriend) and that Dad will go back to jail.
The conversation went on, but his four worries were the eye opening and surprising part for me. I would think that after moving 9 hours away from my ex three years ago combined with the passage of time those worries would have subsided. And I am kind of surprised that the last two worries are still a concern for him after all of this time.
I can't figure out if it will always be a fear for him because he saw some of the abuse and lived through the absences caused by his fathers' incarceration or if during visits with his father he still sees the old frightening qualities. Is it the memories causing the concern or his fathers' present actions? Does he see that his father hasn't changed or is he just haunted by the past?
I can't figure it out. And the worst part is that I can't even promise him that I won't let his father hurt him. I can assure him that as long as he is with me, he will not get hurt- but I can not promise him that he and his brother will be safe no matter what. That is the most difficult part of the whole thing, I can not ensure him that his father will never hurt him or his brother. I can not promise him that he will always be safe.
Not being able to promise my children safety has got to be the worst feeling of helplessness I have - or could - ever feel.