Is this at all normal what do I do (sorry it’s long PLEASE READ)?

February 9th, 2011

my niece was raped and abused by her step dad for quite a long time before it was brought to anyone’s attention. And luckily she’s in a better environment now and she seems to be happy. (she lives with me and my family) I just notice that she’s VERY childlike for her age. (she’s 17) She has disney posters up in her room and only carries purses like Hello Kitty and things like that. She likes baby blankets and wears baby lotion, she has a tinker bell lamp, and every inch of her room including her bedding has some disney character or something from sesame street. She even talks like a baby at times and whines like one. She’ll say something like ” I no want you to do that why are you so mean to me?”

She has a doll she’s in love with that she brought to life a little after her rape. The doll’s name is “Shelby” she takes Shelby to school and dresses her up, and even paints her nails. If someone throws Shelby or hides her. She’ll get upset and go into a rage or cry . She uses Shelby to talk for her. For instance ” Shelby says she no wanna be here.” or Shelby says Katie (which is her name) is sad” when she’s crying or upset. She writes it down or talks through Shelby to explain for her. Once she said Shelby doesn’t like people to say Katie is crazy or weird. She gets teased for spending lunch at school blowing bubbles, playing with “Shelby” or coloring. And she’s going to be a senior when school starts again. She expects ppl to treat Shelby like she’s real. She has tons of other dolls and stuffed animals that she takes pride in but Shelby is the one she loves. She got offended because my wife said “Your baby doll is cute” And Katie said, “Shelby is my little sister, I’m never making a baby that’s nasty!”

She doesn’t like any compliments or attention. Especially male attention. If I tell her she looks beautiful. She (or “Shelby”) will get upset. She said she doesn’t want to have a big deal made out of her. But she wants me to say Shelby looks nice after she gives her doll a bath or dresses her. She likes to dress and look like a kid. She even wears a pacifier around her neck sometimes. She doesn’t like make up or clothing that makes her look her age. She has a fit when she has to wear eye liner or lipstick for an occasion like a wedding. She’ll pout and be sad during the whole event even when she looks amazing. I have to tell her she needs to look and talk like a big girl and she gets upset. She is affixiated on the idea that she’s ugly and no one should like her.

Some relatives think her behavior is cute because she’s not into boys, sex and trying to be too grown up but I’m concerned. Would she be this childlike had the abuse not happened..Is this how teenaged girls who get raped act?

She’s very loving and likes to hug others and be held like a baby . But she doesn’t like when others initiate affection. Like if someone comes to her first she’s uncomortable.

Katie also watches Barney and very childish shows with much amusement. She is ascinated with the Little Mermaid and princess type movies. Sorry this is long and it may be a phase but I have to wonder. Any ideas?

By the way she drives and everything, (though the interior of her car is very childlike, and she always drives with her doll and stuffed animals in the car) Wouldn’t she feel like too much of a kid to drive??

9 Responses to “Is this at all normal what do I do (sorry it’s long PLEASE READ)?”

  1. James aka Shattered Windows says:

    Not to be rude but severe abuse over a long period of time can do that to you. She is trying to live out the childhood her step father stole from her. Time will tell,she may grow out of it she may not. You have to be strong for her. Is your family in therapy? Is she in therapy? Therapy for your family and her would benefit her greatly. Remember,stay strong for your niece.

  2. Kelly B says:

    WOW..your poor niece has some serious issues.
    All I can say is get her some help asap..a doctor or a shrink, someone who can help her or she will only get worse.

  3. LyndeyTECHNOCORE! says:

    It sounds like she’s using the doll as a companion, and she doesn’t like attention especially male because it might make her think of the rape.
    It sounds like she needs counseling, I’d advise that you do take her to a counselor.

  4. Mommy08 says:

    i am not sure why she is like that but my guess is she is trying to protect herself. also it could be because her childhood was taken from her and now she is reverting back as a sanctuary. it is terrible what happened to her. i am so sorry for her

  5. ♥ Inked Mama Loving her Boy ♥ PM says:

    Wow, I’m so sorry to hear she went through that, firstly.

    There is no right or wrong or typical way for a rape/abuse victim to behave. The consequences can manifest themselves in different ways with different people.

    I can’t say whether or not she would be like this had the abuse not happened, nobody can know that for sure. I’m no psychologist, but my guess would be that she is subconsciously (perhaps even consciously) trying to reclaim back the childhood she lost with her step father. Additionally, I imagine she is wanting to present herself as a child so that she will not attract unwanted sexual attention. Many rape victims struggle to bring themselves to consider having relationships for a long while afterwards, that’s not uncommon, and it’s not unusual for women to present themselves in a manner which would not attract admirers in order to avoid this.

    I think she really needs to see a psychologist about this. It sounds like she has a lot of issues that she needs to work through, most of which she probably isn’t even aware of herself, and I think it’s going to be a long process. But please get the ball rolling soon – she really needs to be helped before she has to fly the nest otherwise she is going to struggle enormously in life.

    Best of luck to you all.

  6. Natalie says:

    Poor, poor girl – she’s been through a lot hasn’t she? She’s very lucky to have such a loving uncle like you to care for her. I’m not a psychologist but it appears to me that she is trying to stay a child…children = innocence and it looks to me as though she wants to get that innocence back and the easiest way to do that is to act like a child. My 15 year old daughter still likes disney princesses and hello kitty, a lot of their merchandise is catered for teenage girls. I’ve got a cookie monster t shirt and an animal beach towel and i’m 35! The doll ‘thing’ could be because she is trying to separate herself from what happened to her and is using Shelby to do that? LIke I said i’m not a doctor but just giving you some ideas. Could you refer her to a counselor or has she already seen one? Good luck anyway…she really is a lucky girl to have someone like you who cares so much about her.

  7. Beth says:

    Does she have Professional help? You should speak with a school counselor, rape counselor or a professional to get her help. It sounds like she is stuck in a time in her life before the abuse (when she felt safer).

  8. hh says:

    this is a “normal” reaction to what has happened to her. but it is not at all normal in real life. Children who have been victimized to the extent she was find different ways to cope – some become extremely promiscuous, or turn to drugs and alcohol, or self-mutilation. Others revert to childhood, which is obviously what she has done. You don’t say, but has she acted this way since she’s been with you, or is it a new behavior? Either way, she needs extensive therapy and professional help from a psychiatrist. She has a long, difficult road ahead of her, but she needs to have help, and you, as her family, need help, too. She will need a support system, and so you need to understand her condition and what is going on with her mental state. Whoever says her behavior is “cute” is clueless and they have no understanding of the situation. I’m not saying that she should be having sex or doing everything any other 17 year old would be doing, but she should not be reverting to the mental capacity of a 5 or 6 year old. She needs help.

  9. proud mommy! says:

    i ahve talked with many rape victims and child sex offenders. she is living out her childhood. she needs a therapist who deals with them issues. she seems like she is still really tamuatized. one girl i knew was raped as a little one and her videos were recoreded and soled. she thought she was tinker bell. and well she ended up molesting other ones out of revenge hurt or whatever. the cycle can and will continue if she does not get help. no it does not always continue but in most cases it does. then i knew a 12 yr old who wouldnt take a shower because when she was younger if she smelled she wouldnt get rapped well that was her comfort blanket. and ur neices could be if she doesnt talk to males or have them like her she will be okay. she needs everyones support 100% and a doctor.

RSS feed for comments on this post. And trackBack URL.