What Lies Ahead For The Cleveland Women – Living After Trauma

In the news this past week includes a horrific story, unimaginable, of 3 abducted women living in a house of true emotional, physical, and sexual abusive horror in Cleveland. Now that these 3 women, as well as the 6 year old child of one of the women are free of the shackles and abuse, many wonder what lies ahead for these Cleveland women. What is life like post trauma? Below you will find Psychotherapist, Human Behavior Expert, and Family Therapist Dr. Karen Ruskin’s answer to this very question. What is the good news and the bad news for these women is answered as follows.  

Ariel Castro Abducted 3 Women Abusing Them Emotionally, Physically, And Sexually For 10 Years + 

  • Amanda Berry (Daughter Jocelyn is 6 years old. At this time believed to be born from a traumatic conception due to Ariel Castro raping Amanda)
  • Gina DeJesus
  • Michelle Knight

This will not be an easy road for Amanda Berry’s 6 year old little girl

Bad News-

The 6 year old will likely experience:

  • Conflicting feelings
  • Confusion- difficulty countering messages ingrained since birth
  • Experience challenges surrounding navigating a new universe as the world she lived in was the only world she ever knew
  • Basic questions of identity (e.g., understanding what does a traumatic conception mean for a child born from that union)

Good News-

A child as young as 6 has a solid chance of healing from and overcoming such a traumatic life with the right kind of treatment (targeted counseling over time) and a supportive, loving, and patient family and community support. Such a child can live to be a happy, healthy, and productive person. An important key to the 6 year old’s recovery is the bond and strong relationship between she and her mother. Steps to make her feel safe and protected and understand what has happened, along with answering any questions through out her life journey will help her to navigate.

This will not be an easy road for these 3 brave women; Amanda, Gina, and Michelle, nor for any person who has gone through such an unimaginable suffering

Bad News-

These 3 women will likely experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Symptoms they will likely experience for a long time ahead include:

  • Feeling like they are re-living their traumatic life/Feeling like the events of trauma are re-occurring
  • Recollection of their trauma in awake state and in sleep state
  • Feeling detached from others
  • Difficulty sleeping (falling asleep, staying asleep)
  • Lack of interest in participating in enjoyable activities
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Irritability
  • Relational challenges such as difficulty trusting
  • Self identity in question
  • Self worth issues/low sense of self esteem
  • Sexual difficulties

Depending on their family relationship pre-abduction, and their family relationship post-abduction will be a significant difference that makes the difference in their journey of healing, coping, understanding, acceptance, recovery, and moving forward. If there is a lack of family support the feeling of worthlessness and life is not worth living, will be tapped in to, as likely Ariel Castro’s behaviors brought out this very feeling. In addition, the right kind of treatment will be necessary. Also, the internal drive to live, the desire to thrive, the belief that freedom means to live, rather than to die will play a role in each of these women’s mental status and what is to come. This will be a difficult road ahead, and that is the reality, which is the bad news.

Good News-

The 3 women’s emotional challenges and the obstacles they will encounter from living a large portion of their lives in fear of injury and death and being abused emotionally, physically, and sexually will be a challenge every day. Their thoughts and feelings will need to be addressed on going through out their life journey. Not just in one single point in time. The good news is that with the right kind of treatment (including Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and family love, patience, and support – they have a good chance of living happy, productive, and successful lives. (An example would include Elizabeth Smart who is an advocate for missing persons and found love and is married).

Ariel Castro and Sexual Predators – Psychoanalyzed

Can sexual predators be helped with treatment? Change their ways? What are the psychological traits of a sexual predator? If this topic interests you, if you want to know the answers to these questions, check out my blog article entitled: Ariel Castro And Sexual Predators – Psychoanalyzed.

Dr. Karen Ruskin appears LIVE on air on FOX News Channel’s Sean Hannity on May 9th; What Lies Ahead For The Cleveland Women.

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