(WMC-TV) - It may be a long road to recovery for Alexandria and Kyliyah Bain.
Dr. Gina Simmons is a family therapist in California and award winning columnist for Forbes.com. Her latest article is giving national attention to the post-trauma recovery of the Bain sisters.
Dr. Simmons' article "Psychological Damage Likely For the Child Kidnapping Victims of Adam Mayes" on Forbes.com suggests 12 year-old Alexandria and 8-year-old Kyliyah are now in the early stages of recovery called fight or flight.
Simmons says, depending on whether the girls have healthy relationships and community support, they are likely to choose fight against the pain of losing their mother Jo Ann and older sister Adrienne.
"Children are naturally self-centered. When victimized at this age they often blame themselves. 'My mommy and sister were killed because of me,'" Simmons wrote in the article.
"He was very much a mind manipulator. He would say what he wanted you to do in a way that made you want to do it," said Pamela Bain, sister of Adam Mayes, who Action News 5 interviewed earlier this month.
After the ordeal Adam Mayes' sister spoke out about her brother's illness.
Mayes is accused of kidnapping the Bain sisters and murdering their mom and sister. After two weeks on the run, Mississippi wildlife officers rescued the girls in the woods but not before they watched Mayes kill himself with a gunshot to the head.
Simmons says exposure to that type of stress may last forever.
"Child trauma victims often suffer damage to the nervous system that can last a lifetime. The damage varies depending on the age of the child, the severity and length of the abuse and other hereditary and environmental factors. Children sometimes remain stuck emotionally at the age they were when the trauma struck," writes Dr. Simmons.
Simmons says there is hope, referencing kidnap and rape victim Elizabeth Smart. Simmons says the girls have a chance at a successful recovery if they regain an environment rich with love, safety, and trust.
Today a memorial service was held for Jo Ann and Adrienne Bain in Bolivar, Tennessee. The service was closed to the media and Action News 5 chose to respect the family's wishes and did not attend.