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Children are NOT resilient

Published on 12 September 2022 at 10:00

Children are not resilient, and we need to stop saying and believing that. Let's look at the dictionary definition of resilient. According to the dictionary, resilient means able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.


By the time I was eight I had Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from my mother's abuse. With that comes a host of ailments, one of which is often nightmares. On one morning, when she tried to wake me up for school, I was in the throes of one of these nightmares and I punched her in the face because I didn't realize who she was. She pinned me to the bed and hit me repeatedly, I remember the first few punches but not much after that, except missing a week of school.


Pretty much all I did after that was try to become completely invisible. I would hide anywhere I could find to disappear, including in books, reading, painting, making up my own stories to tell my younger brother. That same year was a city-wide art contest. For the contest, each entrant was to paint or draw a scene from their favorite book or movie. So many of the men who were important to me, the few people who made me feel safe and loved, had been so deeply scarred by the war in Vietnam, before that Korea and World War II. My father's demon, was un- diagnosed ADHD and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, some of that from the war, but the first seventeen years of his life it had come from child abuse and emotional neglect.


My favorite was The Deer Hunter, I had consumed it over and over again hoping to understand the trauma these men endured...they thought pieces of them were...missing, left behind in some far away place. But I could see those disjointed pieces buried, but still there.


I won first place in that contest. It was the first moment in my life I remember being really proud of anything. Then the judges realized I was only eight, they took the ribbon from me and told my mother I needed psychiatric treatment.


She dragged me to a psychiatrist and he told her there was nothing wrong with me, that she was the problem. He called her out for her abuse and neglect, in the sixties battered child syndrome was mandatory to report to the authorities but there was no such thing as civil access to the internet. So, we promptly vanished from that location. This is just a very small example of the abuse she visited upon my person until I was well into my twenties.


Having been a battered child has a way of clinging on you like that, like sludge from a toxic waste spill. Unfortunately, we don't become Ninja Turtles.

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