Friday, January 29, 2010

The Child who was Alone

A couple weeks ago, I was working with a small group of kids at the domestic violence shelter where I volunteer once a week. These kids have many problems, especially with trust, reality testing, control, and expressing their feelings.

I asked them to "draw a picture of your family doing something together." None drew a picture of their family doing something together. They drew two people, several people,a boy with a baseball bat, etc. They could tell me who the people in their drawings were, but if I asked "What are they doing?" they looked at me with a blank stare; offered short answers, like, "Nothing" or "I don't know." One girl shrugged. "They're just there."

Saddest of all was the little girl who drew one person in a house and said it was her. I asked,"There's no one else in your house?" "No," she said, "I am alone."

Given her age,that may seem a very strange response until you realize that if your dad is abusing/criticizing/ manipulating your mother all the time, and your mother is always terrified/confused/trying to appease her abuser, then you are alone.

The next week, I asked this small child (who drew the same picture again), "Where is the rest of your family?" And she said, "They're at the store."

Not much change, but at least she was acknowleging them. Maybe it's a start.

1 comment:

JulesTX said...

Hi Pat,

I've been enjoying your blog, this one especially. It makes me sad to think of children living in such terrible circumstances. They are VERY lucky to have you in thier lives, even if it is for a limited time.

Julie H