Obviously, readers are interested in knowing what has happened with the eleven year old – call him Ted – whom I’ve written about this week. The latest report I have is that he is very very angry and he is demanding to speak to his “mother” to ask her “why?”
That’s good. My great fear has been that he would experience himself as a victim, “an unfortunate person who suffers from some adverse circumstance” [WordNet/Princeton]. Instead, he is apparently experiencing himself – appropriately – as a target, “a person who is the aim of an attack by some hostile person” [id]. And the proper reaction to being targeted – especially by one’s so called “parents” – is to be angry, and the proper response is to express the anger and to demand answers.
Everyone working in the system knows that our kids carry emotional baggage with them as they move from loss to loss to loss. It is so universal, and so the same experience from kid to kid, that it’s almost as though the baggage comes in only one material (though in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors) from some actual real company named “You Are To Blame, Inc.”
I’d go so far as to say that if there were only one experience that we could magically eliminate from our kids’ lives, I would choose to eliminate this conviction of self-blame. I would choose it above the rejection, above the neglect, above the abuse, and even above the abandonment. All those can be transcended, but blaming oneself for what was done to us? It eats away at our very ability to respond. And isn’t it our response-ability that frees us to be us?
Ted is processing, not burying. He is apparently recognizing that his pain is not self generated and he is looking directly to the source. He not only seems to NOT be blaming himself; he appears to be responding appropriately to this “attack by some hostile person.”
His behavior actually has me feeling optimistic for his future.
I’m proud of him.