A big thank you to Alex Senson for his insightful comments re my memoir. He posted the comments on Goodreads too. Alex is astute; he really understand the many issues and learning experiences gained through reading Rag Dolls and Rage.
Alex Senson, Coach, Toronto, ON
This is an important read for anyone with children in their lives, or those who may be struggling emotionally / with past trauma. It’s striking, educational and even uncomfortable to learn and understand how early childhood trauma can so severely impact the rest of a person’s life. It highlights the importance of mental health supports for families. It’s also inspiring and hopeful to know that as bad as things may be, there are ways to get through and heal.
Getting professional help or pursuing self-help can be painful, but it can work very well. It can be life saving too – in the case of those who turn to suicide as their only perceived way to escape the pain. The author’s experience with therapy demonstrates clearly what kinds of breakthroughs and insights are possible and how positive those can be.
It’s so important to understand how the actions of adults, parents, family, peers and community shapes the mind of a child. When we see a person – we see them from the outside. We tend to judge prematurely and this can lead to further unintended cruelty and emotional pain (even by those we love and who love us). There’s an entire universe on the inside of people that influences their behaviour. The author’s story really highlights how this can happen, and why it happens.
When adults are not consciously aware of their role in shaping this internal universe in young people, kids can grow up experiencing significant trauma and pain which negatively affects their behaviour as well. It doesn’t take horrible abuse (as was the case in this book) for this to happen necessarily either. Something as simple as a shift in attention from an older child to a new sibling can feel like an existential threat to that child – they need the empathy of adults to understand this perspective in order to reassure them of their continued safety and security as they grow up. This is a basic human need and expecting a child to simply “grow up” or “get over it” demonstrates ignorance.
What adults should strive to work through are the (sometimes dysfunctional) ways they were treated as children themselves so they can “reset” and employ true empathy and compassion to others without their own emotional and behavioural survival mechanisms influencing their actions.
So read this book and see how many lessons within apply to your life – I almost guarantee some of the insights will resonate with you.