Forwarded for Sally Fraser

“What happens when a child feels unloved, unwanted? There is nothing to compare with the terrible loneliness of a child; fragile and helpless, a lonely child feels fear, anguish, a sense of guilt. And when children are wounded in their hearts, they learn to protect themselves by hiding behind barriers. Lonely children feel no commonality with adults. They have lost trust in them and in themselves, they are confused and feel misunderstood. Lonely children cannot name the pain. Only self—accusation remains. However, life wants to live. If some children fall into depression and want to die, others seem to survive despite adverse conditions such as sickness, squalor, abuse, violence, and abandonment; life can be tenacious and stubborn. Instinctively, all children learn to hide their terrible feelings behind inner walls, the shadowy areas of their being. All the disorder and darkness of their lives can be buried there. They then throw themselves into their lives, into the search for approbation, into self—fulfillment, into dreams and illusions. Hurts and pain can transform into the energy that pushes children forward. Such children can then become individuals protected by the barriers they had to build around their vulnerable, wounded hearts. Children who are less wounded will have fewer barriers. They will find it easier to live in the world and to work with others; they will not be as closed in on themselves. The lonely child is unable to connect with others. There is a lonely child in each of us, hidden behind the walls we created in order to survive. I am speaking, of course, of only one aspect of loneliness, the loneliness that can destroy some part of us, not the loneliness that creates.”
? Jean Vanier, Becoming Human