The And Tears : Grieving A Lost Childhood

2442 WordsMay 6, 201710 Pages
RUNNING HEAD: TANGLES AND TEARS: GRIEVING A LOST CHILDHOOD Tangles and Tears: Grieving a Lost Childhood Toronto Art Therapy Institute Harper Johnston 04/21/2017 Instructor: Claudia McKnight Course: Art Therapy, Spirituality, Grief and Loss TANGLES AND TEARS: GRIEVING A LOST CHILDHOOD 2 How does one grieve the insidious and all-encompassing emotional and physical distortions of a childhood lost to prolonged sexual abuse and physical trauma? Truthfully, I don’t have a simple answer but a brief examination of grief, trauma and attachment theories may help explain much of what has transpired in my life to date. This essay documents the quest for understanding and resolution that has…show more content…
I grew up in a household where my deceased brother, who was eighteen months older than me, was a legend in his own time. He died shortly after my birth and was hailed as the good guy! I mourned and grieved for someone I never knew – that good guy! My parents considered my surviving brother, the perpetrator, as the inadequate son right from the get go. By the time I was four and he was ten, my life as I knew it, started to unravel one strand at a time for an entire decade with an aftermath that would last for more than fifty years. In the 1950’s, John Bowlby, considered the father of attachment theory, worked collaboratively TANGLES AND TEARS: GRIEVING A LOST CHILDHOOD 3 with James Robertson (A handyman/gardener at a children’s orphanage who became quite adept at observing children.) to established a schema of child attachment styles which has enabled us to understand the spectrum of the loss response as it relates to children and subsequently adults. Bowlby believed that infants (both humans and animals) devise clever ways to maintain attachment e.g. crying, clinging, hunger etc. However, when the parent is oblivious to the cues and fails to respond to this attention seeking behavior the result is an inability for the offspring to thrive. (Bretherton, 2009) Consequently, when my brother died and my mother retreated emotionally and physically for the rest of her parenting life, she was clearly
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