When Fear Rules !

Take a Look at Yourself !

by on Feb.25, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD, STOPPING ABUSE

Take Another Look at Yourself !

Alright, I admit I am on another rant. However, when a young lady I have been working with goes to a hospital for life-saving treatment, and says how well she was treated “this time” as compared to her previous visit when she was fresh off the streets, yes a homeless person, it makes me wonder about us as a people.

For sure, this time she was all cleaned up, not appearing in layered clothing as is typically the case for someone who must protect herself from the brutal Winters on the streets of New York, and her hair actually showed its natural color as it had been cleansed of the grime of back alleys.

I will accept that there may be a natural adverse reaction, a fear, when we see a person in such a condition, but what strikes me even deeper is that this is a child of only thirteen. Doesn’t that make you think twice ? As she shared how different everyone treated her now, even the nurses and doctors and aides, as much as I was happy for her present condition, I could feel some inner rage as I recalled just weeks ago when she was treated so poorly by those same persons.

Before, when she felt so alone and was trying to be so strong, she had to search for any tid-bit of support. She could hear professional people talking outside her hospital room about her condition, yet no one talked to her, except to make comments that were derogatory. Now, they were almost charming. The word “RESPECT” comes to mind, or the lack there of. But in reverse, I have a hard time drawing upon respect for those professionals who were so unable to show her respect.

Sadly, our “perceptions” of another are often clouded by misunderstanding, FEAR and maybe some bad experiences that taint our ability to see the other person as a person.
Believe me, I understand FEAR, but if we would take time to understand rather than avoid, we might not fear as much.

Maybe we need to take another look at ourselves !

What I have discovered about this child is that she is a bright, inquisitive, strong and vibrant young lady who due to no fault of her own, had become a kid of the streets, mostly to save herself from an abusive and mean mother, and an uncaring segment of society. With no one else to turn to, and in fear of a Social Service System woefully inadequate to help children, she carved out an existence on the streets to survive. I am excited to say we are now friends, and I thoroughly enjoy daily IM discussions with her as i try to teach, but also learn from her. I have developed a tremedous respect for her survival instincts, her independence, and yet her ability to still dream about a better life. I see more drive in her than I do many people I talk to who have experienced very little stress and conflict in comparison, especially when you consider her young age.

Some of my readers have shared their thoughts about this young lady as a result of previous articles I have written, and I want those of you who have to know I am sharing those uplifting notes with her. I will happily accept any other messages you may want to share with me or her, as feeling support is part of her healing.

By the way, she made a suggestion. When you see a homeless person, rather than flip them a few bucks, bye them a Big Mac and fries. Hey, if it’s a child, how about a Happy Meal . Such irony !


Gene Benedetto
Clinical Psychologist

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