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Can you imagine total chaos? 26/01/2010

Posted by Sir Ralph in how it came about.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I bet you can´t! Imagine a room, full of half eaten sandwiches, empty plastic packs of youghurt or quark, chocolate bar wrappings, tons of sheets of paper, cut and torn clothes…

This was the state in which Susan´s room was in. And this was not the work of a week or even days. Susan could create a mess like this in a matter of two hours.

But how did she do that? Where did she get all the things from? For months now, we have been locking the kitchen the copying paper has been locked away in my study, we supplied her with sweets of all kind for a case of emergency – and still, she found ways to access our supplies, partly stored in the fridge in the cellar. Shopping for the week has become an incalculable adventure, not knowing how much there would be left of anything.

The same, Susan is unwilling to put her clothes into the wardrobe or take worn clothes to the washing machine in the cellar. It was all spread out on the floor of her room.

And you better don´t criticise her behaviour, unless you are prepared to get an aggessive outbreak and slammed doors.

We ask ourselves constantly what might go on in her mind that makes her do the things she does. We know that because of neglect in her early years of childhood, she was storing food and drinks in her room. We know that cutting and tearing her clothes derives from her urge to destroy what she likes, and the same goes for enjoyable situations. But why does she tear sheets of paper and spread them out on the floor?

Many times, I helped her with tidying up her room, or at least part of it. As a result, one hour later, the state was as before. Some people say that her room was a sort of mirror of her inner self: chaotic, unstructured, messy.

We decided that we couldn´t go on with Susan like that, and bear her behaviour that was destroying our family. An immediate solution of the problem had to be found. This would definitely mean an admission in a mental institution where we could rely on a special trauma treatment. It would mean that we would be integrated in the therapeutical process, so that Susan could return to our family and would be able to go on with a trauma therapy to bring relief to us all.

There is no question of why we are doing all that. We´re in too deep. Can we really manage all that and find an acceptable solution?


1. jenny bensaidane - 04/09/2010

omg . poor little girl.
how does she feel when she does those things. how do balance caring and therapeutic relationship with firm boundaries to enable her to feel safe. i think i would start with one very small area of her room . even if it is a foot square and talk about it being a safe place from the rest of the room. she would need reward and support over her little safe place. ideally it would be big enough for her to sit in , if it is smaller she could have a teddy representing her. She would have to choose it and give it something a little ornateness or a mat. if she can be coaxed into this as a positive place just for her to thing and relax. this is successful can get bigger. but it must be baby steps at first.

lehrergehrke - 04/09/2010

Hello, Jenny,
you´re right, and this works with non-traumatised or slightly traumatisesd kids. In our case, it meant that Susan was not able to keep tidiness and some sort of order for even an hour. Her room mirrored exactly what her mental state was like.

What would have worked would have been a special trauma therapy, but her biological mother wouldn´t have agreed to that and the court would not see the necessity. So we had to go on making the best from it.

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