By K. Hecht, A. Hosack & P. Berman
Wouldn’t Davy be better off with a dad? Maybe Larry could learn more patient in jail, and then they could be a happy family when he got out?
Claire was sending letters to Larry in secret. She would post the letters on her way to school. She understood what the Carsons and Ms. Alexandra were saying about Larry being dangerous. She was as determined as ever that Davy never be hurt by Larry again. She had read an article Ms. Alexandra gave her and understood that if Davy continued to see violence between her and Larry, it could harm his brain development. Rather than learning how to stop and think, he could become like Larry and just react. Davy was already learning how to name his feelings; he could become thoughtful and caring like Mr. Carson. Claire couldn’t let her own selfish desire to see Larry make Davy turn out to be impulsive and angry all the time like Larry. But….
Ms. Alexandra didn’t know about the letters and Claire. But, when she visited to check on her, she realized that Claire was lonely and depressed. The Carsons had encouraged her to reach out to make friends. It had seemed so promising when Claire had shadowed Shelly who then even helped her apply to Dental Hygienist school. They had hoped that Claire and Shelly would become friends; they were both single mom’s with young children.
Claire was very grateful to Shelly and thought she was very smart and nice. She listened to everything Shelly said but didn’t say much back. After helping Claire with her application to school, Shelly had smiled and said they should get together sometime. But, Claire didn’t realize that she should call Shelly and invite her to being her child to meet Davy and play in the yard.
Claire didn’t really know anything about the give and take of a normal friendship. The Carsons talked to Claire and she listened. She would tell them anything the Head Start teachers told her about Davy. The Carsons didn’t really know, what to “tell” Claire about making friends; their kids just seemed to do it on their own.
Children are born with an innate desire to form attachments to others. Destructively, the whole time Claire was growing up, her natural gestures- like watching her parents or reaching out her hands were either ignored or treated violently. Claire soon learned that the slightest sound on her part could set her mom or dad off on a beating rampage. She had learned to keep quiet and as she grew older, she did everything she could to teach her siblings how to be quiet. When she heard sounds of her parents fighting at night, she would round all them up so they would hide in the tall grass that surrounded the
outside of the house. At school, Claire had always tried to disappear into the background to keep the bullies at bay. Only Larry had been her friend. Ms. Alexandra asked Claire why she loved Larry so much- even though he said cruel things to her and hit her. Ms. Alexandra was trying to help Claire learn the signs of a healthy attachment to someone else. She had Claire observe the Carsons and write in a diary examples of how they treated each other, her, and Davy. Ms. Alexandra had helped Claire complete a free, online training called “Dating Matters” that provided information about reducing teen dating violence. Claire now realized that she felt close to Larry because of the sexual experiences she had shared with him. She also realized that he had forced her to have sex the first time. Her relationships with the Carsons and Davy were the healthiest one she had ever experienced. She had even shared more of herself with Ms. Alexandra than with Larry!
If you wonder whether you are in a healthy relationship or not, you can go to the following link and then think it through