Social Issues: Youth and Self-Destruction
She is pretty and smart and everyone who knows her loves her. Her life has not been easy. Tossed back and forth between divorced parents, she learned very quickly how to play one against the other. Learning by example, she learned to fight and fight hard. She learned to use anger and threats to get her way. All she really ever wanted was to belong and to be loved.
She turned 20 years old a few days ago and she is breaking the hearts of everyone who loves her. She is surrounded by people who love her; who want her to be happy and healthy and loved. She cannot see it or, recognize the value of those who want her to be more. She could be so much more than she allows herself to be but the survival skills she learned at such a young age defy logic. She is too practiced to notice that she is making all the wrong decisions for such a bright young woman. She cannot see that this path she has chosen is a path of self-destruction.
He says he loves her but he is incapable of love and his actions say something very different. Mentally, he is not well. He has a diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He is angry and paranoid and she is his security. In reality, she is little more than the one who enables him to dig deeper into his illness. She protects him from the world and provides for all his basic needs. With her around, he has no responsibility and he is fine with that.
There are days when he sees the weariness in her eyes and notices how exhausted she is. Sometimes it bothers him and he will clean the house or cook something. It is his way of expressing love and those days are more rare than common. Mostly, he just gets high and sleeps. He has no job. She thinks he is trying to get well.
It has only been a few months since he was released from prison. He was destined for prison from birth. Born to a single mother with a serious drug addiction and a life on the streets, he never really knew what love felt like. Surrounded by men he didn’t know and passed from one relative to another, he grew up starving for attention. He sought attention and looked for love in all the wrong places. He followed the example set for him by his mother and soon he was making babies with girls who knew no more about love than he did. Drugs and his neglect to pay child support landed him in the lap of the law. He is 27 years old going on 16.
He wears his life experience like a badge. Tattooed with sub-standard prison tattoos, he is a marked man. It is obvious where he has been. He cannot hide it. If there is an element of self-consciousness to him, it is hard to detect. He is anti-social and rarely interacts with the outside world. He has made a nest with her and has no interest in leaving the nest. He is a child in a man’s body and when you look in his eyes, only fear and anger stare back.
Together, they spell dysfunction. She is protecting him from learning to live in the real world and he, in his selfish need, has her imprisoned in the darkness of his world. She feels needed and that fulfills her. In his twisted thoughts, she provides him with a sense of belonging. Together, they are playing house. They are convinced that love is all they need. They have all the answers and rebel against those who try to help them. Their world consists of lies. There is no other way for them. They cannot face the truth and the lies have created a maze of reality that they are lost in. They no longer know the difference in reality and the lies they have told. They are irresponsible, immature babies pretending badly to be adults and are making irrational decisions. They are self-destructing but you cannot make them see it.
- Social Issues: Choice and Consequence
Most of ys know that there is a price to pay for the choices we make. What makes some willing to pay a higher price than others? How can we salvage the futures of our children before it's too late?
- Social Issues: What is the Answer For The Children ...
After another mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School, our hearts are shattered. Now, we must ask - what is the answer for our society, for our children, and for the future? We have to heal this world.
- Social Issues: Looking Beyond The Surface
People in our society today are too quick to judge from first impressions. If we could learn to look beyond the surface, beyond appearance, we might discover beauty and talent in unexpected places.
Although true, this could be the story of many young adults in our society. So many have grown up in broken homes or, homes where parenting did not exist. These babies have never known discipline or consequence. Their “normal” is a nightmare of anger, violence and loneliness. Her desperate need for love is no less a handicap than his mental illness.
Anyone of us, if we took the time, could probably identify someone in our family or neighborhood to be one of the subjects in this story. We read about them in the news every day. They appear to us in stories of prostitution, robbery, drug busts, child neglect, or, in the stories of mass shootings, murder, or suicide. These are the children born of our generation who have fallen through the cracks. We must ask ourselves if we are contributors to the problem or the solution.
So what is the solution? I wish I knew.
“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.” -―Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home
The Cost of Love
Some will say that tough love is the answer while others feel that it’s not our problem. If asked, some will say let law enforcement or the schools deal with it. Some will say it’s a mental health issue and that we need to reform our attitude and policies regarding mental illness. Clearly that is true but it’s not the only answer.
The common thread between the two young people in this story is the lack of love. Neither experienced love during those early years of childhood development. As a society, we must ask ourselves – would their story have a different feel if just one person had reached out to these broken families in love?
We may not feel they are our responsibility but if we do nothing, we will continue to be victimized by the crimes of our dysfunctional youth. Wouldn’t it be easier to show a child the attention they aren’t getting at home? Is it that hard to hug one more child getting off the school bus or to invite them to spend an afternoon in a home where love lives? Would it be too inconvenient to take one more child to a ball game or to buy one more present for Christmas? Even an afternoon snack offered to a latch-key kid is a demonstration of caring and could make a difference.
Love is a gift that doesn’t have a price tag. It doesn’t have to be purchased and no one should have to pay for it. It’s ours to give away or not. Do you have enough love to give away to a child that needs it desperately? A hug today just might prevent another young woman from being imprisoned by a false love. A hug today might prevent a young boy from self-destructing as a young man. Sharing your love today, could prevent a crime in the future. Will you make the investment?
© 2013 Linda Crist, All rights reserved