RE: DSM: Dawn's theory about kids getting hit

From: Liz Reid&Errol Strelnikoff (
Date: Sat Nov 17 2001 - 12:09:17 EST

> In another discussion I had about this, a
> psychologist friend
> suggested that the person doing the hitting is in a kind of
> trance and any
> interference, even a loud noise like a hand clap, might be
> enough to interrupt it.

Here is a response my Dad posted to a different list on a recent
discussion on a child being hit on a train:

Dear List,

I agree, when children are being mistreated it is a human being's duty
to interpose ourselves.

So the question is, "How does one break the trance that has taken
possession of these otherwise good people? If these parents could see
their own actions, they would be appalled and without a mirror to
reflect their actions, how can they see the spot where they are

In order to protect the child from further abuse, the most effective way
I know is to turn myself into an exaggeration, a parody, I take on, act
out and reflect the parent's expressions and appearance.

In an angry voice and scowling face, I declare something like, "You are
not hitting that child hard enough! Hit him much harder! How will your
child ever learn when you are so soft? Give him several more good licks,
but with far greater force, let him know you really mean business!"
Blah, blah, blah and so on.

By effectively drawing their attention to me, I am able to remove that
attention as far away from the child as possible, holding it with my
most ferocious face and menacing pose - my copy (reflection) of the face
they were using on their child. Flicking my head and gesturing towards
their child, I advise them to, "Continue! Don't stop! You have only
begun. Your child needs many more blows. Come on now, really get on with

I do everything in my power to keep their anger focused upon me until
they are able to see in my actions something of their own actions. As
the light dawns upon them, they quickly dismiss me as a nut that is not
worthy of their attention.

Turning, they give comfort to their needy child.

The issues recede.


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