Dasha was used as a pawn with her parents, as is often the case with a young child in the midst of a divorce. They each wanted what was best for her, but in the process of accusing each other, she found herself trapped in the middle.
Being only seven years old, Dasha did not understand why her parents were always so angry at each other. And she cried bitter tears as she heard her name thrown around in angry conversation. “They must hate me,” she thought, “I must be the reason they are always so upset.”
When she spent time at her father’s house, he would bribe her with treats, his way of showing love. When she was with her mother, she would be questioned about what she did while at her father’s house, what he said, etc. and when she told her mother about the treats, she would get so angry that he was ‘buying his daughters love’.
The feeling of being pulled in two different directions and being the pawn in her parents’ game, created a deep feeling of guilt and low self-worth within Dasha. She believed that she was unloved and whenever her parents showed her a kind or loving gesture, she drew into herself, feeling like the only reason that they were nice to her was to prove that they were nicer than the other parent.
Dasha struggled to make friends at school, her view of herself was colored by her home life, causing her to feel unloveable; how could anyone want to be her friend?
She barely talked and when provoked, lashed out aggressively, creating distance between herself and her peers.
Her teachers sensed her inner pain and reached out to the local Jewish community for support. They made contact with LifeChanger, whose coordinator came to visit Dasha immediately at her mother’s house.
“It is all her father’s fault,” said her mother, “he spoils her rotten! He doesn’t know how to discipline a child.”
The coordinator immediately sensed the cause of Dasha’s pain. “Did you ever think,” she said calmly, “that it may cause Dasha harm to hear you speaking badly of her father?”
The coordinator continued to explain the traumatic effect that divorce can have on children and how to make the transition easier for them. She then outlined a plan to help Dasha overcome her pain and learn to be more self-assured, social and to find inner peace.
Both parents began attending parenting classes, which gave them the tools they lacked in being compassionate about Dasha’s personal experience and giving her the support she needed.
Dasha also started seeing a therapist, who helped guide her through her feelings and show her that none of what her parents were dealing with was her fault.
Dasha’s rehabilitation is still in its early stages, but the positive, happy-go-lucky girl that Dasha used to be is starting to shine through again. She even made a friend at school!
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