Everytime I start spending time online I run into people who have serious issues going on at home--wait, scratch that, even in real life. Maybe it's because I am fairly sensitive to emotions (Jon thinks of this as a good thing, and mostly I do too) and so I really CARE about everyone I meet. And really the worlds seems to be a messed up place right now, parents can neglect and emotionally abuse their kids all they want so long as the kid isn't starving or being beaten, even doing weird shit like happened to Sara P. where they withdrew her from school one weekend without even a chance to say goodbye to friends, drove her like halfway across the country, and left her with her mother and stepfather. Permanently.
What really gets me though is that so many kids won't DO anything when they are being emotionally abused and neglected. Sara was a skinny kid, I believe she didn't eat at home very much, and she never brought a lunch or lunch money to school. We started sharing our lunches with her, and after a while brought extra lunches because she was so hungry. We could never get her to talk to one of the teachers or a counselor about it, and she didn't want us to, either. Maybe I'm just mad at myself because I didn't do more--I should have told someone, regardless of what she said. But her telling an adult would have had the largest impact--we had no way of knowing for sure what was going on at home, but she had the full story, and her word would have been able to get her some help.
I've been thinking about this because, like I said, I keep running into these kids. Especially online it seems, maybe because they have a need to get away from their lives and talk to people who are generally more caring...I don't know. It's not usually attention-whore drama drivel, it's kids asking what they can do to stop their parents from being disappointed in them, kids who wonder what they're doing wrong when the real problem is that their parents have no idea how to have a healthy, loving relationship. Plenty of adults, too, who grew up that way, and are able to at least give sympathy and comfort.
Jon and I went out to a Chinese buffet--a woman and her two kids were placed at a table next to us despite the place being nearly empty, and we got to hear her yelling at and belittling her kids the entire time we were eating. Telling them to shut up, that they were stupid and worthless, that she was never taking them out to eat anywhere again. The kids were very quiet, and absolutely adorable (though the little boy went straight for the food that still had antennae and claws attached). The awful shouting just made me sick, and if we hadn't been watching our money so carefully I would have done something to make a point maybe, like pay for their dinner on the way out and ask the cashier to give them a message from us. I can just see it.... "The young couple who were sitting next to you have already paid for your meal, and wanted to let you know that your children are adorable and well-mannered but your HIDEOUS SCREAMING VOICE spoiled their appetites." But I should have at least said something. :(
What is wrong with people?
I've been thinking about this sort of thing tonight because of course another one popped up, this time on the PonyIsland forums. I've given her all the advice I can, and I HOPE she gets some help soon. But even if she does, there are still so many others out there.
I want to help them all somehow, but at the same time it scares me. I get so angry and full of hate when I think about these people who treat their children poorly, it makes my stomach clench up and I'm sure my face gets a little red because I feel hot all over, and I want to punch them. Who DOES that sort of stuff to kids? Do they not realize how seriously messed up their kids are getting?
I know the organizations that are supposed to help with that sort of thing are overworked dealing with cases of physical abuse and serious neglect and starvation and stuff. Hell, there are even people who kill their own kids, getting them out of danger of death certainly should take priority. But emotional abuse IS real abuse, and so common too...it makes me hurt inside to think about it.
There's got to be something more I can do besides give scared kids links to information websites, there just has to be.