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Craving Connection: A Desperation That Kills

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This week, tragedy happened in a neighboring town. A young boy was killed by two friends over a girl they were both dating, apparently.

The more I think about this, the more heartbroken I become. I am reminded how much heartache there is really in the world. Let’s think about this…. these little boys were attached to a GIRL, and one of them was upset that they weren’t fully “the one” and so killed off the other boy. Inherently, this is about love, isn’t it? This is about a boy who felt so separated, lonely, threatened, and desperate to have love (from the girl) that he would do ANYTHING not to have it taken from him.

This breaks my heart because, in all honesty, this is everyone’s story. Every single one of us, and every single one of my clients, come to me desperate – craving, hungering – for love, affection, nurturing. The biggest problem we have is not that there are “bad seeds” among us that create problems for the rest of us. The biggest problem we have is that we have a community, parents, and neighbors so completely and utterly tuned out, detached, and disconnected from their kids, parents, friends and family, that some are dying on the vine, thirsting and starving for attention and love.

This is a community issue. Not one in which we have to become alarmists about the bad seeds. This is a community issue because it’s a human being issue. The greatest need and desire we have is for love and affection, and it can come from all around us – our neighbors, teachers, friends, friends parents, and parents. Instead, we stay closed off from our communities, not sure of what’s really going on in our homes, until tragedy happens and we say…”why?” The reason is clear: this little guy was just like all the rest of us: craving connection.

I wish he’d been able to receive that somewhere else so he wouldn’t have resorted to this horrible act.

At a conference recently, I met a lovely woman who works for the Terrell State Hospital here in Texas. She was a pleasant person with great insight who said, “I think the breakdown of our neighborhoods began with the development of garages.”

Sit with that a minute, like I did.

This woman went on to explain how when some of us were growing up, we played outside while our parents and neighbors sat on the porch watching. Parents and neighbors talked to each other. We knew what was happening in the homes; we could see the comings and goings of kids.

Another recent tragedy in a neighboring town occurred when a boy was killed. No reason at this point is given, but Mom has been arrested for the crime. Neighbors exclaimed though, “I didn’t know a boy lived in that home.”

What? Didn’t know a boy lived in the home? How on earth could that even be possible?

My own daughters have attended private school up until this year when they started attending public school. We would often go for walks in our little neighborhood and in a wooded area we call “The Secret Forest” nearby. I was always shocked at how many kids were not in our neighborhood.  That is, until they began attending public school and I realize there are actually a LOT of kids in our neighborhood. They just aren’t out playing together! Maybe that’s because their family, like ours, has driven into the garage, let the door down, locked it, and hunkered down inside until the next time they had to leave the home.

Our community is suffering. Our kids are suffering. We as human beings are suffering because we’re all craving connection and have no way to reach out and get it – no one to reach out to. Furthermore, society hasn’t taught us that reaching out is even okay. It no longer takes a village, it just takes me. I can’t be dependent on other people, I have to rely on myself. And at what cost?

This short-sighted thinking has gotten us into big, big trouble, and my hope is that soon, quickly, now…we realize that we’re all craving connection, and if we don’t get the connection we need to survive, we will surely die. Individually, wholly, emotionally and physically, we will all die.

Photo credit here.

About the Author:

Jennifer Slingerland Ryan knows a thing or two about kids and families. First, she knows they are joyous, exhilarating, loving and so darn fun. Second, she knows they suck your life dry and make you weep like a baby. By day she’s a psychotherapist; by night she’s a mom and wife. She claims to love therapizing couples, educating parents, reading dystopian fiction and sleeping in her free time (read: she never sleeps). Jennifer has spent over 12 years in private practice working with individuals, couples, and parents who are faced with kid-drama, mamma-drama, and family-drama, and she claims that although some stories make a grown woman cry, she loves it.
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