The Cowardly Lion vs. The Courageous Lion….

Guest Author Post

November 19, 2014

By:  Deborah A. Novo

“Doesn’t he know how good he has it?  He has no clue how lucky he is to have all that he does.  Why does he still sabotage everything he does?  Why does he always have to learn the hard way?  Why does he still lie, you can’t believe a word he says.  It is time for him to grow up.  Where is his loyalty?  He doesn’t care about a damn thing.  Why isn’t that Attachment Therapy working?

 These are the intermittent thoughts of extended family members after 15 years of involvement with our older teenager and young adult with a history of Reactive Attachment Disorder.  Every time the bottom falls out they struggle to grasp how someone can seemingly can move in a forward direction only to abruptly and forcefully put it in reverse.

Sometimes, I feel frustrated when I hear their words.   I have explained the profound effects of neglect on the brain and the heart to help them understand this complex emotional illness.  However, I do understand because I often think the same things.

Last week, if I had any forewarning about what we were going to hear I would have invited them all to be flies on the wall.  It is common for RAD kids to use their actions to reflect how they feel and uncommon for them to articulately convey their broken belief systems. Our family would have been enlightened and disheartened to hear one of our sons explaining his truth:

“ Sharing feelings makes you weak.”  “It is dangerous and not normal to rely on anyone.”  “If I let you be my parents and then you die, I will die.”  “I know I screw up but at least it’s an existence.”

When family members are affected by RAD behaviors  we encourage them to consider our sons like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz and interact with them as such.  The lion admittedly is not very brave and the only way he changes his fortune is through practice.  In spite of his fears, he chooses to practice courage through various actions in the movie.

Sometimes, we need to offer our sons inspiration when choosing their steps throughout the day.  They are very familiar with the Wizard of Oz and therefore it is only natural for us to frequently and respectfully ask two questions:

What type of Lion would you like to practice being today?”

“What actions do you need to take today to be that courageous Lion?”



Like this post, search for more by keyword or category.

Sort by Category

More ATN Posts

Our Voices
Julie Beem

Business as Usual…Except more Sorrow and Resolve

For nearly 30 years ATN has been in the trenches with children significantly impacted by early childhood trauma…now understood as developmental trauma, attachment trauma, relationship trauma.  Our roots are working with children who struggled due to very early abuse, neglect,

Read More »
Making a Difference in a Time of Dis-Ease
ATN News
Attachment & Trauma Network

ATN’s COVID-19 Response

TOUCHING TRAUMA AT ITS HEART EMPOWERING TRAUMA-INFORMED FAMILIES, SCHOOLS, AND COMMUNITIES You are not alone ATN knows that the social distancing going on now can be VERY unsettling for our children impacted by trauma.  Their early adversities cause them heightened

Read More »
Showing up
Laura Dennis

Showing Up

–inspired by episode 3 of Regulated & Relational Connection Quaker writer and activist Parker Palmer often recounts a story about how, in the middle of what he calls “a deep dive into clinical depression,” his friend Bill Taber would come

Read More »