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NCJ Number: 220620 Find in a Library
Title: Lessons Learned From "Fawns in Gorilla Suits"
Journal: Residential Treatment for Children & Youth  Volume:22  Issue:4  Dated:2005  Pages:33-47
Author(s): David A. Crenshaw Ph.D.; John B. Mordock Ph.D.
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 15
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reviews key research findings and clinical insights regarding the small group of children described as "fawns in gorilla suits," who hide the extreme vulnerability of their core self ("fawn") by donning the frightening "gorilla suit" (aggression) in order to keep potentially threatening others at a distance.
Abstract: Children who experience trauma, i.e., events and experiences that bring extreme emotional/physical pain, tend to feel terror when exposed to situations that activate memories of their abusive past. If a child has been exposed to violence and aggression by an authority figure, then subsequent similar behaviors by others may trigger the memories of abuse or trauma. Child trauma survivors tend to shut down their senses as they develop a protective shield designed to prevent them from being hurt again. Emotional growth manifested in unselfish love and an openness to and trust of others is stunted or prevented. Attachment and bonding difficulties result from their becoming "fawns in gorilla suits." Feelings that accompany this state include shame, low self-esteem, detachment, anger/rage, and violence. Extreme manifestations of these mental and behavioral postures are symptomatic of severe wounds to the youth's core self. 41 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Aggression; Child abuse as crime factor; Child abuse as delinquency factor; Child development; Ego development; Long term health effects of child abuse; Violence causes; Youth development
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