A Child of Rage: How the Love and Patience Conquered a Severe Mental Illness

A Child of Rage

“The child of rage” is a fascinating movie by CBS, filmed in 1989 in Vancouver, Canada. The movie was based on a true history of Beth Thomas, who suffered from serious behavioral problems as a result of a sexual abuse in her childhood. In 1990, a documentary film, entitled “A child of rage: a story of abuse” was inspired by the interviews with Beth Thomas, a child of rage.

The names are changed in the movie, so it tells about the family of Jill and Rob Tyler, who decided to adopt two children, Catherine and Eric. Eric was a cute and timid child, while Catherine almost immediately proved to be a problem child. Catherine manifested flashes of violent rage for no apparent reason, which greatly affected her interaction with people. At first, parents did not attach much importance to her violent actions, such as killing chicks and attacking Eric during his sleep, but when the girl began to torture the domestic dog and stab it with a needle, Jill and Rob thought that something was wrong with that girl. They tried to find out about the past of Catherine from Doris, a children’s social worker, but Doris referred to the confidentiality first and only advised Jill and Rob to bring the girl back to the orphanage if they cannot cope with her. After the disturbing incident where Catherine had shown her sexually inappropriate behavior with her adopted grandfather, Jill and Rob lead her to a psychologist who convinced parents that there was nothing wrong with the girl’s sexuality. After a short time, Jill noticed fresh bruises on Eric’s body, and although he was initially afraid to say anything, she forces him to admit that Catherine hit him several times. But these were trifles compared to the next case, where the girl intentionally hit Eric’s head against the concrete floor so that the boy needed the emergency first aid.

Doris finally revealed the truth about the girl’s past. It turned out that the children were forcibly taken from their previous family. The state of children’s health was very bad because biological parents did not care for children, they were poorly fed and beaten. Their biological mother was dead because of pneumonia when she was only a year old with little, and their biological father was always drunken, who turned out to be a real monster and a psychopath. He did not care for the children only, but he even committed sexual acts against his daughter who was not yet two years old. Doris then told that the children have an older sister, Stephanie. The parents found her working at the topless bar. Stephanie told them her own terrible story that she had been sexually abused by her father when she was a child. After she began to resist, he turned his attention to the little Catherine. This way, the adoptive parents made a conclusion about the main reasons for her brutal behavior. After another violent incident, when Catherine wounded her classmate with a shard of glass, Jill and Rob turned again to Doris. She advises parents to read the book, titled “Children who kill”, and suggests a controversial method for Catherine’s treatment: the therapy practiced by the author of the book, Dr. Rosemary Myers. Rob felt that they were not able to fix Catherine and return her to the orphanage and wanted only Eric to stay with them, but Jill still insisted on doing everything possible to help the girl.

Dr. Myers examined Catherine at the clinic and decided to use the reverse psychology method to get Catherine to acknowledge her past violent actions. She said Jill and Rob that they have a “very sick girl”, and started to work with Catherine, although she admitted she would hardly succeed. During the first therapy session in which Jill and Rob participated, the doctor deliberately provoked the girl’s anger and Jill felt that it went too far. Dr. Myers asked Jill to trust her, and the therapy sessions lasted. In the end, the enraged Catherine recognized her desire to make acts of violence with her new family. Parents burst into tears, watching as she was talking with a terrible smile about her plan to kill the whole family in her dreams. Then, there was a fire in the house that caused a sense of panic in her. The culmination of the movie was the case when Catherine tried to hit Rob with a knife, which she hid inside a teddy bear. A married couple discusses the prospect of living separately to give Catherine time for the individual attachment to each parent and get her a chance to be healed. During the next session of therapy with Catherine, there was a breakthrough. Jill began to cry and Catherine tried to calm her down. The movie ends when Catherine was telling Jill and Rob that she loved them and all three of them embraced each other with tears in their eyes.

In the real life, many more years passed before Beth learned to trust people and love them. Beth took a whole year to finally begin to act the same way as the rest of the girls of her age. She went to school, found friends and began to sing in the church choir. A former child of rage, Beth Thomas graduated from the University and started working as a nurse in the maternity ward of a hospital. She even got a professional award for her excellent job. Every year, several thousand adopted children have to return to their the orphanages. Foster parents, confronted with the strange behavior of the child, understand that they have taken on an unbearable burden. And they take children back, like a defective product. Children with a particularly difficult past are sometimes abandoned several times. Each time they become more and angrier, they become convinced of their worthlessness and heartlessness of the world, lose the ability to love and care for others.

Not always the adoption of a child looks like a beautiful fairy tale of salvation and love. Having grown up without parental caress, orphans sometimes experience acts so terrible that it would seem impossible to help them become normal people. The illustrious story of the nurse Beth Thomas, a child of rage grown up, is a proof how the patience and love of the adoptive parents were able to save the life of a small girl with a terrible past. Also, many years later these kind parents are still continuing to save children.