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Published on Feb 4, 2017
Nick Duffell discusses his book Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege – A Guide to Therapeutic Work with Boarding School Survivors. The book uses the term 'survivors' because the effect on adults of being sent away to board in childhood and the problems associated with boarding, although downplayed and even denied, can be emotionally and psychologically devastating. Survivors often describe their time at boarding school and its aftermath using terms such as neglect, betrayal, grief, rage, abuse, confusion, sadness, helplessness, loneliness, and anger.
From predominantly upper and upper middle class families, achievements in boarder's professional lives - in business, politics, or some combination thereof – marginalize and all too often destroy their personal lives, particularly their intimate relationships. These effects can also be passed on from generation to generation. The result is a distant, dysfunctional elite boasting a constellation of achievements and accolades, generally handed down by an entrenched establishment of their predecessors and peers drawn from the same self-perpetuating pool.
To the rest of society they can appear arrogant, emotionally-detached, cold and calculating, and yet with a sense of entitlement born of egos both overblown and brittle. Unfortunately, they often end up in positions of power and influence where their psycho-dramas can manifest in attitudes, actions, practices, and policies which have profound, far-reaching effects on the lives of others. However lofty their titles and positions, at heart they're frightened little children who never grew up. Until we fully understand the trauma and abandonment, and see the so-called privilege as it really is – a life of resentment, frustration, and emptiness – we will fail to truly face the source of so many profound problems.