“NO, NO, NO, STOP! Leave her alone you bad man. MUM, please hit him” Ambrosio was there, shouting for Icarius to stop hitting his mum. He ran towards the sewing machine onthe other side of the shop floor. He was manically opening the 3 draws looking for something. The machinery was full of dust, garments, needles and SCISSORS! “YES, I’ll show that monster” thought Ambrosio. The scissors were now firmly in Ambrosio’s right hand. His fingers tightly around the handles, shoulders back, chest held high. He turns around almost like a child possessed. At this point, nothing else mattered other than getting his mum out of there. He may have been a small child and physically a lot timid compared to Icarius, but what he had was a purpose.

As he walked a few steps ahead; he thought,” I can’t hurt him with these scissors. It’s not me, but he deserves it. Look what he is doing to my mum”. Ambrosio dropped the scissors but the shoulders and chest remained firm and in position, the possessed look remained. Although he didn’t have scissors in his hand, he had a will he never had before. He had this inner strength. He didn’t require an object as a weapon. He didn’t need those scissors. Yes of course this would have been the easy way; he could’ve run to the kitchen and picked up a knife, but none of that would’ve made the situation any better. Maybe it would have momentarily, the beating would have stopped, his mum would’ve been safe but then what? Icarius could have died – sure that is what Ambrosio wanted but psychologically, the long-term effects would have been tragic on both Althea and Ambrosio. You see, there are others ways to stop something bad happening however as a child, you’re not aware of the options, your mind is not geared for situational awareness and long term, well, long term doesn’t matter, here and now matters. Ambrosio however was not like other kids. He may have been 7 but at the age of 7, he was a wise kid, maybe the head and shoulders of a 15-year-old and a heart of a grown man. He was sensitive towards feelings and aware of his surroundings. What he also was, was scared and terrified of Icarius. Icarius was a bully and Ambrosio hated him. He had contemplated running away from Althea on many occasions, just so he didn’t have to watch her get beaten up anymore. The pain was agonising.

As he dropped the scissors, he walked towards Icarius and stood over him. Icarius at this stage was looking over Althea, holding a bunch of her hair in his hand, tight, so her head was firmly pressed against the floor. He was on both his knees, shouting and swearing.

Ambrosio firmly said “Oi, I suggest you let go of my mum”. Icarius turned his head slightly, laughed and said “you better go back in that corner and mind your own business, weak boy” Ambrosio looked at him straight into the eyes, reached for his shoulder with his left hand to get a grip of his jacket and punched him straight onto his noise with his right. As he still had a grip of Icarius’s shoulder, Icarius only slightly fell back, but he also had a grip of Althea’s hair. Althea screamed for Ambrosio to stop. Although Amrosio was full of rage, he was very collected and calm in person but he meant business. “I SUGGEST you let go of her or it’s coming again” said Ambrosio, this time raising his voice only slight compared to his first request. Icarius complied, he let go of Altheas hair and stood up, but this time, Ambrosio was hovering over Icarius so Icarius was unable to stand up from the position he was kneeling in

“Ambrosio, are you ok” said Norman.

“Y-y-yeeah I’m all good mate” said Ambrosio. Ambrosio was now 22 and in therapy. All of this was during a therapy session, therapy called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). Norman was his therapist

What is EMDR – taken from https://centerfordiscovery.com/understanding-actually-happens-emdr-therapy/

How does EMDR work?

There are eights phases of treatment and the initial one focuses on taking a thorough client history followed by a preparation stage. In the Rapid Eye Movement portion, the client focuses on a troubling memory and identifies the belief he has about himself connected to this negative memory (for example, in dealing with a rape, the person may believe “I am dirty”). The individual then formulates a positive belief that he would like to have about himself (“I am a worthwhile and good person in control of my life.”). All the physical sensations and emotions that accompany the memory are identified. The individual then goes over the memory while focusing on an external stimulus that creates bilateral (side to side) eye movement. This is most often achieved by watching the therapist moving a finger. After each set of bilateral movements, the individual is asked how he feels. This process continues until the memory is no longer disturbing.

The individual is processing the trauma with both hemispheres of the brain stimulated. The chosen positive belief is then installed, via bilateral movement, to replace the negative one. Each session normally lasts for about one hour. It is believed that EMDR works because the “bilateral stimulation” by-passes the area of the brain that has become stuck due to the trauma and is preventing the left side of the brain from self-soothing the right side of the brain.

During this procedure, clients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. This often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self that have grown out of the original traumatic event. For example, an assault victim may come to realize that he was not to blame for what happened, he is now safe, that the event is really over, and, as a result he can regain a general sense of safety in his world.

Ambrosio was diagnosed with PTSD. He had seen too much trauma that was stopping him from moving forward. The child in part 1 of the story was unable to help his mum. This had had a severe impact on Ambrosio whilst growing up. He didn’t ever think of this situation but it was there, in his sub conscious. Maybe growing up he felt helpless, unable to help his mum when he wanted to. He froze in situations when his mum was being abused. But lets not forget, he was child. All too often, children are the real victims in trauma. They may not physically go through something, but they see things, they witness things and most children keep this in. They don’t know how to process it. It gets shoved away in their brain locker, keys thrown away and unable to be located. Ambrosio was special however, he knew he needed help, long term substance abuse (alcohol / drugs) was no an option, he wanted to be the difference. He wanted to be better. He knew though that the past was haunting him, he had to get that out of his mind or at the very least accept what had happened and accept his was only a child and was not able to help.

During these therapy sessions, he included his adult self in the situation in this story, to take control of the situation, to give the child Ambrosio the guardian he always wanted, the savior of the situation but to also tell the child that everything was ok and nobody will ever hurt our mum again. In minds like Ambrosio’s, there are 2 people, the child and the adult. The child needed that protector, and the adult was the protector, to ensure the child is safe. Ambrosio was now safe, the adult had arrived!