A Separate Arc for the Skunks

This is a happy story for kids, child alters, and other sensible people.

My father could be pretty mean with words.

He told us that Noah called all the animals to come into the Arc when it started to rain. But the skunks smelled so bad Noah didn’t want them on board. So he built a separate Arc for the skunks.

Every time the grownups did something and us kids had to do something different, he said, “Separate Arc for the skunks.” Like at a family party, if there was a kids’ table and a grown-up’s table.

That hurt our feelings. We didn’t smell bad. How could we smell bad if they washed us and our clothes all the time? They never let us get dirty, anyway.

Besides, skunks don’t smell all that bad. Especially if you think of elephants and hippos peeing and pooing in the Arc for forty days and forty nights. Yuck!

So I made a pretend separate Arc for the skunks and all their friends. It has six restaurants with everything they want to eat and plenty of it. It has soft beds and the cabins have night lights so nobody has to be scared of the dark. It has an orchestra that can play all the tunes in the world. It has a bowling alley, a movie theater, and a swimming pool with a waterfall and water slides and inner tubes.

It has everything the skunks and their friends could ever want.

So there!

It Wasn’t Your Fault

It’s helpful to talk to child parts and to explain things that happened in simple language. Even if they don’t say anything, they will still hear what you are saying. It’s reassuring to give them the choice of listening now or later.

Children need to hear things many times before they get it. You can try telling them the same thing twice each time and repeating it often. You can set aside a time each day to talk to them — it doesn’t have to be longer than ten minutes. Or you can talk to them whenever you have a spare moment.

Here’s an example — it’s an e-mail I wrote to a child part who was feeling guilty about something she had been made to do. (I have permission to share it here.)

It wasn’t your fault

If you can’t read this, maybe you could ask somebody inside, who is a little older, to read it to you. If you are too scared right now, you can ask them to read it to you later.

It’s okay to hide, okay to stay quiet, and okay to talk, too.

You may think you are dirty inside, but you aren’t. It wasn’t your fault.

You see, grown ups teach children to do things. Nice grown ups teach them nice things, good things. Like how to play and read and tie their shoes. They tell them they did a good job.

Mean grown ups teach children awful things. Like how to have sex and how to hurt other people and animals.  And they call them names, like stupid and dirty.

Those names are lies. The children aren’t stupid or dirty or evil. The grown ups just said that to be mean.

Children are little and they have no power. They can’t run fast enough to get away. They aren’t strong enough to say no. If they try and tell, nobody helps them because nobody believes them or understands what they are saying. They can’t escape.

If you had had different parents, nice parents, you never would have done those things. It was not your fault. It was their fault because they taught you bad things.

I am so sorry you got the parents you did. It isn’t fair.