What We Learned At Boarding School

Alone

Yes, that’s the key word,
the most awful word in the
English tongue. Murder doesn’t
hold a candle to it and hell is
only a poor synonym.
~Stephen King~

Introduction

There are as many different experiences of boarding school as there are ex-boarders, and experiences will vary enormously depending on the nature of the school, the family the child comes from, the child’s personality and the age at which they started boarding school. There is a whole range of individual factors which, of course, make each person’s experience unique. In this piece I explore the strategies that many children use to help them cope during their boarding school days, and I describe the possible shadows that may result. Please bear in mind when reading that some children find ways of coping that are different to those described here. Whilst some children may seem to thrive at boarding school most, if not all, find that the survival strategies they develop there limit them or cause them difficulties later in their life. If you yourself attended boarding school you might find that some of what’s written here resonates with you. However please remember that your own experience is always more relevant than ‘theory’ – which is at best a helpful map of the territory, and at worst inaccurate and unhelpful. As Carl Jung himself said – ‘Learn your theories well, but put them aside when you confront the mystery of the living soul.’

So firstly, what is ‘The Shadow’?

Shadows are formed when we cut off, repress or deny any part of ourselves. We all form shadows during our childhoods, they are an essential part of adapting to the world in which we find ourselves. For example, if our parents tell us it is wrong to get angry, then we may take our anger and hide it away in order to gain their approval and love. We may try to convince ourselves that we don’t have anger, it is not a part of us. This decision will help us to survive our childhood in the best way possible. So Shadows are formed as we react with entirely appropriate, sometimes lifesaving responses to the situations in which we find ourselves. They are the absolute best decisions that we could make at the time and they allow us to survive (and even enjoy) what might otherwise be intolerable.

However, as we reach adulthood and are freed from the constraints of our childhood, we find that the decisions which helped us when we were younger can start to hold us back in later life.
If we continue with the above example where a child has put their anger in to shadow, it’s important to understand that it is not the anger itself that forms the shadow. Anger is an entirely natural and necessary part of us. Anger helps to let us know when we are being treated badly or when our boundaries are crossed, and it gives us the energy to take action and stand up for ourselves and to protect those we love. It is not anger that is the shadow here. It is actually losing touch with our anger that is the problem, and it is the behaviours we employ in order to keep our anger hidden that form the shadow. These behaviours will have worked well for us throughout our childhood, but they may start to adversely affect us in adult life. We may not be able to fully experience and enjoy life because of the parts of ourselves we are denying. For example, if we’re denying our anger we may find that we’re not able to stand up for ourselves in adulthood, that others are constantly ‘walking all over us’ because we don’t know how to set our boundaries effectively. We may then find ourselves erupting in rage at some point because we’ve ‘had enough’. This kind of explosive anger can adversely affect our relationships. Alternatively we may use passive aggressive, controlling or manipulative behaviours to get our way and the people around us may find this difficult. Either way we’re likely to run into problems because we don’t have access to our clean, healthy anger.

If we have put something into shadow in this way then we may reach a point in adulthood when we want to re-claim this side of ourselves in order that we can live a happier and more fulfilling life. We can see, with the above example of anger, that re-claiming healthy anger would mean we’d be able to set our boundaries more clearly and respectfully and stand up for ourselves with strength and dignity. This would lead to healthier relationships with others and ultimately we would feel better about the kind of person we are. Re-claiming an aspect of ourselves after having had it in shadow for so long is no small task. This is what Shadow Work is about, and there is a wealth of information on this subject in the links at the end of this piece.

So Why look at the boarding School experience in terms of the Shadow?

The idea of the shadow tends to speak strongly to ex-boarders as they have often been left with a sense of having split off large parts of themselves in order to survive and to get along in boarding school life. The Shadow Work model offers a framework for understanding what happens when we split off a part of ourselves, and the Shadow Work processes offer the opportunity to re-claim these lost parts of the whole. For these reasons the idea of the shadow can be particularly helpful for ex-boarders as a way of making sense of their experience and providing possible ways forward.

The Child’s Experience

Below I describe some possible shadows that can arise from the boarding experience. These are organised according to the four archetypes that we work with in Shadow Work – The Magician, The Lover, The Warrior and The Sovereign. We believe that we need access to the qualities of all of these four archetypes if we are to live life fully. A summary of each archetype is given before the relevant sections. You don’t need to know anything more about these archetypes in order to go ahead and read the article, but it may be helpful for you to have an explanation around what is meant by the ‘Gateway Emotion’ that’s listed at the end of each summary. The Gateway Emotion is the emotion that we need to be willing to feel if we’re to have access to all the qualities that this particular archetype has to offer. If we don’t have access to this emotion we won’t be able to fully live this side of ourselves. If you’re interested in exploring the archetypes further there are links at the end of this piece that will take you to a 12/15 minute talk about each one.

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Magician – Our magician is the part of us that can step back and see things from many
different points of view. Our magician can help us to re-frame situations and
see things differently. This side of us is responsible for assessing risks and
keeping us safe. Our intellect lies here, along with our ability to
transform our understanding of ourselves and the world.
Gateway Emotion – Fear

Children who are sent to boarding school face a unique situation. In the first instance they are to be separated from their parents for long periods of time. Most children instinctively see this as a ‘bad’ thing to have happen. In fact for many young children it is quite beyond their comprehension, and boarders often find that the reality of their situation only really sinks in as they watch their parents walking away, or driving out of the gate. For others it’s only after several days or even weeks that they finally realise their parents are not coming back.

Being left with strangers, for what may seem like forever, a child might panic,… scream,… fight to get back to their parents. Their worst nightmare is happening. For a young child this can feel like the loss of life itself – loss of the life giving connection that their parents have always provided. However, a child left at boarding school rarely displays such heart-wrenching emotion. Their feelings, if expressed at all, are much more muted. They are likely to be struggling with a very particular dilemma…

The dilemma

A child being sent to boarding school is generally told by those around them that this is a ‘good’ thing – that they are lucky, privileged, and will have a great time. This can be confusing if their natural response is to want their parents, and being sent away seems to them like a ‘bad’ thing. So, children in this situation face a dilemma that goes something like this:

1) Have my parents done something bad or cruel in sending me away?

2) Or are am I bad or wrong in some way for not appreciating this experience?

Each child will have their own version of this conundrum, as their minds try to make sense of what’s happening. As adults of course, we can appreciate that the question is not so simple. But a child who is struggling to make sense of the key question ‘If they loved me, why did they send me away?’ will almost always explain this by choosing some version of option 2 above. They start to believe there is something wrong with them.
They may decide they are innately bad or faulty for not being able to enjoy their boarding school life, or they may think that being unhappy demonstrates weakness or betrayal on their part. Alternatively they might start to believe that they did something bad at home, and this justifies their parents sending them away.

But why would a child choose to believe that they are bad? If this happens it is usually an unconscious decision that is made because the other option, thinking that their parents and teachers are inflicting this misery on them deliberately, is too terrifying. The child cannot afford to believe that what is happening is beyond their control, this thought can lead to hopelessness and emotional breakdown.
However, by believing that they themselves are bad they gain some control over their situation. It means it is their fault. This empowers them, and offers a way forward. The child can now take control. They can take control of themselves, and work to eradicate or hide their badness, in the hope that if they succeed then their life will be better. The child may do this so effectively – by being kind, helpful, placid or whatever – that they forget that they are only being ‘good’ in order to hide the ‘bad’ parts of themselves, they begin to think that this is just the way they are. The child’s personality becomes associated with wearing masks such as these, and they begin to lose touch with who they really are.
Another possibility is that the child may decide to embrace their ‘badness’ and use it for their own ends, taking part in underhand, manipulative or bullying behaviours. The sense of control that this provides helps to make their boarding experience less terrifying, but this is no more their true nature than is the ‘goodness’ of the placid child.
So, either way the child begins to act strategically, hiding who they really are and what they really want. They present themselves in ways that will keep them safe, hide their ‘badness’ and unobtrusively gain them advantage in some way. The child develops a false self in order to survive.

What goes in to shadow here is the child’s trust in their

own innate goodness.

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Lover– Our Lover is the part of us that feels, it connects us with what is going on
inside. This part connects us deeply to others and allows us to be intimate.
This is the spontaneous, creative, dreaming side of us that enjoys
nature, play and sensuality. Our child-like qualities
lie here, along with our vulnerability.
Gateway Emotion – Grief

At boarding school there is no one to love and care for the child in the same way there was at home. To survive this a child may take their hopes for love, care and attention and put them away in to Shadow, working hard to conceal these traits. They hide them from others, but they may also hide them from themselves. It’s important that they don’t feel the pain of these unmet needs, and that they don’t make themselves vulnerable to those who might take advantage of such innocent qualities. It’s a really wise decision to hide these needs when there is no one there who can care for them in the same wholehearted way that a parent can.

Yet these needs for love, care and attention are such fundamental parts of us that hiding them is incredibly hard work and takes a huge amount of energy. The child who attempts this will have to police themselves rigorously if they’re to be sure that these sides of themselves don’t show. It is no longer safe to act spontaneously – everything the child does or says needs to go through a filter to check that it is ‘acceptable’. They are likely to convince themselves that their need for care is weak or wrong, so even thoughts such as ‘I miss my mummy’ or ‘I want to go home’ are not allowed. It’s as if they develop their own internal ‘thought police’ to help them to ‘be good’.

Remember, the choice to put something in to Shadow is rarely conscious, it is more often an involuntary decision. This means that the child can come to really believe that they don’t need care, attention, holding and love. Even in this situation they may not be able to control themselves completely. Their body may betray the depth of grief and loss they are experiencing: through bedwetting, night terrors, stomachaches or sickness.

What goes in to shadow here is the child’s need for love, care and attention.

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Warrior– Our Warrior is the part of us that can bring about change in our lives
and can step out and take action in the world. It is responsible for setting
our boundaries and saying ‘No’ and ‘Stop’. The warrior has integrity
and courage and speaks the truth. Our Warrior protects us,
and those more vulnerable than ourselves.
Gateway Emotion – Anger

The child who is unhappy at boarding school may face another powerful emotion – Rage. Rage is a natural reaction to abandonment. However, a child who already believes they are bad is unlikely to take the risk of expressing such anger for fear of disapproval. They are more likely to try to keep it out of sight and to pretend that it doesn’t exist… another Shadow begins to take form.
Without access to their anger a child can loose touch with their ability to speak up for themselves and to say when things aren’t right. Learning to hide their anger actually helps the child to survive life at school. It is pointless trying to set your boundaries and to be treated as an individual in an institution which is managing and organising so many people at once. The school is not realistically able to take into account what is right for each and every child.
Some children report anger at the strong sense of imprisonment they experience during their time at boarding school, but this anger is futile as it can’t help them escape. The school and their parents are too powerful. A very small number of children do make an escape attempt, but clearly they are too young and vulnerable to survive safely on their own and are almost always ‘caught’ by well meaning adults and returned immediately. The resultant sense of helplessness these children feel compounds their belief that they have no power over their own lives.
Without a parent looking out for them and fighting their corner at school a child is potentially open to abuse, either from other children or their teachers. They instinctively know their anger will be ineffective in such situations, where they are smaller and less powerful than those around them. This means that usually they will submit to any abuse they experience, quite often explaining it away by telling themselves that somehow they deserved it.
So most boarders decide that expressing anger directly will not help them. Instead they’re likely to try to hide under the radar or use strategic or manipulative behaviour to keep themselves safe.

What goes in to shadow here is the child’s anger.

———————————————

Sovereign – Our Sovereign is our inner Queen or King. The loving parent inside who
guides and blesses us as we travel through life. This is the heart that cares.
Our Sovereign holds the vision for our life, it is the part of us
that knows what we really want, and will encourage and
support us as we work to make our plans a reality.
Gateway Emotion – Joy

Another significant difference between school and home life is the focus on achievement. At school a child is constantly being required to ‘perform’ in some way. Yet the goalposts are endlessly changing, so the satisfaction of arriving at a destination is rarely experienced. You win the county championships and you start preparing for the nationals, you get 90% in an exam and are asked what happened to the other 10%. You come top of your class and immediately get moved up to a higher set. If the child does experience success it is usually short lived, and very soon a new, harder challenge is presented. Compared to home there is little space available in most schools for unstructured play or daydreaming. If a child does have free time they are unlikely to dream or play freely in the way they might at home, these activities require a deep sense of safety and holding that the school environment can’t provide. During free time a child is more likely to be anxious and fearful and to either ‘close down’ or to feel intense emotional distress at their sense of aloneness. For this reason most children willingly choose to engage in more structured ‘achievement based’ activities when provided, and these become part of the culture of the school.
This emphasis on achievement can lead some children to believe they are not good enough just as they are. They are only good enough if they are achieving or performing in some way. Without the daily reassurance from parents who simply ‘love them anyway’ this shadow can run wild. The child over performs in a desperate attempt to find approval and some sense of being loved.

Such a high level of performance can bring much praise and recognition – they may become a powerful and successful sportsperson, a talented musician, a gifted linguist, scientist, mathematician, speaker, or actor. The young person may get a huge amount of pleasure from the skills and talents they develop and leave school with a long list of achievements that will set them up well for ‘getting ahead’ in later life. Their skill can be formidable. However, being valued only for our achievements can ultimately lead to a low sense of self worth. If the child then fails at some point, or doesn’t come up to scratch, they can believe they no longer have any value at all. Even if they’re ‘performing’ well, the underlying message the child receives is that they are only loved because of their performance. Over time even the successful child may start to fear that, without their achievements, they are worth very little.

What goes in to shadow here is the child’s sense of self worth and their belief that they are loveable just as they are.

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The Adult’s Experience

Children who have had experiences at boarding school similar to the ones described above may go on to struggle in certain ways in adult life, where their adaptive behaviours may be restricting and painful for them and those around them. Below I describe how the shadows formed in each archetype might manifest as the child moves in to adulthood, and I suggest some first steps that can be taken to change limiting or unhelpful patterns of behaviour.

————————————————-

Magician – Our magician is the part of us that can step back and see things from many
different points of view. Our magician can help us to re-frame situations and
see things differently. This side of us is responsible for assessing risks and
keeping us safe. Our intellect lies here, along with our ability to
transform our understanding of ourselves and the world.
Gateway Emotion – Fear

The creation of a false self in childhood can leave us with a sense of not being fully present in our adult life, struggling to feel engaged, and not really enjoying what’s going on. It’s as if we’re living from the head, rather than the heart. We may have totally lost touch with what we really think, feel or want because these parts have been hidden away for so long – everything we do is still filtered to check that it doesn’t give away our ‘badness’.
If as a child we believed we were ‘bad’ in some way then we can come to fear this badness in ourselves as adults, and what might happen if it were ever to leak out. We may engage less and less in life so as to lower the risk of exposing ourselves or harming others. Alternatively we may endlessly strive for perfection – still trying to prove to ourselves and others that we are ‘good’. Unfortunately, rather than being well received this perfectionism can seem cold to those around us and somewhat lacking in humanity.
Another way that we might try to hide our real selves is to live some kind of double life – a situation in which many ex boarders find themselves. It’s easier to hide unwanted sides of ourselves if life is compartmentalised in some way.
Finally, if we come to have our own children we may find it hard to be around their natural noise, exuberance and messiness. We are so used to keeping ourselves in check that this seems wrong. Consequently, we may decide to send them off to boarding school to help them ‘grow up’ and learn to control these child sides of themselves.

Future steps…
If we are to really begin inhabiting our lives again then at some point we’ll need to take the risk of turning and facing the sides of ourselves we fear. We’ll need a chance to explore whatever we believe is bad, wrong or faulty within us. Only in moving towards this can we come to know and accept ourselves, and ultimately to re-discover our own innate goodness.

———————————————

Lover– Our Lover is the part of us that feels, it connects us with what is going on
inside. This part connects us deeply to others and allows us to be intimate.
This is the spontaneous, creative, dreaming side of us that enjoys
nature, play and sensuality. Our child-like qualities
lie here, along with our vulnerability.
Gateway Emotion – Grief

If we’re denying our vulnerability and our need for care and attention then we will have a difficult time forming intimate relationships in adult life. When we are hiding so much of ourselves it’s hard for other people to feel close to us as relationships require a deep sharing of who we are, including our frailties and insecurities.
We may be told we act coldly towards others who want our affection. This is because we act coldly towards ourselves. We’ve never allowed these needs for love to be met in us, so we can’t possibly meet them in others. We want to squash down their feelings in the same way we’ve squashed down our own – we might belittle people around us who are sensitive or ask for support or we may shame people who enjoy sensuality and self nurture, or those who express their emotions openly – these behaviours seem distasteful to us. The truth is it’s too dangerous for us to enter this territory, as allowing any such feelings in others could open the doorway to our own unresolved grief and un-met needs.

However hard we try to repress our shadows they usually manage to find a way out one way or another. If we’ve put our need for physical connection and intimacy in to Shadow it may come out in unhelpful or inappropriate ways. Some of us become addicted to alcohol, food or drugs in an attempt to fill these hidden needs in a way that doesn’t make us vulnerable to those around us. Others may become addicted to sex, or to pornography or prostitutes. Asking for intimacy or affection can just seem too risky. Since we have come to believe this part of us is bad we will find it hard to ask directly for the connection we want, and looking for love may feel shameful in some way.

During our time at boarding school we may also have put away the desire for a permanent home. We may feel more comfortable with some kind of double life, similar to that at school, where we had a home life and a school life, an internal life and an external life. So we may travel away from home much of the time, have affairs, or find ourselves equally attached to two different places. We may constantly move around, never finding a place that we can really call home.

Future steps…
If we want to find deep intimacy and a sense of home in our lives then at some point we will need to explore our grief. If we can find a way to connect with the sense of sorrow and loss we experienced as a child it will bring us in touch with ourselves in a softer way, where we no longer fear our vulnerability and our need for connection. We will be able to take the risk of connecting now because we have learned that we can live through the feelings of loss that are an inevitable result of deep connection – they may certainly seem overwhelming for a while, but, as adults, they will not destroy us.

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Warrior– Our Warrior is the part of us that can bring about change in our lives
and can step out and take action in the world. It is responsible for setting
our boundaries and saying ‘No’ and ‘Stop’. The warrior has integrity
and courage and speaks the truth. Our Warrior protects us
and those more vulnerable than ourselves.
Gateway Emotion – Anger

Setting clear boundaries and standing up for ourselves will be hard if our anger is in Shadow – as adults saying a clear ‘No’ to what we don’t want is unlikely to come easily. We may find we get very angry about certain things in our lives, but are unable to express this outwardly, perhaps relying on passive aggressive behaviours to get our way. Alternatively we might try to manipulate or control those around us so that we never need to face conflict directly. Unfortunately other people can find these behaviours very difficult, and their negative reactions may reinforce the (incorrect) message that we took on as a child – that we are bad. Receiving this message will further emphasise the need to hide our true selves, and in this way our Shadows can become more entrenched as we move through life, rather than loosening their grip.
Another way that Shadows can show up in adult life is when part of us leaks out ‘by accident’. If we have our anger in Shadow then we’ll be working very hard to keep it under wraps, but we’re unlikely to succeed 100% of the time. People may tell us we ‘look angry’ even if we’re not consciously aware of feeling angry at the time. Worse, our anger may burst out in inappropriate or even violent ways that may feel out of our control. Later we can bitterly regret having behaved in this way, judging ourselves yet again as ‘bad’.

Future steps….
The truth is simply that we have a backlog of natural anger that’s had nowhere to go. It has been bottled up for a very long time because it couldn’t be expressed when it was first felt many years previously. Everyone gets angry. Our journey here involves learning to trust our anger and to understand what we’re really angry about. We need a safe place to express the anger and pain we felt as a child. As a result we’ll be able to listen respectfully now to our anger when it comes up in everyday life, and use it as a warning sign that something is wrong for us. We’ll then be able to take the appropriate action, and stand up for ourselves in a mature and measured way.

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Sovereign– Our Sovereign is our inner Queen or King. The loving parent inside who
guides and blesses us as we travel through life. This is the heart that cares.
Our Sovereign holds the vision for our life, it is the part of us
that knows what we really want, and will encourage and
support us as we work to make our plans a reality.
Gateway Emotion – Joy

If we’re taught that our value lies only in our achievements, we never learn to really believe in ourselves. As adults we will still be busy performing for approval, rather than following our own callings and creating the life we want.
We may find that we continually do well and receive high acclaim, yet deep down this still doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves. So we’re likely to look for the next, even bigger hurdle to overcome – if we achieve this then we’ll know we’re really good enough! – But this moment never comes, and the cycle continues. Such a pattern can lead to exhaustion and burn out, or, at best, to a gradual deadening of our enthusiasm for life, and a bewilderment at why we’re compelled to always be so ‘busy’.
Alternatively, once we leave school we may give up on the idea of achieving anything at all, deciding that life is just too hard. Without the joy of feeling loved just as we are we may not have the energy to keep trying. What’s the point? – whatever we do it will never be good enough. It’s as if our fire has completely gone out.
Another way to seek approval can be by caring compulsively for others, giving them some of the love and attention that we ourselves crave. This certainly gains us approval, but rarely works in the long term as our resentment builds, and others start to take the kindness we’re showing for granted. We can end up feeling less cared for than ever if we live our life in this way.

If we don’t come to understand this shadow in ourselves we may unwittingly pass it on to our own children, finding it hard to give them the unconditional love they need. We can end up treating them in the same way we treat ourselves – showing love only when they perform or please.

Future steps…
How can such deeply engrained patterns be changed? One way or another, at some point we’ll need to take the risk of being seen just as ourselves – without the cloak of our external acts. This is the only way we will discover that we are good enough just as we are, and worthy of love even when we fail or seem to have nothing to offer.

In Summary

This article has explored how the boarding school experience can cause children to hide away certain sides of themselves in order to survive, resulting in the formation of particular shadows. We all carry shadows, whatever our schooling and childhood experiences. Some shadows cause us little or no difficulty as we travel through life and some will undoubtedly help us to navigate the world more effectively – there will always be situations where it’s wise to keep parts of ourselves hidden and to control other sides of ourselves – this is essential if we’re to be part of society and to get along with others. However, if we reach a point in our life where a particular shadow is limiting us in ways we find intolerable, or is causing pain to us and those around us, then we may choose to explore further, and to take the risk of getting to know this part of us that’s been hidden away for so long.
Although some suggestions have been given above as to starting points for such an exploration, this work, if it is to be effective, will be highly individual and will involve a careful unpicking of exactly what went in to shadow and how this happened. Once this is understood we can begin to re-inhabit these shadow sides and reclaim the helpful aspects that we have been missing. Undertaking such an exploration is no small task and most people will require a great deal of support as they navigate this difficult territory. It will most likely be a life’s work – but the journey itself can be rich and rewarding as we start to feel more at home and comfortable in ourselves, and begin to inhabit our lives more fully.


Further information.


The Archetypes:

Magician talk –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDbtyE8bt7c&list=PLvgWYx0ae1cAqdaNvwB5k24DwEm-Rfs58&index=11

Lover talk –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oA1-KvSaLL4&index=10&list=PLvgWYx0ae1cAqdaNvwB5k24DwEm-Rfs58

Warrior talk –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itstCBJKaoo&index=9&list=PLvgWYx0ae1cAqdaNvwB5k24DwEm-Rfs58

The Sovereign talk –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHNer6Qv2dU&index=8&list=PLvgWYx0ae1cAqdaNvwB5k24DwEm-Rfs58

Shadow Work:


An Introduction to Shadow Work – a series of videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMadN1D0TgA&list=PLvgWYx0ae1cAqdaNvwB5k24DwEm-Rfs58

Marianne’s Website
http://www.shiatsuandshadowworkbristol.co.uk


Boarding school information and support:


The Making of them – documentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uRr77vju8U

Leaving home at 8 – Documentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPVf1OZjNtI

Books
The Making Of Them – Nick Duffel

Wounded Leaders – Nick Duffel

Boarding School Syndrome – Joy Schaverien

Boarding school survivors website
http://www.boardingschoolsurvivors.co.uk

Boarding concern website 

http://www.boardingconcern.org.uk

2 thoughts on “What We Learned At Boarding School

  1. Thank you for this very understanding article that, as a boarding school pupil, deeply resonates in me. Reading it I feel you have given voice to the suffering that children may experience that goes on to affect their adult life and relationships.

  2. Catherine Green

    What a revealing article, it brings back many dreadful memories. Of being dumped at Victoria Station, with some Nuns flapping around like penguins at the age of 7. I had no idea who they were and where I was going, just being given a doll by my Mother, and then shown a seat on the train, and told not to move……and then so many strangers wearing the same as me, all off to prison. I emerged 10 years later, a goofy 17 year old, School Dress to the ankles, and knee length socks, to start all over again, because by this time my own local friends had gone their own way. The loneliness/isolation I felt at School, returned. To hell and back. Thank you for your article, very much appreciated.

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