Hey y’all! In my career I’ve met a lot of achievers, both famous and not so famous and I loved collecting their stories. One thing they all had in common was an absolute blind refusal to give up when the load became too heavy.
The ability to pick oneself off the ground…(yet again!) and dust off the seat of our pants is in all of us. If you are experiencing tough times this little series of stories is for you. For some folk, who seem to have been handed it all on a plate, their stories will surprise you!
WHO? : Lisa Hoodless / Charlene Lunnon
ARE? : Best friends and survivors.
SAID? : ‘It’s not the worst thing that has happened to me.’
When British children Lisa Hoodless and Charlene Lunnon were ten years old they were kidnapped by convicted paedophille, Alan Hopkinson, tied up and held prisoner whilst being repeatedly raped in sessions lasting up to ten or more hours. The UK was gripped by their double kidnap in 2000 and their story is revisited every time something shamefully similar happens such as the story of American paedophile victim Megan Kanka or Sarah Payne in the UK.
The girls were going to school in East Sussex and their abducter had nearly hit the young Hoodless with his car. When he jumped out to check on her, it was quiet and the opportunity presented itself, so the paedophille grabbed the young girl and proceeded to cram her into his boot. Lunnon in shock and not wishing to run off and desert her friend, had stood still giving Hopkinson a double kidnap opportunity, which he took. Lying together in the boot the girls comforted each other convinced that they would be killed. It says a lot about our society that at the age of ten Lunnon already knew that there was a sexual motive behind their abduction.
The girls eventually ended up at Hopkinson’s dirty flat where they were both tied up. He would then choose one or the other to take to his bedroom and rape for lengthy periods at a time whilst the other girl could hear the crying pleas for the pervert to stop. He had told them about an imaginary mad man that lived next door with his dog and threatened to introduce them as a means to keep them frightened and compliant.
The Survival Plot
The youngsters even plotted to kill him and when he left would searched in vain for a knife, but they had all been removed as had all the door handles.
The Kill Plot
Suddenly, on the third day of captivity, Hopkinson seemed to acquiesce to their constant requests for freedom and allowed them to have their first bath, returning their school uniforms to them.
He drove them to a cliff with the intention of pushing them off and Lunnon remembers being dangled close to the cliff as he laughed. Then, unpredictably, at the last minute, he changed his mind deciding that he would like more time with them and drove them back to his flat.
Hopkinson’s capture was as bizarre as the man himself. Following a complaint from neighbours about his behaviour towards their children, the police had knocked on his door to follow up on the story. Hopkinson, thinking that the jig was up quietly opened the door and informed the police that he had the two missing girls in his front room.
Grrr! Why YOU ain’t beat yet!
You are not beaten because very early on, following their rescue, the two young girls made a decision that they themselves would not be beaten or defined by their experience. Today they live relatively normal lives with their partners and child bereft of self pity or any unnecessary over analysis of what happened. Indeed the thing they seem to have deplored as much as the kidnap was the therapy that was forced upon both of them!
Children have amazingly innate coping mechanisms that I believe is underestimated by adults. Part of that mechanism is to just get on with the normal stuff. They have a great ability to normalize situations.
By having to attend counseling they were repeatedly brought back to an event that to them was behind them, why bring it back again? Indeed many NLP practitioners like myself believe that if something was so bad the first time why relive it? The young girls didn’t need an adults idea of closure or repetitive over-analysis, they needed and wanted to play with their friends and toys.
Children Can Teach
Horses for courses, but it is worth investigating if by constantly identifying oneself with a negative period or an illness or an occurrence, you are not dis-allowing yourself to simply move forward…like a child would – if allowed.
It is interesting to note also that today they feel somewhat apologetic that they are not able to satisfy other people’s needs for them to behave as victims by breaking down and sobbing every time they are asked to recall the incident. Indeed they have chosen to understand that they are much the better for it!
They are insistent that it is down to the individual to assign importance to the events in their lives. It is a choice. Lunnon gave the title quote in an interview with the Times saying in addition, “What happened, it’s not half my life, it’s not even that,” and she had clicked her fingers to emphasize how much significance she was awarding the event compared to the rest of her life, “It’s not the worst thing that has happened to me.”
Can we make a large elephant in our lives diminish to the size of a mouse by not affixing the expected (very modern poor me, me, me) drama to it, rendering it much more….‘copeful?’