Childhood should be a time of innocence. But unfortunately, some children don’t get to grow up feeling safe, loved, and cherished. For these children, childhood isn’t something positive, it’s a black hole that could swallow them up.

Beth Thomas was just 19 months old when she was adopted into a loving family who knew about the suffering she endured. Her adoptive parents hoped their love would help Beth overcome the trauma, but as she grew up, it became painfully clear that something was wrong…

Beth Thomas was 19 months old when she was taken from her abusive biological parents by the Department of Social Services. A couple named Tim and Julie adopted both her and her brother, Jonathan, shortly after, but neither one was ready for what would come next…

Although Social Services knew about the children’s previous home life, they told Tim and Julie that Beth and Jonathan were perfectly healthy. The parents showered the children with love every day, but no amount of nurturing and care prepared them for the horrors soon to come.

Although Beth had a cute smile and outgoing demeanor, the abuse she suffered at the hands of her real father ravaged her psyche. She had inside her a level of anger and resentment towards the world that was beginning to quickly manifest.

Initially, Beth suffered from nightmares as a result of her life prior to Tim and Julie; she would often wake up screaming in her room, completely inconsolable. The nightmares, although horrific, were nothing compared to how she began to treat her parents and brother over the next several years…

Beth began sneaking into her brother’s bedroom at night and physically assaulting him; he was younger and couldn’t defend himself from her attacks. If that wasn’t enough, she also tormented the family dog. Beth’s parents were starting to fear for even their own safety.

In fact, her parents were so concerned with her behavior they had a special lock installed on her bedroom door so she couldn’t leave her room at night. They were afraid of the harm their own daughter could cause, and they knew she needed to get serious help.

Tim and Julie sent Beth to a therapist for intensive sessions to find out what the cause of her violent outbursts was and what they could do to stop them. After listening to what Beth had to say about her actions, she was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), a direct result of her violent past.

Children with RAD have almost no ability to connect with other humans on an emotional level. Beth was completely incapable of giving or receiving love, and that was why she was acting out. She simply had no empathy for those around her, humans and animals alike.

The lack of empathy and inability to feel remorse after heinous actions are classic signs of psychopathy. All of this behavior could be linked back to the abuse Beth suffered as an infant.

Children who experienced the abuse Beth did almost always grow up with intense anti-social behavior and social awkwardness. Without proper help, there was no telling how much more pain she’d inflict on her family.

Life had become miserable for every member of the household. Jonathan and the dog were suffering from physical abuse, and Tim and Julie were terrified their daughter would eventually try hurting them. It was time to take extreme measures…

Tim and Julie enlisted the help of a therapist named Connell Watkins who specialized in attachment therapy. Watkins was heavily involved with a controversial type of healing known as “compression therapy.” Even though the method had its critics, Watkins convinced Tim and Julie to give it a try.

Compression therapy sought to release suppressed rage in a controlled environment, bringing a child to a state of submission where they could be re-parented. The method didn’t come without its risks, but amazingly, Beth reacted extremely positively to her first few sessions. Still, that didn’t mean she’d take to it for good.

It took one year of intense compression therapy and a monumental amount of support from her parents, but Beth Thomas finally shed the psychopathic emotional state that plagued her life. She understood right from wrong and realized the hurt she caused for so many years. 

It’s now been 28 years since Beth started the controversial therapy that completely turned her life around, and her life has completely transformed! Her tumultuous childhood was completely put behind her thanks to Connell Watkins. Unfortunately, Watkins’ life didn’t pan out as well…

Her controversial compression methods landed her in jail for seven years after a ten-year-old girl named Candace accidentally died during a “rebirthing” ceremony; she was asphyxiated by four adults who were supposed to be helping her through the process. Beth was extremely fortunate to have made it through Watkins’ process unscathed.

Beth now works as a nurse, and she’s also the co-author of a book called More Than a Thread of Hope that discusses all the issues associated with RAD and how parents can learn to cope with a child who suffers from it.

Beth also runs a company called Families by Design that offers assistance children who suffer from RAD. She knows all too well the struggle they face every day, and she’s there to let them know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Beth Thomas is an inspiration to people who struggle with RAD everywhere. Her adoptive parents probably never thought she’d make a full recovery due to the abuse she suffered, but now she stands strong as a testament to all those trying to overcome difficult situations.

When the HBO documentary about Beth’s life called Child of Rage first aired in 1990, viewers were shocked at how candid young Beth was in discussing her violent intentions towards her family. The startling footage proved that although childhood is supposed to be a time of innocence, that statement is sometimes far from the truth.

No child should ever endure abuse in any form. Beth Thomas is truly an inspiration to those who’ve lived through similar situations. Even when things are at there darkest, there’s always light to be found.

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