Re-telling the Story of Orphaned Girl Named Pollyanna

  • Oksana Yakushko


This chapter seeks to re-tell the story of an orphaned and abused little girl named Pollyanna. Historical context for understanding the experiences of orphaned children in modern times is provided. Psychoanalytic theories of disassociation, false self, introjection, and denial are reviewed to consider how traumatized children manage their inner lives in the face of adults or society, who minimize or attack their genuine emotional reactions. The insistence on Pollyanna-like “glad games,” which occur at the expense of recognizing and valuing the full spectrum of human emotions, is examined through a cultural psychoanalytic lense. Connections are made between the internal capacity to experience emotions and the capacity to develop democratic and social-justice-oriented relationships to others and society.


Orphaned children Childhood reactions to trauma Culturally enforced emotional defenses Full spectrum of human emotions Democracy Social justice 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oksana Yakushko
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical PsychologyPacifica Graduate InstituteCarpinteriaUSA

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