in relationships with other people (parent/child, 'partner', 'friend',
etc) are like the kind of children with pet hamsters who think the
hamster is just another toy,... that happens to be alive. ~
They leave it in the cage till they feel like holding it or playing with it.
It doesn't occur to them that the hamster might be lonely, bored, or
scared, and if it does, they don't actually care, it's just another
"burden" to care about the hamster's "feelings" or "well being".
If the hamster declines being handled, it's the HAMSTER'S "FAULT"
They expect it to be "happy" in the little cage, however small or stark
it is. If they add toys or tubes, the hamster "better be happy" and
"appreciate" their effort and expense. If the hamster doesn't seem
content with its environment, then the HAMSTER is to blame, it can't be
because the human didn't do something correctly, or didn't do enough.
The hamster's needs are last on their priority list, and are
categorized as "chores". Clean my room, put out the yucky garbage, make
my stupid bed, do my dumb homework, feed and give water to the hamster,
clean the cage if absolutely necessary. It's just another annoying job;
the fact that the kid WANTED the hamster (so bad) is simply "forgotten".
The hamster gets taken out of the cage when the child feels like
playing with it or showing it off to his or her friends. When the
hamster jumps or runs, it gets caught up and shoved back in the cage.
When someone squeezes it too hard, it bites them, of course; but the
human's reaction is to scream, throw it across the room, and call it
"mean". The fact that they squeezed and hurt it gets conveniently
The kid doesn't really care when his or her
friends chase it, scare it, squeeze it, or let the cat chase it, or the
dog knock it around.
The kid is not at all interested in
learning about hamsters, what they do in the wild, what they need, or
what they like; he/she already thinks he/she knows everything there is
to know; it's a little fuzzy animal that humans have as pets, and you
have to feed it and give it water... (what else is there to know, and
who cares, anyway? It's just a hamster, and just a pet, everyone has
them, just do like everyone else does, no need to learn anything, either
about hamsters, or about THIS hamster...)
The hamster is not
allowed any hamster friends; the kid wants to be the hamster's only
friend. So it makes the hamster be alone and dependent on him/her for
any interaction and companionship.
The hamster is left behind
for pretty much anything and everything that the kid is doing in the
rest of his/her life. It isn't allowed its own friends, but it doesn't
get included with the kids' friends or family either. It gets left in
the cage and expected to still be there, "waiting", like an inanimate
toy, no matter how long the kid leaves it in there. If it was in its own natural environment, it would have lots of friends and activities, and would not be alone or isolated.
If the hamster doesn't get fed, watered, or kept clean, or taken out of
its cage, this kid says who cares? It's just a hamster...
When the hamster gets older and loses its baby-look, the kid doesn't
"like it" as much because it's not as "cute" as it used to be, and
neglects it more and more.
When the hamster gets sickly from
malnutrition or lack of care, the kid blames the hamster and wants a
"better one" (zero comprehension of the kid's lack of care causing the
hamster to be sick).
When the hamster finally runs away or passes away, the kid does get a "new one", and treats the new hamster the same way.