Bad Love

Bad Love,
Bad Love,
Don’t give me the Bad Love!
The Bad Love chant

What is Bad Love?

Bad Love is the title of a novel by Jonathan Kellerman, a child psychologist. It’s in the Alex Delaware series of mystery novels. It was published in 1994.

From Bookreporter:

It came in a plain brown wrapper, no return address–an audiocassette recording of a horrifying, soul-lacerating scream, followed by the sound of a childlike voice chanting: “Bad love. Bad love. Don’t give me the bad love… “. For Alex Delaware the tape is the first intimation that he is about to enter a living nightmare. Others soon follow: disquieting laughter echoing over a phone line that suddenly goes dead, a chilling act of trespass and vandalism. He has become the target of a carefully orchestrated campaign of vague threats and intimidation rapidly building to a crescendo as harassment turns to terror, mischief to madness. With the help of his friend LAPD detective Milo Sturgis, Alex uncovers a series of violent deaths that may follow a diabolical pattern. And if he fails to decipher the twisted logic of the stalker’s mind games, Alex will be the next to die. Taut, penetrating, terrifying, BAD LOVE is vintage Kellerman.

In Kellerman’s book, Bad Love is a way of disciplining children at risk. At a special type of brat camp school (actually a boarding school for children at risk), the psychologist in charge develops a new way of disciplining the kids. Years later, the school is connected to the initial symposium which started the Bad Love theory. The attendees of the symposium are being murdered.

The children stand in a dark room while the psychologist gives them Bad Love. He systematically demeans them and tells them that they are worthless. They are scum. He destroys their identity bit by bit as soon as they step out of line. The psychologist tries to reinforce good behavior with Good Love and bad behavior with Bad Love.

Twenty years later, the children of the school are still dealing with the consequences of having received Bad Love. The abuse wasn’t physical in any way, yet worse.

In certain Taiwanese schools, not the public schools, but some private and some cram schools, they do something similar. The verbal Bad Love isn’t bad. To the kids, depending on their age, it’s just words. The bad part comes when the physical component of Bad Love is used in classrooms. Plain and simple, it’s child abuse and I’ve seen a lot of it in the last 13 months.

The worst part is that not all kids are treated equally. Some kids receive special Bad Love sessions from their teachers. I’ve noticed that some kids who are really bad never get this Bad Love. They only get it in extreme cases. Abusing teachers always target “special” kids that need their form of discipline. Sometimes the parents even endorse it. Other times the parents are completely unaware.

Say what you want about Canadian schools (or American schools), but I’ve never heard of any teachers committing this level of consistent physical abuse upon their children. It’s even more harrowing since this is all happening in Kindergarten and 1st grade.

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Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.