Hand Prints: Sixteen-year-old girl after a suicide attempt
This is a drawing by a sixteen-year-old girl who came to therapy after a suicide attempt. She experienced severe emotional abuse and limitations on her freedom of movement by her parents, who related to her as a baby. The drawing appeared many years ago in a daily newspaper article about parental abuse. Some psychologists describe such a situation as fertile ground for failure to flourish. In its many different constellations, it appears as the child’s inability to reach innate potential, both professionally and emotionally.
In a strange and intuitive way, the hand in the drawing, in addition to being a cry for help, has clear chirological meaning that relates to the child’s personality and emotional status. Notice the high thumb and its “attachment” to the hand. This shows a parental fixation and a sense of helplessness. From the shape of the thumb, we can also assume a certain rigidity and stubbornness. The middle finger is especially long and tells us of a strong inclination for introversion and feeling of isolation, exaggerated criticism, doubt, maybe a tendency to depression or melancholy.
The horizontal line across the hand may be a simian Head Line, that tells of extremism in the style of action, of continuous internal stress, rigid ideas and difficult to compromise. Or it may be a long and straight Heart Line, telling about being abounding with emotions, and difficulty expressing this emotional intensity.
The first finger is short and hints at strong feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness.
The little finger is comparatively short, which again points to the girl’s sense of being small. The bottom phalange of the little finger is wide and tells us about a certain amount of emotional dependency. The pointed tips of the fingers confirm this and show us the girl’s need for immediate drive gratification, difficulty in exhibiting self-discipline and dealing with life’s difficulties.
The hand’s shape is the type that broadens upwards. It shows individualism and independence, original thinking and the need to be different. This can lead to rebelliousness and resistance to behave according to social norms, perhaps even to adventurousness.
All these can be points of investigation and clarification during treatment with the child. Some of these hand features are included in my study on chirological signs that can predict suicidal tendencies. It appears in my book The Hand as Mirror of the Soul: Diagnostic and Applied Chirology