Our species essentially owns all of our stories, especially ones about trauma because if the trauma has not been resolved, it needs to be. If it has not been resolved then more people are needed to get this job done!! The importance of capturing stories in words — Here is a reply I just wrote to a comment on my post: +IN THE WORDS OF A BORDERLINE CHILD: MY MOTHER’S STORIES
When I wrote in the last piece I posted that I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that I ended up with her writings, even her childhood stories that survived for 70 years, I mean that I believe something like ‘divine destiny’ made sure all of this would happen exactly the way that it did so that in the end – if I can do my part of the job correctly – something good and important can come of all the suffering that happened in the past — my mother’s losses and mine included.
These patterns as they tumble down the generations are much, much bigger than the individuals that suffer under the burden of trauma. I believe that when we drop the perspective of individual ‘egos’ what we have left is a presentation on a much bigger level of what humans truly need to form a healthy, happy body-brain in the first place along with how the absence of what we need (along with abuse and neglect added on top) leads directly to the kind of suffering I knew, you knew, your mother knew, my mother knew……
Borderline Personality Disorder remains a mystery on most of its profound levels. The collection of my mother’s writings combined with what I know might be able to provide important links between the suffering grownups pass to their children and how those suffering children ‘handle it’ through trauma altered development that changes them.
I have written about this before, and here is another opportunity to say this again: The road to healing trauma lies in giving words to its patterns. These patterns exist in the words of ALL the stories we know — those of our parents, of their parents, of our own, and of our children.
People, PLEASE consider writing down every single story you can find and that you can remember!!!!! There is no need to worry about whether or not the story is ‘true’ or whether or not you remember it accurately.
I DO WISH that I had ‘known then what I know now’ when I listened to my mother tell the stories from her childhood, but I remember the bulk of them — and every single one of them is a link in the chain of trauma and abuse that was passed to her and onto me and to my siblings.
Ongoing unresolved trauma that interferes with the ability to parent offspring through safe and secure attachment — and that interferes with our own ability to have safe and secure attachment with our own self and with the world we live in — happens because the INFORMATION contained in traumatic experience has not been processed, valued, understood or ‘made whole’. This making-whole happens when information contained in a traumatic experience comes to make sense IN A BIG WAY so that the species as a whole LEARNS SOMETHING NEW and critically important so that life can continue and these kinds of traumas can (1) be absolutely prevented and avoided in the future, or (2) brand new coping skills can be learned to deal with a future repeat of the trauma ASAP and completely effectively.
The nature of trauma is that it represents A CHALLENGE both to the individual who experiences but more importantly — if we can look at the bigger picture outside the range of individual ‘ego’ — to the survival of our entire species. If we assume that survival is not the only interest of nature, but that survival with ever increasing well-being IS ALSO important, then we can begin to understand that NONE OF WHAT WE KNOW of trauma – past, present, or how it might reappear in the future – is insignificant.
It then becomes each of our job not only to heal from our own individual traumas but also to understand how and why they got in our way in the first place! How THIS happened is that the people around us, most importantly those who caregive the youngest infants and children, were not able to do this job for their own trauma. Because it is the nature of this unresolved trauma NOT TO GO AWAY until someone, somewhere, somehow LEARNS WHAT TRAUMA HAS TO TEACH US, we HAVE to learn from it.
I absolutely consider the existence of my mother’s writings to be a GIFT not only to me but also as I can make them available to serious students of not only trauma itself, but also of unresolved trauma.
When I think about my mother’s earliest writings — even today as I prepare in a few moments to go back to the book-writing — I understand that in its most simple, simple, simple format ALL OF LIFE is about what developmental neuroscientist Dr. Allan N. Schore names as RUPTURE AND REPAIR.
Because these patterns form the basis of mother-infant brain-building interactions from the beginning of life — most especially as they occur on the emotional communication level in the interactions between mother-infant — it is these patterns that build the foundation of the brain and the body. Either there is rupture without repair which builds the ability to regulate emotions (emotional regulation) into the earliest forming right social-emotional brain OR there is rupture without repair WITHOUT adequate repair that builds emotional dysregulation into the body-brain instead.
Unresolved trauma is ABOUT RUPTURE WITHOUT ADEQUATE REPAIR. Learning from trauma is about repairing these ruptures.
Nature does not care that humans can ‘think’ about their life. Nature cares that life continues. Rupture without repair brings death on one level or another. Repairing ruptures brings life.
Write down all the stories you know about anyone close to you who impacted and/or impacts your life. Give those stories form. Give them words. It is healing to do so because what trauma needs to resolve itself is to become processed and integrated and LEARNED FROM. We cannot possibly begin to learn from trauma as human beings if we cannot process the information it gives to us — AND THIS IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT — WITH BOTH SIDES OF OUR BRAIN.
As I write my book now I continue to be amazed that for all the thousands and thousands of words I have written elsewhere about this whole topic RIGHT NOW — because of the focus of my intent — I am coming to new realizations that astound me, and they are coming to me in various ways. But in the end my intention is that all the realizations form themselves into a coherent pattern IN WORDS — yes, that will take the form of a book.
It seems to be outside of my ‘range of vision’ to understand more comprehensively what nature actually intends to accomplish by so profoundly changing the physiological development of a traumatized infant-child’s body-brain development in ways that hamper the processing of trauma-related information. Because that is exactly what happens.
It seems that these changes are meant to ensure physical survival IN THE SHORT TERM long enough to allow for reproduction. In our culture in this day and age humans survive LONG PAST what nature has intended. We also do not raise our offspring collectively which is what I believe nature has always intended. (In nature’s design I believe those at ‘most risk’ for difficulties in parenting if there were ANY disruptions in an insufficient earliest environment ALSO have the greatest gifts. In ‘the old world’ others in the ‘collective group’ would have stepped in to do the parenting, thus leaving these ‘gifted ones’ to do their creative ‘thing’ which in turn offered all kinds of benefits to the ‘collective’.) But putting all this aside for a moment I want to say this about the condition we are individually left with if we are severe early trauma survivors:
Our right brain hemisphere forms first. It is built on emotional and social information gained thru our earliest infant-caregiver interactions. These interactions either build regulation or dysregulation into our brain circuits. These interactions determine how our brain regions interact with one another — and with our developing self. A mother is literally downloading her brain into her infant through the patterns of interactions (safe and secure or not) that she has with her infant. She is feeding the infant her own self.
If the right brain does not get to develop in an ordinary way, the information our BODY feeds to our awareness through our right brain will not be handled normally, either.
Then comes the left brain, which forms more slowly from birth and takes it giant leap in growth after the first year of life. Our left brain, with its organizational abilities, cannot grow to organize right brain chaos if that’s what the infant was fed in the beginning (most simply put). Organizing experience in the form of language is one of the left brain’s major job. This process and the abilities that go with it are changed and disturbed by early experience — both as they affected the FIRST growth of the right brain and also as they affect the growth of the left brain.
The corpus callosum, the region between the two brain hemispheres in the middle of our head sends information back and forth between our left and right brains (and they are like two separate brains with different jobs to do).
This all means most simply that the most important information trauma has to teach human beings is NOT able to be processed PHYSIOLOGICALLY in normal ways for early abuse and trauma survivors. The perhaps cruel and/or crude way trauma information is then processed by our species is that those ‘informed others’ — those who DID not suffer early trauma and have their body-brain changed as a result — can simply read trauma survivors’ ‘reproductive fitness indicators’ with are ‘communication signals’ about the CONDITION OF THE ENVIRONMENT that created survivors in the first place.
Nature is NOT concerned with the egotistic personal individual – not remotely. Survival of the species as a whole is what matters. If survivors want to try to heal, to improve the quality of their own life and achieve increased well-being, then we have a major job to do!! On all levels!! And this is a job that non early abuse survivors WILL NEVER HAVE TO DO because the foundations of their body-brain development are very different from ours.
So it is WE who have to challenge our selves to learn about what happened to us. We have to learn how to LEARN from and about trauma so that we can find ways to understand it and learn from it — which is how trauma is ALWAYS processed and integrated — both individually and collectively.
In our modern world we certainly can and SHOULD be able to enlist the help of those who do have a more ‘ordinary’ body-brain. Those people’s BODIES know things ours do not. So, we end up WATCHING them — and learning — at the same time they are watching us — and learning.
Because humans have evolved the gift of verbal language abilities it is important to use our words as a part of these educational, learning and healing processes. Write down the stories. A WordPress blog is a perfect place to put them to publish privately or publicly.
Write down all the stories for everyone important to you. If you remember hearing them, write down also the context of the ‘hearing’. Like repeated nightmares, repeated stories that come again and again in the same words ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ones.
As we transform trauma stories into written words we are using whatever abilities our trauma-changed body-brain has to process information — and it’s the best exercise for our brain! True, any art form of any kind is good, but I am specifically talking about VERBAL processes here because they take place using very specific channels.