I know I share with others my great difficulty in understanding much adult so-called humor. I know part of the reason for this comes from my own traumatic very inadequate and scrambled-up early experiences with preverbal and verbal language. Most words I heard directed at me from birth were contained in the context of severe emotional, psychological, verbal and physical violence and abuse. That I grew up hearing other people in my family talking to one another in an entirely DIFFERENT context was of only vicarious use to me.
Along with the consequence of trauma and malevolent treatment in our very earliest months and years of life that doesn’t built our right limbic emotional regulation areas of our brain RIGHT comes built-in confusion that doesn’t allow us to understand or to ‘read’ other people’s SOCIAL cues, either. REAL humor in humans is a signal of optimal environmental conditions. Humor that is NOT truly funny, that does NOT connect itself to the happy center in the left brain that’s built birth to age one, is NOT really funny!
Many of us who cannot easily (or ever) come up with an instantaneous ‘witty’ comeback for other people’s supposed humor are often the same people who suffered greatly in our earliest years where very little was EVER funny. Being the subject or brunt of someone’s ‘jokes’ can often be a victimizing experience for us in a war that is far too familiar to us.
Infant-child abuse survivors were victims of bullying usually by the same people who were SUPPOSED to protect and care for us. I know I have mentioned the following before on my blog, but I am going to describe this one more time – and then move past this ugly segment of my life forever.
When I was diagnosed with advanced aggressive breast cancer in July 2007 I began chemotherapy treatment with a local oncologist. I went through the chemotherapy which were completed prior to surgery in December 2007 (which showed that there was a second cancer in the same breast). I had HER positive cancer, so also went through a year of Herceptin treatments which ended July 2008. At that time my ‘treatments’ were completed, and I saw my oncologist one last time.
By this time I was completely worn down at the same time all of my infant-child abuse-related ‘disabilities’ were in high gear (major treatment resistant lifelong depression, dissociation and PTSD). What I received as a ‘parting gift’ from my oncologist was this:
He left the examining room while I dressed, and when I stepped out the door into the hallway there was the doc standing there like a predator waiting to attack me and to crush any hopes I might have had that this past year had thwarted my cancer. He said – and these are his exact words – “I wouldn’t bother having breast reconstruction if I were you. You won’t live long enough to enjoy them. And besides, we will just have to cut them off again when the cancer comes back.”
I have lived under the dark shadow and burden of that bullying, verbally and emotionally abusive cloud ever since. I had NOTHING to say back to that man. Finally in late December 2010 I choose to find a decent doctor – which I did in Tucson – and to request a scan that would let me know NOW if there is any cancer detectable in my body.
The scan was last Thursday. The results came through yesterday, and there is NO SIGN, absolutely NO SIGN of ANY cancer in my body.
My eyes opened this morning as I looked at my clock. 4:16 a.m. My first thought was, “I am cancer free.”
The relief I feel is beyond my words to describe. I felt like a character in the movie, “Ground Hog Day.” My life can move forward into the future from this moment on.
My life was dependent upon that mean doctor. I have no way to comprehend inside of myself WHY he did what he did or WHY he said what he did. That kind of action toward another human being is EVIL as far as I can tell – and those who read my blog know I NEVER use that word lightly.
That I could take no action to defend or to protect myself from his words OR to respond to them is NOT a reflection on me personally. Yet I do believe it is a reflection of the way my body-brain was built in response to horrific, unbelievable trauma and abuse from my birth and for the next 18 years.
My body-brain was built while I was continually suspended between life and death. My mother made sure of that. What I DID was endure – and I survived all she had to heave against me.
I have done the same thing these past three years post-evil-doctor’s condemning words. But not any more. I woke today in a different world, a world in which at least for now I am assured that my body isn’t being attacked from the inside-out – nor am I being attacked from the outside-in.
Like many, many early trauma and abuse survivors I HATE seeking medical care. I did not begin receiving mammograms when I should have. Because I now know that early abuse and trauma is one of the LEADING RISK FACTORS for breast cancer, I especially urge all women to GET THEIR MAMMOGRAMS.
My cancer had been growing approximately three years before it was found. It was found ONLY because I did an aerobic workout after which my left arm swelled instantly to three times its size. My sister INSISTED I go to a doctor. This swelling was from lymphodema caused by cancer blocking my lymph nodes.
The cancer began at the same time the last of my children left home. Within a short period of time I lost my business and my home. I also had NO CLUE about all of the things I now understand about insecure attachment and infant-child abuse and how it changes our physiological development.
I am MUCH wiser now – but that will (to me) NEVER mean that I can fight back against mean people. Abilities to know the difference between who to trust and who not to, to know who is safe and who isn’t, to have hope – are all abilities that begin to form themselves into an infants growing body-brain by two months of age. If our earliest attachment environments and PEOPLE in them are/were AWFUL, none of these circuits and pathways build themselves into us in a PRIMARY way.
We are as a consequence ALWAYS at risk for being targets of abuse in our life. I DO NOT take this to mean in the usual way that we are ‘victims’. We need to understand that the way our physiological development changed in response to early abuse and trauma means that we do not have OPTIMALLY-built ways to detect the difference between who/what is safe and who/what is not.
Not to be able to trust an oncologist who’s expertise carried me through a very real threat-to-life cancer treatment regime is nearly as hard to believe as it is to believe that my mother (and all others who did not STOP her) could do to me what was done to me from the time I was born.
I endured again. Here I am. HERE I AM and I will continue to be HERE hopefully against all odds. I never did care about getting breast reconstruction. What I wanted to know NOW is whether or not I can invest in more roses, if I can invest in building a chicken coop so I can get a couple of chickens and maybe a rabbit, if I can take piano lessons…..
YOU BET I CAN!