I suffer no delusions about the source of my mother’s ability to commit her 18 years’ worth of violent crime against me. All survivors of infant-child abuse, neglect and maltreatment were victims of violent crime that happened to them in particular ways, at particular times that impacted their physiological development before the age of TWO YEARS OLD. For some survivors the maltreatment they received during these earliest months of life created the patterns within their little growing body-brains that led down a very straight road to an end result of becoming capable of perpetrating violent crime.
I have written on this blog in the past that the minimum prison term my mother as the abuser and my father as her enabler SHOULD have received would have been no less than 14,500 years. I arrived at this figure simply my generalizing at a minimum how many times I was forced to endure a violent attack. This figure does not begin to match a justified consequence for the related verbal violence that happened or take into account the 18 years of continual terror and trauma that the environment of my home of origin actually contained.
The source of all the violence I (and other survivors) experienced started somewhere, and that somewhere was the nursery.
“Though we have been greatly concerned about government spending on the U.S. health care system, which many deem to be in crisis, we have not noticed that the cost of the criminal justice system is three times the cost of the nation’s entire health care budget.”
I am beginning my study of the book, Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence (1998) by Robin Karr-Morse, Meredith S. Wiley. I hope I have the commitment and strength to read this book cover to cover. It will not be an easy read – but will be an important one. As an 18 year infant-child-teen victim of severe and consistent violent abuse and battering by my mother, I am reading this book not only to gain a more clear understanding of violence that happens to others, but also as a survivor looking backwards into the nursery in which my mother was so pathetically, invisibly and malevolently raised to learn more about what happened to her.
The authors state on page 9:
“Media coverage of violence – murder and rape, gang violence, serial killings, the murder of parents, children, and coworkers – treats violent behavior as if it suddenly emerges from a developmental void. It is a rare story that looks for the sources of this behavior even in preadolescence or grade school. And this is far from the real root in most cases. In order to understand the tide of violent behavior in which America is now submerged, we must look before preadolescence, before grade school, before preschool to the cradle of human formation in the first thirty-three months of life. Those months, including nine months of prenatal development and the first two years after birth (33 months), harbor the seeds of violence for a growing percentage of American children. In the violence equation…this is chapter one, the missing chapter.
“The ghosts of children lost to rage and despair, overlooked or abused by a community unaware of their existence, do retaliate. These children – like all children – “do unto others.” It may be easy and politically expedient to ignore them or to close eyes to the appalling circumstances of their lives while they are voiceless and powerless – little bodies tucked away where no one is looking. But these children – grown larger and angrier – are swelling the rising tide of violent young offenders in our communities. Range-filled adolescents only seem to come out of nowhere. They come, too often, from the nursery.”
“As we begin to discover the previously unimaginable impact of the smallest insult to the brain at crucial times in development [and the stress hormones released during maltreatment of infants creates brain insult], we are beginning to see that much of what we have formerly written off as unknowable in origin and therefore unchangeable, can and must be prevented. The current upswing in violent behavior is a clear sign of systemic distress. If human life is to continue, our entire species needs to attend differently to our young.“ [addition of bold type is mine]