These three pages are now complete:
“Socialites and Curmudgeons: Two Brain Types”
The only way not to have an operating attachment system is to be dead. Our attachment system is supposed to be able to be deactivated appropriately so that our other systems of exploration and caregiving can be activated in their own turn. When we have an insecure attachment rather than secure attachment system, this ‘shut off’ ability may be lost to us. As a result, all of our behavioral systems are negatively affected.
Our attachment patterns are formed into our brains during our experiences with our mother and other important early care givers mostly before we are a year old. They operate behind the scenes of our life much as a computer’s operating system is hidden from our view.
Whether we look at an infant’s developing attachment system, or look at an adult attachment system as it operates in romantic and other relationships including parenthood, the more we understand these systems the more conscious power we can have over our own lives.
The following link will take you to the page I wrote today about my experiences related to re-membering traumas within my own life:
I feel at this instant like a dancer might who is poised behind a curtain of a stage, breathing those last breaths before the music starts, before the curtain rises, about to dance a dance before an unseen but present audience. This dancer would have performed the dance before, would have practiced it step by step, part by part, before this evening’s performance. Not I. I have no idea what I am going to write here before you. I know not one word before I begin. All I can do is take that last breath and step on out, hoping.
Hoping that I know what I want to say, what needs to be said. Hoping that I can say it right, leaving nothing out but adding nothing in that does not belong within this dance of words. What is it that I will say first?
Do we, as a species, want to replace the kind of mothering that built our species from the beginning with medications that alter our brain chemicals and that might mimic what we used to be able to accomplish within our own brains without any other assistance? After all, we used to be prepared for the task of living as members of a social species in such an exact way that all the programming needed to accomplish this mothering was biologically given to mothers, and given to infants, so that in the end infants grew up to be balanced children and adults who knew the possibility of well being.
What happens to infants when the ability to mother adequately is removed from the people-growing equation? What happens to the adults that these infants grow up to be? How far back in my own family can I look in order to discover where the diversion of mothering abilities began and where mothering began to be altered and removed from the ongoing patterns particularly of how mothers raised their daughters? I can’t see back there very far, but far enough to know something passed down to me was very, very harmful.
I must tread carefully here, if treading across a public stage can be considered dancing at all? I wish I could say what needs to be said exactly, specifically so, as if the dance has already been danced before and I can follow in some earlier, preexisting invisible footsteps. If I knew ahead of time what the dance was and how to perform it, this writing would be so much easier to do.
I do not wish to alienate mothers. I do not wish to harshly condemn any mother’s efforts to raise her own children. Those of you who have been reading my posts already know that something was so wrong with the way my mother raised me that it could hardly be called mothering at all.
But she was my mother and she did mother me. Inadequately, but she did mother me. Taken from that far extreme of mothering like my mother gave me, across an entire range of possibilities of mothering, all the way over to the most perfect mother we could even collectively imagine — somewhere along this line every mother could place her own.
It is not that I am deliberately eliminating men from my writing here due to some inner bias of my own. I very specifically consider that mothering is something only women can do. Men father. They cannot mother, no matter how nurturing they may be toward their infants and children. Everything we know and can imagine about the biological, physiological differences between women and men apply here. How men father is not the topic of this post. How women mother is.
With that clarifying step taken, I will turn in another direction and take yet another step. What we might consciously know about mothering will always be only a tiny part of the story unless we today begin to think very clearly and carefully about ourselves as a species, and particularly about being American members of our species at this point in time. We cannot leave the context of culture and society out of our discussion about mothering.
I can report facts to you about my own experiences of mothering as I consciously understand them, but I also must state I know really nothing of substance about the generations of women in my family that preceded me as mothers. I make guesses based on guesses. My guess is that my mother’s grandmother — who came into my mother’s home when her own husband died, and very closely in time to when my mother’s mother divorced her own husband — was as important to my mother as she grew up after the age of 5 or 6 as her actual mother was. I do not believe that my mother was healthily mothered by either one of these women.
It is here that my dance must take another step, a sort of flying leap into the air with a shift of the body above the stage floor, so that some distance is covered and the dancer lands in a surprising spot — of sorts. This step includes what any of us women might know or imagine about all the grand mothering in our families. What is grand mothering compared and/or contrasted to mothering? We cannot leave the grandmothers out of our mothering equation.
How my mother’s grandmother mothered my mother’s mother had to have had — my definite guess here — a major influence upon how my mother developed not only as a person, not only as a mother, but specifically as my mother. How my mother mothered me had a powerful impact on my ability to mother my own children, and backward and forward throughout the generations we see that mothers never do their own mothering in a vacuum.
Now I, as the dancer within my own mind, must take yet another step. This time the step moves into a spin, both feet close together twirling above the floor, ending with me landing into a forward fold, down on one knee, both arms stretched in front of me, palms together toward the sky. It is here I must talk about our evolution, how if we move far enough away from the kind of mothering that nature intended us to practice within our species we are running the risk of endangering ourselves — and I use this word ‘ourselves’ in both the most singular and most collective way.
I, singularly, suffered the consequences of my mother’s psychosis that was focused specifically on me. I know that all of my siblings suffered from growing up with my mother as their mother. Yet we all know that I was forced from birth to be the one chosen to grow up in the center of her storm.
I have said and I will continue to say it again, that my mother’s psychotic break and her overriding mental illness was influenced by conditions of her childhood that damaged her developing brain-mind. This next step I am taking is more like a jumping up and down firmly in one place. It is not a step of grace, it is a step of emphasis. No matter what the men may be doing in the early lives of children, it is ALWAYS to the mothers that I will look for ultimate accountability.
I take another step here away from center and follow with another and another and another until I have traveled in a wide full circle. At the center of this circle I place the young children. For every step from that center in any direction I would want another woman to be standing there. This wide movement I am taking in my dance is meant to point out that for the millions of years our species spent evolving itself, never until recent times and under the guise and the burden of so-called ‘civilization’ did we women EVER mother alone.
We can all talk until we run out of breath about the rights of women. I am not opposed to women pursuing what they may think is best for them in their lives. But I am NOT talking about women here. I am talking about mothers. I am talking about women’s fitness to mother in the first place. And ultimately, I am talking about the children we bear and bring into this world. These children not only need mothers (and fathers, not the topic of this post), they need adequate MOTHERING.
I have to let other dancers onto the stage now. This is no longer a dance I choose to dance alone. With the flurry of movement of multiple dancers I see in the patterns they create in their dancing that when women who are mothering are cut off from one another all manor of ill being replaces the well being that we always knew before.
The color I remember from stories my mother told of both her grandmother and her mother were that they were brilliant women. Each in their own way were educated career women. I hold no false belief that either of these two women were adequate as mothers. My mother paid a price for this. I and my siblings paid a price for this. My own children paid a price for this, even though I was a stay-at-home mother.
Just in looking at the influences in five generations, from my great grandmother to my own children, I see that it wasn’t the mothers themselves that were missing. No, not us. It was the necessary QUALITY of mothering that was missing, and that lack and loss is what has created the ongoing pattern of disaster.
If you read my June 1972 writing in +LEAVING NO CHAOS BEHIND – PART ONE, you will be able to instantly know what I am talking about. That writing reflected the state of dysregulation within my brain-mind that was a direct result of the trauma and terror that formed by brain from the beginning of my life. How could I, or anyone else, ever expect me to be able to adequately mother children with that brain?
True, except for the incident I described in THE DAY I ABUSED MY OWN LITTLE SON, I did not blatantly or overtly abuse my own children. But I did harm them. There was no possible way that I could not have done so, no matter how much I tried not to. That is the nature of trauma when it is not resolved. One way or the other, it passes itself on down the generations. We can whine and moan, curse and spit, but there is little we can do about it — unless and until we find the right information and the resources we need AT THE RIGHT TIME.
Dance over. I’m deadly serious now. I do not have any grandchildren. This may change in the future. What matters to me most is that my children have broken the pattern to the best of their ability.
If I could magically go back and offer to my own self when I was 18 what I know now, I have no doubt my children would be the beneficiary of radical positive changes that I would have been able to make in myself as a result of the knowledge I now have. True, there is a probable chance that they would never have been born in the first place. I cannot find it in myself to wish for that.
All I can do is what we all can do — move forward. We can learn. We can change. We can heal, each according to our abilities.
Before our species so changed our world, back before the coming of ‘civilization’ began to disconnect mothers from mothers, we did not mother alone. Grandmothers were also part of the cycle of mothering. Not isolated grandmothers, but connected grandmothers. Women breast fed one another’s children. They held them and cared for them as if they were their own.
The birth mother was not left with the full burden of caring for her child alone. She was always accessible in times when her infant could not be solaced by other women. The infant could always be returned to its birth mother (if she were alive) when necessary. But in between these times the birth mother had the ability to ‘get away’ and to work at her other tasks, but the infants never suffered for lack of mothering.
I take the stand that in today’s world of American culture we are hurting our mothers by isolating them from other mothers and we are hurting our offspring. We have gone so far away from what nature gave us in the beginning I am not at all convinced that we can ever find our way back. But I also know that if we never identify problems that exist we have absolutely NO HOPE of repairing the rupture we have created within our culture — and in increasingly wider circles within other ‘advancing’ cultures — as we interfere with mothers’ ability to adequately mother their young.
I will describe in future posts that the damage we are causing directly affects our brain’s ability to regulate itself. Adequate mothering is designed to build a regulated human brain that can experience well being as its center point of balanced equilibrium. The more mothers don’t and can’t mother their young the way nature intended us to, the more dysregulated our brains become.
Is it a good thing that we now have, as the end result of very expensive and extensive research, all kinds of prescription drugs to regulate more and more and more brain and nervous system dysregulations than ever before? Or do we look at the bigger picture and accept as fact that inadequate mothering of infants and young children is creating these dysregulations in the first place? Are we more afraid to ask the questions or to find out the true answers?
We are becoming dependent as a society on the powerful drugs we take — as adults and feed to our children — to regulate brain chemistry because we are creating the problems by building these brains that cannot regulate themselves in the first place.
I could ask, “What are we willing to know about this problem?” Or I could ask the much harder and more helpful question, “What are we NOT willing to know about this problem?” Maybe we are so acceptant of the fact that ‘everyone’ takes brain-regulating medications that we don’t even think it’s a problem in the first place.
Are we so absolutely stupid and foolish that we ‘thank our lucky stars’ that we have all these wonder drugs available to us in our super advanced civilization to fix us? Does it ever occur to us that we are creating these same problems that need these medications and that the conditions are PREVENTABLE?
Do we refuse to see harm in anything we are doing or have done to our own children that meant they had no choice but to develop brains that could not adequately regulate themselves for the task of being humans who are healthy and have well being — naturally? Just as women birth the children, they are designed to be the builders of infant brains. That job is not done at birth. If mothers cannot adequately build brains within their infants that can healthily regulate themselves, the job will not get done.
I do not ask any question that I am not willing to ask myself, no matter how difficult it might be to look at the truth. We might not need to use the word abuse in reference to how we parent our own children. But if we have our own histories of trauma we cannot help but pass this trauma down to our children, no matter how much we try not to.
There is a wealth of new information available to us about the brain development of infants and young children. Until we access this information at the ground level where we all live and struggle, we cannot make the kinds of changes within ourselves that will truly allow our children to escape what we never meant to do to them in the first place. There is no bliss in ignorance.
We HAVE to know what happened to us. We have to become crystal clear about the changes in HOW mothers mother because we are damaging our children and the future of our society. This isn’t about feeling badly. I give the example as clearly as I can that how my mother mothered me does NOT need to be an emotional issue on any level other than in my memories of the actual abuse experiences themselves.
What we need MOST are the facts. The simple clear facts. We can change nothing for the better without them. I do not believe that we can continue to bear and raise children in our present and advancing technological world without knowing the facts we need to know about how to build a healthy human brain from birth.
Interactions within inadequate daycare environments, infant isolation from lengthy quality time with healthy mothers, ongoing lengths of time interacting with electronic media, lack of exercise, lack of time outdoors, lack of quality play, are all contributing to a demise of the human brain resulting in an increased need to consume medications to regulate the brain — whether we want to admit it or not. We are social beings designed to build a social brain through powerful positive human attachments that begin most importantly with our mothers.
If we continue to choose not to pay attention to the reality of our human condition within our ‘new world’, our proverbial dance will be done. We are a specific species with specific needs during our infant brain developmental stages. How well we are mothered determines how well our brains work for the rest of our lives. There are no exceptions.
I have to ask the question, “Do we any longer even know what normal is for our species?” I have the advantage when looking backward over my life in knowing that there obviously was nothing normal about the way I was raised, nothing normal about the formation of my brain except as its growth and development reflected the human ability to adapt to dire conditions.
In the three generations that have come into being upon this planet since the time of my birth so many changes have happened in our culture and upon our planet that I am not sure we even know who we are as a species any more.
The simplest way to look at this is to consider that over 90% of veterans returning home from our current wars are consuming some version of a psychotrophic medication (prescription medications that alter brain chemistry). At the same time a huge percentage of our at home population is doing the same thing. These medications, to me, represent a need within us to supplement our own body and brain operations through the addition of powerful brain modulating chemicals that we are not evidently able to produce within our own bodies.
In the bigger picture I see that we are not only consuming our own technologies, but they are now consuming us and we don’t even see this happening. If we do, do we consider this to be normal?
I don’t have the time to write anything else at the moment, but I do believe we need to explore our own thinking about how technologies are not only changing the way humans are living on this planet, but are also changing our bodies at the same time. What do we really understand about these changes?
My previous two posts were difficult to write and ‘took a lot out of me’. They reminded me of myself.
I am only going to give a little information on depersonalization today, which is one aspect of dissociation, in case some readers are not familiar with it.
Depersonalization (or depersonalisation) can be referred as a malfunction or anomaly of the mechanism in which an individual has awareness or perception of his or her own self. It is a feeling of watching oneself act, while having no control over a situation. It can be considered desirable, such as in the use of recreational drugs, but it usually refers to the severe form found in anxiety and, in the most intense cases, panic attacks. A sufferer feels that he or she has changed and the world has become less real, vague, dreamlike, or lacking in significance. It can sometimes be a rather disturbing experience, since many feel that, indeed, they are living in a “dream”.
DEPERSONALIZATION SUPPORT COMMUNITY
“STRANGER TO OURSELVES”
See also link below on veterans and suicide
This post follows —
I could say that from the instant I left home I followed an invisible bread crumb trail into the future, but I would be wrong. I began to follow that invisible pathway from the moment I was born. Because there was never any reason, no cause and effect, no reason, no logic to consequences there was never a discernible pattern to anything that ever happened to me.
All I knew was what was told to me, as I came into a body and into this world, through actions and later by words as I came to recognize and understand them. I was told I was so bad that I tried to kill my mother when I was born. I was told that I was not human, that I was the devil’s child, and that I was evil. Everything that I knew always went back to these facts.
At the same time that I was forced just by the fact that I was alive to follow this invisible bread crumb pathway into my future, I was trying at the same time to follow the faintest dim light of hope that was held repeatedly in front of me throughout my childhood by my mother. I did not know that I was living an unsolvable paradox.
At the same time she told me that I had been created and born evil, I was also told I remained evil because I chose to do so, and that I deliberately continued to remain evil because I was so evil that was the ongoing evil decision that I chose to make — moment after moment, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, incident after incident. I never knew that I was doomed not to ever get near to or reach the hope that was held out in front of me.
Because I was innately and essentially evil it was impossible for me to ever make the good or right decision or choice how to act BECAUSE of that fact. Yet I was also told that the fact of my evil remained a fact because I willed it that way each time I continued to make the choice to stay evil no matter how many chances my ‘loving, caring, patient, adoring, long suffering’ mother gave me to choose otherwise.
How could I as an infant begin to learn about the exercise of free will, decision and choice when I was continually punished for a choice I had been proven to have made before I was born by my actions in trying to murder my own mother? I was born evil. I was evil because I chose to be evil. I continued to choose to remain evil because I chose to be evil because I was evil.
The yet even darker blanket that grew over this entire pyschosis that my mother had was that I was born evil because of the evil I had done in some other lifetime that had condemned me to hell. This had nothing to do with any other manifestation of a thought my mother might have had regarding something that could have been construed as a belief in reincarnation. Her thinking along these lines ONLY related specifically to me.
Her belief in my evilness grew so that as I grew older it was not about me being born as an evil infant human. It came to be about my having done something so evil in my earlier lifetime that I had been judged as being so evil by God that I had been condemned to everlasting damnation in hell. I had been given up on by God and He had given me to the devil. The devil owned me. I was his possession, his puppet, his tool, his worker. I was his proxy sent first to kill her, and because that didn’t work, I continued to live on as the devil’s curse upon my mother’s life.
I suspect as I write this that this dark blanket that smothered out any hope of the light coming through to me was the inevitable result of the progression of her psychosis as I continued to live as her daughter in a body that also continued to grow. The only possible avenue of escape that could have been possible for me growing up was never provided. It would have had to have come as a result of my being able to, in any way, understand that the further development of my mother’s psychosis, which had me at its center, was a logical consequence of her mental illness, that her mental illness was the cause of her psychosis, and her actions toward me were the effect of it.
Did anyone ever tell me that? No. Was I ever able to step out from under her insanity so that I could figure it out by myself? No. Was there any possible avenue of escape open to me from birth to age 18? No.
My entire being from birth had to attempt to grow along with and in spite of my mother’s madness about me that she continually forced me to encounter in my ongoing experiences throughout my entire childhood. It makes me think about how cancers devour a body’s resources until the person is killed. I had to grow an entire being that was contaminated with the cancer of my mother’s beliefs about who I was from the time of my birth.
I was not given the choice NOT to build the cancer of my mother’s mental illness into my being. Her cancer had taken over the ‘cell’ that was her and spilled over and grew into me. I had to eat and swallow her poison. I had no way to prevent this from happening. Yet through this analogy I see that while her cancer cells were taking over space inside of who I should have been able to become as my own self, they could never invade the ‘cells’ that WERE individually my own.
I had some impermeable ‘Linda cell’ boundary abilities that prevented my mother from taking over all of me. Somehow there were pockets of my own experience of being alive that she and her psychosis could not completely take over, contaminate or consume. But neither was there the opportunity for these individual ‘Linda cells’ or pockets of Linda reality to form themselves into a whole entire separate person, or even into clear definable identities. That is where the dissociation originated from.
When I go back and read my June 1972 writing I can see how able these individual Linda cells and pockets were to co-inhabit my own being and mind. It strikes me that perhaps how I came to develop that far was due to the fact that I am innately a peaceful person. Had my separate experiences of experience ever had the need to compete with one another I would not have been able to follow my invisible bread crumb pathway into the future in one body at all successfully.
I suspect that the lack of any inner need to compete for supremacy of one single perspective — or even of one tiny part of one — also stems from the bizarre yet helpful fact that nothing I EVER did as a child successfully allowed me ANY illusion of control — related to cause and effect — over my mother’s reactions to me.
I was as a child cut off at EVERY possible turn from being able to assert myself in any effective way to change what happened to me within my environment. And no matter how strange it might be to understand this, it was because nothing worked that I never began to compete within myself so that a working model of a part of Linda ended up taking control of any part of who I was. Hence, I basically have ended up with a dissociative identity disorder without the identities.
It is hard to know about the development of a human brain-mind because we need to use the brain that has already formed in order to go back and try to understand the earlier form as it formed itself. I do believe that I have a unique situation here and something unique to offer to anyone that might wonder about the possibilities that exist within a developing brain-mind.
Brain-mind development is a process that usually proceeds through identifiable stages. Once one or several of these developmental stages has completed itself, its patterns are locked into place and used, then, for the further developments as they come along in their own sequences and patterns. Because of the very special circumstances I developed in, my brain did not ‘lock into place’ these individual growth and developmental stages as they normally occur.
My brain-mind was forced to go on and on and on and on as it attempted to find a place for its ongoing experiences in the world. I received piece after piece after never-ending piece of information through my interactions with my mother without ever being given the opportunity to hook them together in any meaningful way. I believe that some part of me knew that this was happening as it happened.
This is what makes my June 1972 writing significant. It was a message in a bottle, written down by some part of myself and sent into the future as an intact representation of the best operation my brain-mind could accomplish right before my 21st birthday. The writing itself was like taking a living slice of brain-mind tissue, cut out at that point of time, frozen within those words, and passed to me in the future so that I could accurately re-member who I was when I left the home of my origin.
Time passed. I went on in my life. I continued to follow that same invisible bread crumb path to get to where I am as I sit here today with my fingers upon this keyboard. Yet even as all this time has gone by, my inner experiences of myself in my life are not much more connected to one another than they were as represented in those June 1972 words.
My brain was never allowed to develop through its stages with a single Linda at its center. What ‘holds me together’ is more like what holds all the individual notes and patterns of silence within a song together. The individual notes, patterns of sound and silence, tones, pitches, rhythms, movements within songs do not compete with one another any more than do my experiences or my experiences of my own experiences compete with one another.
Yet holding oneself together as the ongoing pattern of one’s life song is continually being written is an exhausting and disheartening process. I cannot, as I believe that others can, just let go and let the ‘main Linda’ go on about the business of life as if such an entity exists. Because I have little sense that such a single Linda exists, I also cannot trust that she knows what she is up against or doing in this lifetime. The ongoing process of living my life is therefore continually ‘up for grabs’ between all the various aspects of myself that process both my life and my experience of it.
I believe that I continue to be able and willing to ‘do life’ only because I am able to identify some very incredible and undeniable gifts that I was born with. Among these are my innate intelligence, creativity, indomitable will to stay alive with its accompanying determination, stubbornness and courage, my ability to have consideration for the feelings of others in my life who love me, my ability to focus intensely, my ability to tolerate changes, my ability to hope, my curiosity, my willingness and intense desire to learn, my ability to be surprised, my love for beauty including my innate desire to find something beautiful in ugliness, my loyalty to others as well as to myself, my compassion, my incredible stamina and ability to withstand pain, and the never ending peaceableness of my nature.
All of these gifts and abilities help me as I try to orient myself and organize my experience through a brain-mind that was not created in anything like a normal, benevolent world. I imagine this to perhaps be like being deep under water all of the time, and having to follow the upward movements of the bubbles my gifts provide me with as I try to orient myself and my movements toward the water’s surface.
So when it comes to the question of why I never left home before I was 18 to escape the abuse, I have to say that I didn’t even know that either the abuse existed or that escape existed. One has to know one is captured and a captive before there is anything to contrast the state of captivity to. Otherwise, how can a person even conceive of escape in the first place?
There was also no unified Linda in existence, and therefore there was no one to make such a choice or decision ‘with’, ‘within’, ‘from’ or ‘for’. I had all the facets of a diamond, but no diamond. All I had was the capacity to survive in and endure being alive in a world of chaos and destruction.
When I finally did leave home, I took all the chaos as well as my ability to live with it out the door with me. Chaos by definition means that all possibilities are contained within it. Building patterns out of chaos is what a brain does from its beginnings. Neither mine nor my mother’s brains were an exception to this rule. That hers was built around a psychosis and mine was not is the difference between us. While both options are contained within the possibilities of being human, mine allows for some access to consciousness where my mother’s did not.
Both of our child brain-minds had to develop in the midst of an unsolvable paradox — how to remain alive in a malevolent world that did not give us the resources to do so. We each, however, had available to us different inner avenues to pursue that allowed each of us to accomplish this impossible task in a different way. I cannot find it within myself to fault either one of us for taking the only possible route we had available to us in childhood that ensured our continued survival.
Once our individual routes to survival were taken, in our early environments that we were equally powerless to change, those routes became permanent pathways into and through our futures. They allowed us some chance to organize and orient our inner reality within a disorganized and disoriented world. Neither one of us could ever go back to the beginning and get to develop a different ‘better’ brain in different better circumstances. We each were forced to live with the consequences of the ‘developmental brain damage’ that we suffered, and that could have been prevented.
That fact is what this blog is all about.