+THREE TOPIC INFORMATION POST

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FROM THE:

Prevent Child Abuse New York Blog

Early Learning:   Key to National Defense

Posted: 30 Nov 2009 09:36 AM PST

A new press release, published by Mission Readiness says that according to Pentagon data, that 75% of our nation’s 17 to 24-year-olds are unfit for service due to failure to complete high school, past criminal record or are physically unfit. Military leaders are calling on Congress to pass the Early Learning Challenge Grant legislation.

The Obama Administration’s Early Learning Challenge Grant proposal would challenge states to develop effective, innovative models that promote high standards of quality and a focus on outcomes across early learning settings, and dedicate $10 billion over ten years toward this effort.  The goal is to reform and improve early learning programs to deliver a complete and competitive education to every child in America.

Congress is now considering the proposal, which would help states provide more at-risk kids with access to quality early learning programs.  It would provide grants to the states of $1 billion a year for up to ten years to improve the quality of early childhood development programs and expand access to more at-risk kids.

Some of the goals of the fund are to:

  • Drive results-oriented, standards reform across programs, setting a high standard of quality for programs to strive toward, in order to better promote early learning, child development, and school readiness.
  • Fund and implement pathways to improve existing early learning programs, with the goal of increasing the number of low-income young children who participate in higher-quality settings.
  • Ensure that more children enter kindergarten ready, with the healthy cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills and ability necessary for success.

The military is currently meeting recruitment goals, due in part to the severe economic recession, but the retired leaders said the challenge of finding quality recruits will return when the economy recovers. Rear Admiral Barnett said, “Our national security in the year 2030 is absolutely dependent on what’s going on in pre-kindergarten today. We urge Congress to take action on this issue this year.”

Major General Comstock adds: “I’m a lifelong political conservative, and I believe that government should intervene on a limited and targeted basis.   Early education is not conservative common sense or liberal common sense, it’s just plain common sense. Reaching the most at-risk kids helps increase graduation rates and cut crime, so early education is a matter of national security.”

To view the full press release please visit : http://www.missionreadiness.org/press110509.html

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THE FOLLOWING IS PRESENTED IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER:

FROM About.comBorderline Personality Disorder

In the Spotlight | More Topics |
from Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD
Lots of people with BPD worry about the whether their marriage can weather the storms that can come with the disorder. And many people who are married to those with BPD wonder whether therapy can improve the quality of the relationship.

Can a BPD Marriage Survive?
Couples counseling may be one helpful avenue of treatment, but there are no systematic studies of these types of therapies in BPD couples.

More Topics

Can I Get Better on My Own?
If you or your spouse has BPD, you may be wondering whether treatment is really necessary. Unfortunately, BPD isn’t the kind of disorder that is easily treated through self-help.

Should I Divorce My BPD Spouse?
Of course there is no blanket answer for this one. Some people make their BPD marriage work, and others can’t. But here are some things to consider…

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I am scanning in the following four pages about the history of the treatment of trauma for your consideration.  It is the last sentence on page 177 that interests me most as I will consider in a future post, but in all fairness to the author and to my readers, the rest of this information needs to be presented here for educational purposes.

These pages are taken from the book, Healing Trauma: Attachment, Mind, Body, and Brain – Hardcover (Jan 2003, W.W. Norton and Co.) edited by Daniel J. Siegel, Marion F. Solomon, and Marion Solomon, chapter 4 (pages 168-195) written by Bessel A. van der Kolk:  “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and The Nature of Trauma.

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Please feel free to comment directly at the end of this post or on

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Your Page – Readers’ Responses

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PLEASE NOTE:  Do not take anything I say as a reason to alter any ongoing treatment, therapy or medication you are receiving.  Consult with your provider if you find something in my writing that brings questions to your mind regarding your health and well-being.

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+PTSD AND SEVERE ABUSE SURVIVORSHIP – PART TWO

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This second post about Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) refers again to a book called Healing Trauma: Attachment, Mind, Body, and Brain – Hardcover (Jan 2003, W.W. Norton and Co.) by Daniel J. Siegel, Marion F. Solomon, and Marion Solomon, chapter 4 (pages 168-195) written by Bessel A. van der Kolk:  “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and The Nature of Trauma.”

Today’s post follows the November 28, 2009 post

+PTSD AND SEVERE CHILD ABUSE SURVIVORSHIP – PART ONE

PLEASE NOTE:  Do not take anything I say as a reason to alter any ongoing treatment, therapy or medication you are receiving.  Consult with your provider if you find something in my writing that brings questions to your mind regarding your health and well-being.

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The following is taken from pages 172 of the above text.  I will consider this information in my writing below:

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It is now easier for me to work with this information because I have described my own version of an alternative way of thinking about the ongoing complications severe infant-child abuse and malevolent treatment survivors face as a direct result not only of the specifics of the actual horrific traumas they lived through, but also because of the very real physiological changes that surviving these traumas created in their infant-child growing and developing body.

(see yesterday’s November 29, 2009 post

+TRAUMA ALTERED DEVELOPMENT (TAD) – A NEW DESCRIPTIVE CONCEPT)

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An accurate primary and initial assessment of TAD for those of us who are Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors would allow us to know immediately how the changes our body-brain had to make created us to be different from ‘ordinary’ people who do not have the history of trauma that we do.

In this TAD assessment two critical resiliency factors would also need to be assessed because these two resiliency factors (one primary, the other secondary) are known to have the ability to nearly completely modify and modulate the power that early trauma has to change our developing body-brain.

The presence of safe and secure attachment to some early primary caregiver is the most basic and important resource an Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivor had.  The current assessment tools available to assess adult secure and insecure attachment need to be simplified, refined and made accessible to the public.

Stemming from the degree of safety and security available through early caregiver attachment, the ability to play is a secondary but critical resiliency factor that impacts an Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivor’s body-brain development.  I believe that assessment criteria and tools to measure this critical factor consistently and accurately can be developed and also made available to the public.

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NOTE:  In our new age of technology, the public has the right to be able to access critically important information about themselves and how their early infant and childhood experiences impacted their development.  At present this information remains ONLY available within ‘clinical’ settings, if even there.

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As far as I am concerned, anything and everything that is currently lumped under so-called ‘psychological’ categories belongs to the sinking Titanic of dark age medical model thinking that I referred to in yesterday’s post.

Until Trauma Altered Development (TAD) is assessed at the bedrock level of how Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors changed at their own bedrock (molecular) level, any attempt to moderate so-called ‘symptoms’ remains a crap shoot in the dark.

TAD assessment can connect the consequences of early trauma to altered physiological changes that an Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivor’s body was forced to make to best ensure continued survival in early malevolent environments,

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Early caregiver attachment experiences from birth build the body-brain we will live with for the rest of our lives.

Van der Kolk (scanned text above) writes that it is not usually the symptoms of PTSD itself that brings those seeking help to a clinical setting.  Rather, he says that it is “depression, outbursts of anger, self-destructive behaviors, and feelings of shame, self-blame and distrust that distinguished a treatment-seeking sample from a nontreatment-seeking community sample with PTSD.”

Through an accurate TAD assessment, any ongoing difficulty an Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivor has with emotions and social interactions can be traced to inadequate early caregiver interactions in a malevolent environment that built for the survivor an entirely different early-forming right-limbic-emotional-social brain.

When the foundation of the early forming right brain is altered because of maltreatment, the Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivor’s later developmental stages involving shame, guilt and embarrassment will also be off course from ‘ordinary and optimal’ and will cause altered patterns of development in the body-brain.

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Van der Kolk states:

The majority of people who seek treatment for trauma-related problems have histories of multiple traumas.”

OK, I can certainly understand this, but here again, as I mentioned above, I do not agree with applying so-called ‘psychological’ and ‘symptom based’ medical model diagnostic thinking used in the author’s next statements.  I absolutely disagree with ever using terms such as ‘character pathology’ in reference to Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors!

One recent treatment-seeking sample…suffered from a variety of other psychological problems which in most cases were the chief presenting complaints, in addition to their PTSD symptoms:  77% suffered from behavioral impulsivity, affect lability, and aggression against self and others; 84% suffered from depersonalization and other dissociative symptoms; 75% were plagued by chronic feelings of shame, self-blame and being permanently damaged and 93% complained of being unable to negotiate satisfactory relationships with others.  These problems contribute significantly to impairment and disability above and beyond the PTSD symptoms….Focusing exclusively either on PTSD or on the depression, dissociation and character pathology prevents adequate assessment and treatment of traumatized populations.”

TAD assessments will clearly show that ‘impulsivity’, ‘affect liability’, most aggression, and dissociation are directly connected to changes in how an Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivor’s nervous system, including their brain – and here, particularly their right brain – formed differently from ‘ordinary’ due to growth and development in trauma.

Chronic feelings of shame, self-blame and being permanently damaged” are also directly connected to trauma through developmental changes an Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivor’s nervous system, including their brain – and here, particularly their later forming (after age one) left brain – had to make while developing in an early malevolent, trauma-filled environment.

Rather than referring to these changes as ‘character pathologies’, which in my thinking is the maltreatment, abusive stance taken by the medical model toward Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors, a TAD assessment can accurately and specifically pinpoint the origin of these changes in the body-brain and describe the consequences of them.

Receiving an accurate TAD assessment will show us exactly how our body was forced to adapt during our development through trauma so that we could survive it.   Yes, I do believe we KNOW we are different from ‘ordinary,’ but we are not ‘permanently damaged’.   We ARE permanently changed.

The changes Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors experience are fundamental and profound!  Everything about us was subject to adjustment for our trauma survival – our body, our nervous system and brain, our immune system, our mind, and our connection between our self and our self and between our self and the entire world around us.  NOT facing the truth and discovering the facts through TAD assessment will NOT resolve the difficulties we face with our continued survival into adulthood.

The only long term solution societies have is to STOP Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment!!!  Part of that solution is to provide the kind of TAD assessment Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors need, and to make available to us the resources necessary for us to live the best life we can in spite of the changes we had to make in order to stay alive because nobody STOPPED the Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment that happened to us.

It is the pathological character of the society we were born into that allowed what happened to us to happen at all, let alone allowed it to continue to the degree that trauma changed our physiological development.  If there is any self blame to be had, it is on the level far beyond OURS as the Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors.

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That the grand sinking Titanic of the archaic dark age’s medical model about Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors has at least THOUGHT about throwing us a life boat becomes apparent in van der Kolk’s next words:

As part of the DSM IV field trial, members of the PTSD taskforce delineated a syndrome of psychological problems which have been shown to be frequently associated with histories of prolonged and severe personal abuse.  They call this Complex PTSD, or Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified (DESNOS).”

Great!  A life boat full of holes!  Gee, why are we NOT thankful for that?

A syndrome of psychological problems” be damned!  Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors do not suffer from a ‘syndrome’, and ours are not ‘psychological problems’!  For all the reasons I have repeatedly described, we simply need a TAD assessment that will tell us HOW our little body adapted down to our molecular level during our development in the midst of, and in spite of, toxic malevolent trauma.  Then we need resources that inform us how to live NOW with these profound trauma-caused changes that happened to us THEN.

The author continues:

DESNOS delineated a complex of symptoms associated with early interpersonal trauma.”

Again, we don’t have ‘symptoms’.  We have a different body-brain-mind-self that adapted to survival in a malevolent world and caused us to have Trauma Altered Development (TAD).

We don’t have symptoms, we have consequences.  Every single item in the list of so-called ‘complex symptoms’ (see them in the page scan below) that van der Kolk describes are directly connected to our TAD.  EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE ITEMS exist within us because of changes our body-brain was forced to make.  They are consequences of the changes our body had to make through our TAD.

The only real progress in the right direction I can see – given to us like faulty patches to a sinking life boat thrown to us from a sinking ship – is that at least an association ‘with early interpersonal trauma’ is finally being considered in the current medical model thinking.

But this tiny droplet of hoped for healing balm offered by the creation of a construct named “Complex PTSD, or Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified (DESNOS)” is not what we Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors need in my book.

We need our entire society to understand and accept the truth that the Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment that happened to me and others – and continues to happen to children around us today – is nothing short of a form of parental-selected genocide that did not fulfill its intent to completely destroy us.  We are Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors because we are still alive, and we ONLY SURVIVED because we were able to adapt our body throughout our Trauma Altered Development to and within the malevolent environments that formed us.

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The rest of van der Kolk’s words (below) simply bring into my mind the image of the author being like a modern day Paul Revere, whose horse’s hooves pound along the streets of our nation as he screams a warning.  I am certainly not convinced, however, that even this author knows which message it is that most needs to be delivered.

The Trauma Altered Development that Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors experienced had no choice but to build itself into every part of who we are BECAUSE we live in a body, and our body had no choice but to change so that we could stay alive.

To describe any aspect of what happened to us in terms of a ‘diagnosis’ or a ‘symptom’, ‘complex’ or not, to call us ‘maladjusted’ or to tell us we suffer from any form of a ‘character pathology’ or ‘psychological problem’ is to continue to condemn us with stigmas and stereotyped prejudice which makes as much sense as applying all of the above labels to someone who is tall versus short, or who has red hair rather than blond.

If we wish as a society to remain in the dark ages about the consequences of Trauma Altered Development for Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors then at least we should have enough honor and common sense to admit it.  If we are appalled by the ignorance that is still applied to our circumstances, today is the day we can enlighten ourselves and get on with the legitimate task of figuring out how to accurately assess Trauma Altered Development so that we can begin to live well as the changed, extraordinary Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors that we are.

Our Trauma Altered Development did not affect WHO we are in the world, but it absolutely changed HOW we are in the world.  It is up to all of us to learn what that means.

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The following is taken from pages 173 of the above text:

Again, it is not a picture of ‘long-term psychiatric impact’ nor a ‘diagnosis’ that Trauma Altered Development affected Infant-Child Severe Maltreatment Survivors need.  We need to understand the changes our body had to make to guarantee our survival and specifically how those changes affect us, and specifically how to improve our quality of life and well-being in the world in spite of our TAD.

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Please feel free to comment directly at the end of this post or on

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Your Page – Readers’ Responses

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+TRAUMA ALTERED DEVELOPMENT (TAD) – A NEW DESCRIPTIVE CONCEPT

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Presenting a new descriptive concept that applies specifically to severe infant-child abuse and serious neglect survivors of all ages:

Trauma Altered Development (TAD)

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Those of us who suffered enough severe traumas through malevolent treatment including abuse during our growth and developmental stages of our infant-child ‘survivorhood’ to alter how our body developed do not need a diagnosis.

— We need an assessment of the changes that happened to us because of the abuse.

— We need information about how these changes affect us in our lives today.

— We need resources that tell us how to improve our well-being in the world in spite of the changes our body had to make in order for us to survive the traumatic environment that formed us.

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Thinking in terms of changes that happened to me as a result of my development in a severe abuse environment in my infant-child survivorhood, I am beginning to understand that my body developed to manage all resources available to me in my environment – both inner and outer – to maximize my opportunity for successful survivorship.

I am preparing to stand in opposition to the current ‘mental health’ and ‘behavioral health’ models that obviously are not capable of meeting my true needs as stated above.

I want to see the creation of new thinking about the changes that happened to me and to others whose altered early development allowed them to continue living in spite of insurmountable traumatic obstacles.

I have a new name for what happened to me:  Trauma Altered Development (TAD)

TAD is an accurate, factual description of a physiological process that allows individuals to survive in early malevolent environments.  TAD is not a diagnosis.  It is not a label, and it carries with it no stigma toward a person whatsoever.  It is not naming a ‘disorder’, a ‘pathology’ or a ‘maladjustment.’  Trauma Altered Development (TAD) is an accurate descriptive concept that needs to be the starting point for all positive changes we hope to make for ourselves in this world.

Trauma Altered Development (TAD) can be assessed.  In today’s world, it might take a think tank of dedicated people to put together tools to get this job done, but the information DOES exist and an accurate assessment of trauma-forced change can be described for every one of us that went through this process in our early development because of infant-child trauma and abuse.

I would like to see a systematic effort applied to establish national, regional and local Trauma Altered Development Resource and Referral Centers.  These centers would be connected to a global clearinghouse that gathers research, assessment tools, informational and educational curricula about how trauma alters development for the duration of an individual’s lifespan and how well-being for a lifetime can specifically be improved in spite of these trauma altered developmental changes.

Trauma Altered Development (TAD) assessment would consider not only the changes that happened to us in our development and how those changes affect our well-being and our personal resource management systems in our adulthood, but would also increasingly assist in the recognition of how these changes are directly tied to the resiliency abilities that lie within our species.

Trauma Altered Development (TAD) assessment cannot possibly separate any part of an individual from the whole of who they are.  Trying to consider physical health and well-being as being separate from our ‘mental’ or ‘behavioral’ well-being is just plain goofy!  TAD affected our entire being in the world from our beginning and it affects us now.

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I don’t want to save a sinking Titanic of dark-age thinking about so-called ‘mental illness’ or ‘behavioral health’.  I want a whole new boat!  Trauma Altered Development (TAD) is a descriptive concept that appears to me to be that new boat.  I know it sits on the bedrock foundation of what happened to me as a result of my mother’s severe abuse of me.  I believe that TAD must be accurately assessed at this bedrock level for every infant-child trauma and abuse survivor because it affects every aspect of our being in the world for the rest of our lives.

Once an accurate TAD assessment has been completed, all other services designed to address our degrees of lack of well-being will make sense to us because they will be based on the truth of the facts about how we developed through trauma to be the way we are in the world — every step of our lives.

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Please feel free to comment directly at the end of this post or on

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Your Page – Readers’ Responses

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+RETHINKING THE CONSEQUENCES OF EARLY (DEVELOPMENTAL) TRAUMA

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Most of us are familiar with the sideways “8” symbol for infinity.   It’s a simple image, but is designed to represent a continuation of something that flows smoothly without having an end in itself.

I was thinking about the symbol this morning in terms of how we use resources in our life from the time we are conceived.  When we came into this world as a fertilized egg we could live off of our own inner resources just long enough to receive signals from our mother’s body that told us it was ‘safe’ to attach to her uterine wall.  Signals from her body told us where to attach, and the ability to receive those signals and act on them allowed us to accomplish this required attachment.

During the length of time we remained attached to the world through our attachment inside our mother we grew an increasingly more complex body by using resources we received from our mother.  From the time we were born as a breathing being into this world outside our mother’s body we were still completely dependent on outside others to provide all our resources for us.  We needed our early caregivers to allow us to breath, to keep us warm, to feed us, to protect us from harm.

During our most dependent stages of growth and development outside our mother’s body we were using the resources given to us by our early caregivers to continue our growth and development which included our nervous system-brain, immune system, and our entire body.  Nature has designed this process to work very well!

If safe and secure attachments continue to exist as they operate through our early caregivers’ attention to us, we continue to grow along an ‘ordinary’ and optimal pathway.  If trauma is introduced into our growing environment, and if it is allowed to overwhelm what is needed for our ‘ordinary’ and optimal growth, changes in our development HAVE to happen so that we can continue to remain alive.

I was thinking about our early growth and development in terms of the infinity sign because in a benevolent world our increasing ability to find and use resources can be represented by an expanding infinity sign.  In a safe and secure attachment environment we have a need, resources are provided to us, we take those resources into our bodies, can use them to our best advantage and we continue to grow.

If trauma in an unsafe and insecure early attachment world that threatens our ‘ordinary’, optimal development by directly interrupting our ability to access and use the resources we need to grow up in a benevolent world, what is changing in our developing body-brains as a consequence is our ability to get the resources we need in order to continue to grow to fulfill our potential for living in a safe and secure world.

As I have said many times in the past, the changes our body has to make due to interruptions through trauma during our early development are not maladaptive or ‘pathological’.  They are necessary and required for continuation of our life.

When we grow up and find ourselves living in a far more benevolent world than the one was that we formed in, we simply (!!) do not have a body-brain-mind-self that is prepared to access and use resources in the same way that an ‘ordinary’ non-traumatized (in early childhood) person can.  Something about our infinity sign has been changed.  Something about how we detect, access and use resources changed as a result of growing a body-brain in an early environment filled not with safety and security but rather with a lack of safety and security = trauma.

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When I think about this sideways “8” sign as it passes resources back and forth between the world outside of the body and the world inside a person, I have to think about boundaries.  Where do I stop and where does the outside world begin?

As I continue to explore the existing information about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I will have to consider one of the fundamental and primary concerns that this diagnostic category of ‘mental illness’ is attempting to address – how we detect, access and use the resource of information from our environment.  This information comes to us in the form of stimuli – both from within our own body and from the world outside of us.  Severe early trauma has changed us in ways that make our stimuli information resource systems work differently from ‘ordinary’.

If there is some degree of lack of well-being exiting within either a fertilized egg or in its mother, the step of attaching safely and securely to the uterine wall is interfered with, the infinity sign of resource transactions required for continued life ceases, and that is the end of life for the new little person.  This kind of risk continues for us every step of our life.  Given enough trauma and given enough inability to overcome the trauma, life stops.

The resource transaction process continues because information passes freely between the world and a life form.  We might think of air and water and food and heat ranges as resources, but do we think of their presence, availability and quality as providing basic information about the condition of the world we live in?  Do we think of early caregiver interactions with offspring as directly providing information (a vital resource about vital resources) concerning the quality of the environment the little one is growing up in – and for?

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If a person was built from conception in a safe and secure world, they will have a resource management system designed in, by and for a benevolent world.  If that person later experiences severe trauma, they will process it according to the resource management system they received very early in their lives – because that system has built itself into their body.  This ‘ordinary’ person will still have to access and use plenty of resources to overcome the experience of later traumas – but they will do so differently than someone will who has resource management systems (i.e. body-brain) designed in, by and for a malevolent, traumatic world.

Most plainly put, the following stems from my on-paper doodling as it relates to this critical topic or resource management and the changes our developing body-brain had to make in an unsafe, insecure and traumatic early environment:

S surviving

T – trauma

O – orients

P – personality

The

S – surviving

T – trauma

O – orients

R – resource

M – management

If a newborn finds itself in a malevolent environment all its ongoing experiences will send it signals about the trauma-filled world it lives in so that it can alter its ongoing resource management systems as they develop to maximize its ability to survive in this malevolent world.

If a newborn finds itself in a benevolent environment all its ongoing experiences will send it signals about a safe and secure world so that it can continue our species’ best-case development pathway using information it has received about adequate resources in the world.

Our particular personality is one of our primary resource management assets – but its development is influenced by the information an infant-child receives from its environment.  (More on this later regarding how early trauma creates ‘personality disorder’ developmental conditions.)

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Information communicated through the ability to send and receive signals on the molecular level continues throughout our entire life span.  Not only is the information itself a vital resource, but so also is the ability to send and receive these signals.  Beginning from conception information is transmitted between the environment and the organism living in the environment.

As a result of the information we receive and through our potential to adjust to the world we live in, we end up with an orientation either to a safe and secure or a trauma filled world.  Child abuse during critical developmental stages communicates on the molecular level what the conditions of our early world are like.  Our body has the miraculous ability to receive these signals of information and to adjust our development accordingly.

On the most basic level, when we are considering the effects that severe and early trauma has on a developing infant-child, this is what we are talking about – orientation in the world that determines how our resource management systems develop and operate to maximize our chances of survival.

Those of us who had to develop in a malevolent world have a body that is designed through flexible adaptive abilities during early development to be oriented to survival in a malevolent world.  Everything our body-brain knows about being in the world was set by this initial orientation-in-the-world process.

Current clinical thinking about trauma uses a model that looks like this:

Pre-trauma > trauma > post-trauma

That model DOES NOT apply to me.

Because I was born into a world filled with trauma, and because my tiny body-brain had to adapt its development in response to surviving that trauma, trauma built itself into me.  My most fundamental physiological orientation is based on surviving trauma.  I never had a ‘pre-trauma’ state.  Without having one, I cannot have a ‘post-trauma’ state, either.

So what might a severe infant-child abuse survivor’s trauma model look like?

Trauma < > trauma < > trauma

This model represents to me the development of a body-brain on all levels that has trauma at its origins because trauma was present at ground zero when development occurred.  (I am saying ground zero, but in my case that point happened at the moment I was born.  Variations of trauma can exist in utero.  In my case it did not.)

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What do we do with such a infant-child abuse trauma model?  My suggestion:  Go back to the drawing board.  The existing model about trauma and PTSD simply do not make sense as it is currently being used to describe what happened to and continues to happen for early severe infant-child abuse survivors.

The operation of our infinity sign resource management system simply developed differently from ‘ordinary’.  We are optimally designed to survive in a malevolent world.  No amount of magical, wishful childhood thinking (termed denial) is going to make us into ‘ordinary’ people.  We were not built in an ordinary world nor designed for living in a benevolent one.

By rethinking what is known about the affects of severe early abuse during infant-child development I have no doubt that we can and will become clear about what our changed body-brain resource management systems are designed to do for us and how they operate.  Once we have this information, we can THEN realistically and most effectively begin to find ways to alter our present experience of being alive in a more benevolent world while having to do so in/with a body physiologically designed in, by and for a malevolent world.

To continue to ignore and deny that we do not fit existing clinical models of ‘mental health’ and that we need to come up with new and appropriate ones, means that the storm of trauma that created us differently in the first place has no real possibility of ending.  The consequences to all of us for not being willing to consider the truth about how a trauma-changed body affects our ability to live well in a more benevolent world means that the wake trauma creates in our beginnings will follow us on through the rest of our lives.

We can do better than this!

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Please feel free to comment directly at the end of this post or on

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Your Page – Readers’ Responses

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+PTSD AND SEVERE CHILD ABUSE SURVIVORSHIP – PART ONE

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I am certainly not a big fan of the concept of ‘complex trauma’ or of ‘complex PTSD’.  I believe that the entire field of so-called ‘mental health’ has to rethink every concept they have ever used ‘against us’ in the light of the new scientific evidence that clearly shows that severe early child abuse as it happens to a little one during its growth and developmental stages CHANGES the entire physiology of the survivor.

We are not ‘ordinary’ people with some sort of maladaptive, pathological ‘post trauma’ or ‘complex trauma’ ‘mentally ill’ ‘condition’!  We are extra-ordinary individuals whose bodies adapted in what are no doubt definable, physiologically sound, logical, adaptive, practical and understandable ways — to be known, understood and appreciated as the most state-of-the-art scientific research will demonstrate — as a direct consequence of having to develop a changed body-immune system-nervous system-brain-mind-self in order to survive in an extremely challenging, dangerous, traumatic and malevolent world.

Worn out, misinformed, misused, inaccurate and archaic terms, concepts, descriptions and thoughts about us based on ignorance of the true facts about adapting to early trauma and abuse, need to be put exactly where they belong — down the toilet — and not be applied to/against us.

Trying to squeeze early trauma survivors into ANY of the preexisting boxes created by ‘ordinary’ people to describe ‘ordinary’ people belong — exactly and specifically — TO THEM only, not to US!

What follows is an example of how difficult it is to translate ‘helpful’ and ‘factual’ information about the very subject we are interested in — the consequences of surviving trauma — into anything that either makes sense to or helps me as a survivor of extreme severe early and ongoing trauma of malevolent abuse from birth until age 18.

And I am FAR from alone!

Researchers and clinicians need to apply their newest research discoveries in an ongoing effort to help us all understand that every single change we were forced to make during our infant-child SURVIVORHOOD is, in fact, a super resiliency factor that kept us alive in the midst of — and in spite of — ongoing overwhelming traumas.

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Every single piece of so-called mental health information available on the wide array of difficulties humans can face in their efforts to achieve well-being and get along in the world need to be considered differently by survivors of severe maltreatment that happened to them during the early years of their childhood.

Early and severe maltreatment in a malevolent early caregiving environment changes the way our body-immune system-nervous system-brain-mind-self develops to allow us to adapt so we can survive in a traumatic, toxic and dangerous world.

I want to talk about Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) today.  I am referring to a book called Healing Trauma: Attachment, Mind, Body, and Brain – Hardcover (Jan 2003, W.W. Norton and Co.) by Daniel J. Siegel, Marion F. Solomon, and Marion Solomon, chapter 4 (pages 168-195) written by Bessel A. van der Kolk:  “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and The Nature of Trauma.”

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from page 171:

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(I am breaking up the following text from a single paragraph found in this book into segments so that I can comment on the author’s words.  What follows is taken from the above book, pages 171-172.)

The author is describing the ‘secondary effects of developing PTSD’:

Once people develop PTSD, the recurrent, unbidden reliving of the trauma in visual images, emotional states, or in nightmares produces a constant re-exposure to the terror of the trauma.  In contrast to the actual trauma, which had a beginning a middle [sic], and an end, the symptoms of PTSD take on a timeless character.”

It is important for us to understand that when a tiny infant-child’s entire body-being has to form in a malevolent environment of trauma as it is fed ongoing information by its early caregivers about a dangerous world, all the factors having to do with surviving the trauma by adjusting growth and development to it, become built right into the growing body-brain.  Being alive in an early malevolent environment is itself, “a constant re-exposure to the terror of the trauma.”

I do not believe that survivors of severe early trauma ever have a chance to build an ‘ordinary’ ongoing experience of time into their body-brain-mind-self in the first place.  An infant has only the most basic, rudimentary, simple ability to identify a ‘beginning, middle, to any ‘actual trauma’.  Any processing of the experience of time within a tiny infant-child has to be built into the body-brain over TIME from the start.  Therefore these ‘symptoms of PTSD’ that ‘take on a timeless character’ become incorporated into the body-brain of the little one from the start.

From the time I was born, I did not have the luxury of having a ‘beginning, middle or end’ to the trauma I experienced through my mother’s abuse of me.  The best I had were temporary pauses in the abuse while my mother was either exhausted from her attacks or occupied (temporarily) elsewhere.  I could never predict when the monster would return.  My trauma-stress-response system, as it was being built into my body-brain, was ON all of the time within a pattern made up of these unpredictable pauses and attacks.

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Author:

The traumatic intrusions are horrifying, they interfere with dealing with the past, while distracting from being able to attend to the present.  This unpredictable exposure to unbidden memories of the trauma usually leads to a variety of (usually maladaptive) avoidance maneuvers, ranging from avoidance of people or actions that remind them of the trauma, to drug and alcohol abuse, to emotional withdrawal from friends or activities that used to provide potential sources of solace.”

‘Used to provide potential sources of solace’?  Few of us had anyone THERE to care for us properly, to keep us safe and secure, to love and protect us from the start – or the abuse would not have happened in the first place.

The above statement alone gives we survivors very clear idea about how careful we have to be when trying to make our OWN use out of the professional information being provided AS IF it applies equally to people whose body-brain did NOT grow and develop within an early (unsafe and insecure attachment) malevolent world, and to survivors who DID grow and develop within a malevolent environment.

We have to be extremely care-full about applying any ‘professional’ concepts to ourselves.  We have to think through every word they say!!  We have to include our own reality of early experience into the ‘solution’ equations.  We have to know the truth about how our early trauma FORCED our body-brain-mind-self into adapting, adjusting and changing so that we could survive our child abuse traumas AT ALL!

We ARE NOT THE SAME.  Our body-brain is not the same.  True, our ‘traumatic intrusions’ were horrifying, but we were far too little to even have a PAST to be interfered with.  We had no ongoing experience of ourselves in the world that did not include horrifying trauma and threat of trauma.

Yes, we were prevented from ‘being able to attend to the present’ – any ordinary ‘present’ in any ‘ordinary’ way.  We certainly were forced to attend in the present to surviving the horrifying traumas being heaped upon tiny little us while at the same time our growing and developing tiny selves were trying to accomplish all the required NORMAL developmental milestones everyone has to pass through as they mature from infancy to adulthood.  ALL of our growth and developmental stages and processes were thus interfered with because of the trauma we experienced in our infant-childhoods.

And of course, I take major issue with the use of the term ‘maladaptive’ in reference to any consequence that happened to us because of our severe early abuse. I believe this kind of ‘professional’ thinking and the attitudes that go with it is used against early severe child abuse survivors as a bludgeoning weapon that further pounds the consequences of our abuse and trauma into our being!!

Applying the concept of ‘maladaptive’ to us is just plain GOOFY!  We are the most ADAPTIVE people alive!  We survived what was impossible to survive from the time we were born, from the time we were little tiny people!  And, while our entire beings were busy adapting, we still went right on through every required human growth and developmental stage — in spite of the horror and terrible trauma we experienced in our childhoods!!

This “…variety of (usually maladaptive) avoidance maneuvers, ranging from avoidance of people or actions that remind them of the trauma, to drug and alcohol abuse, to emotional withdrawal from friends or activities that used to provide potential sources of solace” becomes extremely difficult to accurately assess among populations of severe early child abuse survivors.   I believe this kind of ‘profession thinking’ becomes like a net of ignorance conveniently thrown over the large group of ‘maladapted’ people because the effort it would take to truly think about the truth of our development as survivors takes just too much effort on the part of those ‘ordinary’ others who seek to provide us ‘help’.

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Author’s paragraph continues:

Problems with attention and concentration keep them from being engaged with their surroundings with zest and energy.  Uncomplicated activities like reading, conversing with others, and watching television require extra effort.  This loss of ability to focus, in turn, often leads to problems with taking one thing at a time and gets in the way of reorganizing one’s life to et it back on track.

OK, readers!! Have at it!!

Understanding how to translate ‘professional’ lingo, theory, concept, and attempts to ‘repair’ us to make us into more ‘ordinary’ functioning people will nearly 100% of the time come from the above stated point of view.  THAT’S NOT US!  Not in the way ‘others’ think it is!

How many of us early severe abuse survivors can understand on ONE LEVEL exactly what the author is saying above?  Then, how many of us can NOW begin to understand that these ‘difficulties’ that we experience were directly built right into our growing and developing body-nervous system-brain-mind self in direct relationship to the degree and nature of the traumas present in the environment that FORMED US from the start?

Trauma changed how we developed!  We only continue to suffer from being told there is something ‘maladaptive’ or ‘pathological’ about us – BECAUSE WE SURVIVED?  That IS what we are being told.  There was no possible way we could have survived without the trauma changing us!  It’s a tough bottom line, but the way I see it, if there is any negative assessment given at all to anything about the way we ARE in the world because of how we had to change to survive our child abuse traumas, then we are yet again simply being re-victimized by others.

It does us no GOOD on any level to suck in anything negative NOW about who we had to become THEN in order to survive.

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Well, I barely got started on this chapter, but I will continue in another post because this information is so important for us to understand without having to think about ourselves through the filter of ignorance that we usually find as we try to achieve a greater well-being in the world having endured ‘horrifying traumas’ that we were strong enough, determined enough, and resilient enough to survive!!

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Please feel free to comment directly at the end of this post or on

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Your Page – Readers’ Responses

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+FORCED THROUGH ABUSE IN INFANT-CHILDHOOD TO GROW A DISSOCIATING SELF

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Growing a self (with matter) in a body in the world is an infant-child’s sole job in childhood.  Our early caregivers either help us or they harm us in our efforts.

For someone as abused as I was from birth and throughout their childhood, with without a safe and a secure attachment to any early caregiver that would allow them to develop their self in connection to their body in the world, feeling as if one MATTERS or even is a self WITH MATTER is extremely hard to do.

Everyone is born with a spark of life that is uniquely theirs and nobody else’s.  Parents are not supposed to work to destroy that spark.  They are supposed to recognize it in the body (and as the body) of the little one under their care.  They are supposed to recognize the growing self of their infant-child as being separate from their own self, so they can fan the spark and feed it fuel to grow on.

Parents who have serious unresolved trauma complications of their own often cannot do their job.  In my mother’s case, she never recognized ME as a separate being from herself at all.  She overwhelmed me, threatened my spark of life, and my growing and developing body-SELF from the moment I was born and for the next 18 years of my childhood.

Only no matter how hard she tried she could never destroy the spark of life that was-is me.  She heaped every possible obstacle in the way of ME growing my SELF in my body in the world that she could.

I see in my mind the terrible image of an un-jolly giant wielding a gargantuan sledge hammer (like in a tragic cartoon), smashing it down on top of me every chance she got.  In this image I am no bigger than a tiny ant.  As much as it was possible for me to do, my growing self had to stay hiding in order to stay alive at all.

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When early caregivers are not available to recognize and nurture and reflect an infant-child’s spark of life self back to it, that little self can seem to all but disappear over time.

I was never allowed to have happy genuine time to grow my self or to even be my self from birth (except in hiding).  The ugly giant with her weapons of destruction was always present or near5 by.  Any time she caught me out in the open being my self in play, exploration or in a state of mistaken safety, she would attack me again.

I see another image in my mind that reminds me of the Phantom of the Opera, because this image is of a stage.  I was only allowed to be like a shadow on the stage of my family’s play.  My mother completely controlled and directed the show.  Mostly I was ‘in trouble’ and being punished somewhere off stage.  I was banished and forbidden to be a part of the ongoing play.

I was left alone in misery because that’s where my mother wanted me (short of dead, which she dared not accomplish).  I could only appear in some version of her dramas such as “It’s a fun family holiday” or “This is Linda in the classroom.”

Mostly I remained either hidden, or under attack.

The REAL me was able to remain hidden back stage and could only sneak around like a phantom where she couldn’t detect me.  Over time, as I aged, I learned to appear on stage in different roles, both as an older child and later as an adult.  But my self-in-hiding could not become integrated within the body that appeared in all of its roles.

Only I didn’t know this was happening.  I have seen in my adult journals how lost I was to myself.  As I’ve mentioned before, my being lost in the world appeared in an unending sequence of patterns of questions that I could never find the answers for no matter how hard I searched or tried.

I have only been able to see the parts of myself that are reflected in my actions performed either around other people, or in my actions I perform when I am alone.  I so rarely have any sense that my WHOLE SELF exists at all that doubt I even have one.  I’ve always had a sense that most of who I am remains somewhere in hiding.

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Some would say that loving my ‘inner child’ would give her permission to come out of hiding.  I do not attach an age to the self.  A self moves forward in time just as a body does.  Neither exist ‘back there’ somewhere, suspended in the past.

From my perspective as I write this, I would think that the WHOLE of me simply knows things, as do its ‘parts’.  This self of me was forced to make decisions about how to remain alive in a dangerous world every step forward through my childhood from birth.

Every time my growing and developing self was attacked, my body-self was forced at the same time to make a decision about how best to adapt its growth and development so I could survive in a malevolent world.  Those decisions were made automatically in my body on the cellular, molecular level – including the epigenetic processes that used all the available options possible to tell my DNA how to ensure my survival in a chaotic and dangerous world.

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As   strange as it might seem as I write this, I believe by body-brain continued to develop throughout my entire childhood without the ‘usual’ connections to the ongoing presence of a continuous self within it.  Any time I was attacked by my mother and a survival-based decision had to be made in my tiny body about how to stay alive, my growing body went one way and my spark-of-life-self went a different way.

I was supposed to be growing an intimate, inseparable connection between my self and my body.  My mother’s attacks on me were so threatening and continual that this connection could not be formed – physiologically – in any ordinary way.

My ongoing responses to attacks during my early growth and developmental stages changed not only how my body-brain developed, and changed this connection between my self and my body, it also changed how I experienced my self in a body in the world.  Both my growing body and self had to include these changes on a structural and operational level.  There was no magic.  There was no possible alternative.

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These patterns of interruption between my growing self and body happened so many times that they cannot be counted.  Two examples that I’ve written earlier come immediately to mind.

One happened when I was two:  *AGE 2 – CINDY BORN – 1953

The other happened when I was three:  *Age 3 – THE TOILET BOWL

I already suffered from an extremely disorganized, disoriented insecure attachment to my ‘caregiving’ mother, to the world around me, and most importantly to my developing body-self connection well before these experiences happened to me.  I believe my mother had already overwhelmed my ability to have any ongoing self experience of having an experience an uncountable number of times well before I reached the age of two.  Without safe, secure and stable early caregiving interactions a safe, secure and stable connection between a growing self and a growing body cannot possibly be made.

After my mother dragged me out of the safety of my grandmother’s bed on the day a month and a half before my second birthday, my mother’s version of this incident was added to her abuse litany of me as proof that I wanted to be an only child, that I loved my grandmother more than I loved her, that I was able to deceive my grandmother by hiding my true, terrible self from her, and that I wanted my grandmother to be my mother and not her.

I first remembered this incident from my vantage point of being a very small toddler floating above my body which I could see in lying at the head in the middle of the expanse of my grandmother’s bed.  I can also remember this experience from within my body on the bed and see the ‘other me’ up there above me looking down.  Only by closing my eyes in my remembering process or by not looking up at all can I make ‘that one’ go away.

I can float around my grandmother’s entire house in that little body.  I can float over the heads of the two screaming women.  I can float over to the window and touch the lace of the curtains.  I can float through the open walk-in closet door, out the bedroom door, down the long curving hallway, into the massive kitchen, into the dusky living room.  I can experience the whole nasty, terrifying event from within the little physical body on the bed, but I cannot bring these two states of experiencing the experience together into one.

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When it comes to the toilet bowl incident that happened a month and a half before my fourth birthday, I cannot experience both sides of my memory’s experience.  This ‘event’ was added to my mother’s ongoing abuse litany as proof that I was a murderer who wanted my little sister dead, and that I tried to kill her.

I can remember being in my small battered body as it crumpled against the cold hard surface of the side of the bathtub where my mother threw me after she had exhausted herself in beating me.  What I experienced next I cannot put back together.

As my mother turned to storm out of the bathroom I turned my eyes upward to the window high on the wall across from my sobbing, shaking body.  I can return to this memory in my body.  I remember feeling some part of me rise out of my body and float up toward that window and out of it into the radiant blue sky.  In this memory my awareness remains in my tortured body as the other part of me left my body-self behind.

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These are remembered patterns of who-what separates from who-what.  I believe that because I was older and further down the body-brain-self developmental pathway when the toilet bowl attack happened that the separation between my body and self that happened then has continued as a pattern of my being in the world ever since.  What happened that day was an inner rupture without repair.

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As I sit here writing at this moment, thinking about what I might be willing or able to say about the part of my self that drifted up out of my body, aimed itself at the window, found its way to escape and floated away, I am having a rather ‘Disney Moment.’

Those of you who watched the movie, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, can probably remember the final scenes as the wall disappears and a magical world of animation opens up into motion, light, music and color.  At this moment I can sense a similar scene going on behind my shoulders as I write these words.  Thousands of brilliantly colored butterflies dance in the sunlight behind me, each one being a fragment of my experience of myself in my life.

Yet I also know that if I could enter that scene, and travel more deeply within it, that the light would dim, the sounds would change, the butterflies would not be dancing………there I will not go.

This sense I am having of this other world is eerie and makes the hairs on the back of my neck begin to crawl.  I turn around and look behind my back.  There is nothing there but my kitchen wall.  It helps to see a framed picture of Johnny Depp in his pirate guise hanging there.  Seeing it there, I smile.

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For those of you who might be curious, this is the link to the latest ‘counseling’ report I asked for from astrologer Zane:

*Age 58 – Astrology reading about life and death

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Please feel free to comment directly at the end of this post or on

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Your Page – Readers’ Responses

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+LIGHT T-DAY READING ON RATS AND THE DALAI LAMA

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I’m not at all sure why I feel safer on the planet knowing the Dalai Lama is here, but I do.  The following links are to information related to the conference presentation to the Dalai Lama about the effects of maternal distress behaviors on her offspring – just a little T-Day light reading!

This is the gist of science told the Dalai Lama:

If a distressed mother rat raises all her own babies, they will all turn out distressed.

If a calm mother rat raises all her own babies, they will all turn out calm.

If you change the litters at birth, and give the calm mother’s babies to the distressed mother, all those babies will grow up distressed.

If you take the distressed mother’s babies at birth and give them to the calm mother, the babies will all grow up calm.

In essence, the distressed mother’s treatment of her babies triggers epigenetic changes in the way the babies she raises turn out because their genes are triggered differently by the distress.

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Pity the Poor Lab Rat by Kathy Brown

“…in spite of all our advances in knowledge about mental disorders and the advances in technology that have resulted in an impressive smorgasbord of pharmaceutical agents, the overall prevalence of depression is increasing at an alarming rate. Moreover, the average age at onset continues to drop. Whereas patients once presented with their initial depressive episode in their fifth decade of life, the average age of onset has now dropped into the twenties.”

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Mom, Dad, DNA and Suicide by Sharon Begley

Such changes are called “epigenetic,” to distinguish them from changes that affect the sequence of nucleotides in DNA. Epigenetics is arguably the next frontier in genetic research, promising to show why people with identical DNA, such as monozygotic twins, have different traits, including traits known to be strongly affected by genes. The answer seems to be that the events of our lives, including parental behavior, turns some genes on and some genes off. In this case, parental care (or, specifically, abuse) changed the expression of the crucial glucocorticoid-receptor gene in the brain.”

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Abuse changes brains of suicide victims

Suicide victims who were abused as children have clear genetic changes in their brains…”

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While the new research on neuroplasticity in the brain is important, those of us whose body and brain were changed as a result of severe early child abuse, again, may not be in the realm of ‘ordinary’ when it comes to the changes we can expect in our brains compared to others…..

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Buddhism – A meeting of minds by Swati Chopra

At the 12th mind and life conference in dharamshala, buddhism and modern science found points of convergence as the dalai lama and western scientists spoke about neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change with experience and focused training.”

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2004: Neuroplasticity: The Neuronal Substrates of Learning
and Transformation
a 2004 conference that got neuroscientists together with the Dalai Lama

Download MLXII: Neuroplasticity Brochure PDF

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Can Our Minds Change Our Brains?

Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform OurselvesBy Sharon Begley

At the Dalai Lama’s private compound in Dharamsala, India, leading neuroscientists and Buddhist philosophers met to consider “neuroplasticity.”  The conference was organized by the Mind and Life Institute as part of a series of meetings, beginning in 1987, for brain researchers and Buddhist scholars to share insights into the workings of the mind and brain. The 2004 meeting set out to answer two questions: “Does the brain have the ability to change, and what is the power of the mind to change it?””

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Child Abuse Causes Lifelong Changes To DNA Expression And Brain.

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Mechanisms underlying epigenetic effects of early social experience

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Epigenetics. Child abuse alters genes.

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What role might epigenetics have in shaping a person’s development?

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Please feel free to comment directly at the end of this post or on +

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Your Page – Readers’ Responses

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+THREAT OF ATTACK – STAYING NUMB – PTSD AND DISSOCIATION

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Something happened inside of me when I reached the end of the post I wrote on November 19, 2009 – +I WILL NEVER BE ORDINARY. IT IS TIME FOR ME TO KNOW THIS TRUTH..  The writing has become so much harder for me to do than it was before.

Do I abandon my efforts?

The ‘transparent moment’ I experienced on November 19 was evidently deeply connected within my body to my present experience of myself in my life.  Evidently transparency does not feel safe to me.  Yet I have courage, stamina and willingness to move forward, though I do not know ahead of time where my writing process is going to take me.

I didn’t know on November 19 that I was writing myself up to that transparent moment.  I didn’t see it coming.  I didn’t predict or anticipate where I was going or where I would end up.  The experience of that transparent moment just happened – but it happened because of the writing.  On some deeper level that I cannot actually SEE within me my instincts say to me – “DON”T WRITE!  STOP!  WRITING IS NOT SAFE.  IT LEADS YOU TO UNKNOW PLACES, AND UNKNOWN IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR WELL-BEING!”

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Because it is my basic premise that I cannot separate any experience I have from the disorganized-disoriented insecure attachment system I have as a direct result of my mother’s abuse of me, I have to allow myself to understand that my current state of NOT WRITING is connected to how this system operates to try to keep me safe and secure in the world.

Hiding is, for me, a trauma related response.  I can translate what is going on for me in the present to:  transparency = dangerous = HIDE NOW!  Hiding means that I am hiding from my own words, which are directly connected in the writing process to who I am – all my memories (even those only my body remembers), how I survived, what I am willing to think about, what I am willing to feel – and to the full consequence of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that I have along with dissociation that does not allow me to KNOW things in a necessarily ongoing, coherent, integrated fashion.

So, I STOP!

At the same time I am willing to share with you in a somewhat transparent way the following words that are connected to this whole process – as I forced myself to write them across lined sheets of spiral notebook paper —

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Make a difference in someone’s life

I used to believe in this

Is this a different Linda?

This one doesn’t even want to write any more.

Transitions between states of mind

Sometimes they are WIDE and I fall in.

I don’t know where the writing Linda went

I don’t want the sad one here.

Sometimes things cost too much – does caring?

Without the grief, am I just numb to everything?

A Linda-safer-floating around on a raft – but fragile amidst the sharks of chaos I know are all around me.

Don’t tip the raft.  Don’t look down.

Is that state mostly where I spent my childhood in between my mother’s attacks?

Out of nowhere she would attack me.  The raft of numb would disappear from under me.

I’d be in the ocean full of sharks – attacked again.

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Cancer was an attack from within.

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What does that mean

Changing our minds?

Like changing gears?

Or changing jobs?

Or changing our clothes?

Or changing a baby’s diaper?

Making change with money

A change in one’s fortune

A change in the weather

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Paving stones with spaces between them

Grout between tiles

Mortar between stones or bricks

In PTSD-Dissociation our traumatic experiences are separated by fear and confusion

Cracks in a sidewalk

Shifting plates of the earth’s crust

Water surrounding continents

If I go to a place of what seems ‘calm’ to me

I suspect I am really ‘numb’ instead

Because peaceful calmness was never allowed (and did not build itself into my body)

At times I do not wish to disturb this numbness

Once I leave the numbness I don’t know and can’t predict what will get triggered and what state I’ll end up in next

And I don’t know how long I’ll end up in some other ‘changed state’ or if, when or how I can get back to ‘numb’

So it seems best not to disturb or change anything

Like a great game of hop scotch only I can’t control or predict where I’ll end up next

Leave well enough alone

Don’t think

Don’t feel

Just be

Try to leave everything within me alone

Control = control where I am in the environment

I don’t want to be challenged there, either

For all the same

Reasons

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It’s like skating on a deep lake with uneven ice

Places that are thick and solid and I’m safe

Places where the ice is thin and I can crash through

But from the top side I can’t tell which is which

Nobody WANTS to fall through

OPTION?  Stay off of the lake

= do not write

I can’t predict where it will take me

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Please feel free to comment directly at the end of this post or on ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Your Page – Readers’ Responses

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November is National Adoption Month

Posted: 24 Nov 2009 10:14 AM PST

Currently, there are 130,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted. National Adoption Month urges Americans to “Answer the Call” to adopt children and youth from foster care. National Adoption Month intends to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care.

The Ad Council’s latest public service “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent” urges potential parents that perfection is not the goal. Children just need loving, caring environments with stability. This award-winning campaign is a partnership of the Children’s Bureau, the Ad Council, and AdoptUsKids. This year’s ads target the African-American community and finding homes for African-American children in care. The ads feature humorous everyday scenarios illustrating that parents need not be perfect to offer the stability and commitment that a “forever family” provides to a waiting child.

Visit the 2009 National Adoption Month Website for more information: http://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/nam/

Additionally, The Children’s Bureau Express has a Spotlight on National Adoption Month webpage The CBE has information about how agencies celebrate National Adoption Month, and find out more about the latest adoption resources and research.  They also offer more information and service on:

PSA Campaign Recruits Families for African-American Children
Adoption Month Calendar Features Innovative Activities
National Survey of Adoptive Parents Releases First Data
Post adoption Support Guide
Positive Outcomes for Late-Placed Adoptees
Court Collaboration Expedites Adoptions
Parent-to-Parent Support for Adoptive Families

To view more information please visit their Spotlight on National Adoption Month: http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewSection&issueID=111&subsectionID=8

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+CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN – WHO ARE THEIR PROTECTORS?

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Something so troubles me that I cannot sleep tonight.  Could it be the sound of hurt and scared children crying, if only silently in their wounded hearts?  Who is protecting these children?

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A new page posted along the top of my blog has been added JUST FOR READERS to write any trauma-related thoughts that come to mind — either directly in response to something I have posted — or not!

Please feel free to click on the COMMENT link at the bottom of this new page that will always be at the top of the blog — and write!  Your words are important!

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Your Page – Readers’ Responses

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Remembering what I wrote yesterday about the lack of playfulness and the ability to play being directly connected to the presence of trauma in a child’s environment, reading this new report about our nation’s children’s exposure to violence greatly troubles me.

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Please take some time to look at the report’s information, and also check out the information at the Safe Start Center website!

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The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention published a new report that discusses findings from a survey examining children’s exposure to violence. The survey is the first to attempt to comprehensively measure exposure to violence for nationally representative sample of 4,549 children younger then 18 across major categories. Some of these categories were:

  1. Conventional crime, including robbery, theft, destruction of property, attack with an object or weapon
  2. Child maltreatment, other than spanking on the bottom
  3. Sexual victimization
  4. Witnessing and indirect victimization
  5. Exposure to family violence
  6. School violence and threat
  7. Internet violence and victimization, including Internet threats or harassment and unwanted online sexual solicitation

Results suggest that most children in the U.S. are exposed to violence in their daily lives, with more than 60 percent of the children surveyed having been exposed to violence within the past year. Nearly half of the children surveyed had been assaulted in the previous year, and nearly 1 in 10 witnessed one family member assaulting another.

Safe Start Center is dedicated to teaching about the harmful effects of the exposure of violence on children. Safe Start’s website is packed with information and resources for parents and the community to help our children stay safe. To read the full report of to learn more about the Safe Start Initiative, visit www.safestartcenter.org.

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About the Crimes Against Children Research Center

The mission of the Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) is to combat crimes against children by providing high quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners. CCRC is concerned with research about the nature of crimes including child abduction, homicide, rape, assault, and physical and sexual abuse as well as their impact.

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Here, also, is some more information on borderline personality disorder put together by —

In the Spotlight | More Topics |
Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD
When we talk about the impact of BPD, we’re not just talking about symptoms; BPD also has a major impact on your quality of life. From work, to relationships, to your physical health, think about the ways that BPD may be interfering for you.
In the Spotlight
Your Life with BPD
What is it like to live with BPD? It’s not easy. Intense emotional pain, and feelings of emptiness, desperation, anger, hopelessness, and loneliness are common. But life with BPD is not hopeless, and you can create a life full of quality and meaning.
More Topics
BPD and Relationships
Many of the symptoms of BPD can have direct impact on relationships, and other symptoms have an indirect (but not necessarily less disruptive) influence.
Physical Health Problems and BPD
People with BPD are more likely to report a variety of physical health problems, and are more likely to need to be hospitalized for medical reasons, than those without BPD

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+PLAY AS AN INDICATOR OF SAFETY AND SECURITY IN A BENEVOLENT WORLD

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Mothers have evolved throughout the millennia to play with their infants.

Having the ability to engage in healthy play has evolved through the millennia to build healthy body-nervous system-brain-mind selves in our species.  Play happens when the world is a friendly place to be.  Play TELLS us that the world is a friendly place to be.

When the environment surrounding mother and infant-child is benevolent, healthy play is most usually present.  This benevolence in the environment is then built into the growing-developing offspring.

When the environment surrounding mother and infant-child is hostile, toxic, lacking in essential survival qualities and therefore is malevolent, a mother’s ability to engage in healthy play with her offspring is interfered with.

Thus, the absence of healthy playfulness between mother and offspring signal the developing infant-child on every physiological level that trauma exists in its world.  The offspring will then be forced to change and adapt to the best of its physiological abilities to prepare itself for a lifetime within a malevolent world.

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Healthy playfulness between a mother and her offspring only happens to the degree that the environment is safe and secure enough to allow this play to happen.

If a mother grew and developed in her own early childhood in a world that signaled her body-nervous system-brain-mind self that the world was malevolent, she is most likely carrying unresolved trauma within herself that then signals to her offspring that the world is malevolent.  Her offspring will then have to change according to the trauma-present-in-the-world message just as its mother did.

Both mother and infant-child will then suffer from a lack of safety and security perceived as permanent and real by their physiological development.  When trauma is present, healthy play is interfered with because our evolution has designed our species so that degree, quality, kinds of, presence of healthy play and playful attitudes directly indicate the degree of either benevolence or malevolence in the world.

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I am not talking about play as we might think about it in today’s world.  This kind of play has nothing to do with toys or ‘stuff’.  Healthy play that signals to offspring the condition of the world is about direct face-to-face interaction between mother and infant-child.  The presence of a world safe and secure enough to allow for this kind of play between early caregivers and offspring has operated throughout our evolution.

It was only when the world because safe and secure enough, adequate and benevolent enough for this level of play to grow and thrive that humans ever achieved powers of speech at all (only about 140,000 years ago).  The physiological systems within our body and brain had to have already evolved sophisticated organizational and orientational abilities to have ever allowed our powers of speech to manifest in the first place because speech uses all those preexisting abilities.

Any time trauma happens it always disrupts ongoing coherent life.  If trauma cannot be resolved, consequences happen.  Dissociation represents one of the fundamental consequences of a being’s inability to resolve trauma.  Dissociation continues to affect a mother because its very existence means that something malevolent occurred that was not able to be resolved.

A dissociating mother thus communicates her state of unresolved trauma to her offspring primarily through an interruption in her ability to engage in healthy play and playful attitudes with her offspring.  The key to healthy playfulness between a mother and her offspring is that it is APPROPRIATE.

Appropriate, and therefore healthy play and playfulness between a mother and her offspring, the kind of play that then signals the offspring to grow an entire body geared for life in a benevolent world, happens when the mother’s entire focus is on fostering the well-being of her infant-child.

Mother’s have evolutionarily evolved to respond appropriately to their offspring so that their play-filled responses do not overwhelm, over stimulate or under stimulate them.  When a mother has experienced enough trauma during her own development that incoherency in the form of dissociation has been built into her entire body, she is not likely to be able to operate from this optimal, benign, benevolent-world-condition state within herself.  She will then communicate her own preexisting, unresolved trauma states directly to her offspring.

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Terror, pain and trauma interrupt play and the ability to play.  This lack of play and the ability to play then acts as a direct signal that communicates malevolence in the world.  When healthy play and playfulness exist, they happen in a safe and secure world, not in the midst of trauma.

A mother who does not carry unresolved trauma into her interactions with her offspring will be able to focus on the well-being of her offspring and demonstrate the benevolence of the world to her developing infant-child through her healthy, appropriate play and playfulness with it.

These interactions operate from birth to form first the right, limbic, emotional, social brain.  As the infant-child continues to grow, the foundation of play or its absence, built within its body-nervous system-brain-mind-self will further influence the development of its later-forming left brain, the connection between the two hemispheres of its brain, and the development of its higher-processing cortical abilities.

A non-dissociating mother is able to have appropriate hopes, dreams, wishes and desires for the well-being of her offspring.  She will automatically be able to orient herself and organize her interactions with her offspring.  Her goal, destination, direction and purpose regarding her offspring will be benevolent.  This benevolence will be communicated through safety and security that manifests itself in healthy play and playfulness toward her offspring.

A dissociating mother will experience breaks in her ongoing interactions with her offspring that will vary in degree according to the changes that had to happen to her during her own development in a malevolent early environment.

In my case, my mother’s dissociation toward me was extreme, fundamental and complete.  In her psychosis she believed that I was evil, that I tried to kill her while I was being born, that I was not human, and that I was sent to be a curse on her life.  Her psychotic dissociation in-formed every interaction she ever had with me from the time I was born.

My mother’s unresolved trauma, manifesting itself in her dissociation, prevented her from ever being able to respond to me with anything like appropriate, healthy play or playfulness.  She was not able to consider my well-being because she could never understand that I was a separate entity from her.  I was merely and continually the recipient of her slit-off projection of her intolerable perception of her own badness.

She not only could not have playful interactions with me that I needed to build a non-trauma centered body-nervous system-brain-mind-self, but her psychosis was so severe that she prevented ME from ever being able to play at all.

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The absolute disturbance in the necessary operation of play in my childhood directly ties into my own dissociation.  The trauma I experienced in the malevolent environment of my childhood could not possibly be integrated into a coherent self.  However, as a mother to my own children I was able to know they were separate beings from me, and I was able to focus as much as I possibly could on them and on the development of their well-being.

In other words, I was able to organize and orient a ‘mothering self’ within me that existed to foster the development of my children.  Because I could do this, I could offer to them enough play and playfulness that it communicated to them a relative lack of trauma in the world and enough of a sense of safety and security in the world that I did not pass my unresolved trauma onto them.

They did not have perfect childhoods because the unresolved trauma and the changes that had to happen to me so that I could survive my childhood affected every other aspect of my being-in-the-world, and therefore DID affect them.  But these problems were MINE and I was able to keep them myself.  I did not force them INTO my children the way my mother forced her unresolved trauma INTO growing and developing me.

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As we return in our thoughts to consider our infancy and childhood through the lens of playfulness and play or its absence, we can become much more clear about how our caregivers’ unresolved trauma — or the absence of it — operated to directly communicate to our growing and developing body on all its levels what the condition of the world was like.

If appropriate and healthy play and playfulness was there for us, it is during those experiences that we were developing in an ‘ordinary’ way.  If it was absent, some degree of trauma was present, and we were forced at those times in our development to try to adapt to that malevolency.

Who we are today and how we are in our bodies in the world is directly connected to play and playfulness because it is only in times of safety and security that play exists at all.

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