+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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3 thoughts on “+FORCED THROUGH ABUSE IN INFANT-CHILDHOOD TO GROW A DISSOCIATING SELF

  1. All my life I have believed that I am not part of the human race. I spend much of my waking hours feeling that I don’t have the right to breathe, that I am a waste of good air. My mother was sadistic and manipulative. She constantly assaulted me and then used the fear of god, to control my every being, my every thought, my every action. She threatened my being so often from the beginning that I only have glimpses of being scared to death, chased and running in fear, her hand and voice reaching for me, terrifying me, ripping hair from my head, being whipped with belts, fly swatters, and coat hangers, ragging that she would beat the hell out of me, being bandaged up and warned not to tell anyone or not to air a family’s dirty laundry in public, and the family filing into the second row church pew every Sunday morning. She made fun of my adolescent body and also encouraged my brothers to laugh and do the same. She said if my brothers had a girlfriend like me, she wouldn’t let her in the house. She said if dad and her got divorced it would be my fault. I came to realize just over the last two years that she would have killed me if it hadn’t been a sin. I have learned the reason why I have no friends, why I’ve divorced several times and why I keep losing jobs, it’s because she broke me. I am 53. On the internet, I have found your blog, as well as a few others, and resources. I have hope now. I am not dead yet, I am not giving up. I have mental health insurance and I am going to use it. I like to read your writings that include anger, it helps me to place mine in perspective. Thank-you.

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