I woke up THIS morning to a complete cloud cover screening the hot rays of the sun. These are NOT rain clouds, but they are a hopeful sign of the approaching time of the summer rains. We are parched here. Whatever moisture remains from our winter rain has escaped deep into the earth where only the deeper tree roots and the nearly petrified, waiting frogs can find it. The rest of that moisture is captivated within the fibrous cells of the desert plants who all know exactly how to keep it!
I chose this day to finally do my piles of laundry. My washing machine is parked outside under the south eve of my house, with its 50-foot drainage hose at this moment poised exactly over the root system of my pomegranate tree. Perhaps doing laundry, as many women have historically discovered, and hanging it out on the line to dry will BRING the rains! Well, maybe NOT today I have to admit. The air is so dry if I carry a wet load of clean clothes across the yard in my arms, I swear half the dampness in them is already gone out of them into the waiting, wet-hungry air before I even reach the clothesline with them!
But perhaps because of my present laundry doing occupation I have laundry related images in my mind this morning. My thoughts are following twists and turns, swish, swish inside my skull. Sometimes they appear like clothes tumbling over one another in one of those front-window dryers!
I can let them BE that way. Or I can write something here that will take those thoughts out of their swishing, tumbling state and line them all up across this page.
Firstly, perhaps in cases where creative potential was greatest, as it might have been inside my little growing child-mother when she was young, the consequences of early neglect and maltreatment can be greatest. Perhaps within my mother there was a potential that does not even exist in most children. The more disturbed and disturbing the environment of her early developmental years became, perhaps correspondingly the consequences of damage correspondingly began to grow.
My mother used to recite a childhood saying, “There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good she was very very good. And when she was bad she was HORRID!”
Perhaps my mother could be so devastatingly abusive (evil) because she also had an equal potential for being incredibly good! Perhaps just as she worked so hard to be so good — which demonstrated itself in her fanatical efforts to ‘do her home-work’ perfectly (cleaning, cooking, making the home cozy, etc.) — she worked equally hard at making her projected ‘evil’ better! That projected ‘evil’, of course, was ME!
Maybe if I had been a piece of laundry (like the sheet and towel in her little childhood story she wrote – see:
- *Mother’s Childhood Stories — A Few Scanned Pages from Original
- *MY MOTHER’S CHILDHOOD STORIES WITHOUT COMMENTS
She could have simply thrown me into a giant washing machine and cleaned me right up! At the same time – given the nature of my mother’s mental illness – she could have ONCE AND FOR ALL cleaned up her own internal intolerable ‘badness’ (that she projected onto me)! All sweet and laundered the ‘evil’ in life could have been done up right. It could have all been banished forever and she (and her ‘loved ones’) could have lived happily ever after.
Considering what is known about the Borderline ability to SPLIT the good and the bad-evil apart from one another as a serious aspect of their mind’s altered operating patterns, happily-everaftering might just be one of the main goals of the Borderline mind — at the same time such a perfect ending is NEVER actually possible in the real world we all reside in.
What follows next in my thinking process probably belongs to another separate post, but I am going to ignore that point and enter these words here and now.
I just went outside to check on the progress of my laundry’s washing in my machine and listened to the first spin cycle complete itself so that the fresh new rinse water can enter and was this fancy good soap out. Even though my thinking is running in fast spinning circles nearly as fast as the barrel inside that machine just was, I am going to try to force my left brain to order and organize in linear format what the contents of my thoughts actually are.
According to Dr. Antonio Damasio (and I suggest a solid Google search here for ‘Damasio consciousness brainstem) growth and development of the human body-nervous system-brain builds patterns for the operation of consciousness from the beginning of our life as they follow from the brainstem itself on through the rest of our growing and developing being.
When consciousness is left out of an adult’s patterns of living all hell breaks lose – as it certainly did between my mother and me. Way down there in the brainstem, and then on through the development of the right limbic social-emotional brain with its deep ties into the main body’s information tracking and brain-delivery system, and then on up to the higher cortex of our ‘rational’ thinking and decision making brain regions — well the fact is that early infant neglect, maltreatment and abuse simply CHANGES the whole dang pathway and the operation of the resulting circuits!
I believe that connected to the early developmental changes a neglected and abuse, maltreated, traumatized infant-child experiences is a corresponding CHANGE in the way TIME and its connection to a ‘self’ in SPACE happens.
As I format and correct my mother’s manuscript right now, I will be taking very careful note of attachment disorder-related patterns in my mother’s chronicle. These segments will be copied into the files I am going to work with for my ‘analysis and interpretation’ of my mother’s chronicle in my book, “Unspeakable Madness.”
When these above mentioned changes occur, and when these changes affect the survivor’s ability to gain consciousness of ‘self’ in time and space, these patterns lay the groundwork for unbelievable infant-child abuse to occur down the road.
In my mother’s case I can see these ‘time-space’ changes within her writings as she repeatedly uses these words: ‘Always’, ‘Never,’ ‘Forever’, and ‘For the first time’.
If you read this book, Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism by Dawn Prince-Hughes, you will find a description of an autism-spectrum pattern related to the passage of time in space very similar to what I think my mother experienced — and very similar to what I experience. Prince-Hughes describes this experience for herself in relation to strong negative emotional currents in a primary relationship. She describes her sense of ‘things will always be this way’ at the same time she is describing her sense that ‘things HAVE always been this way’.
Most simply put, because these altered time-space patterns were built in my mother’s earliest forming body-brain within a traumatic early caregiver environment, they directly impacted ME. My mother could not ‘finish the laundry’ related to her relationship with me (and hence the power of her abuse litany).
My guess is that because these changes happen all the way into the brainstem itself, a survivor’s biological clock and internal patterns and rhythms are changes as well. My mother had an altered sense of cycles in her life, and these changes directly affected how she abused me!
Everything related to me had ‘always been this way’ and would ‘always be this way’. This pattern operated in MANY ways in her life. I can see those patterns in her chronicle. There really was never a beginning, a middle or an end in my mother’s trauma-formed brain-mind. How this adaptation to early trauma helps to preserve ongoing life in the ‘evolutionarily altered brain’ that Dr. Martin Teicher and his Harvard research group describe, I do not know. It my view, these time-space changes are most likely to be seen my contemporary outsiders – if they know what they are looking FOR and AT — as patterns of dissociation.
I will leave these thoughts on this page now and go outside to retrieve my now-clean laundry from the washer!