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Archive for February, 2011

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The sentiments reflected in the words below follow exactly along the lines the United Nations identified within the large and growing gap in America between the quality of life for America’s most ‘pampered’ children and those that live a far less ‘pampered’ life.

The New York Times Editorial by columnist Paul Krugman (published online February 27, 2011)

Leaving Children Behind

Will 2011 be the year of fiscal austerity?

And who will bear the brunt of these cuts? America’s children.

The really striking thing about all this isn’t the cruelty – at this point you expect that – but the shortsightedness.  What’s supposed to happen when today’s neglected children become tomorrow’s work force?

Anyway, the next time some self-proclaimed deficit hawk tells you how much he worries about the debt we’re leaving our children, remember what’s happening in Texas, a state whose slogan right now might as well be “Lose the future.””  READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

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ALL THE SIGNS ARE HERE

(click – you might have to wait a few seconds – the article will appear at this link)

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I am thinking about jumping into an alligator full of swamps.  No, I guess that’s supposed to read the other way around.  I am getting past the ‘thinking about quitting cigarettes’ stage to the ‘preparing to quit smoking’ stage.  At 59, it’s not that I WANT to quit.  I’ve loved smoking since the first Kool I smoked out of a pack I bought from a vending machine when I was 16.  But as I don’t seem to be ready to die from the two breast cancers I fought and beat, it’s what seems to be coming next that will drive me to quitting.

The recent CT scan I had that showed no cancer did show early stage emphysema — and I am beginning to feel it.  In addition I have advancing osteoporosis like my mother’s mother had (badly though never a smoker), and even with treatment both of my hips and my lower back are being affected.  Cigarette smoking pulls calcium out of the bones.

I am obviously among the 20% of the population that still smokes just as I am also among the 20% of the population that suffers from depression.  But now, after all my studying about the long-term consequences due to trauma-altered physiological body-brain development during my earliest years due to severe infant-child abuse, I know very well that quitting smoking will be tied directly to my worst nightmare, my worst alligator full of internal swamps.

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Without having an safe and secure human attachments during my childhood – with the exception of the love I received from my birth from my brother who was 14 months old when I was born — I never formed body-brain pathways and circuits that would have allowed me to FEEL what it feels like to be loved.

Only those other severe infant-child abuse survivors who like me had NOBODY to turn to, NOBODY that truly loved them, will know what I am talking about.  Feeling what if feels like to be loved does NOT come automatically.  I never knew that until I began my own studies in infant-child neurological development.

Even though I have never read a developmental neuroscientist who said that the inability to feel the feeling of being loved is the MAJOR negative consequence of the kind of abuse I suffered at the hands of a man-woman-monster I had instead of a mother (an ‘anti-mother’), I KNOW I am right.

Again, at age 59 if I was going to be able to feel what it feels like to be loved by my children, siblings, friends, partners — or even to be loved by my own self — I would have felt it by now.  I search and search and search and search inside myself for that feeling — both in my memories of the past and within myself regarding my current relationships.  The feeling of feeling loved is MISSING.

I believe that this feeling of being loved is specifically one that is SUPPOSED to be built into an infant’s rapidly developing body-brain during the first year of life while the right limbic social-emotional brain is going through its foundational and extremely rapid foundational formation.

Nobody (other than my baby brother) gave me experiences of being loved that would have built those pathways, circuits and patterns into my body-brain — so, they aren’t there.  Can they be built post-infant-childhood?  Not that I know of.

I logically and ‘semantically’ know (left brain) that I am loved, but this is NOT the same thing as being able to FEEL the feeling of being loved.  Yes, this is a ‘dis-ability’ — like being deaf or blind or paralyzed — and I believe it is entirely based on trauma-altered physiological development due to the severe trauma and abuse I experienced during my critical windows of growth that, once passed, cannot be returned to at a later date and be ‘done over’.

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It is the PAIN that my inability to feel the feeling of being loved that I believe is at the root of my cigarette smoking patterns.  I am not at all sure I can find a way to live — to stay alive — with that pain unmasked by my smoking.  I believe being now absolutely aware of my missing ability means that I have to face that feeling within myself that the ABSENCE of being able to feel what it feels like to be loved has created in its place.

I call that feeling overwhelming sadness.  It is a grief that humans are not meant to ever experience, and it comes from ONE thing:  Being born to a mother so absolutely and completely unable to love her infant-child that she hates and hurts it instead.

There is no amount of ‘intellectual power’ that I know of capable of erasing the great pain that NOT being able to feel the feeling of being loved creates physiologically in my body.  Yet I am rapidly approaching a crossroads.  I can’t say that I am even capable of feeling the feeling of being loved by my own self if I am not physiologically capable of feeling anyone else’s love for me, either.  But if I want to continue living past my current age with any quality of life, I am not going to have a choice not to quit smoking.

My most important ‘coping skills’ to get through my life are very active ones.  Not to be able to accomplish physical feats that require stamina and endurance will NOT suit me at all.  I have never been a ‘sitter’.  That is not how I cope.

It also seems to me that to return to a nonsmoking state of existence is to return directly to the state of ‘being a child’.  Only as a child did I not live with cigarettes, and during THAT time I lived with horror and abuse.  This future trek will be interesting — at least I can say that much!  I have self-medicated with tobacco for a long, long time.  I cannot imagine living without it.

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It occurs to me after writing my last post that Trauma Drama is about all that my body knows.

Realizing this fact I immediately thought about soap carving!  I tried this once, only rather than finding the soap malleable, I found it to be fragile and everything I tried to make simple shattered in the course of carving.  Pieces flaked off the bar of soap where I didn’t intend them to, and my project ended up on the ledge of my bathtub where it met the end I believe – at least for me – soap is intended to meet!

So, now that my right brain and body has made the image-connection between trauma drama and soap carving I need to explore how these two factors of life might be connected.

When I left home and throughout all of my adulthood until I began my own research into what REALLY happened to me as a severely abused infant-child I was actually living a life of trauma drama – and of course didn’t even begin to know it.  Looking back, I own this truth because at the same time I realize that’s all my BODY knew about being alive.

I listened to my ‘deadbeat’ neighbor’s 18-year-old grandson and his comparable girlfriend yesterday as I labored on my yard project.  She screamed and cried.  He yelled and swore.  Over the years I’ve watched that boy (and now his girlfriend!) follow a pattern that I can not call anything BUT trauma drama.  With all the brilliance of a scholar and all the motivation of a chronic pothead I have watched with disappointment and some amazement as this boy (and obviously his girlfriend) simply toss the full potential of a wonderful life away.

Their drama yesterday had to do with her throwing a snit-fit that had evidently ended with her throwing his cell phone over the Mexican-American border fence behind our shared backyard line.  He was out there scrambling around searching for it.  It could not be found.  To these two young people this is the way to live life.  How sad is that?

And yet as I turn my own searchlight on my own life, I know I did little better.  Sure, I ‘sought recovery’ when I was thirty, but not even that did very much to help me except to get me ‘off of pot’.  Nobody back then actually knew what was wrong with me.  In fact, I don’t believe I could find maybe more than one ‘therapist’ in the whole state of Arizona (where I reside) that even now would have the savvy to know that what I am is a trauma-changed in my earliest development person with a body that knows only more of the same.

So, as I try to gain clarity and self-possessed choice, free will and control over how my life GOES now and how I FEEL in my body, I have to increasingly understand how absolutely and fundamentally NORMAL trauma actually feels for and in my own body.

Trying to carve for myself a non-trauma-drama life is something like trying to carve something exquisite and remarkably beautiful out of something as fragile as a bar of soap.  Only I don’t want the rest of my life to wash away as easily as a bar of soap does.  I will keep trying – with every breath – to avoid letting the DRAMA of TRAUMA reenact itself through MY life.  Giving it words in thought, giving myself the power of knowledge about how what happened to me from birth changed my development, finding my own way out of the repetitive darkness that trauma drama creates on the stage of human life is a worth – creative – and very artistic endeavor.

After all, even in the most glorious sunrise Creation has created beauty.  I want to follow THAT path – and not the OTHER one – however I am able to do that today.  If I have to teach my own body about this better way of life every step of the way, then I intend to do that.  Like driving a car with four bad tires, worn-out shocks and no front end alignment, I dare not take my hands off the wheel.  I cannot afford to take my eyes off my target.  I cannot carve out my better life with my eyes closed!

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Understanding how to live well in a body that was trauma-changed during its earliest physiological developmental stages due to abuse, neglect and maltreatment in an extremely unsafe and insecure malevolent environment is the challenge of many (if not most-all) adult survivors.  While I will never find a way to live free of this challenge, the more I can learn about the kinds of trauma-related developmental changes I experienced and how those very real changes affect me every instant of my life can help me to recognize when my trauma-changed BODY has taken over the reins of my life in the present moment.  Once I can recognize when I am experiencing something PHYSIOLOGICALLY I can try to apply a workable solution to live better today.

I did have a better day yesterday than I had the day before.  The terrible pain of my underlying overwhelming sadness (‘major depression’) was hiding yesterday like a water monster asleep somewhere near the bottom of the sea.

And in the space away from the sadness yesterday I was able to think somewhat more clearly about the triggers that contributed to the emergence of that sadness the day before.  As I tracked what had happened the ‘sadder day’ I realized the connection the triggering of that sadness had with my insecure attachment patterns (disorder).

I know enough to know that the complete absence of safe and secure attachment to any human being in my earliest years (as I at the same time experienced chronic and terrible abuse) fundamentally changed the way my body experiences life so that my so-called ‘anxiety’ (the foundation all my so-called ‘disabilities’ rests upon and stem from) can be said to ACTUALLY be an insecure attachment disorder.  Whatever the ‘later’ adult names, titles, diagnosis might be that are given to me, the actual problems I live with in my body ALL stem from how my dangerous and secure attachment-deprived earliest environment forced my body to change in its development as a consequence – so that I could endure and survive into this adulthood I work so hard to enjoy today!

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I can name my insecure attachment pattern ‘disorganized-disoriented’ and I am correct.  I also know I can name it an adult ‘reactive attachment disorder’ and I am also correct.  The nature and quality of our earliest attachment relationship environment signals our body to develop along lines designed for survival in either a mostly benevolent world or a mostly malevolent world.  If especially an infant-toddler does not get to develop in a safe and secure attachment universe, biological-physiological development simply takes an alternative route.   I live with the consequences of building a body-brain-mind-self along this alternative route every moment of my life.

So, what I learned yesterday about the day before yesterday is that my reaction to what is happening around me is very often exactly that:  a reaction.  I use activity patterns in my life today that sooth me.  Because my right brain-body did not form with internal self-soothing (and flexible emotional regulatory) abilities within in it, I am extremely reactive to everything that happens in my present-day world.  My gardening and my adobe-building takes the place as an external-to-me series of external activities that I use instead of internal abilities to get through my days.

I realized yesterday that what helps me feel more organized and oriented (in counterbalance to my internal patterns of dissociation-disorientation-disorganization) is to move through the projects of my day in a straightforward LINEAR way.  I don’t often plan my adobe building out very far ahead of time.  The next steps always seem to appear naturally as I move around the yard – transforming it into something more beautiful.

That’s all fine and good until I hit detours and snags and complications.  And that’s exactly what happened to me on my ‘sad trigger day’.  If I can’t dig where I want to next because the ground is far to cement-hard, and then when I soak it and discover there is no red clay there suited only for adobe work but rather there’s somewhat better (darker, browner, looser) soil that I best save for planting in – well, there’s an obstacle and a detour.

I can’t just USE this ‘better’ dirt.  I will have to move it and work around a ‘saving pattern’ for it until I can sift it later to get the Bermuda grass roots out.  Meanwhile I need to find another place in my yard to find the truly terrible red clay dirt – and then soak it so I can dig it, find a way to transport it – and often I have to dig in areas full of stones which is very unhappy work!

I noticed this yesterday as I closely paid attention to how I FELT – how my BODY felt – how I FELT in my body – yesterday as I began to detect a pattern:  When my work is going smoothly I am organized-oriented, relatively positive, happy and NOT so terribly sad.  When, on the other hand, my work hits serious (to me) obstacles I begin to disintegrate, fall apart, dissociate and become disorganized and disoriented again.

THIS state creates a wide open vulnerable space within me that seems to act like an actual arena for an ‘infection’ to set in.  My WOUNDS are triggered in my body from LONG AGO because those wounds built my body at the same time they built themselves into my body.  The trauma of my earliest years was so severe that it never leaves me – never never – because that trauma built me.  As long as I live in this body I am at risk for experiencing full-blown detours away from well-being back to the FEELING state of Hoororville.

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This self-awareness information might help me now and in the future to avoid the full slide into my overwhelming sadness.  If I can notice as immediately as possible when the upset occurs (when my patterns of order and orientation in the present moment become threatened) so that I can ACT before the REACTION (‘full infection’) takes a hold, maybe I can avoid that full slide into an emotional feeling state that quite frankly – totally sucks!

Otherwise the dissociation happens in the blink of an eye – and I end up ‘somewhere’ inside of myself I don’t want to be.  Then I most often don’t have a clue (a) how to get out of it, and (b) how I got into it so fast in the first place!

It seems sometimes like a gigantic Trauma Falcon just flew over me as if I were a tiny critter, snatched right out of an ‘ordinary’ day, carried me off against my will and devoured me while I helplessly did the one thing by body was formed to do best.  I suffer and I survive.

Well, my mission in life is to do A WHOLE LOT BETTER THAN THAT!  And to do that requires of me that I learn to do what nobody ever did for me while I grew up.  I need to care-give myself.  I need to pay as very close attention as I can to how patterns operate between me-myself-my body and the conditions of the external world.  At the very least I could say I am fragile (vulnerable).  And yet there’s a contradiction there.

I can imagine that Trauma Falcon snatching me out of ‘ordinary’ and thinking its going to get an easy meal out of me – only to find that I am TOUGH – too tough to devour, tough enough to survive – and more.  I am tough enough to continue to apply myself every moment I possibly can to empower myself to be so far ahead of that Trauma Falcon that I can sense even its shadow coming at me.

I am SICK of being its wanna-be meal!!

 

I respect YOU - but I will not be your meal!

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Yesterday I had a bad day.  I hurt.  All day.  And while I don’t know exactly why yesterday was one of my pretty-bad-days, I do know that what I suffered from is most commonly called an attack of ‘major depression’.  The thing is, those feelings that overwhelmed me yesterday are very real.  They FEEL like something.  And the best I can tell is that ‘something’ was pain.

Pain.  Here came that Substance P again (if this link goes dormant Google search “stopthestorm substance p”).  Pain.  I could name it sadness, but that’s exactly what my sadness is – PAIN.  Pain-full.  Pain-filled.  A very sad, painful day.

What was it about yesterday that dropped me squarely into that mire?  I don’t know.  And my not knowing scares me because it tells me nothing about what I can do differently TODAY to keep that pain away.

I DO remember that pain filled sadness, though.  Now that I have spent the time re-searching my own self, my own body, my own life, I can directly connect those feelings I had yesterday to how I felt every single day of my abusive childhood.

“Slow,” is what my Borderline mother called me.  “There’s Linda again, slow as always.  There’s Linda again being slow ON PURPOSE to irritate me, to drive me mad.”

My mother was mad all right, but her madness NEVER had a single thing to do with me, no matter how she labored night and day to convince the entire universe that everything, every solitary thing that was wrong in her life, wrong in my father’s life, wrong in my siblings’ life was my fault.

Wrong.

So first she built this terrible sadness into me with her terrible abuse of me, and then she punished me more and more and more ALSO because I was so sad – which manifested in my little growing body as SLOW.

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There have been times when I have super sad days and nights that I wonder if I am ‘picking up on’ or ‘tuned into’ the sadness of the world.  Heaven knows there is plenty of sadness in the world today, showing its signs nearly everywhere a person turns to look at it.  Might a sensitive person be able to feel something in their body with the knowledge that fully one billion human beings are starving to death while there’s plenty of food on the planet that lies out of their reach?  Might a person feel sad if they pay attention to all sorts of troubles that afflict all species on our glorious planet right now?

Yes, I do believe that humans can feel one another’s pain and sadness.  We are designed so that we are supposed to feel it – so we can in our caring compassion do something to help.  But not on a day like I had yesterday.  Simply surviving those days takes all I have within me – all of my personal resources I can find.

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Because since I was a little girl I have always had an affinity to plants, I think today as I prepare to go out to work on my garden about how much the plants love the morning’s east light.  I am just learning that.  I couldn’t figure it out at first.  Sunlight is sunlight.  How could EAST light be better than light streaming from any other direction?

Well, it is.  And evidently – especially here in the high desert – west light and south light past noon taxes the plants, stresses them out, demands of them that they use their resources not for growth and ‘flourishment’ – but rather they have to use their resources in anything other than the east light simply to survive the heat of those other kinds of light itself.

So whatever triggered my deeper levels of pain filled sadness (‘depression’) yesterday, I would avoid today if I knew what it was.  The only thing I can think of is that perhaps it is my blog writing itself that sometimes awakens feelings within me that just plain don’t fit the reality of my current life in its mainstream.  Yes, that tempts me not to write!  And as readers can tell there are periods of time when I fully back myself away from my keyboard and simply go spend my time in my own world’s east light.

There are other days when the writing IS connected to the east light.  Knowing when to approach and when to stay away is part of health, part of the health I strive for all of the time.  East light is the gentle light.  East light is the awakening growing sustaining light.   I can’t argue with that fact.  Neither can the plants.

It’s just that recognizing the quality of light I stand in isn’t always quite as simple for me to do as it is for a plant.  That’s OK.  That’s part of what my gardening will always be about — learning from the plant kingdom what promotes life and health and what does not.  So out I go today to learn some more — in the hopes that this day will be a gentle one for me.

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I can’t stop thinking this morning about a commenter’s words written to my post of yesterday morning.  I also can’t stop thinking about an interview I read several days ago and dismissed.  This ‘can’t stop thinking about…..’ process is what I need to write about now.

The interview written January 18, 2010 was written on The Salon website by Thomas Rogers about the work of a controversial woman:

“The Trauma Myth”: The child betrayed

Susan Clancy discusses her controversial theory, and how an industry designed to help children may hurt them

As I read this interview I found myself struggling not only with the ideas Clancy has presented in both of her books AND with her use of degrading (swearing) language she evidently felt compelled to use in this interview.  I found that her overall concerns lost credibility to me because of her use of this (to me) inappropriate language.

Yet I haven’t been able to entirely dismiss what Clancy mentions (at the above link).  I know on some level there is truth in her words, but I also trust this ‘squirmy feeling’ in my gut that tells me, “BEWARE – be wary – all is not safe in her thinking.”

I do agree with two things Clancy is saying that match my inner understandings.  As an infant-child, and even as a teen, I had no perspective that would have let me even begin to know that all the torture, trauma, battering, abuse, and chronic misery I suffered during my life with my mother was not normal, was ‘wrong’, was not deserved, or even that it was possible that I could have my own reflective thoughts about ANY of my own experience.

While Clancy is talking specifically about sexual abuse of children happening in environments and within contexts that prevent the child from always being able to tell that ‘abuse’ is going on, I would NEVER say the child being sexually abused is not ‘being hurt’.  Clancy is not adequately describing what ‘being hurt’ is.

When researchers tell us that nearly 100% of people with Borderline Personality Disorder were sexually abused as children, that fact alone lets us know even within this limited population that the HARM to children from being sexually abused – and yes, betrayed – is currently beyond our abilities to measure.

When it comes to my own severe infant-child abuse history, even though I have no memory of overt sexual abuse, it wasn’t until the researchers began to discuss the permanent physiological changes that happen in a traumatized little one’s developing body-brain that I began to FINALLY begin to understand how HURT I actually had been by my mother’s torture of me.  In fact, I can hardly imagine a greater hurt to an infant-child than to create such terrible trauma in its life – during the most critical stages of its physiological development – that its entire growing body-brain has to change in its development to survive the abuse and trauma.

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However, it is Clancy’s OTHER topic that I am stuck ‘thinking about’ this morning.  Clancy does not believe in ‘repressed memory’, and I have to say on this subject that I agree with her.  Whether Clancy speaks of dissociation in either of her books I do not know – nor will I ever know because I already feel far too uncomfortable with her language and her ideas to ever read her books.

Researchers clearly know that severe abuse at ANY age can change the region of our brain that processes incoming memory:  the hippocampus.  (Google search ‘hippocampus child abuse’, for examples of the research)

Trauma and memory combine with one another in ways I don’t believe ANYONE yet fully understands.  When researchers such as Dr. Allan Schore describe how the stress hormone, cortisol can so ‘heat up’ the brain’s neurons in the hippocampus as trauma memories are being processed so that these neurons get so hot they FRY before the facts of memory are retained (emotional memory is stored in the body differently) – and that this ‘fried memory cell’ process can happen to BOTH a victim AND a perpetrator of abuse – lets me know that we have to be very careful about what we believe to be true about memory.

I have written many times on my blog that I don’t advocate ‘going after trauma memories’ for any general reason.  I believe extreme caution must be used any time we choose to deal with trauma memory.  On those occasions that ‘trauma triggers’ in our environment stimulate a memory that then appears where it seems we had no memory of this experience before the trigger happened, these memories (to me, in agreement with Clancy) are now NOT FORGOTTEN – in other words are now remembered.  This experience has nothing to do with them being so-called ‘repressed’ before we ‘un-forgot’ them.

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Now, in regard to the commenter’s words yesterday:  We have not only the right to tell our stories but also the right to write them.  In addition, I believe that WRITING our stories of abuse and trauma is VERY HEALING, just so long as we are wise and careful with our self as we go through this disclosure process.

Part of why I believe that wise disclosure is healing especially for those of us who are survivors of early infant-child abuse, trauma and malevolent treatment is that the treatment we received most likely changed our physiological development.  When this happens, we do not ‘get to’ process information in ‘normal ways’.

When researchers tell us that the development of our right and our left brain hemisphere can be altered due to adaptations to early trauma, and that the region of the brain between these two hemispheres, the corpus callosum, also changes due to trauma during development, it then becomes one of the primary needs of our healing to find out what this means to us in our everyday lives.

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Now comes the next part of my morning’s thinking.  I want all of this blog’s readers to know that WordPress hosts blogs for FREE, and their blog interface is nearly perfect!  Part of the perfection that WordPress has created within their blogging systems is a complete, thorough and very understandable HELP section.  There is also a way to contact tech support workers directly – and they are incredibly prompt and helpful in their replies.

MOST importantly, every single word a person writes on their WordPress blog can be published PRIVATELY and not publicly.  These private publications are password protected so that NOBODY without your permission can read a single thing you right.

As early trauma and abuse targets our boundaries to our body and to our self were breached, broken, invaded, violated, smashed-to-smithereens before they were ever formed.

I did respond to yesterday’s commenter that I didn’t begin to write my stories until both of my parents were dead dead dead.  BUT knowing what I know today about the power for healing that writing my stories has provided me, and knowing what I know today about the complete and total privacy that WordPress provides for its blog writers, I ALSO know that there is absolutely NO REASON WHATSOEVER for ANYONE not to take advantage of the healing powers of writing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING they want to on their private blog.

Now, my experience continues to me that the more I write the more I fine-tune my recognition of how my body-brain processes my LIFE in and out of the word-world.

Turning traumas into words is one of the most empowering things a survivor can do.  And, one of the most healing.

Writing builds connections between our changed-brain hemispheres in increasingly new and complex ways – something all early trauma survivors not only desperately NEED, but fundamentally DESERVE in our healing.

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Finding out HOW the ocean of trauma we were swallowed up in as little tiny people HURT us is OUR right of discovery.  Not Clancy, not anyone else can tell us what did or did not hurt us – or HOW.

Writing allows us to discover our self in ways that can cement the knowledge we gain into WORDS – even if what we write is never read by another soul.  We decide that.  Our privacy happens as we explore and define our own boundaries, as does our new levels of healing.

So even if your ‘messed up’ family would turn all shades of bruise-color should they discover YOUR truth about what YOU know about your family-of-origin experience, there’s no reason to let a single thought of THEM change how you process YOUR REALITY on your free (and completely private if you wish) WordPress blog!

And please also know that you can always use this blog’s ‘contact us’ button at the top of the site to leave me a comment with questions about your new process.  Ask in the comment that it not be published and it won’t be.  I will try to answer any questions if I can, and will certainly lend support and encouragement – ‘in-courage-ment’ – to any new blog writer survivor!  Good luck, have fun, and happier healing!

Go write your memories — good and bad — in any words you want to, as many times as you want to.  My experience has been that I am more free now from the power of my trauma because my memories are all clarified and locked-down in place so that they are OUTSIDE of me nearly more than INSIDE of me now.  I like that!

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GO HERE TO GET STARTED!

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/

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I reached the point today in my adobe garden project where I could not continue unless and until that rickety old shed out back came down.  Today was the day — I DID it!

1st, the new native plants arrived from High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, NM - $40 for next day shipping, $260 for the babies - out of the box - I didn't quite expect them to be so SMALL!

All the babies repotted - my hope for the future International Peace Garden! They are not hardened off for cold so now are inside by a south window. They can't go in the beds yet anyway until the nematodes arrive (ordered today) and are added to the soil to kill those HORRIBLE GRUBS!

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Now, here’s a series of my latest adobe work in the backyard’s very southwest corner:

Here's the latest west fence support - the short brown boards are heavily siliconed to the fence, the blue ones are for ROSES to climb! I can SEE them there!

Vegetable garden steps made with loose cement from the top slab layer - the far right top corner will be for veggies, but the soil is completely unusable!

Showing earth sculpting and latest beds....

Very latest bed - still to be 'gutted' and dug down two feet - to be refilled with the best soil I can find - which isn't saying much!

Sculpting....

Shed corner, in my way - I could work no more until the shed came down

Shed coming down

Soon to be no more....

Motley construction, to say the least!

Much of the shed was wired together

Yup, wired.....

One of the shed door hinges

Another of the shed door hinges with a Praying Mantis egg sack (they are hard as cement). I am always so happy to see those!

Shed gone - double layer cement slab left I cannot remove, in very poor shape (the American-Mexican double fences there behind my own fence line)

All nails (very rusty) out of the shed boards, I plan to build a chicken coop with them along that turquoise fence

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The mind of a child – not just any child, but the mind of ME as a child:  My mother did not change it where my mind matters most.  Sure, all the trauma I was exposed to through her abuse of me had its affect.  Sure, my little growing body-brain had to change in its physiological development as a consequence of stress, distress and more and more of the same.  But as I look back at myself growing up I can tell that there was something happening during every one of the abusive incidents I remember that tells me that for all the twisted, insistent, psychotic, horrible projections of her own that my mother tried to transplant INTO me — it never worked.  I kept my own reality as I knew it.  I did not accept her version of reality as she worked so hard to apply it to me.

I can think all the way back to when I was two and my mother accused me of manipulating my grandmother to place me back into diapers, to spoil me, to pamper me, to turn my grandmother against my mother.  I didn’t do those things, and somehow at that very young age I KNEW IT.

It’s not that I ever thought, “She’s wrong.”  I just never believed her.  How do I know that?

I can think all the way back to when I was three and my mother accused me of trying to murder my little sister by drowning her in the toilet bowl.  I always knew I didn’t do that, either. Did I think consciously about this fact?  No, I did not.  Did I think, “What’s wrong with my mother that she could think such a thing?”  No, I did not.  Did I think, “I’m right and she’s wrong?”  Yes, on some profoundly deep, primary and soul level, I did think that – but not in words.  There is a ‘knowing’ that is far beyond words, that is original in the body (primarily in the right brain hemisphere’s connection to the body) that I believe exists in a way that makes this knowledge immutable, ‘not subject to change’, a factor of reality – plain and simple.

At age four when I was violently and severely beaten not only because in my mother’s twisted world I had picked the rows of chenille off of the bedspread during naptime, but ALSO that I was intentionally lying AND trying to get my little sister into trouble because I hated her, I KNEW I had not done any of these things.

This same pattern exists in every abuse memory I currently remember.  I ALWAYS simply KNEW my own reality, what had actually happened – and most importantly I knew that my mother’s version of reality was NOT mine.  But I did NOT know these things in words.  I knew I did not steal the bubble gum and lie about it when I was five.  I knew I was NOT sleeping but was playing a game with the fox running beside the car; that I was not hiding my marbles so my brother and sisters could not find them because I was ‘so selfish’ I did not want to share; and that I had not ‘pulled my pants down for that neighbor boy’ as my mother insisted I had.

These same patterns went on all the way through my childhood, all the way into my teens.  In fact, these patterns within my mother’s distorted mind that so controlled the external world I was left to live in had started while I was being born.  Was I sent by the devil to kill my mother while I was being born?  Now THAT distorted projection I could not combat with any knowledge of my own experience as it contrasted to my mother’s – and THAT one I DID believe.  I was given no choice except on the most profound and most important level of who I am – and it has taken me nearly 60 years to get to that level with clarity.

This single most important delusional projection of my mother’s provided the driving force behind her madness regarding me – and was responsible for all the terrible abuse she did to me.  But as I wrote in my last post NONE of this had anything to do with ME, and on some deep, primary and profound level I KNEW it.  The problem was I didn’t know I always knew it.

Probably because there never was a time in my first 18 years that I could articulate my own reality in words to somebody else, there correspondingly never a time when I could articulate my own reality to my own self.  Everything I knew down deep inside where I WAS existed as fragmented, dissociated bits and pieces of a reality of life that was MINE on the deepest of levels, but that remained somewhere so far away from me that I had no access to it except as those bits and pieces existed AT THE TIME they were formed.

As I was being viciously attacked, screamed at, physically slapped, beaten, punched, dragged and thrown around like a rag doll in the center of the thousands of my mother’s rages I had nothing inside of myself to hold onto except what I knew of my own reality at any given moment.  The facts as I knew them never matched what my mother said was true.

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It is extremely difficult for me to write a post such as this one where I make any effort to approach ‘en masse’ the experience of my own reality of my own infant-childhood.  There is very, very little in the entire first 18 years of my life that wasn’t painful and terrifying.  As I write this morning I remember myself around age 12 or 13 lying for the zillionth time alone in my bed, ostracized, isolated, condemned and suffering after a horrendous beating – crying, hopeless, helpless, and lost in the darkness.  It was during this one single incident, however, that I actually ‘heard words’ that said, “Linda, it isn’t humanly possible for anyone to be as bad as your mother says you are.”

That was it.  Those words came as the only, single few instants of hope or of reprieve that I ever experienced during those long, long years of torture, trauma and abuse.  So I can never say that as my mother attacked me yet again for something I knew I had not done – and as I knew inside myself the facts of my own reality that did not match hers – that I ever received any comfort whatsoever from my knowledge.  I did not.

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“So why,” I ask myself on this sunny and glorious morning, “are you opening that door even a tiny bit to glimpse yourself suffering in and enduring 18 years within the raging inferno of the fires of hell, Linda?”

I know as I ask myself that question that what I want to say next required of me that I ‘go back there’ to look for something.  I didn’t know what I was even looking for exactly until this moment – because NOW I have found it.

What I always knew, I believe, was something that I possessed directly as a manifestation of my soul and of the spirit within it.  What I always knew – what I can look back and see NOW that I ALWAYS KNEW – was in direct contrast to what my mother DID NOT KNOW.

I knew the difference between right and wrong.

I didn’t, of course, ever know during my first 18 years that this is what I knew and is what my mother didn’t know.  I ONLY see this fact this clearly right now at this instant as I write this.

I am tempted next to ask a question that I don’t know the answer to.  “Is every human being born into their lifetime with an intact power to know right from wrong?”  I would follow this question with another one:  “Was my mother born with this knowledge and through the circumstances of her own abusive earliest years so trauma-changed in her physiological development that the ability to know right from wrong was removed from her?”

Right here I allow the ‘sea to part’.  It is enough to know that at the same time there was something within my mother so terribly, terribly, nearly beyond human imagining WRONG with my mother there was something equally RIGHT with me.

I (most fortunately) never lost my ability to know what was right and what was wrong.  I never lost my ability to tell the difference between the two.  And there was nothing my mother ever did to me, or evidently anything she could EVER possibly do to me that could have removed that power I was born with away from me.

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I believe absolutely in God, and I believe that only God knows the condition of any human being.  I believe that extreme stress in the physiological developmental period of infant-child growth change the BODY, and in my mother’s case those changes directly affected the way her brain-mind worked, as well.

I needed to personally write this post as a precursor to the following.

When I think about the innate powers of the soul, I think about the words contained in the quotation at this link:

+”THE SOUL’S POWER”

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I absolutely believe with every fiber of my being that the horror, suffering, trauma, violence and terror that happened to me because my mother hated me would NOT have happened if my birth had not been a difficult one – that IN ITSELF traumatized my mother.  I believe that every horrible thing my mother did to me could be traced back to that ONE event:  My breach birth and the abusive medical treatment my mother received during it.  THIS event is what left me the target of my mother’s resulting madness.  Her abuse of me never had ANYTHING to do with me as an individual infant-child-person.

When I look back at my very long 18 year infant-childhood so full of my mother’s severe abuse of me that there wasn’t much time or room left for me to do anything else but survive it, today I have my inner spotlight focused on just THIS one thing:  The circumstances surrounding my birthing as they impacted my mother.  (See also:  *Litany from Start to Finish)

Out of all the children in my family (there were six of us) I was undeniably the sole and main focus of my mother’s terrible abuse.  At the same time it is obvious to all of my siblings now that my mother’s mind had not been ‘right’ well before I was born, it was the trauma of her birthing of me that created within her the severe psychotic break that created the inner conditions in her mind that found their way into the reality of my every breathing moment of the 18 years I spent enduring her violent and vicious wrath.

Today is the first day I have ever specifically NAMED what happened to her:  Birth trauma.  In my online searching I found some excellent websites that are designed to convey information, hope and help for mothers who experience birth trauma.  I have a very special point of view when I consider these sites because the birth trauma that my mother experienced LED DIRECTLY to the overwhelming and nearly unimaginable 18 years of torture I suffered from my mother as a direct result of this birthing trauma.

True, my mother no doubt suffered sexual abuse, neglect, infant maltreatment along with a whole array of difficulties in her earliest years that acted like a burning fuse to the bomb that FINALLY went off at the time of my birth.  But there is a chance – perhaps a very good chance – that if anyone had recognized how disturbed and traumatized my mother actually was as a result of her (and my) near death as she tried to deliver breach-me and had intervened to help her with her trauma IMMEDIATELY – perhaps none of what I suffered would have come to be.

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From:  Solace for Mothers – Healing after traumatic childbirth

Solace for Mothers is an organization designed for the sole purpose of providing and creating support for women who have experienced childbirth as traumatic. Birth trauma is real and can result from an even seemingly “normal” birth experience.

A traumatic event is defined as “The person has experienced, witnessed or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others and the person’s response involved fear, helplessness or horror” (DSM-IV). This certainly can happen during the birth of a child and can have long lasting effects on mother, baby and witnesses present at the birth.

The effects of trauma after childbirth include flashbacks of the birth, nightmares, avoiding and feeling stressed by reminders of the birth, feeling edgy, and experiencing panic attacks. Often these symptoms are confused with postpartum depression by mothers, doctors and mental health providers. To learn more about PTSD and trauma after childbirth, click here.

The resources available through this site offer immediate, personal support to mothers and others who are struggling with birth trauma, PTSD after childbirth and anxiety caused by their birthing experiences.

If you believe that you have been traumatized by your experiences of giving birth to your child, or by witnessing a birth of someone else’s child, Solace for Mothers has resources and supportive communities available for you.

Please browse our web site to learn more about Solace for Mothers. If you work with birthing women, please offer us as a resource. We are pleased to host two online communities where women and those who support them can connect around birth trauma concerns.

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As my mother’s daughter, I was the living reminder of ‘the traumatic birth experience’.  Even though all the past negative experiences of my mother’s life contributed to the psychotic break she suffered during her birthing of me, the fact remains that it was the circumstance of MY BIRTH that led to the torture my mother did to me.

I also found this information online:

When a bad birth haunts you

The information provided at this link (above) is worth a read.  I was never ‘the baby’ to my mother after I was born.  I was the devil’s child who was sent to kill her while I was being born.  I do suspect that the anesthesia ‘Twilight Sleep’ (see also:  Twilight Sleep here) was given to my mother during labor, but even without the addition of that horrible drug my mother’s pre-Borderline Personality Disorder condition prior to my birth left her completely open and vulnerable to severe disturbance due to a difficult birthing experience.

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Healing the Trauma: Entering Motherhood with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by Jennifer Jamison Griebenow

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Birth Trauma:  Stress Disorder Afflicts Moms – Study suggests that PTSD may be more common than previously believed

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Birth Trauma Can Cause Women to Develope PPD & PTSD:  A Discussion About Birth Rape and Its Results

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Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Birth Trauma: In the Eye of the Beholder

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The Birth Trauma Association (BTA) was established in 2004 to support women suffering from Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or birth trauma. We are not trained counsellors or therapists or medical professionals. We are mothers who wish to support other women who have suffered difficult births and we aim to offer advice and support to all women who are finding it hard to cope with their childbirth experience.

The BTA is the only organisation in the UK which deals solely and specifically with this issue. We aim to tackle the problem with work which is focused on three main areas:

(1) Raising awareness of birth trauma
(2) Working to prevent it
(3) Supporting families in need

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What do mothers, who perceive they have had traumatic childbirths, experience each year as the anniversary of their birth trauma occurs?  No research to date has focused on this phenomenon.  The purpose of this study was to describe the essence of women’s experiences regarding the anniversary of their birth trauma.”  Read article HERE

(In all my childhood my mother never joyfully celebrated my birthday – today I realize the birth trauma experienced was a DIRECT contributing factor to this part of my childhood reality, as well as to ALL of the abuse she did to me.)

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder After Childbirth

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I am not saying in this post that my childhood and that of my siblings would not have been a living hell due to my mother’s mental illness.  What I am saying is that I – ME! – would not have been the target or the recipient of the kind of abuse that I was.  I also do suspect, however, that the progression of my mother’s Borderline Personality Disorder mental illness would have taken a different course had this birthing trauma not occurred, and whatever that course would have been  — had my mother not suffered the trauma of my breach birth in that particular hospital or had she received immediate and appropriate help even if trauma had occurred — nobody will ever know.

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Even when I stumble upon a website such as this one, Women of Green, containing a post entitled, “Can Western Women Save the World? The Dalai Lama Thinks So” I feel lost and overwhelmed in response.  In my reality, there are just too many pieces, too many parts.

Perhaps it might be especially because of my severe disorganized-disoriented insecure attachment ‘disorder-pattern’ that I am left so unmistakably influenced more by what feels ‘broken into pieces’ than many other people are.  When I follow anything that might concern me about the state of our world I end up at the same point in my thinking and in my emotions.  I am left as if I am standing over a pile of tiny shards that are all that’s left of something precious that was once whole and is now smashed to smithereens.

(See this excellent article that I believe applies to what happened to my mother in her infant-childhood to make turn her into the raging super-abusive ‘anti-mother’ whose trajectory of disorganized-disoriented insecure attachment was so different than mine:

Forecasting Aggression:  Toward a New Interdisciplinary Understanding of What Makes Some Troubled Youth Turn Violent By Daniel S. Schechter, M.D.)

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Having been the recipient of my (Borderline) mother’s insane, intensive, brutalizing and violent abuse of me from birth and for the following 18 years of my childhood I was forced to grow, develop and build a body-brain-mind-self without having any safe and secure human attachment relationship that could have allowed me to put the pieces together of my own shattered early life.  Every single time (except for my relationship with nature) that I EVER tried to pursue anything that could have brought me happiness, my mother was ALWAYS there to smash me again.  Smash, bash, crash!  My mother was an absolute expert on applying any force of any kind possible (and from her point of view, necessary) to BREAK LINDA.

After writing my recent post, +LEARNING HOW TO CHANGE PEACEFULLY (leaving the trauma-drama OUT!), I have spent most of my waking moments outside working on and in my garden.  The amount of time I have spent out there specifically thinking about anything has been minimal.  The ‘me’ that’s now doing that work is in the process of BECOMING – different.

Because of my dissociation disorder, I have to be very aware and very vigilant (as best as I can be) of my own process of change.  In this past week I have been LIVING through something I have not put specific words to:  I am coming to understand more clearly that for me there is a difference between how I see change, transformation and transitioning.  My innate body-brain circuitry and pathways of dissociation happened inside of my growing and developing body-brain-mind-self BECAUSE of the horrendous abuse I was chronically forced to experience.  As a result my universe has ALWAYS been about the parts and not about the whole.

I am transitioning.  I have always been transitioning.  At this moment of my life at age 59 my own process of transitioning has moved itself into the forefront of my focus.  It is my own transitioning that I am investigating now – by living it at the same time I am becoming consciously aware of what I am experiencing.

This entire post is actually about one unifying topic:  God.  I never set out to write a blog about God.  Yet in my own search for LIFE, which I see as a search for HEALING (because I was so totally wounded and carry those wounds within this body that trauma built), I don’t believe I will be able to move forward without a thorough investigation about what all things ‘God-invested’ means to me.

God.  I believe the entire accumulation of physiological (on every level) consequence that my first 18 years of severe trauma and abuse did to me has greatly complicated my ability to ‘have a meaningful relationship’ with God.  In order to ‘make my own peace’ with my own essential self I believe I have to face my own brokenness from a spiritual point of view.

This is a time of great transition for me.  I have not decided how I am going to process this time of transition on my blog.  I don’t care how anyone approaches their own belief in God.  I see God as the Unknowable Essence, the Omnipotent Being, the Greatest Mystery and the Creator of All Things.  Being able to break through my own dissociation to heal IN SPITE of that brokenness (that lack of continuity of self-in-the-world) is not a minor step for me.

In my personal investigation about what’s wrong in our nation and in our world that so many little and big people are being allowed to suffer so greatly I simply hit an immovable wall that showed me there is no answer on this globe to solve the brokenness in this whole world unless and until a spiritual solution is found – both personally and combined in love and compassion with masses of others within our species.

That we will have to leave behind what is divisive in our thinking and in our actions in favor of keeping what we share in common about our belief in our Higher Power means to me that we can choose to look inside for what sustains all the goodness of life rather than continue to fight internally and with one another over what is wrong.  Our species is as broken and ‘dissociated’ as a unit as I often feel inside of my own self.  But staying in a place of wounded brokenness will NEVER allow us to find solutions.

However we mutually come to share in bigger and bigger and bigger healing circles that will bring about bigger and bigger and bigger ripples of healing around our globe will not happen through clashes of disagreements.  Healing happens when ‘forces are joined’ on the PLUS rather than on the MINUS side of life.  It seems obvious to me that all abuse is about the minus.  I will always need my transitions to be about the plus.

Wholeness, call it ‘holistic’ if that’s the best word we can find in our language, seems to me to be the exact opposite of what I experienced in my unbelievably sick home of origin.  Whether we are considering our own needs for positive transitioning or the needs of others (including the ‘environment’), we are considering a whole that I believe the Creator made as a WHOLE UNIT that functions in wholeness the same way our own body does.  I am exploring that wholeness.

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+UNITED NATIONS CIVIL SOCIETY NETWORK LINKS

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