+HEALING THE TELLING OF MY LIFE STORY – HEALING MYSELF (from infant-child abuse)

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A dear blog reader posted this song for me!  HERO by Mariah Carey.  I wrote this back:  “If there was ever a movie of my story, this would be the theme song!!! I am just getting to the point in the story when I am seven and we are ‘going up’ that Alaskan mountain – I was SO SAD, and in Mother’s letters, what does she say? That of course Linda was ‘poking’ up the mountain! In knee deep mud, over ice, in deep snow — little me with the broken heart was TOO SLOW???? Oh my GOSH!!

One of the ‘blocks of thinking’ I am doing right now in my pause in the book writing process (short pause – but needed to consolidate what I am learning along the way – and that is A LOT of important information about myself) is that as I work on my story I am finding myself.  On first glance that might not appear to be such a big deal, but to me it is!!  The simplest way to describe what’s going on for me right now is that as I locate myself in the story of my childhood – using my abusive mother’s own words as she wrote them in letters to her own mother over the time span of my childhood – I am really finding a little girl ME frozen in time, space and place.

Just FROZEN, standing at different points along the time line of my own life where trauma intercepted my own experience of being a child so profoundly that I never got to connect my own experience of life with ME!  My MOTHER’S version of reality was forced upon me as my own.  Like a little bug caught in a drop of tree sap that turned into amber and trapped me there, each memory I have of myself in my own early years lies caught, trapped and frozen into a piece of ME – one memory after another.

This is very hard to explain to someone who never had a severely mentally ill extremely abusive parent!  These continual brutal and brutalizing interruptions of my child life by each traumatic attack of me created a dissociation between me and my own experience of being a child – of being a person.

I FELT it last week when I had my first-ever piano lesson!  I felt exactly six-years old!  I felt that happy, that excited, that hopeful – and as I practice now, as I experience the THRILL OF LEARNING itself and begin to realize the music can flow right out of MY fingertips – well, this is a kind of ecstasy that SHOULD have been my right to know all the way through my childhood – and my entire life!

THIS feeling is real.

Yesterday, thanks to a generous so-sweet gift from one of my sisters who gave me the money to buy one – I saw a very nice used bicycle at a second hand store and BOUGHT IT!  I rode another child’s bike when I was nine years old.  Never since then.  I bet when my bike is delivered and I hop onto its seat, put my feet on those pedals and fly away that I will experience the BODY memory of being nine years old.

True, nothing along the way has specifically STOPPED me from gathering piano playing or bike riding into my repertoire of life today (I will soon be 60).  But there is something ELSE going on for me as I find myself in my own childhood story.

I am doing exactly THAT!  As I free my childhood from the terrible grip of trauma I am in some mysterious way running my life backwards.  The other day when I was writing I crossed through time over being in second grade.  Those experiences are written in the book, and there are little things I remember that have NOTHING to do with my mother.  I am the one who scooped my much-hated cold canned peas off of my lunch tray one day and stuffed them into my empty milk carton.  I am the one the matriarch Principal saw doing that.  I am the one she marched right up to demanding that I dump them out and eat every last one of them as she stood behind me and watched.

I am the one who heard in the background the continual repeating of two songs on a 45 rpm record that played every single lunch period of my second grade – over and over and over again – all year long!  I am the one who was in that body.  And what happened to me in my body all the times IN BETWEEN my own experiences of being myself in my body in my childhood INTERRUPTED my ability to link my own experiences together into a long line that includes and leads to ME in my life now.

I am the one that got to go on a train trip along the ocean when I was seven because a neighbor (a Brownie scout leader) offered to take me.  My mother let me go because at the moment the question was asked she found no way to save face in front of this neighbor and say “No!”  I have never forgotten that day!  At the destination end of the train trip we were escorted into a ski lodge, a grand room with towering ceilings, round tables, pulled-out chairs for all the little girls to sit on.

I am the one that was in that little body and can remember sitting my bottom on that chair, scooting it in toward the table, running my finger tips over the patterns of the large round white paper lace doily on the table in front of me.  I am the one whose eyes saw that perfect yellow pear and picked it up from the doily.  I had never seen a real pear before, never held one in the palm of my hand.  The pear FILLED my hand it was so big!  No.  Wait.  It filled my hand because I was so small!

I’ve always had the memory of that sweet drippy yellow tasting pear.  I know it was strangely gritty!!  I rolled the grit around in my mouth with my tongue and thought about how different this fruit was from an apple.  (It certainly didn’t crunch!) I am the one who has always remembered this day as one of the few happy highlight moments of my childhood.

But it is only as I pull my own self, my own experience, my own childhood, my own LIFE as a child out of the grip my mother had on me ALWAYS that I am FEELING my own self in my own body – then and NOW – and the dissociation, the continual dissociation that the brutal violence from my mother caused me, is beginning to heal in amazing ways.

I sit at the piano now and in my body I can FEEL me being the same me I was holding that pear.  These are the SAME hands that touched that doily.  These are the SAME eyes looking at this computer screen that watched the ocean pass under me as I stared down out of that train window, so close were the tracks to the edge of the ocean.

This is FELT EXPERIENCE – ongoing FELT experience.  I can’t describe any more of this right now, but I just wanted to mention how putting my story together is so different from anything I have ever done before – and it is wonderful!  I keep having the thought, “So THIS is what it was supposed to be like!  So THIS is what all that continual 18 years of abuse robbed from me!”  Being a child, experiencing one’s self in one’s own life as a continuous pattern of being in the world all the way through, all the way through to adulthood — nobody stealing 99 moments out of every 100, leaving one with only one lonely moment, one out of every 100 moments, that belonged to the child.

Every time my mother attacked me she created a rift, a hole, a breach and a break in my own ongoing experience of me being me.

Every time she attacked me trauma took over MY life.  MY childhood.  MY ongoing experience of doing what I was born to do:  Be a child who was experiencing herself in her life, learning, playing, learning, growing, being loved and being kindly and wisely guided and chaperoned through my formative years.

This is NOT reparenting to me.  This is like taking a giant Pink Pearl eraser and erasing out those 99 moments of hell and ONLY leaving the ONE pure moment of ME being a child.  As those 99 moments of my MOTHER’S hell are erased out of MY life I can scoot together every one of my own memories, my own childhood experiences of goodness and purity and make MY OWN story of MY OWN self clear to me — THEN and NOW.

As ‘attachment experts’ state, it is the loss of the ability to tell a coherent narrative of one’s own life story that is the #1 symptom of insecure attachment disorders due to traumatic unsafe and insecure relationships with those we depended on when we were little.

Going back and healing my STORY is healing ME!  Better get back to my task now!!  Will keep you posted!

NOTE:  All I really need to know right now is that I am turning the black and white NEGATIVE of my severely abusive infancy and childhood into a POSITIVE.  As I erase the 99 moments of every 100 that belonged to MY MOTHER and HER story and that had NOTHING whatsoever to do with ME, during those 99 moments all I need to know about myself right now is that I endured them with goodness because I was BEING a HERO.

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5 thoughts on “+HEALING THE TELLING OF MY LIFE STORY – HEALING MYSELF (from infant-child abuse)

  1. IT is joyous, it is wonderful, that you are truly healing your little girl’s heart and soul, and giving yourself the freedom to explore new experiences thru her/your eyes. She is you!!!!! You SO are deserving of all of these things, tell your sister big hug and angel wings from me, for buying you the bike. I love that.
    I also completely understand every part of your post. Even though I have had lots of healing in the last 20 years, “re parented” myself to the best of my ability(that being an interesting subject all by itself), I still have aspects of me I am so hard on. Along with the self loathing and criticism comes a deeper level of not allowing. This was created by my insecure attachment with my mother as well. So eloquently described by you in the post above.
    One thing that is coming out this time the deep process I have been in, is how much i need art-and not just for my therapeutic reasons. My soul longs to be an artist, to take classes. I keep putting it “over there” saying I don’t have time, it is something I will do when “I retire”. I tried to nurture this before and the few classes i took at the community college were so very stifling to me. I didn’t even want to go if I had to look at a bowl of fruit for 8 weeks and do it “perfect”. I know there is a place for technique, but there is a bigger place to express creativity, and that is who I am. So, like you with you piano lessons, I just signed up my first Monotype printmaking class- not until Oct though!/. It is amazing how excited I feel.
    I appreciate your deep sharing and i hope writing my book will bring me to more realizations and some ability to really free myself to be more ME-like it is doing for YOU!! XXOOO blessings blessings and more blessings,

    • So good to hear from you! Yes, it is this feeling of excitement and of anticipation that feels so ‘young’ — and so missing in my life — then and all of my adult life. The feeling of being thrilled! Expectant – and NOT for something scary!

      I also went online and found ONLY an audio product that has the child story Miss Molly Squeak on it. All three of my children had their own record players and records with story books that went along with them. Beginning around age 3 1/2 they LOVED to listen to them! They manipulated the records just fine and never harmed them. My grandson is almost a year and a half now so too young, but this audio CD can go in HIS collection — after I hear this story!

      Going along on my new theory about my keeping only memories from childhood that contained my own good in them, I want to know what it was about this particular Miss Molly Squeak story that my 2nd grade teacher read aloud to her class, that so struck me I have ALWAYS kept that story with me. (This is the age span I am at with the book right now. I have to FORCE myself to get to work on that writing which is VERY hard. I am extremely resistant, yet when I buckle down and work on the book it goes well – just very deep I guess and some of the most intense work I have done in my lifetime. I have to tell myself over and over that this project MATTERS to me, to my kids, to others, etc. or I WOULD not do it.)

      When I studied for my art therapy masters, one of the important teachings of the courses was that ALL human beings the globe over go through the same artistic stages of development — just like with walking and talking. It is NOT a healthy culture that interferes with this process – which few understand. The non-coloring books of recent times were a stab at this and help. Fascinating!

      I hope you love your printmaking class! If I had the means I would take more art classes, but I am happy with the piano. There is probably no single exercise at any age so good for the brain as learning to play piano!

  2. exactly. We didn’t get it when we needed it from our mothers but we CAN get it when we get into healthy relationships that affirm us . I am learning to let go of the relationships that cause me pain..or at least protect myself by establishing healthy boundaries.
    xo

  3. beautiful and emotional to read. I can almost feel the release thru the writing. This journey is not an easy one..some days we soar…others we feel like we can barely walk. But in all of this you Linda were and always have been a hero.

    • We so need one another in life. I so value you being able to SEE me and to mirror myself back to me. That is the essence in the beginning of what we need in mothering — and need from one another for the rest of our lives!

      now – piano practice!! xoxo

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