+DREAM OF THE GREAT TREE FALLING

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I so seldom remember my dreams any more, yet I woke this morning with a dream from last night clearly in my mind.  “What,” I wonder to myself, “is the meaning in this dream that it would bring itself into my memory this morning?”

I don’t know what meaning there might be in this dream, so I will write it now to see if something about it makes special sense to me…..

I am looking out a window at a night sky so black there is no light to be seen anywhere.  I watch the darkness.  I see a faint glimmer of light growing behind a massive shape I take at first to be a gigantic thunderhead cloud.  “What a storm must be coming!”  I think to myself, but as I continue to watch, and as the light behind this shape begins to grow I see the shape is that of a pine tree so big I could never have imagined one so tall.

The sky continued to lighten until the wide branches were visible to me of this tree nearly all the way to the ground.  But then fear seized me as I realized this massive tree was tipping, tipping, tipping toward me until it crashed to the earth with its topmost branches brushing up against the window I was behind, though the glass did not break.  I realized I was not crushed to death as I stood there unharmed.

I felt great sorrow for this great tree’s death as I left the window frantically trying to find someone to tell, someone to care that the tallest, oldest tree on earth had fallen over this night — and had fallen right here on this spot.

I could find no one to listen to me.  Time passed in the dream.  Later I happened by another window in this house I was inside and through this window I could see the tree from a different perspective.  That tree was just an ordinary tree!  There was nothing especially huge about it.  Now I could see its whole body laying there on the ground, being maybe 40 feet long from root to tip.

I woke up hearing the Beatles’ song, ‘Let it Be’ repeating in my mind.  All very puzzling to me.

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I traveled to a meeting out of town yesterday with some friends.  I met a woman there for the first time and rode home with her as we each talked about our histories of extreme child abuse.  This woman knows with no doubt and with great faith that she was not killed in her infancy by abuse from her schizophrenic mother and bipolar father because she was saved by the grace of God.  (She was eventually removed from her parents and raised by other loving family members, but her entire childhood was still chaotic and very difficult.)

This woman and I both know what it felt like to be abused when we were little.  And yet this woman’s other clear statement about her childhood was this:  “Pain is pain.  Hurt is hurt.  It is all the same.  Anyone who ever feels pain and hurt is feeling the same thing.”

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As I left my house yesterday to attend this meeting I walked away from my book writing at the point I need to pick up at today.  I am working on my final draft of a chapter about the first beating I remember that happened when I was 22 1/2 months old.

No doubt at that time I did feel like a tiny person with a monster tree falling on top of me to crush me to death.  What is my perspective today at 60 years old as I return to my memory of being so little?  Do I stop my own writing with questions like this:  “Why do I bother to write about something from so long ago when I had no other perspective about something that matters so little to anyone else?”

My problem is that my body still remembers NOW exactly what it felt like to have that abuse happen to me.  I did NOT remember the abuse for much of my adulthood because I could manage to never THINK about it.  It seemed I could outrun my own history.  I had simply walked away from it when I was 18 without any perspective or understanding of what had happened to me.

I got away with this ‘not remembering’ for the years I raised my children, but I am finding that as I age it has become impossible for me to ‘not remember’ anymore, though I wish that I could.   All I can do now is to continue to move forward each moment of my life the best that I can, trying to keep a perspective as I write for this book that basically lets me know both the big tree and the little tree, the little me and the big me, coexist now together in a unique way especially until this book writing is done.

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+IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON THE PHYSIOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGES CAUSED BY INFANT-CHILD ABUSE

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I would like to encourage readers to take a look through the research on the effects of child abuse on physiological development included in my earlier post at this link:

+EARLY CHILDHOOD ADVERSE EXPERIENCES

SEE ALSO:  ++IMMUNE RESPONSE TO MATERNAL SEPARATION

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+WRITING A BOOK ‘FOR ALL REASONS’ OR FOR NONE AT ALL?

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What is this book going to be?  Is it possible to address its main text to a very wide audience?  This has not been defined in my mind yet, or in my daughter’s either.  How many men would read a book on my topic compared to women?  Mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, people of all reading levels, many levels of education, some with their own trauma and child abuse histories, some with no trauma or child abuse history, some with ‘recovery’, some with none at all?

I was thinking today how the ‘me’ that has this story to tell is not the ‘me’ that lives in my day-to-day world.  The ‘me’ that has this story to tell lives behind a veil.  It is I today with the words, not that other ‘me’.

The ‘me’ that I am today, the ‘me’ that I have gradually become since the day I left home at 18, practiced to fit into other people’s world, those that I have encountered along my way, at any rate.  The ‘me’ with the story never fit in anywhere.  I share that with ‘her’ — the not fitting in.  I STILL don’t fit in anywhere.  I don’t belong.  My history of 18 years of severe abuse did that to me — that I have not ever really been able to change.

So I am not sure I can write to any audience, really.  I can guess.  I can try to tell a story that has interest and meaning to other people.  But I wonder, “Why would my story mean anything more to anyone than the girl did that I was while I lived through that hell?”

How does a single, singular story stop being exactly that?  Where and how does a story cross that veil, cross that barrier between self and other?  How do our stories achieve meaning to anyone else besides our own self?

What is significant about my story?  There are so many other things I would rather be doing right now.  The kind of things I used to do without thought or question — just meandering down the road of my life.  Why now do I believe I have this JOB to do?  Why do I believe that it matters to anyone else if I write my story from behind the veil or not?

There is no glitz or glamor in my story.  There will be nothing spectacular in this story.  Only truth.

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Worth a look:  Combating child abuse and its effects

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+BOOK WRITING AND BEING NICE TO THE FROGS IN THE WATER

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I am obviously breaking my own vow of silence not to write on this blog until I have finished the second rough draft of my book.  Oh well, as some say, vows are made to be broken.  I am paying attention to the sentence related to yesterday’s post that must have something to teach me in this process or it would never have appeared in the first place, and certainly would not have stuck around.

What, I ask myself, do I need to know that is contained in this statement?   I tell myself I want readers of my book to close its covers afterward and think, “My!  My!  That was the nicest book about child abuse I have ever read.”

I sent my chapter four I worked hard on yesterday via email to someone last night.  This guinea pig messaged back to me that it needs to be rewritten because the wording is redundant and makes the brain tired in its reading.  They next messaged that they immediately went to find their snippers to trim their nose hair, a task that had been long overdue.

OK.  THAT worked!

Hum……..

Better I have this information now — than later.

Now what?

“Frogs in pots of boiling water,” I think to myself.  I doubt it’s true that if one throws a frog into a pot of lukewarm water and turns the heat up under it slowly that the frog won’t ever notice it was boiled to death.  Is it true that if one instead drops a frog into an already boiling pot of water it will be able to immediately leap out to safety?

But I do understand by my guinea pig’s response to my chapter four that I can make some very real efforts in my book writing about horrendous infant-child abuse to not only make a reader’s experience NICE, but to make their reading of the story possible at all.

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Next I think about losing something important that we need to find.  Do we need to dump a purse out and rummage through its contents?  Do we need to dump out our tool box and do the same?  Our kitchen junk drawer?  (I realize as I write this that I have lived in this house for five years, and for the first time in my adult life I have NO kitchen junk drawer!)  What are we looking for?  We will never know until we first ask a question.

Then I next think about something therapists call ‘transference’ and ‘counter transference”.  All abused children experience transference when the big people in their life dump their junk onto their children — brutally.

There is acceptable transference between a client and a therapist as a client begins to rummage around in the accumulated, pain-filled junk in their life.  It is common for clients to temporarily dump parts of their junk onto their therapist’s desktop.  The therapist needs to know how to handle this transference for the betterment of their client’s well-being.

Then there is counter transference that happens as a therapist ‘picks up’ information from their client that comes through as feelings, thoughts, ideas and attitudes in the therapist that invisibly belong to the client.  This can also happen dangerously when a therapist dumps their own junk back onto a poor client!

The important thing is that counter transference contains vital information needed in a therapy process.  Therapists are trained to recognize and to handle this entire process on both sides skillfully and well.  How much of this process will go on between what I say in my book and how readers experience my story?  How do I be responsible for this process when I will not be able to see it happening?

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My book is a story about horrendous piles of junk.  The junk is mine.  And yet I would be stupid not to recognize that there will be readers with abusive and traumatic histories of their own who get their own junk mixed up with what they are reading about mine.  I need to be as NICE as I can to my readers by choosing carefully how this process unfolds.

Many readers will have trauma histories of their own that have not been resolved.  They therefore probably have questions about what happened to them, either consciously or not.  As my story unfolds before their eyes these questions will awaken.  Some of them might clamor loudly for answers.  Some questions might whisper.  Some questions might silently sneak around in the corners of readers’ mind as uncomfortable feelings that can lead readers to abandon the story I am trying to tell them.

But I do know from froggie reader #1 that no reader will tolerate being given answers for questions before the reader has had the questions awakened within them.

Nor will readers be able to tolerate the reading of my book about child abuse until they have gained some comfort in the boiling waters of hell this story is about.  If readers have traumatic abuse histories of their own they need to be able to recognize gradually that what they are thinking and feeling as they read my book is not about me.  Their reactions will have a whole lot to do with what lies unhealed in their self.  I do not want my readers to abandon ship before the ship has even been unmoored or left port.

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+BOOK WRITING: GOTTA COMPLAIN ABOUT COMPLAINING

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It does seem like a rather unlikely fact that I had to learn in my adulthood how to complain.  I didn’t know it was possible to complain when I was a child.  I wonder when my first episode of complaining hit me?  I have to admit, though not compliment myself (I don’t think) that I know so well how to complain today!

Yup, I am complaining today that the story I am working on isn’t coming out easily, and is not an easy read!  Go figure!  I find myself continually wondering how I can make my story more pleasant and more attractive to read – one word at a time.

Now, let me see…..  Gee!  In the next chapter or two I am going to describe the first terrible beating I received from my mother, with my father watching, when I was 20 months old.  Gee…..  Now, how can I write that easily OR make it an easy read?

I think I have a paradox here.  Or is it an oxymoron?  Maybe we can market this book when it’s done:  “COME AND GET IT!  COME AND GET IT!  A child abuse story that’s easy to read and was sure a snap for the author to write!”

OK.  I admit it.  I am whining.  I am complaining.  Nope, I never had one thought of complaint for all those years of suffering I went through.  I guess if complaining had come easy to me nobody would have had to teach me to do it.  Nobody would have been able to prevent me from complaining, either.

Definition of COMPLAIN

1: to express grief, pain, or discontent <complaining about the weather>

2: to make a formal accusation or charge

The word comes from a Latin derivative of ‘lament’ – ‘to mourn or deplore’

I guess as a child I could not mourn what I didn’t know I had.  I had no IDEA that I was being maltreated, tormented, abused.  Where was I going to get THAT idea?  Of course I saw that what happened to me didn’t happen to my siblings.  But I also had been heartily informed from the moment of my birth that I was different from them.  I was BAD.  They were GOOD.

I got what I served.  There was nothing to mourn or lament or complain about when it came to facts.  It was a FACT I was bad.  After all, what good child tries to kill its mother while it’s being born?

Oh, well.  I suppose today it’s a very natural consequence that I complain NOW about what I am writing about what happened to me THEN.  I WANT to be able to write a different story.  A NICE story.  So some part of me is probably angry at God right now.  Angry at accident?  Angry at chance?  Angry at destiny?

NO!  I am angry that nobody HELPED ME!

Well, at least I expect myself to be able to write a story about hell that is NICE to read!!  That makes me chuckle, I must admit!  What will be nice about this story is to be done writing it!!  Making this story not only palatable to readers but ATTRACTIVE to them very well might be far, far, far outside the range of what I have control over accomplishing.

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Answers to many questions – found at this post: 

+HOP! HOP! THE BLOG FROG’S PICK OF PAST POSTS

I need to return to the book writing!!  Lots to read at this link above in the meantime!!!!  Please also click through the months’ of posts connected to the archive links on the right side of this blog.  This blog’s top search bar can also be used to locate posts with topic related to child abuse and the Trauma Altered Development it causes in its survivors.

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+READING HUMAN EXPRESSION IN FACE AND BODY – THE DETRIMENT CAUSED BY INFANT ABUSE

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Sometimes it is very difficult for me to explain to readers much of the critically important information that exists about how early relationship trauma changes the way the brain develops.  The most important relationship an infant has from birth is WITH ITS MOTHER.  The most important brain region’s development being determined by the quality of a mother-infant face-to-face, body-to-body happens in the right social-emotional brain hemisphere before the infant reaches its first birthday.

I know that I did not have an adequate relationship with my abusive Borderline Personality Disorder mother so that I could develop my right brain correctly.  ALL insecurely attached infants suffer changes in this brain region’s ability to process social emotional information because their mother could not do it properly for the INFANT.  Mother’s literally DOWNLOAD their own brain into the growing brain of their infant.  This is a horrific thought for those of us who had troubled mothers.

A friend of mine on Facebook posted a video I watched last night that is a great one for those of us who suffered right brain developmental changes due to traumas before we were one year old.  This is about an hour long but can be paused and returned to over time.

PLEASE CHECK THIS VIDEO OUT!!

ESPECIALLY because this video DOES NOT INCLUDE WORDS it provides an excellent healing opportunity for infant abuse and neglect survivors to watch the body language and ESPECIALLY the facial expressions of the participants in these funny scenarios.  Normally people can READ these signals accurately.  Infant abuse and neglect survivors CANNOT do this normally.  Be aware as you watch it that what you are seeing is what NORMAL people know BECAUSE those communication abilities were built into their brain during the first year of their life by SAFE and SECURE interactions with healthy mothers.

In watching the movie, Temple Grandin, last week I had yet another opportunity to apply what I now know about myself as an abuse survivor.  Autistic people’s right social-emotional brain does not process information normally, either.  My brain is more like THIS than it is like normal.  I have learned to understand body language and facial expressions, as well as expressive intonations in speech by WATCHING other people – just as Temple Grandin has.

This means that BEING HUMAN in all its wide range of communication abilities is NOT our first language!!  We are ALWAYS at a disadvantage when it come to understanding what being a communicative, expressive human being is truly about.

Watching this video at the link above presents a wonderful opportunity to study what I am talking about.  I wish I could slow the video down.  The actual MUSCLE responses in the face humans use for expression are sending singles at the rate of one every tiny fraction of a millisecond.  In fact, it has only been in the past decade that researchers have had sophisticated enough photographic abilities to be able FINALLY to stop-action the stages involved in mother-infant facial communications accurately.

Again I refer to Dr. Allan Schore’s important (yes, and obtuse) article that describes how all humans either acquire or DO NOT acquire necessary brain-based abilities to follow and to participate in these human communication strategies in a normal way.

EFFECTS OF A SECURE ATTACHMENT RELATIONSHIP ON RIGHT BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, AFFECT REGULATION, AND INFANT MENTAL HEALTH by Dr. Allan N. Score – IMPORTANT ARTICLE

ARTICLE BY DR. ALLAN SCHORE:  ATTACHMENT AND THE REGULATION OF THE RIGHT BRAIN

Google search Allan Schore along with ‘infant mother attachment’ for further reading

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Answers to many questions – found at this post: 

+HOP! HOP! THE BLOG FROG’S PICK OF PAST POSTS

I need to return to the book writing!!  Lots to read at this link above in the meantime!!!!  Please also click through the months’ of posts connected to the archive links on the right side of this blog.  This blog’s top search bar can also be used to locate posts with topic related to child abuse and the Trauma Altered Development it causes in its survivors.

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+MOTHER ABUSE OF INFANTS AND CHILDREN TIED TO BIRTHING

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I cannot suggest strongly enough how critically important it is for survivors of severe infant-child abuse to gather as much information as they possibly can about the circumstances surrounding their birth.  I understand the obscuring clouds of time most often hinder a search as important as this one is, but ALWAYS TRY your HARDEST to learn what happened to you and to your mother while you were being born.

All such survivors who were born in America prior to the 1970s need to take a look at the online information related to this footnote being written for my book containing my own severe infant-child abuse history.  Please Google search the terms “Twilight Sleep” with and/or without the added term of “childbirth.”  This is especially important for any survivor of severe abuse perpetrated by a Borderline Personality Disorder mother!

In my case the psychotic break Mother experienced during her long and difficult labor with breech-birth me was so profound as to be almost unbelievable.  But it was REAL, and created such a hell of a reality as to obliterate true reality from my mother’s mind.  She absolutely believed that I was not human, that I was the tool of the devil, the devil’s child sent to kill her while I was being born.  Because we both survived the birth she believed until her death in 2002 that the devil sent me to kill her and I failed, but ever after I was a ‘curse upon’ her life.

I believe Mother’s fear that ‘the devil was coming to get her’ originated in terrorist threats made to her in connection to abuse in her childhood.  This fear turned into a reality in Mother’s mind during her delivery of me that lasted until her death.

My footnote about my birth currently reads in its unedited format:

In 2006 as I began to research the truth of what happened to me in consequence of Mother’s severe abuse of me I eventually discovered that Mother most likely suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a mental health diagnostic category that was first defined in 1984.  I can clearly see in my mind’s eye a sentence at the top of one book’s top left page in which the psychiatrist author noted that his sister had always believed that their Mother’s BPD psychotic break was caused by the administration to her during labor of a drug referred to as Twilight Sleep.  I cannot remember the title of this book but those words resonated powerfully with me.

The Queen of Angels Hospital where I was born no longer exists.  The building was purchased in 1996 and now holds The Dream Center, a Pentecostal Christian Church mission that services the needs of the homeless.  Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center is the surviving facility last connected to Queen of Angels Hospital.

In a recent telephone conversation with an anesthesiologist in their labor and delivery center I was recently told that it is impossible to find any information pertaining to my birth.  When I questioned him about the possibility that Mother suffered a psychotic BPD break because she was given Twilight Sleep during her long and difficult breech delivery of me, this person told me that should any physician consider the risk of any drug’s side effects nobody could possibly administer any drug on the market.

This professional told me that there is always a 3% to 5% that a laboring mother will suffer such a devastating reaction to the birth of her child with or without complications caused by anesthesia.  Most mothers, he told me, eventually recover without harm to the infant.  I assured him such was not the case with my mother and that I suffered horrendous abuse for 18 years in consequence of the damage that happened to Mother’s mind in Queen of Angels Hospital.

That the use of Twilight Sleep blighted the history of childbirth in America through the 1970s was itself a consequence of well-intentioned efforts by early American suffragettes to bring so-called painless childbirth to every American woman.  Around 1915 a group of educated women of means had traveled to Germany to visit a friend who delivered a baby under this new ‘miracle drug’ while they were with her.  Back in America these women fought long and hard against the resistance of ‘the white male American medical profession’ to successfully get the painless childbirth option into America’s medical mainstream.

Twilight Sleep, a combination of an opium debilitative that induced hallucinations without loss of consciousness and a derivative of Night Shade that induced amnesia (combination of morphine and scopolamine), often interfered with mother-infant bonding even in healthy women.  Babies born under its influence often experienced respiratory distress, many of them needing resuscitation.  In fact, although Mother never once mentioned or expressed concern about what her labor with me did to her infant, it is very possible that if this drug was used on Mother I was born dead as a result.

At its origins in Germany Twilight Sleep was administered only by an attending physician during labor, in exact dosages carefully given according to specific stages of labor.  Fears about its misuse in the American medical community were eventually proved valid as over-burdened nurses overdosed their patients in direct contradiction to its proper use.  In larger hospital labor rooms patients were lined up in their beds like sardines in a can, confined to their beds by large leather straps in beds lined up along walls (the worst thing to do to a Borderline mother).  I can imagine horrific screaming mayhem in these rooms and in the experience of many if not most of these laboring mothers.  In a hospital like Queen of Angels, where the husbands were forbidden to see their wives during labor, I can imagine a hell worse than hell existed under these conditions.

To make a long but important story short in this regard, I highly suspect this drug was used on Mother and me during my birthing although I will never be able to prove it.  If this drug was used in my deliver the devastating implications of its use in my case are obvious.  Yes, Mother could have had the same reaction during her hard labor without this drug, but in any event I suffered severe abuse for 18 years from whatever broke my mother during her delivery of me.

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Answers to many questions – found at this post: 

+HOP! HOP! THE BLOG FROG’S PICK OF PAST POSTS

I need to return to the book writing!!  Lots to read at this link above in the meantime!!!!  Please also click through the months’ of posts connected to the archive links on the right side of this blog.  This blog’s top search bar can also be used to locate posts with topic related to child abuse and the Trauma Altered Development it causes in its survivors.

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+TOUGH CHILDHOODS, TOUGH LIVES, TOUGH STORIES

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Today was a day to clear my writing road and begin rough draft two on the book.  It is hard for me to leave this blog unattended, but I cannot write what needs to be said over here right now.  Please bear with me, readers.  A book is being born…………

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Answers to many questions – found at this post: 

+HOP! HOP! THE BLOG FROG’S PICK OF PAST POSTS

I need to return to the book writing!!  Lots to read at this link above in the meantime!!!!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

+MOVIE – TEMPLE GRANDIN: RELATES TO SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL BRAIN CHANGES FROM INFANT ABUSE

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I finally watched the movie, Temple Grandin, tonight.  Dr. Grandin’s story is an intriguing story about success over autism.  Over half of the cattle butchered in America breathe their last in a slaughter house designed by Grandin to guarantee humane death to the animals.  Visit her official website HERE.

Temple Grandin earned her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois, went on to become an associate professor at Colorado State University, and wrote two books on autism, including the seminal “Thinking in Pictures.” One of the most celebrated — and effective — animal advocates on the planet, Grandin revolutionized animal movement systems and spearheaded reform of the quality of life for the world’s agricultural animals.

I have enough on my plate right now that I am not ready to read this book, but I sure have questions I bet these authors answer:  Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries through the Unique Perspectives of Autism — by Temple Grandin, Sean Barron (Also available at Amazon.com HERE)

I believe that people who suffered from radically unsafe and insecure early attachments with their mother including abuse such as I did share in common with autistic disorders some radical differences in the way our right social-emotional brain handles human relationship information.  In fact, I know about myself that I fake most of what I know about human interactions.  I am not a native to human expressions or communication.

If anyone reads this post and resonates with my statements in the above paragraph please watch this movie, Temple Grandin.  For those of us who were severely abused as infants, our social-emotional processing physiology was very likely altered as we developed even though we are not autistic per se.

If I had the money I would very much value an opportunity to visit with Dr. Grandin in person about my many concerns about how survivors of infant abuse and severely interrupted mother-infant emotional-social interactions make us very different from ordinary people.  Our early very rapidly developing brain did not build itself normally because it lacked normal social-emotional interactions to build into itself normal patterns of human interaction from the start of our life.

Now – we fake our interactions in perhaps less exaggerated ways than is portrayed in Temple Grandin — but fake it I believe we do.  This makes us a different sort of person from normal-ordinary, one I believe is more similar in many ways to autistic than it is to normal.  I believe I am way ahead of the curve in seeing and knowing this – because I experience it and always have.  Our society has a long ways to go before we are ready to recognize the very special patterns of infant-caregiver interactions that build a fully healthy human ability to interact emotionally and socially – within our own self and with others.

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Answers to many questions – found at this post: 

+HOP! HOP! THE BLOG FROG’S PICK OF PAST POSTS

I need to return to the book writing!!  Lots to read at this link above in the meantime!!!!

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