+MEMORY OF THE PAST AND MEMORY OF THE FUTURE – DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK RIGHT FOR EARLY TRAUMA SURVIVORS

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Maybe much trauma drama is a side effect of the need to run.

My need to run originated early in my life, probably even before I had the ability to sit up, crawl or walk.  This need to run is tied directly to the fight/flight/freeze response to threat.  My need to escape Mother’s abuse existed long before I had the ability to think about what was happening to me in words.

Once I left home at 18 my urge to flee found fulfillment although I had no words even then to think about what I continued to do all through my adult life.  Even today at 60 as I left my home to drive into town today to sit at a coffee shop outdoor plaza to write this, that is exactly what I did.  I ran.

More than a need for change or drama my urge to flee is tied to difficulties I have in processing information.  These difficulties exist deep in my trauma-altered physiology.  Changes that ongoing abuse trauma from birth created in the way my nervous system/brain formed in response to trauma means that I often lack the natural ability to process certain hardships and stresses in my life.  My active coping mechanisms frequently require that I continually and physically move forward in SPACE at the same simultaneously as I move forward in TIME.

I can clearly track this pattern in the first full-body age-22 1/2 month old beating memory that I so avoid writing right now.

Scientists know that sharks and migrating geese have no need to sleep because no new information is coming into their brain for processing.  When I run, I count on moving through time and space as they do.  It is not new information I am seeking or running toward most of the time.  I run FROM information in the past (often the immediate past) that I lack abilities to process and integrate.

My movements into a continual new future need to be AWAY from trauma rather than into it (if at all possible).  While my continual moving/changing locations was often hard on my children, I never met changes in this process that presented a challenge I could not meet one way or the other.  There were tough times and hardships to face but conquer them I could – and did — again, one way or the other.

It has always been the challenges on the inside of me that I have most found impossible to resolve.  Understanding is a high-priced item.

Even as I contemplate the work I have ahead of me to face the writing of my childhood memories, I have no hope of resolving anything.  I can do no more than travel backward into trauma experiences hoping that good will come out of this book in the future once it has been written.

It is not my nature to move backward in time.  It is in my nature to run into the future.  Any hope for relief I ever had as a child existed in some unknown moment in the future when a beating would finally end, or when I could go to the bathroom or eat or leave confinement in a corner or my bed.  Any hope for resolution of problems I continue to have resides in the infinite possibilities of the future.

These patterns have always been about survival.  Hope for survival is the same thing as survival itself.  No matter which way I turn this book writing task around in my thoughts, continued survival is all that I see.  Anything else that ever happens in my life is a mere ripple in that great ocean of “To be alive means only that I move into my future,” and I do not stop.

I would not sing a song backwards.  One doesn’t put a puzzle together backwards, either, or one would be taking it apart instead.  I have enjoyed ‘making things’ with my hands all of my life since my age two (that I know of), and these acts of creation are also about moving forward into the future, not backward into the past.

Even though this book I am working on is about my past I have to find a way to ‘move it into my future’ — one word at a time — or it will never be written at all.

NOTE:  My force-of-life was focused forward when I was growing up, not backward.   I moved forward in time AWAY from an attack — certainly never did I move forward in time TOWARD an attack — I was nearly ALWAYS surprised when I was attacked again out of nowhere — I could not predict, control, avoid or escape any of them.  Forward memory (future memory) in the brain is about anticipation and prediction — when traumatic chaos builds an infant-child’s brain these processes are changed.

Retrospect is meant to be an ability in the brain that allows us to take what we learn from the past that’s useful for the future.  Early severe infant-abuse trauma does not create the opportunity to learn a single thing from violent, unpredictable, insane chaos (something any sane growing brain-mind is going to run from as soon, as fast and as far as it can).

What I am talking about today is part of what it IS like and FEELS like to have one of the ‘evolutionarily altered brains’ described in this article:

The neurobiological consequences of early stress and childhood maltreatment.

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 27 (2003) 33-44

Martin H. Teicher, Susan L. Andersen, Ann Polcari, Carl M. Anderson, Carryl P. Navalta, Dennis M. Kim

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