In the over one thousand posts I have written for this blog I have never once chosen to use the word ‘psychology’ until today. I address topics related to survivorship of severe infant-childhood trauma, abuse, neglect, maltreatment and the lifelong physiological consequences survivors live with. I use the word today carefully and with reservations.
Because it is estimated that only about 50% of our population receives the infant experience of optimal safe and secure attachment to their earliest caregivers — especially to their mother — I know this means that the other half of our population grows a body-brain conception to age two (the most critical stages of our development happen during our first 33 months of life) that has built into it some version of an insecure attachment disorder.
People with ANY attachment system built into their body-brain that is less than the optimal safe and secure pattern experience changes in their physiological development. Until our so-called experts decide to unanimously recognize, accept and understand this fact I do not believe much of any use at all is included in the so-called ‘field of psychology’.
The operations of the Central Nervous System (CNS) (which includes the brain), of the Autonomic Nervous system (ANS) (which includes the so-called stress response), and the vagal nervous system that process all the information used by both the CNS/brain and ANS are centrally and fundamentally determined by our earliest attachment relationships during these first 33 months of our life.
Whatever we or anyone else might observe about our ‘psychology’ is secondary to what is ACTUALLY happening within our body. What happens in our body is determined by how our early attachment relationships TOLD our body to form. This, to me, makes the ‘field of psychology’ a peripheral study that is rarely accurate because the construction and operation of a person’s attachment system is very, very, very (if ever) included in any ‘psychological’ discussion.
I know that the word ‘psychology’ rests in its origins upon Psyche who appeared in myth. Psyche as a word itself originally described ‘the breath’ of life.
Today I am specifically thinking about my own book writing process about my severely abusive infant-childhood that has mysteriously come to a complete halt. I have been patiently, prayerfully and hopefully been waiting for a solution to my ‘freezing’ problem. I suspect that a piece of the answer I have been waiting for appeared last evening as I wrote an email to a friend of mine who was also a neighbor to my family back in the Alaskan valley where my parents homesteaded.
Suddenly as I wrote to my friend the image of the mythological figure Medusa appeared in my mind. While it might be easy for me to know that this Medusa and her snake hair would be a reference to my severely mentally ill (probably Borderline Personality Disorder with psychotic features) abusive mother, I took another step in my awareness to be able to expand what I remember of the Medusa myth into my current writing-block situation.
As soon as a clear mythological (dramatic) allusion appears in thought, be it from the old myths of any culture or from ‘fairy tales’, I know (as Jung suggested) that some important reference has appeared from the underlying ‘psychic’ (the unconscious levels of human Psyche as per ‘psychology’) that can offer important information about ‘what is really going on’.
As I began working my way through the first rough draft of my book toward the finalized second draft I hit a stone wall and came to a DEAD stop. I have been immobilized. In fact, as the Medusa myth reference would suggest, I have been TURNED INTO STONE.
Is it possible that as I worked to tell the truth about my terrible life with Mother — as I searched to apply my own rules of inner integrity toward telling the WHOLE truth — that I made a choice I have never made before?
Did I choose to no longer view the experiences I am writing about as reflections in the ‘safety’ of a mirror and instead choose to turn and for the first time in my 60-year life to face the truth where my Medusa mother stands directly at the center of all of it?
If turning to face Medusa I have been turned into stone — I know this has happened at a PSYCHOLOGICAL level. Knowing what is ‘psychological’ versus what is physiological lets a person find very real solutions based on the facts of their life. Ordinary ‘psychological’ speculation does NOT reveal facts. It reveals guesses.
How do I know today that I have shown myself a new ‘organization’ of facts related to what has stopped me dead in my book-writing process?
I know because I can FEEL the truth of what I ‘was shown’ (probably by my right brain hemisphere’s sophisticated ability to communicate in IMAGES). The inner constellation of information related to the myth of Medusa as it connects to what has happened to me as I turned one final time to each story I have written in unfinished draft form of the terrible abuse I experienced (and remember), now gives me something to consciously work with and through.
I have renewed hope that I can write this book!
I would say the number one reason I suffered for those 18 years was not because my mother was insanely abusive to me — and therefore ‘deserves’ all the blame. I would say the number one reason I suffered is because nobody STOPPED MOTHER.
NOBODY saw Mother for ‘what’ she was (and therefore for ‘who’ she was).
NOBODY looked directly at Mother or her actions. NOBODY stood up to Mother. NOBODY questioned her. NOBODY stopped her.
EVERYONE (including my father and grandmother) only saw some reflection of Mother in a mirror — a reflection that was imagined and was a complete LIE!
I, as the survivor of her targeted severe abuse, have also never looked at Mother straight on, either.
I have never been able to TOLERATE looking at the TRUTH about what that woman did to me!
I am asking myself — for the integrity of this book and for my own integrity — to look at MOTHER as I look at the absolute truth of what I experienced — for the first time in my life —
And yes, I was completely unprepared for this ‘being turned into frozen stone’!
I was completely unprepared for being stopped dead in my writing tracks as I came so close — SO CLOSE — to telling this truth the best that I can.
Every infant-child is on a quest-full journey from birth, through their earliest years, into adulthood. I was no exception. How could I have been? If nobody in the Medusa myth had quested or journeyed or traveled anywhere near Medusa nobody would have been at risk of being turned into stone if they looked at her instead of her mirrored image (in the myth seen in a magical metal shield).
But a myth is exactly that, no matter how deeply connected to human ‘psychological’ reality in the deep unconscious it might be.
I do not wish to succumb to remaining frozen-as-stone at this point in my life — or in my writing. And yet it will take me some amount of time now (undetermined) to CHANGE my own ‘psychology’ so that I can get back to work!! I do need to drop the mirror (denial, dissociation, forgetting) from my line of vision to tell the truth in my book.
Yes, I am ‘going where angels fear to tread’ but I know this task if possible or I would not feel impassioned to do it. Passion is at the core of the Psyche-Eros myth — linked inseparably to wisdom and willingness. And that myth is far more of a primary one than the myth about Medusa and her stupid, ugly, stone-turning-into head full of snakes!
I can do this. I can stare Medusa down.