I am asking this question this morning: “Is the person that I am — experiencing the experiences of my life — nothing more than just yet another experience of my life?” At the same time I wonder if it isn’t only survivors of severe infant-child abuse attacks that will be able to resonate with the root of this question — because I suspect it is a deeply spiritual one.
I certainly had no sophisticated ability to think about myself in the world — not as a very young child, not even as a teen. I suspect the difference between myself as a survivor of continual severe abuse for my first 18 years (along with other survivors) and those who did not suffer abuse is that there is a fork in the road that makes those two groups of children grow into their life, grow a body and a nervous system (including their brain) in two very different ways.
Research now clearly documents the serious kinds of body-brain changes that early abuse and trauma create in survivors. It is far harder to find descriptions about what these kinds of changes FEEL like to us as we continue to survive – to endure — to stay alive — and to live the rest of our lives in our trauma-changed body. (This blog is packed with information about these changes.)
Being shocked, terrorized, violently assaulted, confined, etc. (!!) — often when I least suspected an attack by my mother — always HURT me terribly in many, many ways. In other words, the sickness that pervaded my mother’s body and life continually interrupted my experience of myself having experiences of myself in my own body in my own life.
People who were never severely abused during their earliest most important developmental years of infancy and childhood did not experience the massive interruptions in ongoing life experience that violent attacks create in the experience of a little one. Ordinary people grow a body-brain that appears to be seamless in its ability to process ongoing information in the present as the past moves smoothly into the future.
Brutally attacked little people are massively overwhelmed on every level by the amount of trauma being done to them. Not only are they sidetracked and detoured away from going about their own business of being a little person learning about the world and about their own self in that world when violent, brutal attacks interrupt their life — they are also left unable to process or to integrate or to learn from or to make sense out of the MASSIVE amount of horrible information these attacks overwhelm them with!
These brutalized children are left during attacks all alone in the world without loving protection, help and support of anyone to take care of them.
There is a high price paid to survive the violent, violating experiences of early brutal traumatic attacks and the environment within which these attacks take place.
As I ask this question I presented at the start of this post I am aware that what I am aware of in my experience of myself in this life this morning FEELS in my body memory to be very familiar to me.
I remain sick after a week of trying to fight my own way through this nasty coughing flu. Doctors told my daughter that they could not treat this malaise in my grandson because it was viral. I therefore have not sought medical help yet — but I will have to after these holidays because this is not going away on its own. Something is wrong.
At the same time as I wander slowly through actions of my morning I realize this strange feeling of one part of me following my body-self around — complete with some part of my self INSIDE the body feeling sick and having the experience of no energy, hungry without appetite, long bouts of coughing that won’t stop no matter what, inability to sleep, ETC. — is yet another PART of me.
It’s like the timing of experience is separated, as in a movie where the words spoken by actors’ lips are not in synch. The part of me hovering around the sick person’s body moving slowly through space recognizes everything that happens in a different timeline than does the part of me that is sick inside and with this body.
I know this feeling because of the hard work I have done regarding the writing of the stories of my childhood of abuse. Always when I locate myself in a brutal memory there is ME there experiencing myself in my little child life BEFORE one of Mother’s attacks. Once her violent intrusion occurs, there is a break in my ongoing experience of myself in my life.
Suddenly — and I mean out of nowhere instantaneously — MAKES NO SENSE TO ME! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? — Mother would ATTACK ME!
Painfully in ways that only survivors of this kind of abuse know. Extreme pain on all levels including TERROR in the body. Those attacks MADE MY BODY HURT AND SICK. Sick. Like my body is now.
And just like now, just like then — there was a part of me that was forced to be OUTSIDE the physical experience of being IN that sick and hurting body of mine.
I could call this experience ‘dissociation’ if I wanted to — but quite frankly that word is completely pitiful to describe the BIGNESS and the SIGNIFICANCE of what I am talking about.
I do believe in a soul, that God created our soul when we were conceived — that our soul is connected to our physical body but not INSIDE our body throughout our duration on this earth — and that when our soul and body separate our soul goes on to live forever.
In this lifetime, barring sickness of the body that interferes with the ability of the soul to express itself in connection to our body in this world (as I believe happened to my mother through her terrible sickness — see: *NO MATTER WHAT – HAVE NO ENEMY). I believe this ‘tampering with’ of connection is an experience — that can be EXPERIENCED in terms of what it FEELS like.
I am having that experience now. I know this feeling. I can recognize it exactly at the instant of every one of my mother’s brutal attacks of me that I can remember. First the world I lived in would be ONE way
it would be ANOTHER WAY!
I was NEVER prepared. My mother suffered from insanity, though I had no way to know this as a child (and it took a LONG time into my adulthood to understand this fact).
The human soul, we are told, has a supreme power called ‘the rational ability’. My mother’s particular sickness (I suspect severe Borderline Personality Disorder) barred her soul’s ‘rational mind’ ability from operating — which then enabled her in sickness to commit so much EVIL — ESPECIALLY when it came to her psychosis about me.
So NOBODY – most certainly not little me — understood what was wrong with Mother. Her attacks were irrational and could not be predicted.
But when her attacks came they broke my ongoing experience of reality. I would have to travel, then, through the very long tunnel of all the bizarre twists of abuse of all kinds that followed one of her attacks, all the way through coping in my body with horrific physical pain, until sometime LATER when she wore herself out on a particular attack — and eventually left me alone —
for a little while
so I could get BACK to being a child in my own life
This flu is evidently a MINOR (though ICKY and very real) version of a BAM! as my body self is stuck living it
while my soul self (I bet) sort of floats along waiting
for this body to heal itself
to get better
to get back to the business of ongoing ‘normal’ life as I usually know it.
By the way, I have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in consequence of terrible childhood abuse. Going to a clinic is a trauma trigger for me in many ways — and is very hard for me to do — for many reasons. I have no memory of the last time I had a flu like this. It had to be over 30 years ago. But if I can hang in there to avoid having to go to an ER and wait until the town’s clinic opens again on Tuesday, I will have to bear myself up to enter that confined, stranger-filled, claustrophobic space to get some help for this body.
I don’t like ANY part of how I am feeling right now. But I am also very clear that it is not my soul (nor was it probably my mother’s soul) that suffers sickness. Sickness happens to a body — and that sickness then interferes with a soul’s ability to express itself in the world.
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