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Archive for March, 2012

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Today an all day art fair was held in this small town.  I volunteered to help a woman who had a booth where children could paint birds with brilliant water colors and then glue all kinds of feathers and tiny shiny things on them if they wished.  There were many other art projects available for the children throughout the old school building that has been turned into an art center.  Hundreds of children participated with their parents.

Between running little water bottles across the hall to refill them with fresh water between children, I watched.  Of course the children that showed up belonged with parents who cared enough to get them to the fair — a select group in many ways, I suppose.  But what fun the children had.  Pure — FUN!

Yet all of the children were also quite serious about their work.  Very intent.  Very focused.  Every one of them held their own unique vision — and fulfilled it.  I saw no frustration.  So self judgment.  I did see lots of enjoyment — and innocence.

I marveled at the freedom of heart these children have.  They are fully occupied with being children — as if there is no tomorrow.  As if there is no possibility of realization that in not very many years they will all be grown up — as they become so different from the children they are right now (I suppose all of them, over 100 that came into our room throughout the day, were under age 14).

What will they remember of their childhood?  Where does that simple pure clarity go that lets these children be but one thing — their own self?

I can never be around groups of children like I was today, watching them, providing for them whatever I can to make sure they have what they need to make what their heart wishes — without wondering what I would have looked like when I was their age – to somebody else who was watching me.

I noticed in the slides I was going through yesterday of my childhood that there are pictures of me with my siblings – most often pictures taken on holidays, where there is a smile on my face.  I don’t have a slide projector – so I won’t know what these pictures actually tell me until the day I can scan them into my computer and view them closely.

How could I have ever been happy as a child – in between the terrible abuse?  I saw no sadness in the eyes of any of these children today.  Who could ever see sadness in the face of a child and not wish to do anything possible to make that sadness go away?

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My own happy moment came when a young girl about nine spotted the painting of a bird I had started before any of the children arrived.  I did not have it quite done — but this little girl spotted it and loved it so much she asked who it belonged to — and if she could have it for her own.

Of course she could have it for her own!  I asked her if she wished to paint in the small amount of white paper I had not had time to fill.  Nope.  She loved the painted bird picture exactly the way it was.  I still smile inside to know something I created so pleased the heart and eye of a child!  Nothing could have affirmed ME more today.  Nothing.

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Just a little more venting about my efforts to ‘repair’ the Lloyd children’s story of our childhood today!  Off to my work table at the laundromat cafe I went at 8 this morning.  By 6 this evening I had every slide I am going to include in this saga in an archival quality slide slot – sorted MOSTLY by year.

The extras I am not going to keep in the main body of this work are being sent to my youngest sister in Seattle.  What I have left will still need to be further sorted by month of each year.  Mother mis-dated and mis-labeled many of her slides (she’s been dead since 2002).  Most are not dated at all.

SO MANY MOVES – and many of them are not reflected in the slides – which came to me in a total mess.  My ‘forensic autobiography’ as my youngest brother calls my efforts still has a long way to go — but such a long ways I have come!

These slides begin at Christmas 1955 – or 1956 — depending on what Mother decided to write on slides that seem to all be of the same Christmas!  Then, these ‘same’ slides are either labeled to have been taken in their home on Calavaras St. in Altadena, CA — OR in the next house they bought and moved into in Glendora, CA.

No way could I begin today to work my way back through — yet again — the Lloyd family mess.  But what pictures, priceless pictures of we children!  Most I swear I have never seen before.

And of course there are slides of the early Alaskan homesteading saga – all yet to be put in exact order.

Significant to me is the fact that I found one picture of my mother that I absolutely LOVE!  It is the ONLY slide in these hundreds that the film turned very red.  Mother did label this one correctly in that she is sitting at a natural little brook “washing vegetables.”  I remember this spring very well.  I turned 7 at the little cabin we lived in for those three summer months of 1958.

The cabin had no running water, no insulation – when winter showed up Mother gave up her mission to ‘practice homesteading’ in this cabin and headed into an apartment in Anchorage where I spent my 2nd grade year.

But in that picture — Mother wearing a long gathered black skirt brightly ringed with rick-rack — looks absolutely GORGEOUS and even more than happy.

I have written before here that I discovered as I transcribed the mess of Mother’s letters and journals (which took me about 2 years to do) I found two months in late winter 1958 that my mother was living in what I call “a state of perfect grace.”  Mother was obviously also in that same state when the picture of her at the spring was taken.

Although God’s grace surrounds us all – all of the time — few of us can reach or remain in that state.  Yet considering how terribly mentally ill my mother was, it seems such an incredible miracle to me that Mother could have reached that state at all.  Certainly Alaska was healing to Mother in her early years there.

I find myself thinking today that if Mother had been THE MOTHER she was in this picture all of the time — she would have been a WELL MOTHER — and my and my siblings’ lives would have been entirely different THEN — and would be in consequence NOW.

I have a lot of work yet to do on this project.  At what point I will be able to scan the slides in – let alone repair them – I don’t know.  Even thinking about that stage of this task intimidates me greatly.  But I am very pleased with my progress these past two days!  One more full day will be needed to get the months of these years from 1955 through 1969 in order.

Meanwhile, I REALLY need to cook and eat some dinner!!!!  Tomorrow I am volunteering 10-3 in town at a kids’ art fair……  Meanwhile, time for a little down time!  This was a day well spent.

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I have set before myself the intimidating task of putting in order the history of the Lloyd family presented in this terribly disorganized collection of our family’s slides taken during the homesteading years of my childhood in Alaska.  Yesterday I hauled the box of slides up to my neighborhood laundromat cafe and set myself up on a corner table to go to work on this task.  No doubt the terribly unsettled feelings I have this morning as I awoke at 3:20 a.m. are coming from the digging up of memories related to these pictures.

There will eventually be another nearly overwhelming task of figuring out what to do with these pictures once I have them identified by year and put all in order in their tidy little archival quality plastic slide holder sheets.  But it does me no good to try to think ahead to that part of this job.  Right now I am left with doing what needs to be done first — putting our chaotic family story into linear order by time and by place.

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Another string of thoughts I am having is related to my having picked up a book at the laundromat last week.  There are shelves of books at the laundromat where people bring in and donate books they don’t want.  Often in trade people take books they find there home to read.

This 1989 book may be considered obsolete:

Breaking Free: A Recovery Workbook for Facing Codependence (1989)

Pia Mellody and Andrea Wells Miller

I have never yet read any book on ‘codependence’ all the way through.  I have great difficulty in thinking about human beings in terms of a word many authors on the subjects use – or over use:  ‘dysfunctional’.

That word is a mechanistic word perhaps appropriate for some kind of tool or machine.  Humans are not machines.  I know I COULD stretch my imagination to begin to understand what the word means when applied to people — but no matter how ‘messed up’ any person might be, we are never really BROKEN — like some material object might be that once had a purpose to fulfill that is no longer possible at some point once this material object breaks!

There is another word that is nearly always paired with ‘codependency’ and ‘dysfunctional’.  That word is ‘dissociation’, usually listed (as it is in this book) with ‘defense mechanisms’ abused/traumatized children and adults are said to use in some situations they experience that are overwhelming — and terrible.

These authors include ‘dissociation’ in a descriptive list that also includes ‘suppression’ and ‘repression’ as follows:

“Suppression is consciously choosing to forget things that are too painful to remember.  You make a decision to put the memory away, or to “forget,” so that you don’t have to feel the painful or unacceptable feelings associated with it.

“Repression is automatically and unconsciously forgetting things that are too painful to remember.  Such painful and frightening memories are “automatically” shifted into the unconscious mind where they are “lost” or hidden.

“A child using dissociation psychologically takes his or her emotional and mental self away somewhere where the abuse is not experienced in full.  In other words, the child no longer experiences the abuse at the intense emotional and mental level at which the physical pain is felt, although the physical body of the child is still being abused.

“Children usually reserve dissociation to survive abuse they believe is life-threatening, such as incest, molestation, or being beaten until they think the beating is going to kill them.  The fear is either that who they are is going to be destroyed, or that they’ll be physically destroyed.”  (page xiii)

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I don’t have the book,

Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives by Pia Mellody and Andrea Wells Miller (May 17, 1989)

to which the workbook I picked up belongs.  This may be a useful pair of books for some people to use to identify the details of their childhood abuse history so that they can begin to change their relationship patterns with self and others in their adult lives.

Personally I have never gotten any further than the introduction in any of these types of books after I have opened the covers to.  I doubt I will get any further in this workbook, either.

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I do not have a history of sexual abuse.  I do have a history of extremely severe and overwhelming abuse of all other kinds over the first 18 years of my life.  I think that coming from the infancy-childhood that I did I am as ‘functional’ as any human being could possibly be!  I did a FANTASTIC job of surviving!

I am complex, as every human being is.  Labeling what might be ‘wrong’ with me in mechanistic terms just has never felt helpful to me.

In addition, what developmental neuroscientists know today about how early trauma and its stress changes development removes, in my opinion, much of what writers used to stuff into the closet with ‘dissociation’ painted on a sign and nailed to the door vague if not completely inaccurate.

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I do agree that dissociation is about memory processing and retrieval — or non-retrieval.  The fact is that much of what used to be thrown also behind the doors named ‘suppression’ and ‘repression’ don’t belong there, either.

Very simply put as I need to understand it, the stress hormone cortisol can literally heat up the brain’s neurons in the hippocampus memory processing region of the brain that factual details of traumas are never retained in the first place.  The cortisol literally burns the neurons trying to process the memory into cinders.

POOF!  Facts GONE!

Another part of the brain, the amygdala, processes emotional memories belonging in and kept by THE BODY.

It is rare in these kinds of discussions for the other important aspects of memory to be included such details about (do Google searches for some of these memory terms) — noetic and autonoetic consciousness, autobiographical memory, semantic memory, episodic memory, working memory, etc.  If you online search ‘brain development memory’ you will find even more info.  Add in ‘child abuse’, and……

What matters TO ME has to do with how abuse I suffered interfered with my own ongoing experiences of my SELF in my body in my earliest life.  Every time I was attacked in any way I was thrown off of the track of experiencing myself in my own life.  Theses attacks caused breaks – breaches – in my ongoing experience of ‘self-in-life’.

They did not, however, BREAK ME.  These attacks were NOT a part of ME – were not a part of MY EXPERIENCE of my own self in my life as a child.

These attacks BELONGED TO MY MOTHER, not to me.  During the many extended abuse episodes I experienced as a child the time of my childhood life did continue to pass (with me in the middle of these ‘times’).  I suffered.  I endured.  But HOW I experienced attacks was different than ‘eating up as my own’ the actual attacks themselves – which came from my mother.

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Maybe I can describe it like this:

You are trying to concentrate on something that concerns YOU.  Perhaps you are browsing your Facebook page, reading a book, writing an email, watching a movie…..

Someone comes and INTERRUPTS you!

You KNOW the difference between what you wish to be doing, that which occupies YOU — and what someone else does to interrupt you.

True, once the interruption has passed so that you can put your concentration back where YOU naturally want it, things ARE different.  The facts about the interruption do become a part of your reality – somehow……

That interruption has for all practical purposes created a ‘dissociation’ of some kind in what WAS and could have been your continuous experience of being your own self doing what you wanted to do.  BUT YOU DID NOT CREATE THAT INTERRUPTION OR THE AUTOMATIC DISSOCIATION that the interruption created.

To say that dissociation that happens in this way is connected to a ‘defense mechanism’ within you — well, to me that’s a nonsensical assessment of the conditions of reality as I am presenting them here as an illustration.

You didn’t create the break in your own ongoing experience of yourself in your OWN life — someone else did it to/for you.

There we were as kids associating with our self having our own experiences of our self in our life — and BAM!!  We were interrupted — usually violently and painfully in ways that caused terror within us.

Then we had to cope with the interruptions (endure, survive) until such a time as we could AGAIN get back to OUR BUSINESS (re-associate with our self) of being a kid growing up having experiences of meaning to self.  When we were interrupted we then had to DIS-ASSOCIATE from our own business because someone else INTRUDED into our life.

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I do not OWN the interruptions my abusive mother caused in my life as an infant-child.  SHE created those nearly continual dissociations in my experience.  I DID NOT CREATE those breaks in my ongoing experience of my own self having my own life.  MOTHER DID!

Mother heaped her suffering upon me in any way she could, any time she wanted to.  I could not prevent these attacks or the interruptions they created in my own experience of myself in my body in my infancy and childhood.

I was completely present every time these interruptions happened.  If I had not been hyper-present during her beatings to make every effort I could not to get my head smashed open as she bashed me this way and that against hard objects, I would be dead now. (etc.)

I suffered my mother’s suffering.  In between, in my invisible times when she wasn’t occupying the time of my early life that actually BELONGED to ME, I had a wonderful time being curious and finding beauty and learning things about the world.  But my own time was not allowed to happen in a continuous stream.

I therefore have very little ability to remember my life in a continuous stream.  Mother interrupted me too many times for my body-brain to build pathways and circuits to process my memory of myself in my life in anything like an ‘ordinary’ way.  My memories are kept in ‘pieces’ just as surely as these slides I am working with provide snippets of visual images that are NOT innately connected to one another — or to any specific meaning by themselves — in any way.

I am the one creating coherent order out of the chaos of this slide mess – just as I am the one continually creating coherent order out of my own experience of myself living my life.

The way I have always remembered myself in my own life is not due to any ‘defense mechanisms’, but rather to the very real physiological conditions of my growth and development in a terribly traumatic and abusive environment.  As a result I am different, but I am not broken.

Nothing I have ever encountered in any book about ‘codependency’ addresses the reality of my experience.  I therefore diverge in my understanding from that of such authors before I make it through their book’s introduction.  I don’t even bother to try to make my thinking follow the course of their thoughts.  To do so would be yet another interruption in my own ongoing experience of my self in my body in my life — I don’t want or need.

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SEE ALSO:

+A COLLECTION OF THIS BLOG’S LINKS ON DISSOCIATION AND DISORGANIZED-DISORIENTED INSECURE ATTACHMENT

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I awoke yesterday morning with this song, or rather with the memory of it that then needed to be clarified and written down.  (The last line ‘showed up’ a month ago — the song it belonged in has caught up with it!)

This song is a gift to Prairie Rose Seminole and to the Native American Center Project – 109 9th Street South, Fargo, ND 58103

It is dedicated in loving friendship to Gladys Ray, an Anishinabeg (Chippewa – Ojibwa) elder who no longer lives in body on this earth.  I first met this loving, gentle, wise, kind, amazing woman in 1975 (at the time of my 24th birthday) at The American Indian Center she had founded in Fargo, North Dakota.

All the verses of the song resonate only with a repeating “C” chord – which I found fascinating!  I am reminded of the Great Drums of the People.  The melody to the chorus adds “F” and “G” chords.  I experienced goosebumps and felt moved to depth-tears especially as I heard the chorus notes appear.

Thank you Creator for Your love, for songs, for love and friendship and family, for hope and faith, for healing, for our memories, and for the gift of the sweet life that we all live here and in the hereafter!

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The Forever Love

You were such a friend to us all

It was to you for love we’d call

You never let a person down

A truer friend could not be found

Our love for you is strong

We think of you in song

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We walk in faith and goodness now

Because you helped to show us how

Through changes that we found so great

You taught us it is not too late

For wisdom left us here

By ancestors so dear (chorus)

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To others you held out your hand

To lend your strength to take a stand

For all that is so good and fair

No matter what we all are there

Loving in our heart

We’re never far apart

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When feeling sad for you we yearn

We remember you, smile and turn

To someone else who has a care

And with them our love we will share

The circle’s moving ’round

With all the kindness found (chorus)

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Chorus

Forever our loved ones are with us when we laugh and when we cry

We walk so softly on this earth the wind does not hear us pass by

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(c) Linda Lloyd Danielson, March 27, 2012

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Please note – from a blog comment on April 15, 2012 –

Link here to book on BPD – Compassion for Annie: A Healthy Response to Mental Disorders – by Marilyn R. Dowell

at http://dowellpublications.com/

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I can think of many other more pleasant things I would rather be doing right now than to sit here to write this post.  Yet as one of my sisters told me years ago, the simplest measure of ‘mental health’ is to stop immediately if there is a pebble in your shoe and take it out.  So, the fact that I think this post needs to be written will remain a pebble in my shoe today – so I might as well take the time right now to do this and then get on with my day.

This post written December 8, 2011 continues to receive comments:

+SHAME ON YOU CHRISTINE ANN LAWSON! YOU ARE A DANGEROUS LIAR

Nowhere in the post to I ‘call Lawson evil’.  It is completely possible to detect evil actions that a person does and name them for what they are without ‘calling’ the person who commits those acts evil-in-their-essence.  My mother committed evil acts of horrendous abuse toward me for the 18 long years of my childhood, yet never have I ‘called’ my mother evil.  I am finally free today, at age 60, to name my mother’s actions EVIL.

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I am noticing a theme seems to be appearing among many of the comments coming through on the above post in which I take very strong issue with Christine Ann Lawson’s statement in her 2004 book “Understanding the Borderline Mother” found on page 168 in her chapter on ‘Make-Believe Children about ‘The No-Good Child’ of Borderline mothers:

It is only a matter of time before the borderline’s no-good daughter becomes a borderline mother herself.

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What I need to say at this moment to clear the proverbial pebble out of my shoe is that how I felt about my mother as a child is resonating with me as I read many of the comments being made to my perceptions of Lawson’s statement.

My mother was the only mother I had.  I was, as an infant and child, completely dependent for my survival upon her taking care of my basic needs.  I was not only at risk for forming a TRAUMA BOND with my mother – I DID form such a TRAUMA BOND with her.  (An online search for the term ‘trauma bond’ will bring up some interesting readings.)

BETRAYAL TRAUMA is an ongoing component, in my opinion, of ongoing trauma bond operations.  (Again, an online search using the term ‘betrayal trauma’ will bring up related pages to read on this topic.)

I believe that not only therapists, but also any ‘self-help’ writer who makes claims of being an ‘expert’ (implied or directly stated) on a subject (such as Borderline Personality Disorder) has a great responsibility to be very, very clear in their statements between what is FACT and what is the writer’s opinion.

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This is an excellent book on the risks concerning the splitting of power between ‘expert’ and ‘needing client’:  Power in the Helping Professions by Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig (Feb 23, 2009)

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I am sensing among the commenters to the above mentioned post that a form of TRAUMA BONDING to Lawson is operating among people who have just found in Lawson’s book some information that is extremely helpful to them.  Because there is GOOD and helpful if not vital information being found in Lawson’s book does not mean that ALL IS WELL – GOOD – RIGHT – TRUE – or not evil!

Just because my life depended upon my mother taking care of my basic needs did NOT mean that great evil was not present in her abuse of me.

Readers who are experiencing what might be a trauma bond with Lawson will not be able to identify the BETRAYAL TRAUMA that I feel is directly and clearly present in Lawson’s statement, “It is only a matter of time before the borderline’s no-good daughter becomes a borderline mother herself.

Needing to make these points was the pebble in my shoe, that has now been taken out and put into this post – so – YAY!!  I can get on with the many other far friendlier tasks of my glorious day!  Anything else that I needed to say is here:  +SHAME ON YOU CHRISTINE ANN LAWSON! YOU ARE A DANGEROUS LIAR

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I found myself thinking about what has always seemed like simply-a-word to me all of my life – meaning that never before this morning as my feet followed my 45-minute walking route have I ever actually THOUGHT about this word I popped into my last post right next to the word ‘deny’.

IGNORE – it strikes me today that this word exactly describes my father’s complete non-reaction to all of his wife’s terrible abuse of me while I grew up.  I would add that I never saw any visible sign that Father was reacting to what he witnessed.  Yes, this seems to be exactly what he was so good at – IGNORING THINGS!

Then I began to wonder how the word IGNORE might be connected to the word IGNORANCE.  Webster’s online dictionary states that ‘ignorance’ appeared in our modern English language 500 years before ‘ignore’ did.  Yet both words are rooted in Latin for KNOW – or rather, in NOT knowing.

Is ignorance an acceptable excuse for people’s unacceptable behaviors?  The concept I associate with the word ‘ignore’ implies to me an action that happens through conscious choice not to know, while ignorance seems to mean to me the existence of some kind of a ‘forgiving’ blanket that diminishes accountability.

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I also happen to know that it is one of the hallmark patterns in what can be called a Dismissive-Avoidant Insecure Attachment Disorder (pattern) that was built within an infant prior to one year of age through patterns of an early caregiver’s relating to an infant in which MUCH information, especially EMOTIONAL information was NOT present in the infant-caregiver interactions.

When an early caregiver does not provide an infant with appropriate emotional signals the early-forming right social-emotional limbic region of the infant’s brain is not fed the right kind – or often ANY kind – of necessary emotional information so the emotional regulation brain circuits and pathways in the brain never get built in the first place.

Yes, these inadequate patterns of early caregiver response to an infant are most often accomplished through ignorance.  Nonetheless, it is IGNORING emotional information that creates the foundation for the creation of a Dismissive-Avoidant Insecure Attachment Disorder individual – such as my father was.

See:

Parenting From the Inside Out by Mary Hartzell and Daniel J. Siegel (Apr 22, 2004) – includes an excellent description of the Insecure Attachment Disorders and how they operate in infant-caregiver interactions, thus transmitting to the infant the same disorder the caregiver has – unless there are other very healthy, strong, safe and secure attachment relationships available to the infant as it’s right brain grows during its first year of life.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson (Oct 4, 2011)

Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel (Dec 28, 2010)

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Ignorance is NOT bliss!  (The phrase “Ignorance is bliss” is from the poem Ode on A Distant Prospect of Eton College by the English poet Thomas Gray. The poem was published in 1742.)  Ignorance always carries great risk for harm – and in my thinking needs to be eliminated in every circumstance in which we recognize its presence.

Do I EXCUSE my father’s complete complicity with my mother’s insane abuse?  Were there extenuating circumstances (as the list of synonym descriptions of ‘excuse’ implies)?  Was my father exempt from accountability?  Was my mother?  Was the society I was raised within that also never offered help to me blameless?

HOW exactly did my father repeatedly watch my mother beat the crap out of the little person that was his daughter and do NOTHING to intervene?  Or is the more accurate question WHY did he not intervene?

I seem to be further out on the ‘ignorance’ end of the knowing spectrum today – because I still do not have answers to my own questions.  Perhaps I never will in this lifetime.

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I just finished a conversation with my daughter (working on her doctorate in gerontology) who expressed frustration with the very limited academic perspective on ‘social networking’ within the ‘aging and aged’ population.  Nowhere in the research readings that have been assigned to her has there been a single mention of ‘loneliness’ among our older population.

I reminded her that she will continue to notice gaping holes in approaches to development at the older end of the human life spectrum just as we know they exist on the front end (infancy and early childhood) – regarding the impact of attachment relationships.

I am posting here some links I pulled together to send to my daughter.  I believe that those who suffer from insecure and unsafe attachments in their earliest most critically important stages of body-brain building months of life are almost guaranteed to suffer from their Trauma Altered Development over the course of their entire lifespan.

Sadly, information about problems that concern older people is likely to ignore difficulties across the lifespan that trauma in infancy and childhood creates.  It seems those within the ‘ivory towers’ of academia most often design research that meets only their own views of the reality of the chosen few rather than address the reality that huge segments of our population face.

I encourage my daughter not to give up on her studies.  I assure her that many of the conflicts she feels right now are connected to her much broader base of understanding about people.  She has much to offer to those who need help most – no matter what age span she focuses her attention on.

The actions it takes to gain a doctorate happen within an academia that works within its own limitations about what ‘research proves’ at the same time that its own biases are denied/ignored.  As society truly begins to understand that the experiences a person has within their first 33 months of life (conception to age 2) profoundly impact what happens on the ‘old age’ of the lifespan (and everything that happens in between) there will be new research that ‘proves’ an entirely different picture about human well-being than does today’s limited and often inaccurate research that has been accepted as being ‘true’ thus far.

Because my daughter is one of these new researchers her road to her doctorate might seem a lonely one.  As her momma I believe that the more she believes in and trusts herself, the smoother her road will be.

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Aging and Loneliness

http://psychology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/cacioppo/jtcreprints/hc07.pdf

Learning to live with loneliness – [It would be better to help people learn how to diminish loneliness, I think!]

http://artofaging.blogspot.com/2008/06/learning-to-live-with-loneliness_03.html

Loneliness can speed aging

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20070820/loneliness-can-speed-aging

midlife loneliness speeds aging (probably related to above)

http://lifetwo.com/production/node/20070828-midlife-loneliness-is-a-killer

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Important one

Loneliness, depression and sociability in old age

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016701/

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How to stay connected as you age

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/on-women/2009/12/01/loneliness-is-contagious-4-ways-to-stay-connected-as-you-age

Social isolation

http://www.coag.uvic.ca/documents/research_snapshots/Social_Isolation_Loneliness.htm

loneliness study/facebook

http://www.ageinplacetech.com/blog/aarp-loneliness-studyin-your-facebook

Dealing with the loneliness of aging

http://howardgleckman.com/blog/?p=345

Aging gorilla and the bunny

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2112763/Aging-gorilla-stifles-loneliness-zoos-gift-pet-bunny-named-Panda.html

Aging, loneliness, longevity – emotional wellness – healing power of friendships

http://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/emotional-wellness/healing-power-of-friendships.aspx

Aging – deadly for men

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/11/09/fat-wallets-and-no-friends/

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Combining term ‘attachment’ with ‘aging loneliness’

The Impact of Relationships on Aging, Longevity and Health

http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongrelationships/p/relations_aging.htm

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Important – Cambridge research –

Being alone in later life

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=66727

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Research – Factors Associated With Loneliness of Noninstitutionalized and Institutionalized Older Adults

http://jah.sagepub.com/content/23/1/177.abstract

The Relationship of Loneliness and Stress to Human-Animal Attachment in the Elderly.

http://www.deltasociety.org/document.doc?id=327

Social correlates of loneliness in later life (1989 research)

http://www.springerlink.com/content/v26041314462r477/

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IMPORTANT

2012 research

The impact of depression and sense of coherence on emotional and social loneliness among nursing home residents without cognitive impairment – a questionnaire survey

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03932.x/abstract

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Loneliness and the aging

http://gradworks.umi.com/EP/13/EP13974.html

Feelings of subjective emotional loneliness: an exploration of attachment

http://www.iscet.pt/sites/default/files/obsolidao/Artigos/Feelings%20of%20Subjective%20Emotional%20Loneliness.An%20exploration%20of%20attachment.pdf

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research – attachment – aging – brain

http://www.mendeley.com/research/overexpressing-the-glucocorticoid-receptor-in-forebrain-causes-an-aginglike-neuroendocrine-phenotype-and-mild-cognitive-dysfunction/

Repeated stress enhances vulnerability to neural dysfunction that is cumulative over the course of the lifespan. “

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Child abuse, neglect and trauma survivors have been greatly impacted by ‘repeated stress’ over their entire lifespan — start to finish.  There is great power for positive change possible for all of us who fully comprehend that connecting what happens at the beginning of a human’s life all the way through to the end of life is the ONLY way to consider human reality accurately.

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In following my previous post and its comments I note that in my mind all of the so-called ‘stress responses’ are first of all physiological reactions to breaks in our ongoing experience of ourselves in our life.  Dr. Allan N. Schore, an important developmental neuroscientist, refers to these breaks (or breaches) as RUPTURES that are then in need of REPAIR.

These are some of the links on this Stop the Storm blog about Schore’s work:

**Dr. Allan Schore on Emotional Regulation – Notes

+LINKS TO ESSENCES OF IMPORTANT ATTACHMENT RESEARCH ON DEVELOPMENT

++ DR. SCHORE ON SHAME

These posts are also related:

+IMPORTANT NEW RESEARCH ON ‘EXECUTIVE FUNCTION’ OF THE BRAIN – AND INFANT EXPERIENCE IMPACTS THESE ABILITIES

+A COLLECTION OF IMPORTANT EARLIER POSTS ON ATTACHMENT

+A COLLECTION OF LINKS ON BODY-BRAIN CHANGES CAUSED BY EARLY INFANT-CHILD ABUSE

+FACTS OF THE MATTER

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It seems possible to me that in essence every human ‘stress response’ is a ‘shame’ response in some way (which includes the ‘fawning’ response I mention in my previous post).  It seems possible to me that humans are designed to KNOW what BEST is.  We know what goodness is, rightness, health, peace and calm IS — so that anything that happens to us that interrupts this BEST state is — actually — A SHAME!!

We are built to live well.

We are built to be healthy.

We are designed to be HAPPY!

Yet ‘life’ is often a great disappointment as one thing after another jumps into our life-living pathway to ‘upset’ us so that we have to respond IN SOME WAY in order to reestablish this very NICE state we are born to desire above all else — for our own self and for everyone and everything else on this planet.

Yes, because these states of being are essentially of a spiritually astute nature we most often FORGET our own reality.  We do NOT REMEMBER that we are destined to be good people living wisely in a peaceful world.

Of course being physical beings in a physical world (at this stage of our earliest development as souls) means that all kinds of ‘natural disasters’ CAN happen.  Accidents happen.  Things surprise us and interfere with our attempts to live an ongoing life of peaceful calm.  (And, yes, from this point of view being born to parents who cannot love us and instead harm us greatly is, on the level of what our soul knows, a GREAT SURPRISE!)

According to the way we were built during our first months and years of our lives, our nervous system (including our brain) will respond to interruptions in our ongoing experience of being alive – a response to ruptures in goodness that need to be repaired — in the best way that we know how.

Survival is the end goal – one way or the other — and the patterns of healing of old wounds and traumas that we use  moment to moment throughout our lives CAN be changed.  Yet for survivors of unsafe and insecure early attachment relationships/environments greater effort than ‘ordinary’ is nearly ALWAYS required of us to find the best ways possible to respond to challenges to the state of peaceful calm that most early abuse and neglect survivors — have never known before!

Peaceful calm – sounds so clear and so simple — but this state is built into our body brain from the moments of our beginnings as physical beings — OR NOT!

Some of us don’t even know what this state of being actually feels like.  We have to discover ways to learn what peaceful calm is — how to ‘get there’, how to ‘return there’ when something big or little troubles us, and how to best ‘stay there’ as much as we can.

“Every road leads to Rome” – so with therapy or without it if our personal goal is to heal, we will find ways to accomplish our intention.

And, at this moment, I need to finish preparing to leave my home this morning to drive into town to our local Farmers’ Market – to look for some in-joyment in and with the company of others.  This does NOT feel like my natural state, but I am willing to practice healing in this small way – today!!!!

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I thank blog commenter, Gingercat, for the heads up about the important work of Pete Walker, M.A. on Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (cPTSD).  I have found my way to one of his web pages of information that is concerned with an additional “F” he has added to a list of stress responses:  Flight – Flight – Freeze AND – FAWN

Walker’s description of this FAWNING response bears some serious consideration.  Please click on this link to access Walker’s writing on the topic:  Codependency, Trauma and the Fawn Response.

I can tell within my first moments of reading about Walker’s work that he has a focus that FEELS both specific and accurate to me about the experiences that survivors of severe child abuse have as emotional reactions that reappear often ‘out of nowhere’ all through our lives.  I don’t mean to in any way discuss the information that is contained on the web pages HERE – there is too much for me to read and consider this late in my day (and perhaps even this late in my life now that I am 60).

I do recommend that readers take a look at Walker’s work – but PLEASE BE CAREFUL.

Very very few people who suffered severe early abuse can access the kind of therapy – or therapist – that we need to work on the ‘issues’ that Walker is describing.  When we pop in and out of web page universes such as the one you will find if you follow these links above, we are opening far more than the proverbial ‘can of worms’.  We can easily fall into what seems like a bottomless pit full of deadly vipers.

It is essential that we trust our inner wisdom about how much we can tolerate of this kind of information at any given time – no matter how accurate and ‘helpful’ it might actually be to us.  We are bound by the fundamental limitations of BEING HUMAN BEINGS – LIMITS being the key word here!

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What I have read thus far about this ‘fawning’ response lets me know the concept is of value – very probably of great value – to many survivors.  My first reaction personally is that ‘fawning’ was NOT one of the stress responses I was ALLOWED to use as a child – not even as far back as Walker is describing (toddlerhood).  My unique abuse situation for the first 18 years of my life let me know from the time I was born that NOTHING I could do could possibly avert the terrifying and terrible abuse that was continually aimed at me.

But I also know that my abuse situation was, most fortunately, very unique in many significant ways.  My mother, who was my abuser, was severely mentally ill with a psychosis toward me that defied any attempt by anyone to name in any kind of ‘reasonable’ way in our family.  Nobody even tried.  There was no way for me to avert what happened to me – and from what I am seeing of Walker’s description of ‘fawning’, an attempt to control what is happening to the child in the environment is the end-goal of this stress response.

I knew my situation was hopeless.  I cannot even describe here in simple words how profoundly I knew this fact.  I was never fooled.

So in this very brief post I am simply encouraging readers who experience intense emotional responses, or ‘emotional flashbacks’ to take a look at these pages at the links above.  Every abuse survivor has to define for their own self what fits, what rings true, for them.  I am sensing that ‘fawning’ was possibly a response more characteristic of my siblings who suffered ‘witness abuse’ by being in proximity to the abuse perpetrated against me.

Walker is presenting information, concepts, descriptions of dynamics, and (in my real world) some rather fantastical suggestions for healing that seem based on the assumption that a survivor can access the kind and quality of therapy/therapist that Walker seems to be.  True, for most severe child abuse survivors, only in some fairy tale world.

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My guess is that the dream I remember from last night was tied to the conversation I had with a friend at the laundromat cafe yesterday.  We were talking about ‘trauma drama’.  I was saying how I am so thankful that none of my children found their way into their adulthood without any need whatsoever to clutter up their lives with trauma dramas of any kind.

I am not at all sure how that happened.  While I sure didn’t abuse my children, I cannot say that the life I lived while I raised them was free of this kind of drama.  But somehow through all the ups and downs and ins and outs of my own travels from severely abused childhood into and through my adulthood, there must have been more stability than not.

But, then, I had my own unspoken goal as a parent — to raise my own children to know absolutely and fundamentally who they were as individuals – and to love their self.  Goal met.

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My friend yesterday told me that she believes people who fill their lives with trauma drama do so because without it they would not feel alive.  She feels that trauma drama is the only way these people know to feel the activation of their own life force.  Without this drama, my friend suggests, many people would not FEEL as if they were alive at all.

Hum……….

Now, in my dream last night I was moving back into my home of origin along with both of my parents (who are dead in reality) and with all five of my siblings – who moved their own families in, as well.

There are many pictures from my childhood at this link:

WHAT PICTURES TELL

Many pictures were damaged in a fire – but there are some pictures as you scroll down at this link

*1959 Homestead summer and winter

that show the canvas Jamesway we lived in.  It was into this same Jamesway that all my family moved into last night in my dream.

What seems important to me about the dream is that every member of my family except me had added onto the Jamesway.  They each had their own door into the main part of this canvas structure – and as they moved all their belongings through their own doorways I could see that all of them had a large and individualized addition – with plenty of room for everyone.

They all finished moving in, closed their respective doors — and there I was, the person who was targeted for such terrible abuse for the first 18 years of my original life as a child, left standing alone in the Jamesway – with nowhere to go.

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As I thought about my dream today I also thought about my conversation yesterday with my friend.  I think in many, many critically important ways I came out of that abuse not having a single clue about who I am.  I went through my childhood not knowing who I was.

Maybe the trauma drama becomes central in many abuse survivors’ lives not so much because we don’t feel alive without it — but perhaps because we have no real clue about who we are as people – and the drama then becomes a sort of mirror within which we see ourselves – yes, as alive – but also as individual people who know no other way to survive.

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I have very little drama in my life now.  I cannot stand it, have no tolerance for it, no patience for it, no need for it, no desire for it — not my own drama and not anyone else’s.

But did I ever create for myself the life I WANTED?  If I still don’t know who I am — which is for the most part a true statement – then I never did go off and build my OWN LIFE – my way, the way I wished it to be – as a clear reflection of who I am as a person.

At 60 years of age I still struggle with this.  I don’t think any of my three children have EVER even had such a thought.

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