I am doing some study of a book that has traveled into my hands from the library of a woman who recently died of old age. She gifted her library to her friends, and even though I did not know this woman one of the people she gifted with this book had a duplicate copy – so now I also have one for my own!
The copy I have is the 1974 first edition of this:
I have to say it will take me many hours of study to begin to comprehend what is being said by the author in this book. Yet even this fact intrigues me. I realize that there was probably nothing normal in my childhood. Everything I experienced as a child throughout the first 18 years of my life was colored by Mother’s severe mental illness and by her severe abuse of me that was a result of her illness.
So much of what children learn comes from both how they are treated and by how they see those around them treat other people. I am wondering today if most of what I learned about how to be a human being came from watching how my mother and my father treated my siblings. I was the chosen child for abuse and hatred. My siblings were spared as they had different parents – in all reality – than I did.
I never envied my siblings. My abuse began when I was born. I was literally BORN to my ‘station’ in life. I never knew anything different. I did not have any information available to me that would have let me know that what was happening to me was wrong or abusive. What happened to me was simply my reality.
Most of what could happen positively in the world of humans I watched as if I was watching a movie — as I watched my mother (especially) interact with her other children. The OTHER mother, my mother, was an entirely different person than was the mother my siblings had. Even now as I track back what I know of humans I am mostly at a loss for how people (even myself) think, make choices, feel, act and change.
This little book I am studying addresses these aspects of being human, yet it is written as most books like this are, for people who did not grow up in hell instead of home like I did.
At least I know now that I was raised in what could best be called an alternative universe. I understand that much of what feels like ‘depersonalization’ and ‘derealization’ that experts ‘associate’ with ‘dissociation’ exist in my experience of reality because I now live in a world so vastly different from the one I left at age 18 that it seems nearly impossible to connect these extremely different worlds.
I have never found an author who writes about the experience of abused and traumatized children who suffered from massive doses of being isolated. I doubt now that I will ever find such writings. I am on my own in trying to comprehend what the forced isolation Mother did to me — did to me. No book I have ever read about ‘being human’ speaks of what isolation does to a little person. I was not formally ‘a wild child’ or ‘a closet child’.
For anything like ‘normal’ I did get to watch my siblings grow up in their universe which was so different from mine. But I guess at least this benefit allows me room to stretch in my efforts to understand something about where most people ‘come from’.
I most fortunately did physically escape my childhood in hell when I was 18. It did not kill me. But it sure left me with a whole lot of unanswered questions that no one I have ever met has answers for — unless I seek for my answers in a spiritual direction. It is not surprising I guess to find that most often that is the direction I turn to in my studies about what being a human being even is.
For most ‘ordinary’ infant-children direct experience with human monsters is the exception. In the experience of severely abused infant-children, direct experience with ‘sane people’ hardly exists at all — or the little people would be rescued – and spared.
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