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Archive for June, 2012

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The more I think about it as I reflect daily on what my experience of being a self in a body is like in the world, the more I realize that what others might choose to attach individual labels to seem to operate as a single ONE THING.

I am referring to (1) Disorganized-Disoriented Insecure Attachment Disorder (DD), (2) Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (again, an insecure attachment disorder, (3) dissociation which is an integral part of the physiological operation of both these two (which are probably the same Insecure Attachment Disorder in my thinking), (4) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (complex or otherwise).

When an infant and young toddler, not to mention a child pursuing growth and development through all its further stages, is repeatedly attacked, abused, terrorized and traumatized — that little person’s ongoing reality of self-in-the-world is disrupted and turned into chaos with each attack.

Such a little person does not get a chance to develop what I am thinking about today as being a smoothly functioning transmission system that would allow the child to be able to transition between different states of being — especially between one traumatic state to and through the next one — OR between a state of child-reality interest and peaceful calm while pursuing their life into and through a state of terrorism and trauma.

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I had another rather innocuous experience yesterday while in conversation with a good friend in which I was asked a question ‘out-of-the-blue’ that required of ME some amount of time passing so that I could look within myself to sort through the vast amount of information that appeared within me in response to this question.  The question surprised me, thus I was not prepared to answer instantaneously – so I could not.

This other person, not being a person that was overwhelmed with early traumas was a person that appeared TO ME to be exceedingly impatient wanting a response from me ASAP — which meant in ‘ordinary person time’.  This person did not – and probably could not – possibly understand that in my body I have to MANUALLY shift my gears!  I have to work my way through what appears to me sometimes – and what would appear to most other people — as WAY too much information!

Today, thinking about this interchange, I realize that how ordinary people process sudden shifts in being must be so smooth, so practical-for-ordinary-existence, so hidden and automatic — that they simply never have to pay attention to HOW they respond – to anything (much).

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I picture a state of acute trauma that might happen to someone on a (hopefully) rare occasion such as having to react to a vehicle at full speed on the highway swerving into one’s lane — HOW does someone react – in response to all possible outcomes of actions that COULD be taken?

This, to me, is a far more similar example of what ongoing life is often like to severe early trauma survivors.  The reaction of the ‘rest of the world’ to us does NOT help us.  NOW is what ‘they’ want.  Super NOW!!

We don’t have a super now in those situations when some kind of inner deliberation of information being presented by our environment is needed.  We operate in ‘acute trauma time’ which might oddly seem to be very SLOW time compared to other people’s very RAPID time.

Yes, most frequently when a traumatic threat actually appears and is very real RAPID reaction is what is going to save the day rather than long ‘higher cortex’ higher thinking which is very slow compared to the automatic reaction of the stress response system.

But our body-brain never got to develop a ‘transmission’ appropriately to be able to distinguish between our physiological reactions.  We are always in a mode of operation that is accumulating A WHOLE LOT OF INFORMATION – more than ordinary people can imagine — so that we can ALWAYS be prepared to survive in worst possible situations — whether they really exist in the present moment or not.

There was absolutely nothing in my friend’s question yesterday that was threatening or traumatic.  But the way my body-brain was built in the midst of 18 years of terror and trauma — does not know the difference because it did not get to build within me an ordinary response-to-life.

The worst insecure attachment disorders (DD and RAD) (which again are probably the same thing) were built into us because we were developing within extremely harmful, toxic, traumatic and malevolent environments. We cannot go back to the beginning of our life and build a different body-brain.  We have to make it through ALL situations we encounter for the rest of our lives with this trauma-altered body we were forced to develop.

If the world around us, meaning ordinary people, cared enough to learn what life is like for us, and then gave us the time we need during those times we are presented with our too-much-information to sort it all out consciously so that we could DECIDE and CHOOSE the way were were going to respond-react — our own experience of life would be a whole lot easier – and smoother.

But ordinary people run the world here, for the most part.  This is a very good thing, actually.  This means that the REST of the world around us was NOT malevolent – as ours was and appears to be on some level for us the rest of our lives.

So, to me, it is vital that when at all possible especially in relationship with our intimate friends and family members, that we be able to identify when these overwhelming moments happen to us verbally or in some other way using signals that communicate I NEED TIME to process what you have said to me, what has happened here, what is being asked of me, sort through the information I just received in this situation, etc. so that I can find my OWN way through this as smoothly as possible.

What overwhelms our ‘systems’ and when will never truly make sense to non-survivors.  Yet their empathy and compassion, care and patience can help US — and therefore our relationships with others — much easier.  But this will require a different standard of time-passing that will allow us to find our way out of our automatic and often extremely confusing traumatic stress reactions into actions that come from our inner place of peaceful calm.

We are worth this!

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I posted a music video in the comment section of my last post titled

+IMAGINE

My thoughts expanded after listening to this song several times to include what I remember of my father’s tenor voice and his singing.

Musical memories from our infancy and childhood can inform us even further about the state of health or sickness within our homes of origin.  Just like the existence or absence of communication as a whole, of personal equity and encouragement of personal story telling by all members of the family from the first words a child understands and speaks, and the quality of play within the family, the patterns of musical appreciation and expression also can guide us on our journey toward understanding the bigger picture of where we came from – our ORIGINS.

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The stories about my parents’ singing were repeated for as long as I can remember – and they were not particularly pleasant.  In fact, these stories spoke of the ‘culture’ each of my parents came from, and of their youth and inability to understand how hurtful words are when used as weapons against anyone else no matter how old they are.

The great musical divide between my parents seemed to have happened very shortly after their marriage.  My father tactlessly – who knows?  Perhaps even aggressively told my mother that she sang through her nose.

NEVER after the instant that those words passed out of my father’s lips (according to Mother) did she ever sing in the presence of her husband again.

NEVER, also – perhaps by some strange and sorry arrangement, did my father ever sing in the presence of my mother after that, either.

SO SAD!

Such a reflection of the deep woundedness (in my opinion) carried within each of these two people right into their marriage was this unrepaired rupture in my parents’ musical relationship.

Using the idea that the prosody – the rhythmic and musical component of spoken language – speaks of personal songs within us with every word we speak — and speaks of the personal songs within someone we are hearing every time they speak and we listen — there is no dividing line between attitudes expressed about a person’s voice, their singing, their speaking, and the content of what they say.

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I will never be able to remember anything about my mother fondly as abusive to me as she was – and as psychotically insane – though I wish her no harm wherever her soul may be.  This includes any positive remembrance of her singing — though I do not especially project my truthful negative assessment of Mother to the actual songs that she sang.

She was a fan of singing:  “One flew over the rainbow,”  “The white cliffs of Dover,” “The man on the flying trapeze,” “Que Sera Sera,” or the “Aleutian lullaby,” “Don’t fence me in”  — etc.

Father sang his mountaineering and cowboy songs.  He had a flowing perfect-keyed lovely tenor voice though never did I hear him sing from his gut.  His singing was melodic in my memory.  Mother’s – in my memory – singing was narcissistic, on the edge of where old memories become hysterical, invasive to the listener as in “I am singing you darn well better listen to ME,” sharp and saturated with unhappiness just past the edge where most people could hear it.

I could hear it as a child or I would not be telescoping my adjectives about my parents’ singing in the way that I am at this moment – though I have no intention of moving my memories of either parent any closer to that morbid, toxic past that was my infancy and childhood.

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I write of this because a longing for my ‘other’ father arose within my heart yesterday listening to the tenors sing (as posted above).  I know that my memories, my BODY memories, of the sounds of my parents’ voices are as old as I am.  I listened to them before I was born – and after that, most unfortunately, most of my listening TO my parents’ voices no doubt turned into listening FOR the sound of my parents’ voices.

The forced isolation and seclusion that was a massive part of Mother’s insane abuse of me (keeping me in hell in place of her) led to me being in danger and under threat of danger from Mother from the time of my birth.  Being left in a crib, alone, behind a closed door — I KNOW I listened into the silence for sounds that could help me understand what was dangerous when — when it was coming – where danger did not seem to exist — such as when I was alone and the sounds of my parents and my 14-month-older-brother in other areas of the home and yard were mulling themselves around in sounds that floated down the hallway in my direction.

The sound of Mother’s stomping footsteps, for example, the sound of her hand turning the doorknob and pushing open the bedroom door – included with the sound of her brutal and brutalizing voice and body movements – well, not a non-music any infant-child should ever hear.

But the sounds of that rich and gentle tenor voice that belonged to that man who I belonged to as his daughter.  That voice never hurt me.  All that I have later come to understand about how that man did not protect me — did not did not did not ever intervene against the monster he married that attacked me — I don’t in my memory evidently ever wish to attach/associate the sound of Father’s voice to that man.

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I have a very clear ‘song stopper’ memory of my own that must tie to my preteen or early teen years.  Somehow the whole family must have been momentarily fooled by a good mood of Mother’s.  We were all in our Jeep heading down the Alaskan mountain one bright and shiny morning – myself and my two sisters feeling safe enough to sing, “Lemon Tree, Very Pretty.”

Uh-Oh!  Like Mother’s permanent ban on Linda ever playing safely within her sphere of knowledge I learned that day that my singing was equally forbidden.  Just as the Jeep made the first turn on the road down the mountain that put our house out of sight, it happened:  “Linda, stop that horrible singing RIGHT NOW!” Mother shot over the back of the front seat into the shared sister space of singing for us 3 in the back seat.

“You have a HORRIBLE voice!  You sing through your nose!  You are ruining your sisters’ beautiful song!”

Whether or not she actually included, “I don’t EVER want to hear the sound of your voice singing again as long as I live,” that was and is the message I have attached to this memory.

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I have one other singing memory from when I had left home and was about 20 years old.  I always felt even as a young adult that everyone else was better than me.  I did not understand normal human bonding, so whenever I was in the presence of groups of people who were solid friends with one another, I felt vastly outside the group and interpreted this in my hidden inner places that this division of me from them existed because I was less of a person than all of them were.

A friend’s friend’s sister – who had left the small Minnesota town where she was born and raised (the one this event happened in for me) for the GLORY of a stage career of some kind in NYC had returned for a Christmas family thing.

There was one of those early-70s coffee house sing-a-long from a short un- embellished stage at the local college taking place one evening – and I attended with the ‘alien group’ of friends.

And – daring of daring – I AGAIN for the first time since the Lemon Tree had crashed and burned, dared to open my mouth and SING!!

Sing I did.

At the end of all this ‘jibber jabber’ in song this big-NYC-woman turned to me and remarked, “You sure have a strong voice.”

Forty years later this scene and this woman’s words still slash me.

“What did she MEAN,” I still want to know – because I am human.

I REALLY do wonder what she meant, and never again since THOSE words have I sung again in front of another person.

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I know enough now that I have my keyboard that I do hear and can hit notes in perfect pitch.

But I feel inside me that the Singing Linda has had all the life-flowing juice sucked and leaked right out of her and there’s nothing left by some dry, shriveled up, immune-to-life-restoration flaky (at best) frail and fragile and ugly bare shadow of a Linda-Self — that COULD have loved to sing.

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I have written more than a thousand posts (this one is the 1201 post to be exact) during the lifetime of this blog, but never so far have I titled one to match the frontispiece image – IMAGINE until now.

Looking toward the past, looking toward the future – my daughter is days away from the birth now of my 2nd grandson.  IMAGINE if that little one came into the world and had no people there to greet him?

And I mean that – children with people – without ‘a people’.

Readers who find this blog and resonate with its words know what that means just as I do – what it means to be born and raised – and then in one’s heart to feel forever more what it is like to always be lonely for ‘our people’.

I say that to myself today loud and clear in my inner places that give silent voice:  “I am lonely for ‘my people’.

Who are my people?  Where are my people?

I don’t know.  But if I did know, and I could find them, I would know THAT because this feeling I always have that I miss them would go away!

I know my people when they post comments on this blog – me and they, we – are one another’s people.  I feel that special connection when a special piece of vast empty loneliness is filled as I see myself reflected back in the words of my people.

Infants – from birth – are meant to see their own self reflected back to them by their caregivers, especially their mother – and their father – the infant’s people!

To be cared about and to be cared for – by our people.  Didn’t happen to those of us so terrorized, traumatized, and left so alone.

We HAD no people – or very few (I had no one – part of my specialty in life, I guess – but I had the Alaskan wilderness – which counts powerfully in my survival).

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Feeling alone in a crowd – said like some kind of familiar cliche – true not for everyone.  I don’t believe that it is.  Those who say it and know what this feels like – well, there’s no doubt something tragic in their early years – they had no people.

I am simply musing.  And imagining.  What would it be like if suddenly I FOUND my people as my people FOUND me?  Will I ever know in this lifetime?

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As I wrote in response to one of the fantastic comments to posts that arrived on this blog today, I woke this morning feeling blue.  The comments so greatly relieved the weight of my ‘blueness’ – partly, of course, because of the gentle integrity and dignity, of the honesty, openness and wisdom contained in the commenters’ words – but also because responding to their words greatly helped me to see in part what is going on with me on this rich and beautiful day.

In writing about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) AND Disorganized-Disoriented (DD) Insecure Attachment Disorder I am drawing my lines of thought very close to the source of how I experience the world.

I so DID NOT experience anything from birth onward and through the next of my 18 abusive years of childhood that could have allowed me to BE safe and secure in the world I could not, therefore, build within my developing body-brain any of the ‘usual’ kinds of circuitry and pathways that would let me know NOW that I am safe and secure in the world.

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Here briefly I will mention another tangent thread of discussion that has originated on facebook with a friend there concerning alterations in our environment that this friend believes are contributing to the fact that research shows that at least 71% of American suffer from troubles stemming from chronic sleep problems.

This friend believes these difficulties are greatly influenced by “endocrine disruptors” polluting our environment.

I was then reminded of an awareness given to me both by the dream I recently had and posted about and from my ponderings of it:

+LAST NIGHT’S UNUSUAL DREAM

The dream (as I believe I mentioned in a comment to that post) seemed to speak of a time perhaps 10,000 years in the future – when the earth IS HEALED!

The contrast between the pervasive awareness of total pure HEALTH of the earth in every way was obvious to me in the dream in contrast to the ‘invisible sickness’ of the planet now that we are so familiar with, so used to, so acceptant of – that we do not see the sickness that permeates every corner and cell of life here on earth now — including US!

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Then I think about the RAD and DD insecurely attached severe early abuse survivors – and I am then drawn to conclude (a bit radically, perhaps) that we are perhaps among the HEALTHIEST people on earth because we are more closely experiencing the TRUTH of what is really happening on this earth right now.

We KNOW the sickness!  And it both contributed to the adjustments our body had to make on every level to survive hell – and built itself into our body through our responses to extreme traumatic stress.  (All I say also applies to anyone who has suffered from traumas well beyond what ‘ordinary’ people have.)

We do not delude ourselves because we CANNOT!  We do not participate in the ‘group delusion’ that all is simply OK in the world – that all could be safely and securely attached to life here on earth if they simply chose to be!

We do not pretend.  We are not phony.  We live every millisecond of our life knowing that there are many things about living on earth that are terribly, terribly wrong.

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Part of the mix-up that leaves we survivors so troubled as we try to get by in a deluded sick world is that we KNOW and remember in our body itself that there is much to be done by EVERYONE on this earth to heal it — and that includes everything about human social community.  We ARE a social species.

What happened to me and to you happened not only because there was an opening for someone to attack us — but mostly it happened because there was NOBODY there to protect us!

If we think realistically – being a social species MEANS by definition that we are all responsible and accountable for everything that happens to everyone (all life here) – because we CAN be.

Or not.

Depending on what we choose.

Now, I found myself referring to general public as stupid yesterday.  I correct myself.  Not stupid.  Consistently and pervasively IGNORANT is more accurate.  There is no cure for what ails us personally, socially or globally BUT education – and from there, we need the will and the volition to ACT to better everything we possibly can.

We as a species were never created to be passive.  We have great potential.  We have an obligation to become accountable for all that lies within the range of what our potential can and does accomplish – both good and bad. We will wake up, one way or another, ALL OF US, at some point in time and know this.  Then what will we do?

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While I might awaken feeling blue on the day after our first seasonal rain because I have lost the organizing and orienting ability to take my power tools outside to do some more work on my building projects in my yard – which keep me grounded and focused and allow me to stay on the outskirts of my own personal huge and hugely dark troubling clouds that have surrounded me from the first breath I took in this world — I am also free to comprehend that this entire planet is suffering – I am not alone nor are other severe early abuse survivors alone when it comes to wrestling with the consequences of trauma.

It’s just that we are not fooled.  We are not deluded.  There IS MUCH wrong in the world.  I am not saying to drown in the sickness – I am saying that perhaps our well-honed and undeniable awareness that it exists just might put us among the less illusion-that-the-world-is-healthy polluted members of our species.

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Not complaining – just saying – in my entire universe growing up there was ALWAYS SOMETHING WRONG that involved me – in my entire universe I on occasion forgot this fact ’cause I was really just a kid.

It was obviously – in my kid world – Mother’s JOB to remind me there was ALWAYS SOMETHING WRONG that involved me at these times when I accidentally forgot.

Because my abusive mother was INSANE, psychotically insane, I never knew beforehand exactly what it was that I was doing wrong until I ‘made her’ (‘poor mother’) TELL me in every way that she could exactly what it was I was doing or had done wrong.  Unfortunately for me, her need to remind me was so continual, so constant and so brutally abusive in every way — every biochemical and nerve and cell in my body now remembers her ‘lessons’ as being real.  It is now ONLY my conscious mind along with my inner soul that KNOWS this entire set-up was ALWAYS a lie.

Of course Mother was more than psychotically crazy.  She was hyper-vigilant, as well.  It was the task of her inner madness — assigned to her in her early childhood that exploded into being while I was being born — to make absolutely CERTAIN I did not and could not escape the HELL she HAD to keep me contained within – in place of herself – so that SHE could escape and be free of her HELL – BECAUSE I WAS STUCK IN THERE, IMPRISONED AND TORMENTED/TORTURED instead of her.

And I better not EVER forget this was my place!  I better not EVER accidentally forget and be a kid – which is essentially what yesterday’s post was all about:  +Age 7 – mid-1959 – The ‘baby bottle’ and mid-night beatings

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I mention this because I noticed again today that a part of me does not any longer allow me to FORGET that there is something wrong – always somewhere – even if I temporarily forget this fact — in my life for one reason – one reason only – one reason that was pounded into me every day of the first 18 years of my life — that one reason being there was always something wrong in MY life — because I WAS/AM IN IT!

(Which was the same thing as saying in Mother’s ‘crazy-think-speak’ that there would be nothing wrong with HER life if I wasn’t in it — which was the same thing REALLY as saying that there would be nothing wrong with HER life if HER OWN EVIL-BAD child self was not inside of HER — which of course at this point since I had succeeded in being born and since she had survived birthing me was the same thing as saying that the EVIL-BAD child that was HERS and that she entirely was successful at projecting onto/into ME was……..  Well – here’s the picture!!!  ACK!!!!  BLECK!!  Talk about crazy making.  Talk about TOXIC!!!)

I don’t fool myself into believing that I will ever escape what this kind of brain washing and conditioning did to me.  Any reprieve I get comes from consciously determined and inform intent and effort to try to step out from under — away from — this chronic, constant sense of eternal foreboding that was so built into my body-nervous system-brain.

The best I hope for is that on a superficial MENTAL level – with perhaps some minor (software rather than hardware) kinds of adjustments elsewhere in my body – I can create a kind of peace inside myself during segments of my days and nights.  I have to be very careful about what I think, how I handle my feelings, what I expect of myself, what kind of people and circumstances and challenges I let close to me in order to keep the chronic state of ‘something is wrong even if I don’t know what it is at this moment, even if I temporarily forget it simply because I exist in my own life‘ at a little bit of distance from myself.

I was blamed – insanely so – for EVERYTHING that ever went wrong in my parents’ home while I lived in it.  If I chose to remember and could remember what I could list in this regard — which I don’t and won’t — the things I was blamed for would fill a book all by themselves.

My older siblings know exactly what I am talking about.  My experience was with a worst kind of persistent and vicious terrorism committed by my violent, insane captor.

I am just saying – not complaining – while I have never been a fallen warrior I do have a perpetual physiologically built-into-my-body massive dark cloud that falls around me continually UNLESS I am making personal continual effort to create some space where it cannot enter.

This work will last for my lifetime in this body.  I consider myself very fortunate that I DO at least have some times now where I can periodically temporarily escape the awareness of the influences within me of having experienced those first 18 years of traumas.  I know that other severe early abuse survivors know exactly what I am writing about today.

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Well, a bit irritating I can’t figure out why this is posting sideways – and I can find no way to turn it – but here’s the buckle I just finished beading (backing is deer hide) – delivered to my dear friend as a gift for his 75th birthday on July 5th.  (20 years ago when last I beaded a belt buckle I didn’t have to do the work under a high powered magnifying glass – but such is aging!!)

Once a beader always a beader - started with the pop beads I was given for my 2nd birthday in 1953!  My friend's registered Arizona brand - and images reflecting his great love for his horses

Once a beader always a beader – started with the pop beads I was given for my 2nd birthday in 1953! My friend’s registered Arizona brand – and images reflecting his great love for his horses

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Having been raised and abused by a mother who was at best psychotic I find that as I ripen with age (turning 61 end of this August) that I have increasingly little tolerance for ordinary people’s neurosis.  There seems to be a lot of that in the world.  People seem to not only accept what appears to me to be unnecessary and ridiculous neurosis in one another, they appear comfortable with it, perhaps expect it, and do nothing visible over the years to improve the quality of ordinary life as it appears to operate in normal American culture.

I know a great deal about what non-sense is.  Readers of this blog know that I know — and that they also know – from years of experience living in a chaotic non-nonsensical world.

Personally I find nothing redeeming – or even remotely interesting – in preserving a phony status quo just because folks delight in turning a blind eye to the truth in their own life and in one another’s.  I do not nor do I intend to ever again ‘walk on eggshells’ or pussy-foot around so as to not threaten other people’s reality.

Yet every single person does – obviously – have the absolute right to be who and how they exactly wish to be.  It is not my job to judge or to criticize — but after those terrible first 18 years as a witness-watcher-observer — I do see what I see and know what I know.  Pretending otherwise does not suit me.

Maybe growing up in the way I did, which spared me even the remote ability to pretend to have anything like a public persona — is some kind of blessing.  I remain a social outsider.  I have always been an outsider even during the many years in my adult life that I did all in my power to fit in and to belong somewhere.

So watch I do — and people appear in my life and fade away just as simply.  Perhaps it is true for all adults eventually that in time only quality will continue and anything else will simply disappear.  Perhaps this as it really should be.

I tolerate clutter in my home where I live alone — but oh my do I NOT tolerate clutter when it comes to human beings!  Clutter in a creative person’s environment comes with ‘the territory’, is part of the proverbial ‘whole ball of wax’.  (!! on that one!)

Just saying — giving myself permission to be both who and how I am in the world?  Well, of course I have tried to apply that model to others.  But I don’t have a choice not to tolerate myself.  I do, however, have the choice to be mighty mighty picky about anyone else being a part of my life, also.

Just saying….

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Related post on not being ‘a people person’:

*Age 15 – MY ‘VISION’ – ALONE NAKED IN THE WOODS SINGING

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As long as today is already a day I’ve found myself digging around in my word pantry after days of having my left verbal brain’s back turned on my right very busy OTHER kind of brain (I think the back turning is quite mutual, actually) – I might as well write another post today so that I will be able to back my way out of that pantry for some time to come — mostly wordless – then without feeling much guilt at all – or much fear about whether or not my word abilities will return on that ephemeral some-other-day.

Truth is, even though I can at times dash around the word world while wielding syllables and sounds as if I am a native – I am so NOT a native.  I can’t say ‘intermingled’ – hummm – I will say enmeshed?  No, not the correct word…..  Intertwined as in intimately and irrevocably interconnected with?  Inextricably bound up with the horrendous abuses my psychotic Mother invented for me with her supreme bizarre talents were the thousands of hours of isolation in corners and in beds – etc. – that she also expertly placed me in the middle of — meaning — most of my childhood I was alone in a world where words held no place and therefore no meaning whatsoever to me.

In my native land I had no native tongue.

Silent, as a facebook friend so kindly and recently pointed out to me contains the same letters as does the world listen.

Meaning – what, exactly?

Circumstantial evidence, I assert!!

And yet – in this book that I found and doubt I will ever read —

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

And yet – there are some who still stand and wave in dignitary fashion the value of words (never mind America will no longer bother to teach children how to write them in cursive – parents, another task is headed your way – should you be of those who care).

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Humans have long long long – extended LONG – had so many other far more ancient ways to be in the world – to communicate – to express – to get things done — than talk to self and others using words!

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I am therefore not so odd in that extended periods without words or language – even in conscious thought – are so comforting and comfortable to me.  I simply am in some ways perhaps of the ‘ancient ways’ far more so than are most other people.

I have always found it interesting that researchers who study the effects of abuse on young ones, be they rats or primates, understand that it is what is known as the ‘grooming behaviors’ of the species that suffers most greatly in the aftermath of having a very troubled beginning.

Be it licking one another, be it picking of nits, it is as some other researchers most highly suspect the need to expand this language of intimacy and social comfort expressed in grooming behavior to a bigger and bigger group (essentially, also, so that gossiping could be better perfected) that led to the development beginning about 140,00 years ago (not very long ago, indeed!) of humanity’s ability to find and to use verbal language.  (See some post links at the end of this diatribe in words against words that speak about the development of the FOXP2 gene we use for language)

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Children raised as I was do not develop an ordinary ‘social brain’ – we do not develop a relationship with words that is quite like the one designed to facilitate the licking and grooming sort of social linking-up and staying connected together that more regular people are so used to they cannot imagine life without it.

So be it.

Nowadays an extended foray into wordsville tires me out – be it words exchanged with other humans or words exchanged between the hemispheres of my brain so that verbal thoughts appear like hand puppet shadows on a faintly lit wall.  Words.  They are demanding little gnat-like apparitions of experience by which true experience can become shrunken into pea-size heads stuck upon razor sharp pinpoints – begging to be set free again so that peace can again be restored — in a world listening to silence.

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LINKS:

+A BETTER WORLD, A BETTER FUTURE?

*GENETICS OF DISORGANIZED ATTACHMENT

early childhood adverse experiences

*Chapter 2 Learning

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It is important to realize that long-term terrible neglect and abuse during the earliest most important ‘critical windows’ of infant-child growth and development lead to what developmental neuroscientists such as Dr. Allan N. Schore refer to as ‘cascading changes’ that are permanent within these survivors.

I suffered ‘that kind’ of abuse.  I have ‘those kinds’ of changes.

I believe it is imperative that survivors such as myself DOCUMENT both what happened to us then and how we are now.  NOBODY else can do this work.  Nobody.

All the research findings in the universe cannot describe what living with the permanent consequences of severe malevolent treatment in early life is like on the INSIDE for survivors.

Our documentation – stripped, as I call it, of all illusion and delusion – reported as fact including what we FEEL like – is the great gift we offer to humanity – whether or not humanity is ready to listen to what we have to say.

It seems to me that it is the current state of affairs that if a survivor lets go a snippet, releases any tainting words or signs of the permanent life-changing effects of early abuse, the temptation is to either try to rush to the rescue of such a survivor or to suggest that they ‘get help’ to try to improve, change, fix, heal etc. ‘what happened to them’ and hence what we survivors live with.

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True there are some pharmacological adjustments that can adjust some of the physiological biochemical changes in a survivor’s body that are problematic.

Equally true is the fact that some of us are just so ‘plain changed’ from the start of our life that we would need to be issued an entirely new and different body-brain to experience much alterations in our reality whatsoever.

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Meanwhile it is crucial for us to grasp the truth that in cases such as mine (start to finish) every single instant of trauma and abuse not only left an indelible mark on the direction my physiological development took — but also formed an underpinning to what came next – every single step of the way.

There have been ways to make adjustments in the way I experience life — but in the end the ONLY truly useful adjustments that have been made have taken the form of EDUCATION!!!

I found the education about how what happened to me the first 18 years of my life affected HOW my body developed to be completely missing when I first found a door marked ‘recovery’ and stepped through it in 1980  when I was 29.  Not to fault the rather primitive state of the ‘mental health’ system back then — it has taken very real advancements in scientific technology to ‘discover’ many of the leading points that severe abuse survivors need to know about what matters most:  That the biochemical affects of terrible stress during our development — changed our development.

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We can absolutely honor and respect, if not cherish as awesome, the emotional consequences to our abuse that we can identify — and work to modulate and adjust with our every breath today.  At the same time knowledge about the very real changes that happened TO OUT BODY during our critical windows of development allows us to recognize that our body (including our nervous system-brain, stress-calm response system, homeostatic set point of equilibrium, immune system, etc.) has different patterns of operation than does that of a person who was NOT extremely stressed/distressed by human-caused trauma during their development.

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While ‘therapy’ may be available to some people, may be necessary for some people, may be helpful to some people at different stages of their life journey — I will NEVER say it is ‘the answer’ to what might trouble severe early abuse survivors.

The answer truly lies in our willingness to stand naked in front of our inner self so that the truth of what we knew as little people and hence STILL KNOW at our core can shine right back at us.

It is ONLY our own truth that heals us, comforts us, supports us, affirms us and gives us the hope of a willingness to march or crawl forward through our lives.

Any helpful WORD or ACTION that a person outside of our own self proffers to us is, to me, nothing more than a helping hand to assist us in polishing our own inner mirror so that we can better shine our own true self back to our own true self.

Healing is living.  Healing and living are intimately a personal affair — in the beginning, all the way through our lives and out the other door at the end of our days.

Any person – one who is paid to assist us, one who simply brings to us what gives us assistance any old time it is needed — carries worth and value to us only so much as they help us to more firmly stand within our own true reality with dignity, respect, honor within our own power.

I guess today I must again (as I have mentioned in previous posts) be in touch with my own inner Scottish Warrior.  I have the right to document and to share and to speak about my reality – true.  I also have the right to understand that I might do so with no request for assistance whatsoever!

I am NOT sick.  I am NOT broken.  I am different because of the consequences of growing up in a completely malevolent traumatic extremely toxic home under the burden of abuse from a complete MADWOMAN of a mother without one single other person to form anything like a safe and secure attachment with.

The more I learn about the’burden of stacked traumas’ I experienced, the more I understand what happened to my physiology during my early development and to my perspectives in life (very real and powerful and many unchangeable, I might add), the more I can celebrate that I found a way to use whatever inner and outer resources I could find to make it out of there alive.

When I document and describe my reality (then and now) in words I am NOT making a statement of ‘sickness’ in any way.  Struggling?  Often.  Suffering?  Yes, at times.  Difficult passages through my life do not come as a surprise to me.

But I am not ‘sick’ in anything like the usual sense of the word when it comes to so-called ‘mental health’.  We are in so many ways still entirely in the dark ages about what it truly means to be a human being.  I expect humanity will remain in that darkened, ignorant state for the rest of my lifetime.  So I am content to do what everyone else is hopefully doing — making continual progress in the right direction.

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This post I am writing today, Sunday, June 24, 2012, will be filed in the section of this blog titled

++MY CHILDHOOD STORIES

which is included under the tab at the top of this blog I have named

+DEVIL’S CHILD – My Childhood

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I sit here staring at the blinking tiny cursor line on my computer screen wondering why this memory is so clearly and powerfully capturing my existence today 53 years after this memory began.

I say ‘began’ because it is tied to an entire series of insane abuses mentally ill Mother perpetrated against me until I left home at 18.  I know as I begin this memory that the experience that became the origin of this series of terrible abuses was what I could call a ‘Seed Event’.  At age 7 there was no possible way I could understand this, any more than I could begin to understand any of the abuse (far too innocuous a word for what Mother did to me and Father allowed to happen) that had happened to me from the instant of my birth.

Before I came to the computer to write this today I had another realization about this Seed Event and about memories of severe early infant-child abuse as a whole.  Some memories, I am coming to understand, are what I all this morning ‘Gate Keeper Memories’.

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I am aware that beyond the reach of the consciousness I allow myself to have about my 18 years of terrible infant-childhood traumas and abuse lie memories of suffering, terror and horror that probably number in the many thousands.  I – on whatever levels this happens – PROTECT myself from recognizing these memories in any other way other than the stimulation of the traces of these memories that lie within my body itself.

To remember these memories that lie BEHIND the Gate Keeper Memories would kill me.

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This age-7 Seed Memory (that so many thousands of following abuses could be tracked to) is evidently a Gate Keeper Memory as well.  Nowhere on the pages of my childhood stories have I written about this memory before.  Yet every day and every night I am haunted by this one.  All the way through the horrible months of chemotherapy treatment 5 years ago for my advanced aggressive breast cancer this memory haunted me so that I COULD NOT recline in bed no matter HOW sick I was except at the start of days my body was feeling so near-death.  Every time I lie down to sleep this memory haunts me.

And what is worse, I do not allow myself permission to actually remember this memory at all other than for the basic facts that I will relay here and now:

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Some weeks after my parents moved out of the in-town (Anchorage, Alaska) apartment to begin their mountain homesteading saga in earnest, Mother was still selling her knock-off-to-Tupperware plastics through home parties.  We were now living in the canvas Jamesway hut on the remote mountainside many hours of Jeep-trail driving and mountain-up-trekking way from town.

On this evening Mother had one of her parties, Father was who-knows-where.  All four of us children were left at a babysitter’s who lived in this apartment complex we had just recently moved out of.

I was a child, true – but part of my difficulties with this memory concern the fact that there is a ME of many, many ages that is involved with the remembrance of this experience.

Initially here as I write there is a ME that retorts, “How could you have been so blind, so oblivious, so STUPID as to believe you were safe from your Mother just because you had been left in a ‘public’ setting where your Mother was nowhere around?  How could you have been so STUPID as to FORGET that under no circumstances EVER were you allowed to (1) be a child or (2) to PLAY?”

This voice inside of me continues, “PLAY?  PLAY?  Be a child?  Believe you were a 7-year-old child that had any human right to EVER PLAY – and PLAY with other children?”

This voice makes me out to possess flaws of felony criminal proportions for breaching these fundamental rules that I KNEW – had known for the 7+ years of my existence – absolutely applied to me!

How dare I have suggested in my thoughts, feelings and actions that I had found a way during these brief hours of reprieve at this babysitter’s house among this group of children — which included my siblings, the sitter’s children and some of the children she was caring for — to be so ‘bad’ as to circumvent my Mother’s laws in her reign of terror against ME?

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Simply stated trauma experts report that there is a trauma-related phenomena called the creation of a Flash Bulb Memory at times when the impact of a trauma event begins.  These memories are bigger than life itself in my opinion.  Certainly in this case the trauma that arose on this quiet and for me-at-the-time pleasant evening created for me one of these infamous Flash Bulb Memories.

I clearly remember being my 7-year-old child self.  In the babysitter’s living room her long couch was set across the room to face the apartment’s door, but with enough space behind it for a folding card table to be set up and with room to walk around it.

A bed sheet covered the table.  This was our hospital.  Inside their were sick and injured patients who were receiving expert care.  We had several doctors and nurses, as well.

At one point it was my turn to be sick.  I was given a Coca-Cola bottle containing medicine (water) and was bending over with the edge of the sheet in my left hand to lift it to enter the hospital while the bottle, held in my right hand, was nearly raised to my lips for a sip of life-enhancing cure….

When there was a knock on the door.  Mother responded to the babysitter’s yell to enter, opened the door and took

ONE STEP!

One step through the door — I don’t even think it was a FULL STEP IN – when she spotted me with her razor Linda-seeking vision INSTANTLY and IMMEDIATELY as I was in full motion committing the above stated crimes.

Tears well behind my eyes as I write this.  I can’t help it.  I can’t help that this memory hurts.  I can’t help that I committed these crimes at all.  I can’t help that it was AT THIS EXACT INSTANT that Mother appeared as the beast she was entering that room with ME as her target.

I can’t help that I remember this memory.  I can’t help that I remember the truth about what was actually happening among this group of children of which I was for such a terribly brief, brief time actually a part of.  I can’t help that I WAS a child!!  I can’t help that Mother’s sick sick sick-beyond-imagining mind saw what SHE saw and responded the way SHE responded.

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Right there!  RIGHT THERE she flew into one of her horrible bestial rages at me.  Which she had been doing without warning since the moment I was born.  But she did it RIGHT THERE!  Right THERE in front of those children, in front of this woman she had left us with to be cared for.  OH I am STILL so far past humiliated and embarrassed and SHOCKED that — well — this Flash Bulb Memory has never left me.

In her twisted-faced-mouth-open screaming and roaring viciously physically assaultive way Mother raced across the room, around the end of the couch, and GRABBED me — and the series of abuses related to this event began – and did not end as long as I was confined to Mother’s realm of terror until I left home at 18.

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Part of the problem with this memory is that when it grabs me and drags me into the maelstrom of ‘facts’ that  include Mother’s then and continued assaults related to this — which for the reader’s information included her psychotic ‘vision’ that she ACTUALLY saw me drinking out of a BABY BOTTLE when she opened the apartment door — and that I was a ‘damned LIAR’ for trying to assert my truth otherwise — and that the fact I was drinking out of a BABY BOTTLE ‘proved’ that I wanted to be a baby – that I did not want to grow up – (tied to her abuse litany ‘fact’ from when I was 2 that I wanted to not only remain a baby but wanted also to be an only child) – that I was irresponsible as such a person who wanted to remain a baby……..

Well – you cannot IMAGINE!!!

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When, as I was going to mention, I return to this memory I have to mentally force myself to shrink in size into the shape I was at 7 years old AS A CHILD.  I have so few memories of actually escaping Mother enough to BE a child – ever – that I am often more of a giant when I ‘view’ memories such as these.

To allow myself even now the ‘luxury’ of seeing myself as a skinny, beautiful, precious little innocent child connected to any of my memories does three things:  (1) it makes me feel VULNERABLE and defenseless as I was as a child, and (2) and it sets me up against Mother’s so-powerful brainwashing lessons that let me know I had no RIGHT to be a child in the first place — in fact, I had no right to have ever been born at all or to be alive — as the devil’s spawn, and (3) I am ‘guilty’ in this alternate universe (the one I existed in for 18 long years) of daring to know my own truth against the truth that was true because it was MOTHER’S!

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Never mind – now – that one of the snaky-spidery-evil-hellacious threads (I would call them strong ropes of immense proportions) tied to this event was the fact that for MANY years following this – if ever as an exhausted child I committed the crime of sleeping too soundly in so relaxed a position as to be on my back with both my arms raised on either side of my head — Mother would wake me out of such a sound slumber by attacking me viciously — grabbing me as she slapped and punched me, dragging me out of my deep, deep sleep, out of my bed – by my hair or my ears or my arms — to BEAT me for WANTING TO BE A BABY.

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Such was the caliber of my existence in childhood.  Hundreds of my ‘crimes’ were added one by one over the years since my birth to Mother’s abuse litany so that she could assault me and beat me for every single one of them over and over and over again until I was 18.

But THIS memory – and the memory of abuses (such as I will allow myself to know about) – as a Seed Memory, as a Gate Keeper Memory — well, let me say this:  I know today that hidden behind this ‘door number whatever it is’ lies horrors to profound, so vast, so overwhelming that I better NEVER punch through the thin parchment paper veneer of this memory to take a look at what lies on the other side of it.

The thing about self-disclosure, about memory retrieval of extreme infant-child abuse horrors is that we know what we know because (I believe) something about our essence (in combinations of our soul, our body, our mind) CHOOSES what we are able to safely remember — and what we are not safely able to remember.

The tissue paper thin veneer of the door that divides one batch of memories from another is very, very fragile IF WE GO KNOCKING!

I occasionally am tempted to punch through this barrier – hoping (falsely hoping) that something on the other side can help me in my healing — perhaps, in the case of this memory, be able to lay down like an ordinary person and actually sleep at night without having to battle my way around the aftereffects of this memory (and so many others).

In fact, though, in truth — I have not been able to even approach this memory to write of it honestly and truthfully.  Even now all I can do is this cursory sketch of it.

The full force realization of how HORRIBLE my mother was is more than I can bear.  I place another veneer door of thin tissue paper, or at best of a little bit stiffer parchment paper, between what I am able to know about Mother and tolerate (that she was VERY VERY SICK!!).  Beyond this I dare not go.

So I work with not seeing a giant of a Linda bending over to lift the sheet, to sip the pretend medicine, who should have known perfectly well that it was not permissible for me to be a playing, happy child out of the range of Mother’s eyesight any more than I was ever allowed to ever be a real human child within Mother’s presence (and she controlled this strictly!)

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