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Archive for September, 2012

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September 30, 2012

To my dear siblings:

Hello with love to each of you.  I am writing this morning regarding my plans to epublish Mother’s writings this winter with a print-on-demand option.  If I were to choose a title today it would be, “The Demise of Mildred:  A Profile of My Severely Abusive Mother.”

Due to the massive bulk of the material I have transcribed and because of the complexity of this epic tale I anticipate a minimum of two volumes will be needed.  One volume will obviously be devoted to Mother’s Alaskan experiences as she described them in her diaries and letters to her mother.  The other volume will contain what exists of her childhood stories, her age-19 diary, short pieces written by her mother, and my memories of the stories Mother often repeated of her childhood, as well as whatever is provided to me about the circumstances of her life and mental illness as she approached the end of her life.

I welcome any writings in the form of support from my siblings for the legitimacy of this writing work.  I don’t believe that emotional forays into the past are necessary, although such would certainly be included if written.

I am especially in need of information about what happened in the family after I left home October 3, 1969.  Thanks to the detailed telephone interviews that Jo Ann V. has so generously provided I do have access to some of this information from her point of view.  I also have a series of memories and observations that Dorothy P. has provided, as well.

I need the dates of Mother and Father’s separation and the history of their divorce.  A description as anyone would care to provide about continued patterns of interactions with Mother up unto her death would also be useful, as would a description of what is known about the conditions Mother created for herself as she neared the end of her life.

Ramona has offered to do the final professional editing of these books.  Any editing she suggests of whatever you write will, of course, be sent to you at that time for your approval.

My suggestion would be that any of you who care to respond to this request simply open an email to me — and write.  Please trust that whatever comes to you while doing so is exactly what needs to be said.  I have learned over the many years now that I have been working on my ‘story project’ that I can absolutely trust the words that appear while I am in the mode of addressing this vast topic of what happened to Mother to make her do what she did to me.

It is my intention to include in these initial publications as little of my personal assessments and observations about my personal story as I possibly can.  I have — almost mysteriously so — the greatest compassion for our Mother.  I hope to describe in these volumes what happened to her early in her life to turn her into the very sick monster she became.  At this point I believe I know very, very clearly how Mother’s earliest experiences conspired in a very particular way to contribute to the very particular patterns of her severe abuse of me.  I wish to reserve  my expression of this information for inclusion in my own telling of my own story.

I desire that every single possible detail about Mother be printed before I publish my own writings.  This will free me from every having to answer a single question from readers about the contributions of Mother’s past to my story.  Mother could not identify during her entire lifespan that I was actually a human person separate from her, separate from her madness.  It is therefore an essential part of my being able to tell my own story freely that I — NOW — delineate myself clearly from her.

Steve, I thank you for the writings you have already provided to me.  Any further detailed specifics about the time-line history of events post 1969 would be very helpful.

I also want to mention here for general knowledge that I would prefer that Mother’s brother be dead before I publish anything.  From what I can tell he is just as likely to outlive me as not.  I have very strong suspicions about what happened to him in his earliest months and years of life (and afterwards) that created in him a pattern of abusing his sister.  How much of this part of the story I will be able to write remains at this moment a great unknown to me.  I welcome any insights from anyone.  Ideally I would be able to contact him for his ‘side of the story’, but such contact does not appear remotely wise.

Which reminds me — Dave, I would very much appreciate receiving from you an email attachment of the photographs you were able to take of Mother’s houses she lived in growing up in Boston, along with their addresses.

I remain stifled in my publishing efforts by the inadequacies of my computer and software.  I have currently no possible way to repair photographs of the homesteading era.  If push should come to shove, I will publish the pictures as they exist, flaws and all.  This is certainly an overall epistle of ‘flawed’ if ever there was one.  (A mention:  I have sorted the ‘family slide collection’, keeping about one-third of them.  The remainder are in Sharon’s safe keeping.)

Because I know you all have very full and busy lives I will not be making this request again.  If you have questions, please email me!  I thank you all!

With great love, your big sis Linda

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Everything I have been going through for the past month has been processed by me with clear awareness of how my disabilities caused by the way infant-child abuse changed my development impacts on a continual basis how I can – and cannot – live my life.  In a nutshell — this sucks!

Other than the big obvious, that I am completely exhausted by my travels north and back again, I was met with a nasty complication once I reached my home – my sanctuary.  The woman who so kindly and competently took care of my home, my garden and my animals had to sadly report to me that the second night after I left my neighbors’ dogs scrambled over the fence and brutally mangled and killed 3 of my 5 hens.

This woman did not actually witness these dogs – a German shepherd and a pit-bull — kill the chickens.  Neither she nor I will lie so that charges could be brought against the owners of these two dogs.  However, on another day these two dogs were in the yard again.  The shepherd was intent on killing my small dog.  Both dogs came tearing around the corner of the house.  My caretaker was knocked down by the big dog – yet she managed to scream at the dog loud enough it turned tail and ran, jumping back over the five foot chain link fence in the back that my yard shares with its owner.

The wire of my coop is also mangled in two places.  I spoke with both owners.  The immediate neighbor to my west, owner of the shepherd, laughed.  The next neighbor over, owner of the pit bull, at least sincerely apologized.  My caretaker had also watched the pit bull snatch a cat on the street out of the air as it tried to escape over a brick wall and tear it to pieces.

Neither dog was in its owner’s yard on Wednesday when I got home, and neither dog has been seen since.  Nobody has offered restitution to me.  All of this has been very very upsetting to me.

But what bothers me most is that because of the disabilities I in consequence of having been severely abused from my birth until I left home at age 18, I don’t have the ability to stick up for myself.  I really, really don’t.

I have no idea what the ‘right’ thing to do is.  I spoke with the county dog catcher who assured me that because the dogs were witnessed being in my yard that charges could be pressed for this, for the shepherd knocking my caretaker over and for that dog trying to kill my dog.

I can’t press charges.  My anxiety will not allow me to do this.  I could NEVER guarantee that my troubles with dissociation would not completely sabotage any effort I could make to be ‘reasonable’ while enduring the stress of dealing with a court situation.

I have nobody to do this for me.  I can’t follow through and stick up for myself.  I have NO IDEA how to do so, and NO ABILITY to do so even with an option such as pressing charges.

I miss my chickens.  I imagine the horror of their undeserved vicious death.  The two hens left are still stunned.  They are not happy.  My sanctuary has been violated.  I did not need this, not one bit.

And I DO expect people to be NICE!  I don’t understand myself why this is so.  How could I, a person who experienced the horrors of such intense and constant abuse for the first 18 years of my life EVER believe that people are supposed to be nice?

I blame and shame myself for being angry at my neighbors.  “How could you, Linda?  You are never supposed to be angry!!  You are supposed to be NICE!  You are supposed to forgive.”  I guess I think I am supposed to excuse the behavior of mean people.

Obviously, I am all tangled up.  I do believe that people who were raised in good-enough infant-childhoods have the inner resources to deal with such things in far better ways than I can even imagine.  All I can really do is suffer through whatever my reactive reactions are until enough time eventually goes by that this entire experience becomes history.

This sucks.  But at least the dogs appear to have permanently gone away.  I have not seen them since my return.  My guess is that they ran out to the desert and became dinner themselves for some coyote gang.  Or terrorized a ranch and got themselves shot.  “YAY” for small blessings!

I can barely give myself permission to be angry at these blood thirsty dogs!  There are just too many things to think about, too many angles — and I can’t even get ONE OF THEM RIGHT!

My neighbors have always let these dogs run.  I knew that.  I just didn’t ever guess things would get this bad.

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I have had my need to respond to a commenter (at this link:  EARLY TRAUMA BUILDS DISSOCIATION INTO THE BRAIN) who wrote while I was up north visiting my children, and realize that I do not have the motivation or the inclination to go into great depth in my response even though I am now back home in Arizona.  I am exhausted in MANY significant ways.

So for now this information will have to do because it has appeared over and over again in my thoughts since I read the blog comment.

First, there is this link on ‘Remembering the Self’.  It contains information and my working notes on —

Remembering the self

Includes mirror neurons

Dissociation

Empathy

Theory of Mind

Rules

Self

*Chapter 1-Remb self

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A series of other previous posts related to my personal research also comes up.  I am hoping blog readers will find some interesting and useful information here to think about today in these working notes:

*Siegel – early left brain development

*Chapter 2 – on neurological consequences of early trauma

*Chapter 5 – Attachment cannabinoid system

*Siegel – Emotions and states of mind (attachment)

+SIEGEL ON MINDS CREATE MINDS

+RISK, STRESS AND DISTRESS

*Chapter 4 child adverse experience

*Chapter 2 Learning

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In essence the thoughtful information that is in the back of my mind regarding the questions the blog commenter asked me about center on research that may or may not actually be referenced in these post links.

Humans were finally able to access and develop our verbal language skills and abilities at some very recent time point in our evolution BECAUSE language could ‘borrow’ the massive left brain abilities we had ALREADY strongly and competently evolved to accomplish our actions through a sequence of activities.

I believe ‘dissociation’ is greatly about a breach in the sequencing patterns related to altered formation of our left brain through early and severe abuse and trauma.

I picture a little one going down the road of their own life – desperately trying to develop into an individual person — in an environment rampant with insanity and abuse.  Every time an inappropriate traumatic response from adults in its earliest attachment environment sideswipe a child, dissociation HAS to occur.  The ongoing development of self-related experience in SEQUENCE is interrupted – which affects a little one in all areas related to ongoing experience of self in the world.

I am not going to take time to search around today in my own study notes or in anyone else’s research to document this next strong suspicion I have about dissociation, either.  I have too many things currently that I need to attend to.

Our brain DOES NOT actually allow for multitasking.  There is a bottleneck in our brain’s operation that allows for one thing and ONLY one thing to be processed at a time.

This bottleneck region/operation is supposed to be supremely fast and exquisitely efficient in its ability to get information through the bottleneck so the next action/activity can move through for us.

I strongly suspect that severe trauma and abuse during critical stages of early body-brain development detrimentally impact how this bottleneck operates.  Perhaps it is something like, “What’s in the cue gets interrupted and cannot be processed in cue as it is supposed to.”

I don’t know.

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Dissociation for someone like me, traumatically abused from birth, is a CONTINUAL threat to my ongoing experience of myself in the world.  That I DO know!

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It would be impossible to say that throwing out the Spanish dancers – and their related compatriots – is anything like a pleasant part of my trip up north here to see my children and grandchildren.  Nope!  NOTHING enjoyable about what occupies me this morning except for my hope and expectation that once THIS job is completed, I will feel better (somehow).

“Direct thy busy movements toward God…”

Now that I discovered this statement I can use it as a tool to help myself carve out a better life as I move around in time and space.  Believe me when I say, “I have a LOT of busy movements!”

I would otherwise feel entirely disheartened and condemning of myself this morning.

Four-plus years ago as I was coming along in my healing out of the terrible sickness in every cell of my body from having participated in a heavy-duty chemotherapy regime that DID eradicate the aggressive breast cancer cells that were taking charge of my body so that I am still here to notice all of this five years later……

I kept myself busy with small glimmerings of hope for the future by experimenting with making things out of laminated cloth.  I made earrings, tree ornaments (including the many, many Spanish dancers and an impressive collection of cats), wall plaque (thingies) – etc. – which I sent up north to my daughter to sell at some craft shows she attends.

I am now dealing with the aftermath — and as I tear apart each and every carefully created and bagged and priced little emblem of my busy movements — I try to remember it IS NOT MY FAULT my crafty creative attempts failed.  I was not responsible for the fact that the materials available for me to work with did NOT, well, WORK!

Layering fabric together with double-sided iron-on interfacing, then sealing surfaces with Modge Podge and/or varnish to make then stiff and durable (so I could carefully cut, clip and shape the individual separate images) – well, it ALL remained essentially sticky – so everything now has bonded with its paper label, with parts of itself, etc.  A disappointing, frustrating, aggravating FAILURE!!

It accomplishes nothing for me to continue to burden my daughter with these failed items – now I am removing and trashing everything but the little plastic bags the items were so carefully placed into with high hopes of — selling — and making at least a little bit of money — which we ALL need more of in this family!!

I am left, it seems, back exactly where I started all those years ago — and what do I have to show for this??

OK.  So if directing my busy movements toward God matters — then it is my effort, and most of all my INTENTIONS toward goodness that I offer as some kind of gift back to the One Who made me that truly matters, and not the material results no matter how successful OR how flawed these turned out to be.

What a concept!!!  I need this concept right now because there are literally HUNDREDS of various little material objects created as a result of my busy movements that I am still dismantling this morning.  I could throw the entire hopeless mess into the trash — but NOPE!  By golly, I am going to rescue these clear little bags — why?

No doubt so I can make something else in the future with my busy movements — and — Tell me again, how and when does this process end?

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I will be left off by my dearest family at the Fargo, North Dakota airport for my return flight to Arizona next Wednesday, September 26th at 5:30 in the morning.  Many adventures still need to be lived through here before that moment arrives.  One of these anticipated experiences for this coming weekend involves a second visit in a week’s time with a woman who was my closest friend from the year I left home at age 18 until a time 30 years ago when a ‘rupture’ appeared in this relationship that I did not understand back then and have never had any hope — until now — of repairing.

There will probably be much I will have to write eventually not only about these friendship patterns emerging now in my current life after lying dormant (I thought dead) all of these years.  But I need to get home.  I need to ‘repair’ my own self from the tiring aspects of this kind of travel.  For the moment I wanted to mention (mostly to myself, as this kind of writing so adeptly allows for) the first new glimmerings of insight that are percolating their way nearly up to the surfaces of my various awarenesses.

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I haven’t written for a long time about what it feels like as an infant-child abuse and trauma survivor when this kind of (I find myself at this moment walking around my daughter’s living room motioning with my hands through space as I search for the words I need) —

turning

of

critically important

‘energy’

transpires.

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As I HAVE written of more recently on this blog, I had no solitary inner clue, no self-indication, no self awareness that I had even been abused as a child until I reached the age of 29.

This abuse awareness came to me in tiny snippets of pieces.  It came gradually through time, over time — as I was pushed, pulled, swayed, influenced — out of the shadows of hiding my own reality from myself – and most certainly from others – as I began to detect my own words – and to express them – a process I will probably be actively engaged in for the rest of my life (I just turned 61).

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Right now as I open doorways again after these 30 passing years into the value that my friendship with this woman I mention meant to me (a very great deal!) – and to how much I have missed her —

I had a flash, vaguely yet tantalizingly so, of tiny returning memories from our long-ago friendship – of my interaction with not only this woman but also with her older sister during ‘that’ era of my life.

I ‘do believe’ at this moment that it was to these 2 women that I first voiced any – ANY – mention of the horror of hell I had spent the first 18 years of my life in.

I vaguely understand at this moment that as I voiced words to these women about the first tiny aspect of my abuse history (I don’t exactly remember what I described) – what came back to me was a STOPPER — an absolute SHOW STOPPER – that many if not most severe early abuse survivors will recognize:

“Get over it!”

“Nobody has a perfect childhood.”

“Get over it!”

“Grow up!”

“Get on with your life!”

Of course I am paraphrasing a flitting fleet of memory here.

Did I stand up for MYSELF?

Absolutely NOT!

(I can barely barely barely stand up for myself – ever – even now – actually…..)

At those moments I found myself speaking to my friends something about the truth of the horror of my childhood experience – I was (as far as I can tell) speaking those words I spoke to THEM — for the first time — to my own self.

When their reaction came – I shut up.  I could not carry any of my own energy forward to speak again EVER to these friends about what was real and true in such a HUGE and important way to me.

As it was that I first spoke my truth in words to THEM

So also did I first speak them to myself.

And as I was ‘shut down’ by them (if not in important ways ‘shot down’)

As my VOICE stopped speaking

I again returned to absolute silence inside of my own self as far as being able to voice my own truth to ME – the one who REALLY needed to hear them.

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That little tiny voice.

That all but invisible whisper to the world about what 18 years of insane torture and abuse did to me – who could hear it?

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It took YEARS for that door to open again!

YEARS!!!!

I don’t blame those to whom I tried to first speak.

I don’t blame anyone for my own silence.

I am today just suspecting that this experience is extremely common for abuse survivors.  These patterns ARE harmful.  They allow the corrosive toxic destruction caused by ‘prior’ abuse to continue unchecked, unabated, unaddressed — for far, far too long.

For today – enough said.

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I would write this as a poem

if I thought there was any poetry in this

What to say about The American Family on the go, always on the go?

Small children make sure this is so

Finally Mommy, with no choice, being exhausted from night after night without long sound sleep

Drops her two-month-old into the magic battery baby swing next to Grandma (that would be I – or is that me?)

Asleep on the living room couch on call for such an occasion at 5:46 in the morning

As the alarm rings off where Daddy sleeps on the couch downstairs.  Out the door he races to work early

As Grandma changes the poopy diaper (a celebration of small sorts ensues as today would have brought day 3 without same)

While 2 1/2 year old calls for (barely back to sleep) Mommy to lift him from the crib (he wakes crabby, still with the nasty cough, a daycare-caught cold he shared with Grandma and Baby)

(Did you know?  No longer is Vicks rub safe for children’s chests, nor can cough medicine be given to little ones under age 6?  How did my children – or others – survive before so much helpful DON’T-DOs arrived on the parenting scene?)

Just saying……

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Of course toddler wants to wear the fishbones pajama shirt for his day that nobody has yet washed the chocolate ice cream from yesterday out of yet

Speaking of which….

“No chocolate ice cream for breakfast.”

SAY WHAT????  Toddler?  Unhappy.

Adults?  Insistent.

And on goes the too-early-in-the-morning breakfast war

As Mommy nurses the baby

As Grandma stuffs the books to be donated and the two tomato cages and the strange black umbrella which will all share that fate

Into the back of the sturdy (bought used) red Subaru along with many awkward pounds of to-be-recycled cardboard and a heavy box of magazines – again, to share a fate

While Grandma then packs Mommy a lunch, adds the frozen block into the ‘twice to pump at work today’ nursing bag, cleans the PB&J from the hands of said toddler who at least ate the toppings and took a sip of milk

As Mommy dresses the toddler now, as Grandma counts the to-be-donated ‘don’t fit Mommy anymore’ quality clothing — must add all to the detailed list for tax deductions

Just in case

Just in case America elects a leader hell bent on destroying what is left of any small and possible remnant of America’s middle class – “NO NO NO!  No more tax deductions for YOU!!”

As Grandma hurries to make Mommy a toasted English muffin with extra PB – wrapped hot in a paper towel, delivered out to the garage as the toddler is strapped into his super-duper car seat (Did you know you CANNOT MUST NOT reuse one of those carseats?   Experts insist!  The plastic is ROTTEN once it’s time to pass one down to the next in line or to somebody’s little one.  Tell me, at what point does the ROTTEN begin?)

Of course Grandma doesn’t quite notice that the paper towel is saturated with warm melted butter dripping PB – until it’s finally handed to Mommy through the front car window 2 seconds before that Subaru was to be put into reverse at 8:44

So it can all drip onto Mommy’s professional outfit

So Mommy must rush into the house and (you get the picture)

As Grandma follows her inside pathetically whining, “This is why I am not a short order cook!”

And prepares for a day with the baby.

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Well, Baby was sound asleep safe safe safe SAFE

So Grandma thought she/I could snitch the tiniest of SHOWERS – but of course as soon as the shampoo lathered my head the baby HOWLS!!

How did he KNOW???

And on life goes………

While the North Dakota wind jumps up from nowhere

or so it seems

to bless this day of possible sunshine

with such YOWLING

just because

it can.

(While I wonder, “How will Mommy manage once Grandma retreats again far south?”)

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This being published just a day after the dishwasher threw up its plastic parts which chose to land on the hot drying burner to melt themselves into uselessness – while nobody smelled this sabotage in progress?

And just now – after Grandma turned off the water to the downstair’s toilet – so she can return later to see if there’s hope for repair for the now-intent-on-permanently-leaking parts to the sacred inner porcelain pool of “DANG SHUT YOURSELF OFF ALREADY” hidden parts of same.

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I left home to fly the 1700 miles north to visit my family on Thursday August 30th – and I am still here.  There are probably 100 posts I could write from what I have and currently am experiencing on this trip.  I figure all that can wait until I get home again.  The long and the short of it is that I barely have the inner resources I wish I had to manage my visit comfortably.  I don’t.  “Too much stimulation” is just plain noxious to me (as it is for a newly born infant) no matter the source or the positive/negative direction the stimulation comes from.  I just cannot easily handle ‘stress’.

I hate this about my condition.  Part of me says that if I do not NAME what I know about what I am experiencing here then it cannot hurt me.  I am doing my best to ‘skip over’ the hard parts, wanting only to keep with me moment to moment the marvels of being with my grandsons and my daughters – no matter what else might be involved in this experience.

Life as we know it IS experience — ongoing and continual.  Experience is so intimately connected and intertwined with every other experience we have ever had that they cannot be teased apart, this ‘present’ from that ‘past’.  My past exhausted my resources.  In my essence I feel exhausted.  “I am tired out” is the refrain that repeats in my awareness — and at 61, that MAKES ME MAD!

Part of this process is about accepting my ‘disabilities’ – and because these ‘disabilities’ exist in direct proportion to the severe insane abuse I suffered from my birth – they are not minor ones.

I don’t want to name them right now.  I want to go on with my day as if they do not exist.  (Yeah, right!)  That’s all I really know how to do.  It’s what I have always done.  Tired out or not, exhausted or not, I always reach for MORE resources, even when I can’t imagine where they are inside of me.  I am greedy that way, I guess!

So be it.  Life is NOT fair.  Ask any human!

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