The sun has set but it’s not dark yet. The air is cooling with the nearing of fall in this 5000 ft elevation high desert small Mexican-American town where I live. My old house sits right in the middle of the 10 trailers in this park on the border line.
There are at least fifteen children between the ages of 6 and 12 who live in this park out having a noisy joy-filled game of basketball. Their hoop stands on the edge of the tarred street on its plastic base with crumbled cement blocks holding it down, pole at a little angle, but the backboard and hoop are at least stable enough that they can play and play and play.
It warms my heart to hear them. It’s part of what I love about this humble place I live. Everyone here is poor financially – but socially these children are loved – and they can play.
I know none of them probably remember and never think about the day months ago I took my wire cutters and a bunch of wire coat hangars with me to resurrect that basketball outfit the best that I could so at least the backboard didn’t flop all the way down when the pole stood up. Until I did the repair the whole thing leaned pathetically against an old abandoned car in the nearby parking lot where it had been for months since a strong February wind had toppled it down.
I never played with free abandon as a child. Abuse prevented that. I have never played with free abandon as an adult, either. That ability seems to have been removed from me by my experiences of severe trauma in this world.
This leads me to my other comment. I told a dear male friend of mine very clearly today – I felt he needed to know and that even at his age of 75 it is only now that, through 12 years of deep friendship with me, he is finally able to hear me and have a clue what I mean.
I told him, “I do not have the ability in me to EVER believe anyone loves me. I don’t believe anyone when they tell me. Even my children and my siblings understand this about me. This is what happened to me by what was done to me when I was a child.”
He responded, “Your children know this?”
I am not quite certain how to even express the depth of what I mean when I say this. I have written here before that I lack the ability to ‘feel felt’ (Google search those terms). From there I also lack the ability to FEEL what it feels like to be loved. Knowing this fact, how COULD I believe someone loves me when I can’t ever FEEL that?
Then I got to thinking about my use of the world ‘believe’. Do I mean I cannot TRUST anyone who tells me in any way that they love me? Of course I never got trust built into me beginning before I was 2 months old – which is certainly the age an infant is when they begin to build trust or not-trust into their growing body-brain.
My mother was a dangerous predator to me from the moment I was born. No possibility of trust there.
I could trust my 14-month older brother. He loved me. But……
I have often also said that I suspect it was my attachment within the Alaskan wilderness and on our mountain homestead that allowed me to build enough love-attachment circuitry into myself that, along with the love my baby brother gave me, enabled me to love my children, to love those others I love.
But in thinking about this – my ‘relationship’ and my ‘attachment’ with the wilderness was NOT a give or take thing. It was a ‘oneness’ thing, a ‘one-thing’ thing. I had no separation between myself and the wholeness of the wilderness environment I loved with my entire being.
But how can I ever trust what I cannot FEEL?
I mention this in part because in considering what a terrible whiny abusive pathetic manipulative severely mentally ill human my mother was — even as a severe Borderline Personality Disorder human — underneath all the changes her body-brain went through in the midst of the neglect, abuse and trauma of her early years — in the end she DID NOT probably have the ability to feel loved, either.
But in her case her entire mental-illness-created reality conspired to permanently bar her from knowing this consciously.
Over and over again we can ‘ask’ people for affirmation that they love us because we cannot FEEL what it feels like to be loved. We can ask clearly in words and discuss our condition – as I was able to do today with my friend.
But most people probably are not consciously aware of this great, great wound that happened to them during the first months of life — in unsafe and insecure attachment conditions. I believe the inability to FEEL LOVED is what broke my mother and drove her mad.
This is what the farthest end of the continuum of Trauma Altered Development, caused by failure of safe and secure early attachment primarily to the MOTHER, does to a person. This is what happens to ‘evolutionarily altered’ people as Dr. Teicher describes: They cannot FEEL WHAT IF FEELS LIKE TO BE LOVED. That inability is built into their (my) body.
In cases like my mother’s, the patterns of her entire life, her reality, as spawned, created and perpetuated by her locked-in mental illness, in the end drove everyone away from her. She was not so much, then, in desperate need of BEING LOVED. She was desperate because she NEEDED to be loved — and never could FEEL LOVED — without knowing this consciously – EVER.
In considering the 43 points in this post
I think about this one, and about how it is worded –
(5) – Have a hard time recalling someone’s love for them when they’re not around?
Feeling this way DOES NOT make a person Borderline! Feeling this way happens because of very or completely failed early attachment – mostly with the mother – during the earliest months of life. That these kinds of malevolent environments usually guarantee that all kinds of neglect and trauma and abuse remain in the little one’s life just adds ‘insult to injury’.
How can we ‘recall’ that a person loves us when we lack the physiological ability to FEEL loved in our body – fundamentally and permanently?
Does my friend really comprehend the reality and the tragedy of what I expressed so matter-of-factly to him today?
If not, this will come up again. It has to. Talking about this, naming it, verbalizing it, communicating it as a fact — like a person would say “I can’t hear you because I am deaf” or “I cannot see you because I am blind” is the ONLY way I can think of to keep the tendency of communicating the needs that underlie this state — as they stem from the physiological inability to FEEL LOVED — from creating repeating and very troublesome trauma drama in a person’s life.
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