+IN THE (BIG ENOUGH) ABSENCE OF LOVE

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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?”

“Yes.”

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.

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

But how can I ever trust what I cannot FEEL?

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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

+DID MY MOTHER SUFFER FROM BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER (BPD)? (this is eerie)

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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30 thoughts on “+IN THE (BIG ENOUGH) ABSENCE OF LOVE

  1. How rare is RAD? I doubt it’s as rare as the DSM claims.I know that not all BPD sufferers had RAD….but, they claim that as much as 70% of Bpd sufferers suffered severe early childhood trauma, that doesn’t make it so rare does it – considering BPD strikes 1-2 percent of the human population.

    • I’ve read in more than one place that in BPD they find 95% with sexual abuse – My guess is if they look at the first two years of life – which so very few actually do when considering trauma in childhood, BPD is 100% neglected/abused/traumatized.

      BPD = 25% of hospitalized mental illness – but I don’t really trust statistics – for one thing, BPD is both extremely underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed – I do firmly believe that, following what they found with that Trust Study – that BPD can be accurately diagnosed with brain scans

      • I know they can tell whether a child has RAD through CT scans..my stepson was thought to have Shaken Baby Syndrome, ( later it proved to be false)..anyhow they saw subtle signs of atrophy.His right hemisphere is smaller than the average teen…his overall brain is smaller.His cerebral cortex is underdeveloped as well.Lack of stimulation, food, and love…

      • There’s certainly a high percentage of BPD women that have been sexually abused…I have, stepson’s mother was raped several times, my mother, and another bpd friend of mine ( she went on to rape her son),and my stepmother.Anyhow, I still stand firm behind the early childhood trauma/abuse theory as there just as many people that have/had BPD were not sexually abused I know of 6 that weren’t- but they were severely neglected and abused during their early childhood – and the brain does most of the altering before the age of 3,I was sexually abused during my late childhood, my mother was abused during her middle childhood, stepson’s mom was raped from the ages of 8-14, my friend ( who’s incarcerated) was raped at 13….has to be at that crucial time when the brain is wiring and attachment is crucial – the essence is setting and developing ( personality and temperament).As far as BPD being less common than it probably is; oh I absolutely agree that it is under diagnosed!Stepson’s mom has been diagnosed with depression…lol!! I’ve talked to her old therapist ( the one she had as a child)…her depression ( apathy) is not because she has a chemical issue…she has blunted facial affect because she’s detached!The doctor said, ” the reason why D has RAD is because of who his mother ( stepson’s mom) it’s BPD”!Sociopaths/narcissists/borderline often avoid treatment…never gets spotted.The family often struggle with their addictions, violence and self mutilation before they’ve had enough and they forced the BPD individual into treatment.I’m finding that BPD/NPD…any of the personality disorders are because of an “completely altered brain/essence”….there are more altered people out there today..they say sociopaths ( altered people) are adapted people, they are cunning, manipulative, violent…not unlike predators in the wild.Sociopaths are loners…they can’t live or be with others let alone raise a child.BPD are adapted people…can’t raise their young but have amazing attributes ( intelligence, creativity, abstract thinking)…why are there more altered than ever before?Society has changed.The definition of family and togetherness has change…daycare,sports, electronic gagets – less togetherness, less bonding

        • I lay the lioness’s share of weight for increasing troubles you describe on changes in women’s roles and choices – because it is the MOTHER from conception to age 2 (at the minimum) who does the most critical brain building

          We asked for change – many changes were necessary – but we have to look as a society at the very REAL cost of these changes as they all but destroy lives

          In my case I do not have a history of overt sexual abuse – and I must remember to make this point absolutely clear in the intro to these books – I NEVER in any way ever speak about what sexual abuse is like for survivors – never

    • Hello Nicolle – and how sweet of you! Thanks! I am having a bit of a difficult day – writing this book puts me ‘in the middle of’ some very uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. I needed your friendly smile and love!!!

  2. I think this is the worst that could happen.Loosing the capacity to feel and to trust the other’s love…It is so hard to understand this..

    • Yes, it is SUPPOSED to be hard if not impossible to understand! And, yes, this IS THE WORST that can happen to a human being. Ours is a social species. It takes a LOT of trauma for this to happen – but happens far more than we realize. It happened to my mother, it happened to me. The end results were different for the both of us — but THIS most important consequence was the same.

      I believe anyone of any age that has a trauma-changed body that ends up putting them in the RAD spectrum of experience will never know what the feeling of feeling loved is.

      I recommend to everyone when considering the great divide that exists between these two kinds of people — watch the movie, Temple Grandin. While most of us who suffer on the RAD-spectrum were not born with the body-brain like Temple’s, it was built into us through exposure to terrible traumas.

      Watch especially for clues about how Temple processes emotions, particularly love – please let me know what you think!!

    • Yes Nicolle…I call my the people ( rad sufferers), people that are without.We are nothing like the rest of humanity.We are without.We are without empathy, love, compassion, remorse and self.We were without mother’s love….are whole being ( essence) revolves around lack of love, and humanity.I am a child that started without and now I’m an adult that goes without….

      • It is my belief that no matter how different from others we may be because of how early trauma changed the development of our body in so many ways

        we are the ones who have to stand up tall, look around at ourselves in the world, and notice, pay attention to, name our great talents and strengths and gifts.

        We are NOT damaged in my book – we are changed – for a reason – and it is up to us to empower our self with the fullest knowledge possible of the truth about how we are in the world and about WHO we are in the world

        We must expand the ‘what is not known’ into the ‘what IS known’ – and we are the ones that have the power to describe our world. Yes, we have limitations – but we also possess immense capacities.

        This is not about the polar opposites of ‘us and them’ – nor is it about ‘without vs with’ – when we step out of the box, when we stand up and the sides of the little tiny box society has created for our thinking fall down around us as we stand tall, and taller, and TALLER

        until we SEE the bigger picture!! And there is far more positive in this bigger picture than negative – we have to be willing to discover it, name it, value it — and OWN IT.

        • Placing one box on either end of the spectrum and dumping thoughts into either box is part of my disorder…”You”……”Me”.It feels safer, more contained when I do this.I hate cognitive distortions- they make a person seem so steadfast and close minded. All part of me, all part of my rad brain

          • Well – from my point of view – I hope you honor and respect your uniqueness – as hard as it makes your life at times. And – I was thinking – the other thing YOU and I can do – if you wish at some point after the other book – is to work with these comments, your perceptions, and publish a different book altogether

            possibly I could also – before that or with this you and I book – publish Mother’s childhood pictures and stories

            one of the questions for me is, was Mother BPD before she had the psychotic break when delivering me?

            I thought YES when I found her stories – that she was pre-borderline certainly by age 10

            my sisters both read those stories and saw NOTHING unusual in them, “Just a child’s imagination, like all kids.”

            Oh, they gave me the CREEPS – but I was raised ‘inside mother’s mind’ – she brainwashed me to believe what she said about me from birth – did not happen for my sisters

          • did you end up with a splitting like Mother did – all mixed up – regarding father-son-brother-husband

            as she did with mother-daughter-sister-wife?

          • I could understand if everyone with BPD has RAD

            certainly they have ‘disorganized-disoriented’ insecure attachment disorder

            but everyone with RAD or disorganized-disoriented IA does NOT have BPD

            what’s your take on this?

            • I’ve been told that RAD children often go on to develop personality disorders..depending on chemistry and environment..they may develop any one of these disorders.My stepson was diagnosed with Schizoid…cluster A (odd).I think this is because he is in ( rest mode or freeze mode) he’s not interested in moving or interacting…My brother ( another RAD sufferer) has been diagnosed as APD which is a cluster B disorder ( fight or flight adrenaline) looks very impulsive and very violent…I’m cluster B as well BPD..My sister is Histronic ( very attention seeking)…your mom had these qualities too Linda…Cluster B

            • It’s certainly not iron clad that every child that has RAD goes on to develop BPD…depends on how altered they are.Not all children with BPD mothers go on to develop BPD.My sons have altered but not totally…I don’t see them leave their bodies ( dissociate) like I do.They’re still able to associate with people.My stepson’s mom was totally psychotic and violent….he leaves his body all the time, ( stares at the ceiling).He’s been labelled with one of the Personality Disorders.His brain actually shows change..his whole essence/existent has been altered…( thinking, IQ, emotional disturbance, social relatedness).If you’re brain is resilient, and your essence is strong you can survive a borderline mother – not unscathed, but you will survive.You you’re labeled as BPD, APD, NPD, Histronic…..you’re completely altered.Most people that have survive and are somewhat functional are labeled PSTD, GAD or Bipolar ( mildly altered).My mother was abandoned by her altered mother.She was raised by my psychotic borderline great grandma – there’s a mouthful!My mother was starved, drowned, neglected until my grandmother regained custody and ran with her…my mom suffered a horrible childhood with my grandmother..by 7,she was molested, starved and beaten she eventually landed in a foster home where she was loved and care for.BUT SHE WAS STILL ALTERED AND SHE WAS VERY INCAPABLE OF CARING FOR ME AND MY SIBLINGS!!Anyhow..three things…SEXUAL ABUSE ( I was, mom was, and my stepson), timing and intensity at sensitive times ( 6- 24 months), essence and brain hardiness..

          • Helen – I could publish Mildred’s early stories first – with your expert witness (yes, like they have in courts) observations and comments – if you are interested

            This could be “The Demise of Mildred” prequel somehow – although it belongs to the “Born in Shadow” book — but I wouldn’t be putting all I know of her early years in there – or maybe I would?

            When you write so clearly of flying in a different flock – I don’t think it’s the RAD alone — but WITH the BPD that gives you this kind of clarity about Mildred

            That is so valuable! You could come up with a pen name if you like – we could split the profits from this book – equally if that’s OK with you

            Please think about this – these other letters could be referred to by you – readers could know that book at least of these summer 1957 letters will follow

            ++

            Partly, though – a difference between you and Mildred — she definitely must have had a psychotic break delivering me – and I do believe that her world split in two – that she in some way actually had a SECOND BPD disorder within which she captured her own projection of externalized self-evil onto me — created a special hell for me, kept me in there, etc. (in her ‘lower BPD universe, which WAS hell)

            I do believe it was this process that allowed her to function in what I call her ‘upper BPD universe’

            and – from your comment – what do you see as being ‘cognitive distortions’?

            thanks!

            • Black and white thinking is an example of cognitive distortion.” Way of thinking or intellectualizing that’s distorted by mental illness or emotional disturbance”.You mother and I have an emotional disturbance that distorts our thinking.I have no cause and effect thinking…my life was chaos as an infant ( another distortion). Black and white thinking is characteristic with Borderline Personality Disorder.I call it containment and I’ve explained why.Your mother demonstrated these distortions.Cindy = GOOD CHILD, Linda = BAD CHILD. Can’t Linda be creative, sweet and brave?Can’t Cindy be energetic, rowdy and clever?It’s distorted thinking to believe that a human being is this way or that.Most famous of all Borderlines, he was very creative, ahead of his time, a wonderful artist – Henry the 8th.Read his writings, examine his life..TRUE BORDERLINE, a man without containment, a man without.Oh, I had psychotic break before my youngest was born – spent 3 weeks in hospital before I delivered him.In my mind my newborn didn’t exist, I had an operation….he didn’t exist.

              • And my son is not a borderline…neither one is showing any signs.I honestly believe it’s about a hardy essence, and brain.I believe you have both of these qualities Linda.My brain was already destined to have bipolar disorder, anxiety…not as hardy obviously.My spirit or essence oh so tender..I was ravaged by my mother.

              • Henry’s wives = didn’t go so well!

                Do you think when a BPD woman has children that she is EVER able to raise those children from birth in a normal, healthy way? Do you think it’s fair for BPD’s children to suffer – as I cannot imagine they won’t — not only as infants and children, but as a consequence of the cortisol toxins that change their very physiological development – that will last throughout their lifetime?

                • No, I’ve never heard of a “good” borderline mom.How can someone so maladaptive raise a healthy human being?Thank goodness for neurofeedback!

                  • Yes, the neurofeedback sounds like an excellent program – wish we had it here! I am happy there’s at least some reprieve for you – and so very sorry with all my heart for the suffering you have been through!!

      • When Dr. Martin Teicher’s research group talks about how severe early trauma creates an evolutionarily altered human being

        to me he is saying we are ‘an alternate’ kind of human

        we have great great powers! We survived the unsurvivable

        it is up to us to discover what these powers are

        for me massive almost superhuman determination is one of mine

        creativity well outside the parameters of ordinary

        the ability – because of my special detachment – to witness the common dramas people play out in their lives, why they do it — and to rise above the traps of the ordinary to see a huge picture – for me all the way back to our origins as a species and well into the future when the new race of humans will own this earth and ONLY peace and harmony will remain

        to name just a few of mine….

        • I have great powers to see beauty, to wish the world to be a better place and to figure out even the smallest way I can help this to happen. I have powers of focus that are incredible. I witness the kinds of choices that people make who still HAVE their power to choose – vs someone with my mother’s illness who had that choice removed from her

          I have powers to wish to live with my integrity intact, to not compromise myself, great powers in my desire to search, my desire to learn, my great belief that there is HOPE for healing for all of us, for our species, for the earth

          really, the list is probably very long – and exists no matter WHAT else I may know about my inability to feel what it feels like to be loved

          one must rise far above the tiny speck of selfish concerns to gain an eagle view, a high cloud view of what is actually going on around us on this earth –

      • Perhaps it is a part of the sickness at the heart of our society that those who ‘have’ would prefer that we snivel and cower, that we never take our pathetic eyes off of the ground so that we could stare them straight in the eye with our truth and our power.

        Maybe mainstream ‘haves’ do not wish to be challenged by our success through all odds in surviving, at coming out fantastic people – because they might have to look at what they have NOT done with their privilege, not made great use of what they have been given.

        It is an old pattern among some cultures to NEED scapegoats, to need to put others down and keep them ‘in their place’ so that some can claim to be superior to others – I don’t want to ever play their game.

      • Helen – you inspire me!!

        I would rather stride through life
        in the fullness of who I have come through life to be
        being able to dance a short jig
        or leap across wide canyons
        with the rest of my kind
        than with all ‘the others’

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