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Archive for July, 2013

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A blog reader most kindly sent me this today.  I find it so quieting, so true, so beautiful that I want to share it here – Please enjoy!

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Letter from Fra Giovanni Giocondo (Fra Giovanni) to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513:

I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not, but there is much, very much, that while I cannot give, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!  No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.  Take peace!

The gloom of the world is but a shadow.  Behind it, yet within reach, is joy.  There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see — and to see we have only to look.  I beseech you to look.

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy, or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.  Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys.  They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty — beneath its covering — that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage, then, to claim it, that is all.  But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, winding through unknown country, home.

And so, at this time, I greet you.  Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you now and always, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away. 

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Saturday, July 27, 2013.   Sometimes a blog post title appears all on its own.  I’ve never had the stamina to argue with such titles.  “When is life NOT life?” I ask the title popper-upper.  All I hear in my thoughts in response is, “When you are THINKING about life you are not aware that life is just life.”

I am very aware today that life for me right now is simply LIFE.  I am aware of the simplest things.  How tasty my organic green vegetable juice is and how pleasant it is to know that there is probably nothing better in life that I could consume.  How I have been beaten by a bunch of bugs so small they’ve been named no-see-ums.  (Ceratopogonidae are tiny biting flies barely visible to the eye. Referred to as no-see-ums because of their minute size and also known as punkies, sandfleas and biting midges.)  Oh, these BUGS certainly have humbled big me!

We are supposed to be in the middle of our Arizona high desert monsoon season.  It rained buckets from the 1st through the 11th of July and not a drop since where I live.  Usually we have afternoon daily rains for 6-8 weeks.  But we have had enough moisture to bring out the worst of those tiny monsters whose bites I am quite allergic to.  I have burn-blister red legs and red swollen patches all over this body I live with/in.  Quite the deal.  I am hiding in my house and still they are finding me.  (I tried four different bug repellants today including 100% DEET and they still attacked me!)

Besides green juice and wicked teensy bugs a major decision has made itself in my life.

I notice I am not quite ready to boldly state, “I have made a major decision,” which is exactly what I have done.  I actually feel like I ended up in a deadend in a maze of my life — and am fortunate that at least ONE WAY OUT is available to me.  I will take it.

Two and a half months from now I will most likely be living over 1700 miles from here in the northern large town where my daughters and my two little grandsons (ages 1 and 3) reside.  Siberian COLD WINTER COUNTRY and FLAT FLAT FLAT.  (I hate cold and I hate flat and I hate cities and even large towns.  I am a mountain girl.)  Yet……

I am very clear that with the changes that have happened through no choice of my own down here where I have lived for the past 14 years that if I stay here — I will die of loneliness.

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I honestly don’t feel like I know myself — coming or going.  I know that I am alive.  That much seems about as obvious as I can find right now.  I am in transition.  My life will be transforming with me in it.  I cannot guess at my future, really.  I cannot even accurately anticipate the life I am moving into.  None of that matters.  I am simply moving, and oh!  How many times have I moved in my life?

“In my life.”  I write those words as if I know what they mean.  I actually don’t.  Not really.  I just stay alive and life keeps on going with me in it.  LIFE keeps me alive.  Life.

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I read a spiritual quote last week whose words are imprinted in my thoughts.  I can paraphrase it like this:  The soul has two wings.  One wing is love and contentment.  The other wing is self and desire, and it is this wing that gets us into trouble.

Hum……

I have been doing a lot of thinking about this — because I don’t really know what those words mean to me.  “Love and contentment.”  Sounds wonderful!  This is why I am moving.  I want some of that — LOTS of that!

“Self and desire” gives me a lot more trouble.  Is it my SELF and my DESIRE that struggles with making peace with moving too close to the north pole?  That struggles with leaving mountains that I love for some of the flattest land on earth?  Is it “self and desire” that tells me in restless ways that “I want it all” even when I logically know that is not possible?  Self and desire, does this light the fire of my DISCONTENT?

Well, phooey on discontent!  I am way, WAY too good at feeling THAT!  I want to feel content.  That is my desire but evidently that is a healthy, productive, useful, spiritually advantageous desire!  I certainly know there is lots of love for me up north and lots of people for me to love up there, too!  That will win the day, of course. 

I am adjusting myself to changes coming coming COMING!  I am taking this slowly.  I am giving myself time to adjust, time to let go, time to say goodbye, time to grieve before it is time for me to leave here, this place that has been so good for me and to me for the longest period of stability in my 62 year lifetime.

I have lived in that northern town up there before.  I have friends there I’ve known for 25, 30, 40+ years.  I have family up there.  I have much to look forward to — yet also much to fear if I let myself go in that negative direction.  I will be leaving my home in this house and my big quiet yard filled with flowers and more flowers to live in a cramped little apartment (as I imagine the scenarios) cooped up like a wild caged animal during the dark frigid six month of winter.

“Stop, Linda!  Just STOP!  Go back to what you were doing before you started writing this post.”

“Live, Linda, live.  Live in the most positive way that you can!  Choose that.  Do that.  Live.”

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013.  I haven’t been in the mood to write lately, but the topic that has appeared lately in comments on different blog posts here has lit my fire.  If you are an adult who as a child, and probably on through your adult life until now, been the “scapegoat” hated, despised, scorned and abused child of especially your mother, it is time to WAKE UP and take a clear-eyed look at what is going on both for your abuser and for yourself.

As I have written elsewhere on this blog I had no clue that I had been abused as a child until I was 29 years old.  Abused?  I doubt there were more than a handful of days in my entire 18 year childhood when I was not horribly abused in word and action by my mother.  I spent the entire decade of the 1980s in one kind of treatment after another trying to get a handle on what happened to me and how to heal.

NEVER, not one single TIME in all those thousands of hours of so-called “help” did anyone EVER mention to me that my mother was MENTALLY ILL!  I discovered that fact on my own when I accidentally discovered and read the 1998 1st edition (blue cover) of

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder  

by Paul Mason MS and Randi Kreger

Not only was my severely abusive mother mentally ill, she suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder with psychosis.

I am recognizing the same patterns in the comments arriving on this blog.  These people do not CHOOSE not to know the truth of their life.  They do not even CHOOSE to hate us.  The abuse of their childhood changed their physiological development and triggered a gene combination that is as yet not understood that altered the development of their nervous system AND THEIR BRAIN.

The way these people are in their life is entirely CORRECT, REAL and RIGHT to them — but they did not CHOOSE to be the way they are and they WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO CHOOSE TO BE DIFFERENTLY THAN THEY ARE.

These abusive parents will ALWAYS abuse us.  We are not people separate from them.  We are the personification of their own inner demonized hopeless child.  We cannot fix them and they cannot fix themselves.  In my opinion every BPD parent who torments and tortures one child as being “all bad” suffered at some point in the history of the development of their disease from a psychotic break.  The treatment such children receive from this parent all of their lives is psychotic.

Those of us who suffered then, and those adults who are trying to stay in some kind of a relationship with their BPD parent, are never going to establish a “normal, sane, fair, just, reasonable, etc.” connection with these people.  NEVER!  And to think it is possible NOT TO BE ABUSED by these people is CRAZINESS inside of ourselves.

Ditch them and RUN FOR YOUR LIFE?  Is that the only solution?

Bluntly — yes, it is.  There IS NO HOPE!!  There is ONLY SUFFERING unless those in contact with their abusive BPD (probably psychotic if the abuse was pervasive and severe) parents can deeply understand that they HAVE NO PARENT.  Never did.  Never will.

We had and have AN ABUSER.  That is it.  This is NOT going to change no matter how much we try to talk to them reasonably, try to get them to “see reality,” try to get them to experience even the smallest flash of conscience or compassion or regret or guilt or remorse or simple human caring for us.

They are NOT capable of these emotions with anyone and they cannot even begin to fake it with us that they do.

Those of us who did not end up with a personality disorder ourselves most likely have vast amounts of compassion and reasonableness in our inner being.  We are good and kind people and we believe – against all odds – that healing and fairness exist in the world – and that if we just try hard enough and love our abuser “good enough” we will win the day.

Not going to happen!

A BPD brain and nervous system does not operate normally and never will.  Talk about trying to squeeze blood out of a stone.  It is our ignorance if not our downright denial fantasy life that keeps us in a perpetual tug-o-war trying to win a hopeless, painful, abuse-infected war against one of the most severe mental illnesses plaguing the human race.

Smarten UP and take care of yourself.  In my opinion if you are going to have such a person in your life IGNORE EVERYTHING THEY SAY AND DO and add no fuel whatsoever to their abusive insane fire!

Can you do that?  Hear no evil?  See no evil?  Don’t ever even try to verbally defend yourself, stand up for yourself, try to communicate how you feel and how you have felt all of your life as the hated tortured child of such a parent?

I could not do this.  I disowned Mother long before I had a clue she was mentally ill.  I disowned her when I deeply and finally understood that for all the horrible, HORRIBLE things she had done to me not ONE SINGLE TIME did she feel remorse!

I didn’t care at the time how she got to be the way she was.  I just knew there was something PERMANENTLY wrong, dangerously wrong and totally abnormal about Mother!

I never regretted my decision and feel no guilt or shame for the fact that she died alone a miserable death as she lived a lonely miserable life.  That was not MY fault, nor was it the fault of any of my 5 siblings who ended up having to let her go as did my father.  Her disease ruled her life.  It was present ALL OF THE TIME in everything she thought, felt and did.

But there comes a time when enough suffering is ENOUGH.  If you are currently trying to have anything like a “relationship” with your mentally ill abusive BPD parent – forget it.  Not going to happen.  The ONLY thing that matters is that YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

If having ANYTHING to do with that person is hurting you GET THE HELL OUT OF THE FIRE!

If you need to get a restraining order, get one.  Most sick families will fly at you en masse when you stand up for yourself.  It takes nearly super-human courage, strength, fortitude and determination to escape – but there are ways to take steps in that direction. 

The first step is to deeply comprehend that you are not dealing with a human being in any kind of ordinary way.  You are dealing with a person who has been swallowed up whole by a serious, severe, devastating, tragic, comprehensive mental illness that at present has no cure – and except in the rarest of cases – no truly effective treatment.  It is VERY RARELY DIAGNOSED or even reported.

 While we can learn about some of the dynamics of this disease we will never understand these people because we do not have their kind of nervous system or brain.  There is no reasoning with them.  There is no talking and understanding in return across the Great Divide.  I do not believe it is helpful to engage in the delusions with these people.  Theirs is a mad, mad truly insane world and just because they were able to trap us within their psychosis as their all-bad projected self does not mean we have to stay there.

Get out.

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It sounds so impersonal to put it that way.  Not MY muse left for vacation.  Just THE muse.  Writing without a muse around seems a waste of time.  There are too many things “in the works” and on my mind to worry about when the muse will return.  He?  She?  Who knows?

Meanwhile the following article is worth a read!  As I continue to say, trauma sticks around in our human memory until somebody somewhere at sometime LEARNS what trauma has to teach — to prevent it from ever happening again.  The more we learn about what is REALLY going on with our body, about who we truly are, the more motivated I do believe we will eventually become to get life RIGHT!

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From the May 2013 issue of Discover, a fascinating article brought to my attention yesterday by a blog commenter (and thank you!):

Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes

Your ancestors’ lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain.

By Dan Hurley|Tuesday, June 11, 2013

According to the new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA. Jews whose great-grandparents were chased from their Russian shtetls; Chinese whose grandparents lived through the ravages of the Cultural Revolution; young immigrants from Africa whose parents survived massacres; adults of every ethnicity who grew up with alcoholic or abusive parents — all carry with them more than just memories.

Like silt deposited on the cogs of a finely tuned machine after the seawater of a tsunami recedes, our experiences, and those of our forebears, are never gone, even if they have been forgotten. They become a part of us, a molecular residue holding fast to our genetic scaffolding. The DNA remains the same, but psychological and behavioral tendencies are inherited. You might have inherited not just your grandmother’s knobby knees, but also her predisposition toward depression caused by the neglect she suffered as a newborn.”

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July 17, 2013.  Sibling abuse happened while I was raising my two older girls and I did not know it for many, many years.  It wasn’t until the older of my daughters by 5 ½ years who was the abuser was no longer in the home that my younger daughter told me what had been going on “behind closed doors.”  While there was no sexual abuse the emotional, verbal, physical and psychological abuse had greatly harmed my younger girl and she had remained silent.  The older had been very cunning and sly so that the abuse happened out of my sight and completely hidden.

Obviously I had missed genuine and important clues that would have informed me that something was wrong between and with my daughters.  In response to the following article I just sent to my younger who is now 37, she replied:  “Well.  That is the most articulate affirmation I have seen.”

Such a tragedy, and I shall no doubt feel guilty about this important part of being a parent that I missed for the rest of my life.  I am so sorry! 

I also attribute horrific abuse by my mother’s two-year-older brother against her as one of the key contributors to mother’s development of Borderline Personality Disorder with psychosis which made her into a severely abusive mother.

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From the Prevent Child Abuse New York Blog, written by Amy Meyers and posted

July 16, 2013

Sibling Abuse is Not Sibling Rivalry

Sibling abuse has been identified as the most common form of family violence (Button, Parker, & Gealt, 2008; Reid & Donovan, 1990) in the United States, occurring more frequently than parent-child abuse or spousal abuse (Graham-Bermann, Cutler, Litzenberger, Schwartz, 1994). However, without current and national statistics to support this, sibling abuse continues to be under-recognized. No consistent national law exists regarding sibling abuse since many states do not have statutes that distinguish it as separate from incest. Parents who are not knowledgeable of the traumatic effects of abuse by a sibling may unintentionally perpetrate neglect, by failing to address the behavior.

Longstanding societal oversight of sibling abuse contributes to survivors’ uncertainty in terming their relationship with their siblings as abusive. A common response to someone claiming to have been abused by a sibling is that it must be a dramatization of normative sibling rivalry. After all, doesn’t everyone have fights with their siblings growing up? The cultural lack of validation of the sibling abuse experience leads many victims to not report its occurrence. Parental emotional unavailability and unresponsiveness to the sibling abuse leaves victim feeling alone and isolated. Often, because of shame and embarrassment, victims keep outsiders at a distance. This poses challenges for community members or peers to recognize the need for intervention. Furthermore, literature on sibling aggression often uses the terms “conflict”, “aggression”, “violence”, “rivalry” and “abuse” interchangeably which tends to minimize the significance of sibling abuse.

Sibling abuse is NOT sibling rivalry! There are distinct differences between normative sibling rivalry and sibling abuse. With sibling rivalry, children have an equal opportunity for advantage or disadvantage. Sometimes, one sibling is hurtful to another; and another time the other sibling is hurtful. Sibling abuse indicates pervasive, ongoing damaging behavior from one sibling to another in which there is intent to harm by the abusive sibling and an induced sense of fear, shame, and hopelessness in the victim. While sibling rivalry fosters skills of communication, negotiation, and competition, sibling abuse does not warrant any positive outcomes. Although a single act of violence may be deemed abusive, sibling abuse generally differs from sibling rivalry because the harmful acts are perpetual, consistent, and severe.

Sexual abuse is the form of abuse most often assumed when sibling abuse is discussed. However, like with parent-child abuse, acts of violence between siblings can be of physical or emotional nature. Researchers have qualified physical sibling abuse as that which results in injuries such as bruises, welts, abrasions, lacerations, wounds, cuts, bone fractures, and other evidence of physical harm or injury (Wiehe, 1997; Hart, Germain,  & Brassard, 1987). However, physical evidence of injury is not the only indicator of physical abuse, which could also include behavior that is physically intrusive, physically painful, and experienced as physically overwhelming. Emotional abuse involves active expressions of rejection and actions that deprecate the sibling, including verbal denigration and ridicule, actions or threats that cause a sibling extreme fear and anxiety. Another form of emotional abuse occurs when a sibling uses another for advantage or profit (Schneider, Ross, Graham, & Zielinski, 2005).

Victims of sibling abuse feel terrified and powerless to stop the onslaught. Despite its consistency, the acts are often unpredictable. There is no warning as to when it will occur, what will incite such anger in the perpetrator, and how the victim may prevent or avoid the next blow.

It is interesting that as a society we have rallied to the cause of bullying, through media, anti-bullying legislation, and outraged parents. I would posit that bullying could be termed peer abuse. In much the same way that we distinguish teasing from bullying, we need to distinguish sibling rivalry or sibling aggression from sibling abuse. There are parallels between peer teasing and sibling rivalry: variability in roles; equality in power; playfulness; testing of boundaries; and, the aggressor can be remorseful and take responsibility when the target becomes upset. There are also similarities between bullying and sibling abuse: always the same target; intent to harm; the aggressor seeks control or power; and, there is no remorse. Rightfully, serious measures have been taken to protect children from peers in the realm of bullying—as a society we have acknowledged the destructive physical impact or emotional influence a peer can have on another child. We also need to pay attention to the devastating implications of siblings who abuse siblings.

Amy Meyers, PhD, LCSW is an Assistant Professor and Chair of Social Work at The College of New Rochelle in Westchester, New York.  She has provided trainings on sibling abuse assessment and intervention to staff at Departments of Social Services/Child Protection and to practitioners at mental health and social service agencies in various of counties of New York. She also maintains a private practice in New York City. Learn more at www.psychotherapynyc-healing.com

Button, D., Parker, L., Gealt, R. (2008). The effects of sibling violence on high risk behaviors. American Society of Criminology.

Graham-Bermann, S., Cutler, S., Litzenberger, B., Schwartz, W. (1994). Perceived conflict and violence in childhood sibling relationships and later emotional adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 8, 85-97.

Hart, S.N., Germain, R.B., & Brassard, M.R. (1987). The challenge: To better understand and combat psychological maltreatment of children and youth. In M.R. Brassard, R. Germain, & S.N. Hart (Eds.), Psychological maltreatment of children and youth (pp. 3-24). New York, NY: Pergamon.

Reid, W. & Donovan, T. (1990). Treating sibling violence. Family Therapy, 17, 49-59.

Schneider, M., Ross, A., Graham, C., Zielinski, A. (2005). Do allegations of emotional maltreatment predict developmental outcomes beyond that of other forms of maltreatment? Child Abuse and Neglect, 29, 513-532.

Wiehe, V.R. (1997). Sibling abuse: Hidden physical, emotional, and sexual trauma. Second Edition.  Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage Publications.

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July 16, 2013, Tuesday.  I think I met one today.  A member of the Frequent Perfect Day Club (FPDC).  This is a little like being an airline frequent flier who wracks up tons of free miles — however many miles fit in a ton I don’t know.  Neither do I really know the FPDC member whose demeanor and words especially caught my attention today as he scanned my few groceries through at Safeway, our only grocery store in town.

I have been checked-out by this man many times before.  Usually I am captivated at the very creative and unusual way he approaches and accomplishes his job.  He has a kind of artistic FLOURISH (I think pronounced “flure- EESH”) as he swings items past the scanner and way, way into the air as if he is pushing a child in a swing, before he deposits the item with a skilled profound precision into its plastic grocery bag with a fascinating twist of his wrist.

Yet today as he half-danced through my few items he made a comment to me in some kind of context I don’t remember.  Oh, yes.  Now I remember.

Everyone in this area has been without any kind of cell phone service since near the dot of 7:00 pm last Saturday, July 13th when one of our very unusual heavy rain and thunder storms did something drastic – somewhere – what and where none of us know.  We just wait patiently or impatiently to have what we need and are paying for returned to us. 

Knowing I was going to miss yet another opportunity to talk to my daughter 1,700 miles away today had me in a bit of an impatient and disappointed mood just as I passed by Mr. Super Scanner, who announced to me, “Nothing really matters.  Life is good no matter what.”

My own internal clock must have stopped, or skipped a beat or a click or whatever it is that clocks do as those words fell off his lips.  Ten thousand OTHER responses went through my mind before I could simply accept that this gentleman might just happen to exactly know what he was talking about.

I could have asked him (in a different lifetime) what kind of a mother he had.  I could have complimented his mother right then and there because as I collected together all the various impressions I have been gathering of this quite unique man over the years I have never known him to be even the slightest bit different than he was today.  He is just too happy to have been raised an abused kid!

So – I think I really DID meet this man today – across the counter – just as he very well might be FREQUENTLY if not most of the time:  HAPPY!

What a concept!

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And one thing that is very important to me as I look back at this experiential snapshot is that I SAW his happiness!  It is a known fact that the regions of the brain that see and respond to happiness in other people’s faces and voices stop working when major depression is present.  This is one of the ways that depressed new mothers harm their infants.  The mothers actually DO NOT SEE the expressions of joy in their infant’s face and therefore do not respond to them.  Without being responded to by their mother infant joy can simply fade away, leaving “scars” on the newly forming happiness center in an infant brain that last the rest of the infant’s life.

The same is true for all depressed adults — and the fact that I SAW that man’s joy – at the moment my internal “clock” stopped means that his joy GOT THROUGH TO ME!

YAY!  This very likely means that my present (dare I say recent?) bout of depression is probably lifting, and it may well have been that man’s gift of sharing joy at that moment that kicked me to another level of healing.  So wonderful!

I also know that we are having record-breaking monsoon rains here in the Arizona high desert.  It has rained long and hard 14 of the last 16 days including the rain that just ended that was 6 1/2 hours of the most gentle soaking rain I have seen here in years.  These rains are resurrecting the desert and all life in between heaven and earth.  These rains are healing.

Many of the unusual storms have come in the middle of the night with thunderous, earth and house shaking bolts of lightning that don’t usually appear in the darkness here.  A friend told me she watched one a few nights ago that hit the earth in the west and then traveled sideways through the billowing black clouds east for over 50 miles.

Which now reminds me of two stories.  Sorry, this post will grow longer than I anticipated because both belong here!

First.  It was my complaint to this cashier about loss of all of our cell phone service through last Saturday’s storm that prompted him to pause for two long full minutes from his scan dancing as he told me what I mentioned above.  As the line continued to grow astoundingly fast with people impatient (perhaps) to get through the 15-item speed line, Smiley Super Scanner told me in the small gift of his story:

A long time ago in the desert in the middle east very little rain came to the earth.  But when it did, even if it took 100 years to get there, tiny little creatures emerged from the earth to thrive in their LIFE.

One time there was a huge earthquake and a volcano.  It broke apart and smashed away a big mountain behind which there was the ocean.  The ocean crashed in and flooded what had been the life-plain of these little creatures, who adapted to the changes in their life and in time became —- SHRIMP!

Ha ha ha ha!!!!!!

He caught my attention!!

06 2013 shrimp in pot

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The other story, as stories come and go at our small town’s Laundromat Cafe, was told to my friend who of course had to tell me today, by an elderly couple who came in to wash clothes earlier this week.  Perhaps it was that same Saturday night storm that took out cell towers (or whatever, none of us know) that they were talking about.

That night this couple lay curled up together asleep in their bed when BOOM!!  Wide awake!  All of a sudden water began cascading from their ceiling.  This man said that he had put his own roof on 8 years ago and had done a darn fine job.  NEVER before had there been a single drop of water leaking through this roof – until that BOOM!

Horrified and terrified the couple next watched water boiling up through their floor boards.  Water then came down through their walls with such volume and force it gushed out from under the baseboards and spewed upwards like a fountain.

Well, the couple did what any sane people would do.  They wrapped their arms around one another, hid under their covers and waited for the coming of the end of the world.

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I subscribed to the newsletter from the folks who wrote The pH Miracle book (see mid-June blog posts) I am using for my very intense body cleanse and healing.  This article is fascinating.  It has some typos in it, but I wanted to share this.

Scientists Prove DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies.

I am reminded by this article to try to pay close attention to my thoughts while I go through this cleanse.  Today has been HELL – and that IS the truth – with at least 20 explosions as this detoxing continues.  Even though I live alone and there is absolutely nobody here to comfort me whatsoever as I pursue this healing, I AM HERE – GOD IS HERE – ANGELS ARE HERE, and this is what matters.

I do not want to doubt that the healing I seek is possible, and those thoughts are ones I can become especially conscious and careful of right now.  I know nobody who has done what I am trying to do right now – but I know they are out there.  I will know the value of what I am going through after I have completed this process.

And yes, Linda, there is going to be a positive end to this!!

The article at the link above is very inspiring.  Please take a look!!!!  It certainly gives some food for thought.

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I knew by the time I pulled the car up in front of this woman’s house to let her out that my troubled insecure attachment empathy circuits were in disarrayed overload.  I felt this woman’s pain – too much of her pain, too much of my own.

Nearly 24 hours later I am still thinking both about this lady and her troubles and about my own.  I am also considering one of my old blog posts about how empathy, to work properly as we mature, must include the ability to clearly process consciously what we are experiencing when we are confronted with another person’s feelings be they “good” or difficult emotions.

Monkey’s (and other animals) and infants, toddlers, preschoolers all feel empathy and all react in some way when confronted with another’s emotional states.  Given the neuronal basis of empathy we are supposed to clearly know as we age that “the other” is the basis of what we are currently feeling ourselves.  Our own state is not supposed to become uselessly overloaded and dysregulated in response.  THEIR pain = NOT our pain!

Yesterday I clearly knew I was feeling way, way too much of MY OWN pain in the presence of the woman whose story I include briefly below.  My state was dysregulated by contamination of emotion and trauma that did not really belong in this interaction.  Adults who were raised with safe and secure attachment in their earliest months and years of life do not experience that kind of intense overload caused by the confusion on a neuronal level of “Whose pain is this?”

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 “Both empathic and forgivability judgements activated left superior frontal gyrus, orbitofrontal gyrus and precuneus.  Empathic judgements also activated left anterior middle temporal and left inferior frontal gyri, while forgivability judgements activated posterior cingulate gyrus.  Empathic and forgivability judgements activate specific regions of the human brain, which we propose contribute to social cohesion.” 

From:  Investigating the functional anatomy of empathy and forgiveness

Farrow TF, Zheng Y, Wilkinson ID, Spence SA, Deakin JF, Tarrier N, Griffiths PD, Woodruff PW

Neuroreport, 2001, Aug 8;12(11): 2433-8

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EMPATHY:

There are more notes from my research at this link

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This is one of the most personally helpful and important articles I found in my research:

Individual Differences in Empathy Among Preschoolers:  Relation to Attachment History

By Roberta Kestenbaum, Ellen A. Farber, L. Alan Sroufe

New Directions for Child Development

Vol 44, 1989, 51-64

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There is a difference between compassion, care and concern and the existence and operation of true, healthy empathy.  This fact was brought back to my attention yesterday because of this:

July 11, 2013.  I noticed a woman pacing with great concern looking down one street and then down another when I arrived at the food co-op yesterday.  I suspected she was waiting for and looking for the city bus.  After I finished my shopping this woman was standing by a pole studying the posted bus schedule.  I could FEEL as if she was screaming at the top of her lungs that this woman was greatly distressed.  I called out to her offering to drive her wherever she was going.

We introduced as I opened the passenger side door of my car, yet as we shook hands and as I heard her speak her name – I did not HEAR her name.  I was gathering a different kind of information.

I will call this woman Marcie, and as I cleared my purchased merchandise from my morning errands from the seat she told me today was her birthday.  I wished her happy birthday, yet after we were both seated in the car buckling our seatbelts Marcie continued, “I am 55 today,” as she began to cry.

I knew without any doubt that I was in the presence of one of the saddest people I have ever met.  She maybe weighed 80 pounds, crooked teeth, an ugly scar with a chunk missing from the tip of her left nostril.  In her eyes I had seen a haunted tunnel of troubles that I knew traveled back to the day she was born – if not before.

“I had to get to court for my arraignment this morning and something is wrong with the buses today.  They are not running on time.  I saw the bus go by earlier but he did not pull into this stop.”

True to my perceptions the tale that unfolded from this small troubled woman over the 15 minutes it took to wind through town to her home was a tale of woe.  I cannot and will not verify its accuracy or its truth.  But the clarity, the absolute frustration and pain in this woman’s words gave me no reason to doubt her.

Marcie had gotten off of the bus near her home on a hot, hot day last week and due to her medical conditions had fallen to the pavement in the middle of the busy Naco Highway as she was crossing it.  Her cane had not been enough to keep her standing and it was not enough to help her get up.

A Border Patrol officer (we are on the Mexican-American border) stopped.  He had called the police.  Two arrived very quickly.

Nobody helped Marcie get up although she had begged them to.  She had also begged the two policemen standing near her drinking from their own water bottles for a drink.  They laughed at her lying on the ground and poured their water out onto the hot pavement in front of her.

Marcie was harassed, humiliated, shamed, mistreated and then arrested for public endangerment and drunk and disorderly conduct.  I didn’t hear how she was released a few days later but she told me her cane and other personal belongings were not returned to her.

This woman told me she had worked at our local Safeway market for eight years, but a few years ago both her mother and father died in the same month, the month she was divorcing her abusive husband of 20 years.  She admits she turned to street drugs in her despair and had run-ins with the law which has left her with a “reputation” as Marcie put it, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth that she has been completely clean and sober for a year now.

Marcie was still talking, still crying, still apologizing for her tears as I pulled up in front of her house and as she climbed out of my car.  I had repeated to her several times how important I think it is that she write down her entire account of what happened that day from the moment she got off of the bus.  She told me she had pled not guilty, did not have an attorney and that the police report is inaccurate.  Then she walked away.

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I was troubled for the next 8 hours from this encounter and from my reaction to it.  I know enough to know that my empathy processes were prevented from developing normally by my extensive abuse and trauma experiences in childhood.  I wanted to go back to take Marcie out for a birthday dinner.  I wanted to take my laptop to her house, have her tell me her entire account as I typed it up for her.  I wanted to rescue, save, fix her sadness.  I wanted to go to war with the Bisbee police department.

I could not separate Marcie’s pain from my own.  I therefore could not determine what the healthiest response would be in this situation.  This left me with great internal conflict and turmoil that I did not know how to resolve.

Finally in conversation last evening with my (dead) mother’s long-term friend in Alaska, Joe Anne Vanover, I was able to ask for her perspective on my conundrum.   Joe Anne is one of the most healthy, safely and securely attached person from birth I have ever met.  She assured me that I had exactly done my part and that I can do no more.

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As a sideline in this conversation with this amazingly healthy 83-year-old I listened to her perspective on choice that leads to troubles in our adult life.  She believes the troubles happen because people choose “to take the easy rather than the hard way” through situations.  She used the example of becoming involved with people we know are not healthy only to later end up with suffering that would have been avoided if we had temporarily suffered through any difficulty we might have faced if we had turned THEN to walk away.

I didn’t try in this conversation to explain to Joe Anne that people who never had safe and secure attachment and suffered from trauma all of their childhoods do not have the same kind of resources and resiliency that someone like her does.

I heard her point.  No matter what and no matter why, we do make choices between available options.  In any case nobody who has fallen to the pavement deserves to be treated so despicably as it sounds like Marcie was.  I pray for her and I hope she writes her detailed version of what happened that day.  I pray for justice which in itself is ALWAYS divine.  There is no other form of justice for any of us.

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I am also reminded of one of the passages in the spiritual writings I live by that I have pondered many, many times:

If ye meet the abased or the down-trodden, turn not away disdainfully from them, for the King of Glory ever watcheth over them and surroundeth them with such tenderness as none can fathom except them that have suffered their wishes and desires to be merged in the Will of your Lord, the Gracious, the All-Wise.  O ye rich ones of the earth!  Flee not from  the face of the poor that lieth in the dust, nay rather befriend him and suffer him to recount the tale of the woes with which God’s inscrutable Decree hath caused him to be afflicted.  By the righteousness of God!  Whilst ye consort with him, the Concourse on high will be looking upon you, will be interceding for you, will be extolling your names and glorifying your action.  Blessed are the learned that pride not themselves on their attainments; and well is it with the righteous that mock not the sinful, but rather conceal their misdeeds, so that their own shortcomings may remain veiled to men’s eyes.” – from Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Author:  Bahá’u’lláh, Source:  US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1990 pocket-size edition, Page: 346

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Life is not stagnant.  With the changes life brings people change right along with it.  Changing.  Like the weather changes.  Like the seasons change.  Because I am in so many ways in a holding pattern in my life waiting for changes I cannot anticipate has stressed me.  That cannot do.  I need to find a better way to wait.

With my diet cleansing and changes my body is changing.  That’s a plan I CAN do something about — and my work to heal my very fragile digestive system is progressing.  I do not know how long it will take for my body to heal itself.  That is one of the unknowns.  Yet day by day I am making choices governing how this change is taking place.  This is a very good thing.

My diet is still extremely limited.  I still spend most of my time at home with fast access to my facilities.  This is still not one bit fun, but my body is making progress – and me with it.

Fact:  The body forms mucus in the intestines to encase acidic toxins whenever necessary and possible.  This mucus can entirely line the intestines preventing nutrients from being absorbed properly.  This has happened to me, and detoxing is allowing that mucus and the toxins it encases to finally leave my body.

It is possible – because high levels of stress create acidic toxins in the body that mucus has to take care of to prevent (as much as possible) harm to the ‘main body’ – that the amount of abusive, traumatic stress I experienced from the moment I was born has left behind the very troubles that I am trying to help my body heal.  This means that the detox is allowing my body to release mucus – and as I found out yesterday – degrees of body memory that corresponds to the traumatic stress that created the need for the mucus all the way back to my birth.

I would not have believed this kind of healing were possible if I was not experiencing it.  I will not describe the infant abuse memories that came to me yesterday as my body “had a very hard time,” but the memories came through in thoughts, very clear ones, that I have never before had in my life.

These were very ugly memories.

I am now free of some major part of the body damage that those early assaults by my psychotic mentally ill mother did to me.  Today has, very thankfully in many ways, seen my body in a much calmer state.  I believe our body knows exactly how to heal itself given what it needs to do so.  I am very impressed.  Impressed with the work my body did on its own yesterday, and impressed that today it has stabilized itself.

I am expecting there are more levels yet to this detox/healing, but if this stage is releasing infant abuse traumatic stress trapped in mucus there shouldn’t be too much more coming.  Our bodies are such miracles!!!

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So I guess I can call what I am doing right now active waiting.  “For everything there is a time and a season.”  I am allowing myself to be quiet in my life right now, to turn to face my loneliness so I can better see what it can teach me. 

Meanwhile our monsoon rains have come and even though my depression is not leaving me with the usual sense of joy and enjoyment (in-joy) with these rains that I have experienced during the past 13 monsoons that have come and gone with the seasons since I moved down here, I am waiting with myself — to know that whatever I am feeling — is exactly OK.

Things will change.  I will change.  For now, how I am who I am is exactly OK.  As I eat clean and green my body is healing itself from the depths of my insides.  I must be ready.

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July 6, 2013.  It just struck me that of the accumulation of ‘disabilities’ I live with as I approach my 62nd birthday probably all of them are triggered in the current set of circumstances of my life.  I am poised to move – had made that decision to return north to live near my daughter and her family so I could be at least some part of my 1- and 3-year-old grandsons’ life.  Two days after I made that decision once I returned from my visit north all was tossed into the air as my daughter and her husband decided to look into better paying (by far) jobs in an entirely different location.

There is nothing firm under my feet to think about until they are done thinking about whatever it is they need to think about.  I am just ungrounded.

I just found myself thinking about my ‘diagnosis’ of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – which in my case is “undifferentiated” because I was so abused for my first 18 years of life I was never allowed to form an identity at all.  I have DID without identities.  I am in the middle of what that feels like right now. 

One of the worst states I can find myself in is to be ungrounded.  Being ungrounded in my life keeps any particular part of myself from taking hold.  This is tied to my depression:  “Who am I today?”  Some part of me is simply wandering around in space.  It’s a very good thing that I have a house to live in, with a yard.  This gives me space where I am safe within which I wander — as I wander around inside of myself — looking for WHO is actually present in this body in this material world.

I don’t know who.

I miss the focus of my book writing.  SNAP!  All of that ended abruptly without any warning whatsoever.  That writing simply STOPPED.  Whatever part of me did all that writing disappeared like a puff of smoke in a sudden breeze.  GONE!  DONE!  No book writer to be found anywhere around where I live.

No gardener, either.  Whatever focused identity built this garden, put up those walls out there, created the pathways, took pride in the flowers, enjoyed caring for it all – is also GONE!  POOF!  Nowhere to be found.

Nothing in my house feels like it actually belongs to me although intellectually I know it does.  It doesn’t FEEL like this is my life.  I don’t know where my life is — or where an identity is any more that fits here.

I am a floating, bobbing, drifting ball of spirit light not in any special form.  Untethered, ungrounded, unfocused.  This is not any fun whatsoever!

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Maybe it will turn out that I won’t move anywhere.  Mabe it would take more out of me to go through that uprooting than I have to spend of all my internal resources combined.  Maybe I will have to upack these boxes.  Or not.

Where is Linda?

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My personal boundaries were brutally invaded my a mean psychotic madwoman nearly every time I turned around – or did not turn around – all the way through those 18 years of my childhood.  It made no difference what I did or did not do.  I simply endured it all.  But WHO endured?

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I am awaiting a meditation CD – yoga Nidra designed for PTSD war veterans – that my sister ordered for me.  She has found it extremely helpful to her.  Something to look forward to with a narrow beam of light.  Will it help me?  It cannot hurt me!

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I have a nicely framed canvas reproduction of this painting hanging on my living room wall by the artist de Grazia –Los Ninos – given to me by a stranger.  It was too large to put in a box so it’s the only object hanging still on my wall.  It comforts me.  Part of me feels a little grounded looking at it.  A kind of portal, a window into some part of me that knows I really do live here.  Here in this house that feels like a boat drifting without sail on a wide open sea without another person or shore in sight.

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