Wednesday, February 26, 2014. This post is directly linked to the previous post just published
I just found this page posted on the blog in 2006, a quote from Siegel’s book The Developing Mind:
I was evidently questioning Siegel’s statements those 8 years ago.
The whole idea of mine about “borrowed secure attachment” versus the standardized (scientifically qualified) category of “earned secure attachment” is being awakened and revisited now due to my encountering a statement in a video talk I listened to and posted about with some transcribed notes of that talk last weekend:
In this talk Siegel basically alludes to the fact that relationship with “the planet” is as real as relationships with self, pets and humans, and he is describing this in terms of attachment and the necessary “integration” attachments provide. Unfortunately he did NOT go into detail about his ideas in this regard in this talk.
I am therefore on the hunt to find more of Siegel’s thoughts about how he sees MIND as including mind of self connected to mind of other – with OTHER including our relationship with “the planet” as well as to human beings.
This greatly matters to me because while at the same time I experienced 18 years of terrible abuse by my psychotic mother I was also not allowed to form any attachment relationship with HUMANS.
I was NOT prevented from forming attachment relationship with the Alaskan mountain wilderness where we homesteaded in my childhood. It is this relationship with ‘nature’ itself that I believe saved me – AND – allowed me to form “borrowed secure attachment” relationships with my children.
All of this is also swirling around in my mind in connection to Siegel’s assertions that “the open plane of possibilities” is a positive ‘place’ to aim for!! I mentioned this plane as I first discovered it in Siegel’s thinking in this post
I am also on the hunt for more information about this plane as I am suspecting that its existence in Siegel’s thoughts as he describes it relates in extremely important ways to the PLANE severely traumatized infants and children not only know very well – but also are not allowed to leave by way of anything like a normal, ordinary developmental process as nontraumatized children do.
This same plane may be the state we reached (and reach now) in between our ongoing experiences of being a self in our own self-world as a sort of “given place” that enables enduring trauma and its survival possible. While ‘dissociation’ is most often the term used to describe our experience that term, too, is probably best relegated to the old vernacular as the new ‘lingo’ vernacular that more accurately describes the OPERATION of attachment processes finds its way into awareness and thusly to consciousness within our culture.
I see a kind of confusing dichotomy if not an actual paradox in what little I have encountered thus far of Siegel’s thinking. If reaching the “open plane of possibility” is so advantageous then how is “awareness” such an attractive alternative to being on this plane?
I would think that awareness might be the greased slide we can use to access this plane – but based on what I know of how my mind operated during the 18 years of my abusive childhood (coupled with horrendous periods of forced isolation and solitary confinement without attachment with another human being during those years) – THINKING in ‘thoughts’ that would even detect this so-called level of awareness in operation are NOT what I suspect “the open plane of possibility” has to offer or is about.
I also remain entirely unconvinced that it is necessary to access the greased slide of awareness to find one’s way to this plane of possibility. I am quite certain that I lived nearly entirely on that plane for the first 18 years of my life, as I have mentioned.
In my thinking that plane may be simply the natural state of our existence if it is not tampered with through our experience. Interestingly unlike any peer I have ever met I know that plane because my experience WAS completely tampered with through horrendous abuse the likes of which I have never heard of, either.
That abuse left me entirely to myself – in my natural state – because nobody ‘let me out of the cage of my mother’s mad-hell’ for more than a very few moments so that ‘regular experiences’ could contaminate my access to that state/plane of possibility. I simply lived there.
This fact left me wide open to being able to borrow the attachment circuitry my children simply naturally possessed because they were born human. I did not interfere with their process. They led the way – very clearly – I simply followed their lead. I did not contaminate (or thwart) their natural (innate) attachment process which I recognized because ordinary attachment also is generated within (I suspect) that same “open plane of possibility.” (I doubt there is more than one of these planes on this planet! That is very handy! Lol)
In my mind having my menarche come to me in the middle of the 2nd strongest (and longest) earthquake recorded in history is just a part of the picture of what I know. That experience was just another one from my Alaska years that seemed designed (i.e., the white butterflies, my vision, etc.) to not let me forget – or undervalue – what I know inside me as it also highlighted the power of connection with the earth itself.
There is another way for someone abused nearly beyond belief in their early years to achieve secure attachment with offspring other than through the recognized channels of “earned secure” attachment. It can come directly through the powers of this “open plane of possibility” that Seigel describes in the same way that surviving that kind of abuse happens.
Again in the chapter-article Siegel wrote:
“This is such a crucial point that I’ll repeat it: When it comes to how our children will be attached to us, having difficult experiences early in life is less important than whether we’ve found a way to make sense of how those experiences have affected us. Making sense is a source of strength and resilience. In my twenty- five years as a therapist, I’ve also come to believe that making sense is essential to our well- being and happiness.”
From my own experience I would say that it has taken me over 30 years to BEGIN to make sense out of what happened to me – and that making sense is not enough. I have written before on this blog that the minimum jail sentence Mother would have well deserved would have been 15,000 years. I have only figured out in this past year that it was Mother’s PSYCHOTIC mind that caused so much trouble.
What does ANYONE really know or understand of such a psychosis and the harm it can create? What sense of this could even the most accomplished “professional” make of Mother’s mind?
A simple-minded suggestion that “making sense” is even possible for those of us at the bottom of the human attachment heap certainly does nothing to give credence to such a speaker. Yet I also recognize that it takes a certain kind of humility forced upon us survivors that is not likely to be found among “the experts” that lets us know in many ways we are up against the impossible when we try to make any sense of what happened to us.
(I can accept that working toward healing our story, making it and ourselves “more coherent” is vital — but I am not convinced that “making sense” applies in my case where the chaotic mayhem of absolute psychotic mental illness created the whole mess.)
SENSE is a HUGE word – as it is given over to the family of meaning from which it derives. Those of us in what I estimate to be the bottom 5-7% of infant-child abuse survivors have the sense in every cell of our body that let us #1 SURVIVE what happened to us and then #2 allows us to carry along with us the rest of our lives the HUGE sense of a story that does not belong to us as individuals but that was forced upon us.
It belongs to the SENSELESS (at present) culture and society that ever allowed what happened to us to happen at all.
Meanwhile – back to the drawing board I go in search of new INFORMATION that can help me to make more sense out of my story. Making sense is a PROCESS, not a destination – in my mind. Especially in my case where my entire reality was intertwined with the senseless insanity of my abusive mother I have to look toward understanding what happened to HER mind to cause her to create the world she created for me — and then to my mind for what saved me.
Here is our first book out in ebook format. A very kind professional graphic artist is going to revise our cover pro bono (we are still waiting to hear that he has accomplished this job) – what a gift and thank you Ben! Click here to view or purchase:
It lists for $2.99 and can be read free for Amazon Prime customers. Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site are WELCOME and appreciated!
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