Monday, March 10, 2014. I now have a shrunken yard – an 8’ by 8’ slab of cement very open to public view in this apartment complex. I gave up my rental house-home and 20,000 square foot gorgeous Arizona high desert garden to come here last October, as many blog readers know. One of the few solaces I have enjoyed this winter was to be able to feed the many wild rabbits that seem to thrive around the cat tail area outside my door.
Several times this story from my childhood appeared in my thoughts as I watched those gentle animals feed.
When I wrote about emotions and feelings in my previous post today –
I did not include any thoughts about how costly emotions often are to traumatized infants and children, and thereafter to those survivors who make it to adulthood.
Emotions ARE EXPENSIVE!
Emotions might be costly-expensive for EVERYONE – but to survivors of severe early trauma it matters – while perhaps those costs are easily absorbed into the “management system for resources” of more safe and securely attached people.
I realized this winter that the investment of my little girl open heart love for my pet rabbit put me at incredible risk for PAINFUL HARM as my story about my black rabbit describes. (I think there’s a more recent version of the story but not sure and wouldn’t know where it is at this moment – so this “edition” of this portion of my life story narrative is good enough for now!)
Over half a century later after my loss of Peter (damage to me coupled with my psychotic abusive mother’s reaction to me at that time) I understand that as far as I can tell something very fragile and so important I cannot begin to name its value was broken inside of me that day.
Even though I had already suffered from more abuse-neglect trauma by age 7-8 (my exact age has to be confirmed along the timeline from within Mother’s letters) than most people experience in a lifetime – probably far more, actually – when Peter came into my life I still had not lost my ability to trust my heart to a living entity. I had never before that time had anything (let alone anyone) to love. Peter WAS my first love and as desperate for attachment as I must have been I had no possible chance to protect myself from what happened next – his death and Mother’s insane reaction to it.
I’m not kidding. This winter I reached inside of myself to search for what I had within me WITH PETER – but all I felt was what has never been there inside of me since I lost him.
That kind of emptiness that comes from something vital having once been, once lost – when there only was THAT ONE CHANCE and no more.
Love of land and place, of siblings, of mates and children and now of grandchildren. I miss that part of me that once lived and was murdered that rainy Alaskan mountain night 55 years ago. It has never returned – and I very much doubt that it will in this lifetime – or it would have already. (No magical potion comments here, folks. I know myself and I know what I am talking about. Death like this is permanent.)
It may well be that as a traumatized child I COULD NOT AFFORD the love exchange I had with my rabbit. There was no possible way I could have known this.
I bring this up to make sure I follow my previous post with a truth: There is often a very good reason why emotions-feelings are unavailable – and there are a lot of reasons why this is so.
This reason MUST be honored. If a person wishes to heal their ability to feel as much as they can caution is still advised. Feelings were expensive for me as a child – and still are!!
I have said in the past that if a person does not have a SUPER support system around them – that they are embedded within – BE VERY CAREFUL!! There are times and circumstances when I would say it is very unwise to “mess with nature” in order to try to wake feelings up!
Just because I wrote this morning’s post giving information about loss of feelings does NOT mean that I am suggesting everyone needs to CHANGE their relationship with their feelings in any way. Certainly not immediately. In some cases certainly not at all!
Trauma people often feel ANYTHING at great cost. Determining whether feeling itself is a risk or a resiliency factor must happen before we go racing off in any direction just to change something about our reality that relates to our “embodied selfhood.”
If magic like this did exist, if I could go back and warn my child self
I would tell that so-abused child
“When a little black rabbit is offered to you
Do not touch it.
Turn your back.
Do not look back.
Do not doubt what I say.
Perhaps when I grew older had I suffered such a heartbreak I could have afforded it. Perhaps I would have had the inner resources to master my own protection so that the devastation of my loss would not have broken “that” within me. (At the end point of massive cumulative losses, I know.)
As things went I have spent the rest of my entire lifetime unable to again feel that kind of love in any “personal” relationship.
That love cost me too much.
Yet I probably would not have survived without it.
Early severe trauma survivors, we are the experts of unsolvable paradox!
NOTE: I consider my love for the Alaskan wilderness to be a kind of impersonal relationship – as I have mentioned in recent posts, I believe that love belonged within what Dr. Daniel Siegel refers to as “the open plane of possibility.” I also consider my relationships with people to be based upon “borrowed secure attachment” that also rests within that plane.
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 by Amazon Prime customers without charge. Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site are WELCOME and appreciated!
Please click here to read or to Leave a Comment »