Thursday, March 27, 2014. I began this morning in between interruptions from 20-month-old baby scrawling down on paper a few of my thoughts:
Why would I be surprised if I discover as my truth the fact that PLACE is more real to me than people are?
Mother had no boundary between herself and her projected-bad-self-into-me.
I have no boundary between place and myself.
I have too much of a boundary between myself and people.
I have no boundary (except an intellectual one) between myself and physical environments.
—- Weather is directly tied to place.
—- Geography of place. Of self. Of others.
Baby is down for his morning nap. I can continue….
I am unable to separate myself from the environment I am exposed to. I react – super react – to sounds, scenery, weather, light, etc. I have become increasingly unable as I age to calm myself when I am interaction with – and therefore in reaction to – all of the stimulating factors of environment.
The reactions I have here in this northern climate and in this city, as I have been reporting on this blog, have not been pleasant ones for me. I spoke recently to a southern friend who told me that due to the unusual warmth of the winter season in the high desert and to the lack of moisture there is a great deal of dust in the air down there. That dirt in the air DID bother me while I lived there. But in a weight-to-weight ratio of what bothers me MORE – I would take the dust.
No, no place is perfect. But for someone like me who is nearly – or entirely incapable – of erecting workable boundaries between place and self the milder the climate, the more scenic the view, the better off I am.
When it comes to people….
It strikes me this morning that when an infant is born to an incapable mother and does not receive any or anything like enough resonating-mirroring of self from this early caregiver NOT ONLY is the definition of self hampered but so, also, is the growth of a definition of OTHER.
When Dr. Daniel Siegel and others speak of increasing one’s “mindsight” abilities in adulthood so that the other can be more clearly recognized and distinguished-differentiated – I am pressed into my critical areas of thinking enough to report that for some people, myself included, any later stage endeavor to “understand other people” will NEVER bring us even close to knowing what we should have learned from birth about what another person IS.
Popular self-help for “co-dependency” and for “adult children” “recovery” talks about such survivors “guessing at what normal is.”
Much, MUCH more serious and pervasively problematic for some of us is the fact that we will GUESS at what being HUMAN is – for the rest of our lives.
Because Mother’s psychosis and her psychotic abuse and neglect of me did not involve any recognition of BOUNDARIES I was coincidentally also left with NO BOUNDARIES to cross.
If there was no boundary, say, between Mexico and the United States (I say this after having lived for years with that boundary fence in my backyard) there would be no boundary – duh! – to protect, to cross, to violate illegally, to define, to respect, to understand, to assess, to value, to work with or to work against.
But this morning I am realizing that in my case there IS a great and seemingly uncrossable and nonnegotiable boundary between myself and other people! Because nobody ever negotiated ME as a person and never negotiated themselves as people with me, either – I was left with an UNCROSSABLE boundary.
This thinking about boundaries, although very hard for me to articulate in words, lets me know that there is a kind of focus-shifting I might be able to do when it comes to the struggles I have on many levels.
My reacting to environment, to place including geography and climate, is likely as extreme as it is because I never formed my HUMAN-self boundary that would have excluded me from place.
On the other hand, my reacting to humans, also an extreme and not pleasant (most of the time) involvement , probably happens the way that it does to a large extent because the boundaries are so fixed that I cannot cross them OUTWARDLY and others cannot cross them to get in to me, either.
As I wrote that sentence it dawned on me how necessary it was for me to keep a boundary – an impenetrable, unbreachable boundary between myself and my mother. My boundary was that I was born sane and I kept my sanity. My sanity was always in direct conflict with Mother’s insanity.
It has been only within this past year as I continued writing books that it became clear to me that although I was oblivious of my sanity it WAS my sanity that allowed me to survive Mother.
But the fact that I had no other person with whom I could negotiate self-and-other with I was left growing far into my adulthood before any power of reflective awareness of myself in my life ever reached me.
By then, it seems, it was far, far too late for me to begin to negotiate on any kind of real or feeling level what humans are – let alone WHO they are.
In this case there really is not “sharing” of anything. “You are on your side of the uncrossable boundary. I am on my side. I cannot reach you and you cannot reach me.”
That is a very simple way to state a nearly incomprehensible reality that I believe is the uncommon one shared by people who survived severe abuse and neglect from birth. One blog reader uses the term “The Great Divide” to describe this non-negotiable distance between survivors and others.
I cannot find awareness of asking this morning for these thoughts to arrive, but now that they are here I am thinking “This is how resolving trauma means we have to continuously reinvent ourselves by taking repeating looks back over our life story in continuously changing ways.”
This lens in my thoughts this morning brings many parts of my life story into view. I think about the death of my black rabbit pet Peter when I was seven. I was CONSCIOUS after that death happened (as it included Mother’s insane abusive response to me) that I was bearing unbearable sadness. I was not ONLY sad. I KNEW I was sad.
In my memory that is a clear example to me of one time I came face-to-face with my SELF experiencing my own life.
Yet as I write this I realize I would have to go back and revisit (I am not going to do that now but I know I might in the future) every one of my memories in which I know I was NOT doing what psychotic Mother saw me doing and then horrifically abused me for doing (not doing). I WAS aware in myself of my own reality. I simply knew that reality of mine as it differed from Mother’s version.
Did my definition of myself evolve through a process of knowing I was NOT someone else? If so, how could have that process allowed me to form any kind of bridge ever between myself and any other person?
I also have known for a long, long time that my relationship with the wilderness of Alaska during my childhood saved me from extinction. I NEVER thought of myself as being separate in any way from that PLACE – including all life that made up that place (including stones, the rock of the mountains, the sky and all that lived there including the wind, etc).
(Some places giving me solace, other places giving me absolute dismay at the same time I have no boundary-making ability to separate myself and how I “feel” from any place.)
There is another segment of my childhood story when I was around age 11 that I remember clearly looking inside of myself, considering the facts of my situation as I understood them, and making my informed decision that led to disastrous abuse consequences. I see this morning how important it is for me as I include that “story” in my lifeline that I realize the significance of my having been INSIDE of my own SELF in some kind of state of awareness of my own existence. I am not sure I could track any other memory of such an event prior to my age 16.
On and on it goes as if I think I can someday, if I just think the right thoughts, resolve the whole mess and “just be OK.”
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
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