Friday, November 28, 2014. I wrote about something in my previous post that I am not going to leave alone today. It is IMPORTANT to me that readers of this blog take some time to read, think about and perhaps respond to the United Nation’s World Health Organization’s version of the American Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) questionnaire that can be found at this link:
There is more information about this questionnaire in the second half of my last post here:
As I was reading through the questions on this questionnaire it really struck me that for the 20+ years of “recovery” efforts I had put in on my own behalf as a severe early abusive trauma survivor I did not have enough of the right kind of information to answer #4.2 correctly until I was 52 years old! Even by the age of 30 I still had no idea that I had “been abused” at all! I certainly had no idea what depression was, and no kind of real knowledge, even, about what “mental illness” was.
I didn’t REALLY begin to understand my Mother’s mental illness until I was 52 years old when my brother sent me a book about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) mothers. The light went on for me as I saw Mother and key aspects of my abuse history at her hands within those pages – finally!
It took another 10 years before — all on my own and through my own hard efforts to make sense out of my world and the conditions of other severe early trauma survivors — that I finally narrowed things down along the correct track to realize the truth of the WHOLE matter: Mother was PSYCHOTICALLY mentally ill, and her psychosis revolved around ME.
What a long, long road!
It’s not that the abuse wasn’t hard enough to endure and survive for the first long 18 years of my life. It wasn’t even that I had spent ten years in therapy, ten years in 12-step programs, searched hard for the truth of my life for 20+ years, had completed an undergraduate degree in psychology and then a Masters’ Degree in Art Therapy that truly bothered me a little over a year ago when I figured out “the rest of the story” about what happened to me and WHY.
What bothered me MOST is that the negligence of the “professional” world to understand the underpinnings of abuse lies within the grasp of the human race and we are not MATURE ENOUGH to care! I was NEVER told by any therapist by within the pages of any psychology or “self-help” book what I needed to know.
The stress of severe early trauma changes the physiological development of an infant-child so that the BODY a person lives within for the rest of their life responds from a platform within all of its systems to respond to a world that will ALWAYS match the same kind of malevolent world that signaled the rapidly developing little body of a person to change its development to match that kind of environment in order to survive.
The NUMBER ONE factor (there are other resiliency factors, of course) that can modulate the way Trauma Altered Development (TAD) takes place is the dependable presence of at least ONE safe and secure attachment person in an extremely stressed (traumatized) person’s early life.
Even this presence cannot prevent many permanent TAD changes from taking place, but if there is hope for escaping the worst lifelong effects, this presence is the most significant contributor. These changes impact the physiological STRUCTURAL development and hence the operation of the nervous system-brain-stress/calm response system and even, I firmly believe, the immune system itself.
I think severe early trauma survivors KNOW these facts intuitively and instinctively. I think we all know, no matter how hard we work to “get better” that key and central information that fits OUR history and experiences in life is just plain missing. (I am writing to not only survivors but also to those who love them and need to learn about what “nobody” is telling us.)
When we DO encounter the truth, which is becoming more widely spoken of in today’s research circles, we will FEEL it because we will resonate with this truth. We have not always known something is missing about we have been told about ourselves, we will ALSO know when we locate what will try help us understand — and then learn how to live better WITH — not only what happened to us but most importantly how those events created us to me “evolutionarily altered” individuals who ARE different in significant ways from people who did NOT suffer from massive unsafe and insecure attachment conditions during our earliest years of critically important development.
What we need to begin to make conscious is the information you will find here:
I believe people can “make themselves safe enough” to work through the pages of questions you will find at this link. I am not suggesting that we are going after “memories” themselves although touching any of these subjects in this survey can create “trauma triggering.” YOU DO NOT NEED TO LET any part of this process run away from you! YOU have the efficacy to be in charge of this process!
You are giving what is within you an opportunity to basically resonate in an OUTWARD direction. A HUGE part of the problem for early severe trauma survivors is that we are left personally suffering lifelong negative effects from trauma that DO NOT BELONG TO US as individuals. I have written about this aspect many times on this blog and will not go into them again right here and now.
There is an interesting music video circulating around that, although in some ways follows a theme that MIGHT be unsettling to some viewers, DOES clearly show something about what reverberation and resonance can literally look like!
— VIEW HERE—
My favorite image is the drummer’s effect on the stream of water!
I suggest watching this video before you move into thinking about your response to the trauma-related questions at the survey link I provide in this post. It is helpful to engage the very human power of IMAGINATION as it is a very powerful aspect of our right brain hemisphere’s activities (a region of our brain greatly harmed and changed through early relationship trauma in our early attachment relationships). Our right brain is continually in intimate touch with every emotion we have as our experiences IN OUR BODY are fed to our consciousness through this hemisphere.
In part I think going through this questionnaire helps us because it lets our two brain hemispheres communicate with one another (and of course with our self) about key truths of our existence. You will find WORDS as you go through this exercise that encourage calm and focused left-brain thinking both within your own self and in communication with others who you feel safe and secure enough to talk about this process with!
Feel free to leave comments here to this blog post, as well. And if you are working with a therapist you can discuss the project in session before you give this a whirl!
And if you’d like a little humor first, here’s another video that offers A LITTLE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE! (And, no, I am not encouraging beer drinking! It’s just a prop here.)
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