Monday, December 8, 2014. I can’t quite figure out when it might be at all appropriate to say to most people, “I AM SO PROUD OF YOU THAT YOU ARE ALIVE!!!
In defining my terms, and therefore the terms of this blog, I am saying that “most people” includes all of those who received what they needed during their earliest years of life (“good enough” caregiving) to become safe and securely attached people. That would be about 55% of our population.
Coming down the pike, then, there are among the remaining 45% of people who have some degree and version of an insecure attachment disorder — let’s say — about 20% of THIS group a bunch with an “avoidant” insecure attachment disorder. Those people fit into a society pretty nicely that has no real clue of the value of emotions in the first place.
Now, coming down further into the insecurely attached group, there would be another perhaps 15% that have an “ambivalent” insecure attachment disorder and then — down here where I reside, a remaining approximate 15% who received a very harsh and inadequate, often very abusive, neglectful and traumatic early beginning that left this group with a combination of “disorganized-disoriented” and “reactive” insecure attachment disorders.
OK. Within this breakdown I am saying that only this bottom 15%, really, are the ones that are NOT among the “most people” group. It is to these people (myself included) that it is VERY appropriate to affirm the fact that it is only through our MAJOR efforts to find our footing along the extremely treacherous and dangerous path of the early years of our life that has kept us alive — and “YAY US!!”
Seems likely to me that the amount of focused effort and energy it has taken us to survive is effort and energy — along with corresponding resources — that “most people” get to spend on making themselves a pretty good life. This is NOT a post about self-pity. It is a post about the practical matters of life as a survivor. It is about being a person with — MORE.
Again, if readers do an online search for “CDC ACE study” all of those articles that will appear in connection with these research findings affirm what I am saying. Something happens when people have to fight against terrible odds to survive from the very start of life. True, billions of people are suffering on this planet in ways I cannot begin to imagine — but the truth is, trauma is trauma and because we are all of the human species the same kinds of consequences that take over the bulk of living for people traumatized severely in the earliest years of life is mostly the same.
AND always the major factor mitigating the effects of early trauma is the availability of safe and secure attachment. Attachment.
There is something a bit different in my thoughts as I write this post than there has been in the many hundreds of posts I have already written about the consequences of early trauma. Again I am also mentioned this article my Dr. Martin Teicher and his researchers: The neurobiological consequences of early stress and childhood maltreatment.
BUT today for the first time that I know of I am rethinking how I place early traumatic stress survivors on the so-called rungs of the evolutionary ladder.
Always before now I have figured that the kinds of physiological changes this article describes put survivors of malevolent early traumatic childhoods at some BACKWARD state of evolutionary adaptation. Maybe that is NOT what the kinds of changes that happen to us are all about!
Maybe we are evolutionarily ADVANCED because of what we have endured and survived. Maybe the mismatch that Teicher describes (I know, the article is complicated but read through it and especially attend to its final paragraphs) between those who had no choice but to adapt in their physiological development to a malevolent world and the more benevolent world we found ourselves living in when we got out of our home of origin is a mismatch of a different kind than the one I have imagined before now.
True, many survivors find their way into abusive relationships, environments of deprived violence and into the clutches of all kinds of addictions — but this is NOT what I am talking about.
I am talking about WHO we are in combination with HOW we are in our trauma-altered body.
Maybe we are designed to “hatch” into a FAR FAR more advanced world than this one is. Benevolent? There is a whole lot about current culture and society in America that is NOT benevolent or benign, or even just, wise, fair or even kind.
Maybe we are not the ones that can be fooled.
Maybe we have extremely high standards, ones we have earned the right to know about.
Maybe we know that these standards are missing from this “more benign” world we are now in. Life is relative. Just because, for many of us, the worst of the horrors of our early years are not present in our adult lives does not mean, by default, that this world is THAT much better. THIS world certainly never gave a damn about terribly-abused-child-me. So much for being a benevolent world out here. Not all that much has changed, all things considered.
I think most of us live with a close connection to innate, instinctive, ancient wisdom. We cannot be easily fooled. We don’t play games. We see through things “most people” take for granted as being true. Maybe this world WE live in, as different as it can seem to be from the world of “most people,” is a BETTER inner world than we realize.
We have heightened compassion, extra attentiveness to the REAL conditions of others no matter how they may try to mask their truth from self and from those around them. We are often extremely sensitive. SUPER sensitive. I don’t care about the “survival” theories about how we came to be this way.
I am thinking about the way we are!! We don’t take life for granted. We have depths in our hearts that are so wide open that many people cannot comprehend us. Maybe we KNOW how the world could be a different, BETTER world if “most people” knew what we know.
We are not oblivious. We are not shallow, trivial or trite. Our endurance and our strength and our patience has been tested. Life has found us worthy to still be here. We don’t need to ever take THAT for granted. We were not formed in ease. We were formed in great, great hardship and difficulty. Most of us, I’ll bet, do not have easy lives even now. We have the extra struggles. But we are still here to have them!
Yes, here we still are. That didn’t “just” happen. It happened because we MADE it happen. True there have been miracles along the way that helped us. But WE let them.
We had to AGREE to still be here. We are tough and we are tender — in all the right ways. We know what sacrifice IS.
There is nothing weak or flawed about us. We are HIGH QUALITY, and we know it if we are honest with ourselves. But we also have a rare kind of humility. Arrogance is not our nature. We crave peace. We know its absence. We are watchers. We are loyal. Our integrity demands that we say what we mean and mean what we say.
I believe that if we are honest with ourselves we know we are leaders, not followers. I say, “GOOD FOR US!”
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