+RELATIONSHIP MATTERS

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Monday, September 21, 2015.  If we have a history of early traumatic relationships that built our developing nervous system, brain and self within unsafe and insecure attachment conditions rather than within safe and secure attachment conditions those patterns of insecurity within us can very easily become activated in every relationship we have – especially our most meaningful ones – for the duration of our life.

While I am certainly not saying that safe and securely attached people do not have relationship difficulties, I am saying that because we severe early trauma survivors were built in, by and for a primarily malevolent world we have never been designed for default patterns of safety and security in this world – certainly not within the human-to-human world.

While it is often very helpful to us in our efforts to build healthy safe and secure attachment relationships to have identified the specific details and nature of our early traumas, I do not believe this information gives us – by itself – the most important avenues we need in order to create and sustain the kinds and quality of relationships with people we most want to have in our current and future life.

We need to learn to identify the PATTERNS within the range of how human attachment systems operate.  These patterns exist as very early-forming neurobiological expressions that appear in our body/brain and then in how we feel, how we think and how we act/react.

I continue to most highly recommend Dr. Daniel J.Siegel and Mary Hartzell’s book

Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive

for its practical explanation of what attachment is, how to identify patterns of attachment, how these patterns originate, how we experience them in relationships and how we can change them.

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Trauma survivors are not alone in having human needs.  Everyone has them.  When anyone has an attachment need that is creating an “insecurity” within them this means, most simply, that their attachment system is turned ON (it is activated).

If person A is called in some way to “caregive” to another person B –whose attachment need system is also turned ON — person A will not be able to fully caregive to B unless A can either turn OFF (deactivate) their attachment need system or at least relegate their need to an inconspicuous level at this time.

I have found this toggle-switch-like ON/OFF (attachment need/caregive in response to need) connection between activated need (insecurity) and caregiver response is most clearly conceptualized and explained in the writings presented here:

All the links are contained together here:  +CAREGIVING IN ADULT ATTACHMENT RELATIONSHIPS

Links in the series separately:

*COLLINS ON RESPONDING TO NEED – Part One

*COLLINS ON RESPONDING TO NEED – Part Two

*COLLINS ON RESPONDING TO NEED – Part Three

*COLLINS ON RESPONDING TO NEED – Part Four

*COLLINS ON RESPONDING TO NEED – Part Five

*COLLINS ON RESPONDING TO NEED – Part Six

**Attachment Styles and Caregiving from Collins Article

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Ahh!  But there is so much more to our story!

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The end goal of early safe and secure attachment is to create a fully autonomous adult who can flexibly and appropriately choose from the widest array possible of health-and-happiness producing options in response to self, others and one’s environment.

High Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score people and/or people with severe early attachment trauma histories of abuse and neglect usually suffer from what I call a PRIMARY insecure attachment disorder.  Our attachment need system rarely if ever turns itself OFF or can be turned OFF.

We were formed in an environment that did not meet our basic human needs and that by its severely traumatic nature also created additional extraordinary needs within us.

As adults we work to become conscious of our own needs as we take responsibility for them.  It is nobody else’s job to take care of us.  (We are grownups, no longer kids.)  When we lost sight of what our own needs are we can also become very foggy about our “demands” for someone else to respond to us in ways we WANT them to.  (For a connection to “codependency” CLICK HERE.)

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Having lived many years in a high desert region where much research goes into learning about the lifespan of trees has given me a useful image in my thinking about the differences between those with “primary” insecure attachments and those without them.

Evidently a tree left to grow through too many of its early developmental years in a pot will never grow a true taproot once it has been transplanted into the earth.  As I see it people raised in a safe and secure (benevolent) attachment world are enabled to grow their taproot from the start of their life within the enriching soil of healthy human interactions.  Those of us raised in the horrors of a drastically unsafe and insecure (malevolent) attachment world are like trees whose potential for life is constricted within a pot of impossibility.

When developmental expert Dr. Martin Teicher speaks of the kinds of physiological changes that happen during the developmental stages of maltreated infants and children he also notes that it is most often the total MISMATCH between growing up in a malevolent world and then being transplanted later into a mostly benevolent world that creates so many additional problems for severe early trauma survivors.

Our body/brain/self was designed to keep us alive in a world that WAS impossible to survive within.

In the words of Dr. Donald Woods Winnicott (some of whose writings are presented here: The Language of Winnicott) — “going on being” is an essential component of the development of an authentic “self” – which, from a severe trauma survivor’s point of view, is only possible if LIFE ITSELF is allowed to “go on being” at all.

It is the unsolvable paradox of surviving what cannot be survived, of “going on being” when “going on being” is not possible for a tiny infant/child, that forms the basis of the “primary” insecure attachment disorder patterns some of us are left to negotiate relationships with throughout our lifespan.

Yet, we are NOT trees!  We do continue to stretch and grow our attachment relationship taproot into the soil of health, happiness, safety and security – in the best way we know how to — no matter what our early trauma experiences have been.

But we are not indigenous inhabitants of a safe and secure attachment relationship (benevolent) world.  We are transplants.  We live in the complicated aftermath of severe early trauma.

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How DID we remain alive when doing so was impossible?

How DO we give so much to others when so many of our essential early needs were never met?

We replaced “No, you CANNOT” with “Yes, I CAN!”

We replaced “No, you WILL NOT” with “Yes, I WILL!”

“If there is a good way forward, I will find it.  If there is no good way forward, I will create one.”

But I think the hardest part has to do with having been SO ALONE, having to essentially survive as a self – alone.

How do we even learn what safe and secure attachment IS?  How do we learn to be TOGETHER with other people?  How do we learn to help others learn how to be TOGETHER with us?

How do we learn to be alone without – well – FEELING SO ALL ALONE?  How do we — come to think about it — even learn how to be around other people without STILL FEELING SO ALL ALONE?

No other person is ever going to be able to take our pain away from us.  No one else is going to remove from us the essences of all that we have been through.  These elements are a part of us.

But the risk is that we might WANT someone to take care of us, to heal us, to remove our essential aloneness – WHATEVER it is that should NEVER have been a part of our life in the first place.

THAT PART?

HA!  Not gonna happen!  And that is perfectly OK!

Boundaries lie where you remain you while I remain me.

This is the integrity of life.

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Here is our first book out in ebook format.  Click here to view or purchase –

Story Without Words:  How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.

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Tags: adult attachment disordersadult reactive attachment disorderanxiety disorders,borderline motherborderline personality disorderbrain developmentchild abuse,depression,derealizationdisorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorderempathyinfant abusePosttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factorsPTSDresiliencyresiliency factorsrisk factorsshame

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+RESPECT: AN ASPECT OF HEALING THE CORE OF OUR ATTACHMENT WOUND

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Friday, September 11, 2015.  I am asking myself, “Do I really know what respect is?”  It is not a tangible object.  That much I know.  Yet I turn the word around in my mind as if it IS some kind of internal object that some people must actually “have a handle on.”

Handle.  I would say that in my “world order of things” respect seems to be connected to the way I handle my own self in the world.

“In respect to….”

“In retrospect….”

As I try to inspect what I might inwardly know or at least believe about respect I cannot avoid opening some inner doors of revelation into my childhood.  As this happens I cannot avoid cringing.

It is easy for me to simply say, “Nobody ever respected me.”  So how DID I learn a single thing as a kid about respect?

I couldn’t demand or command respect from anyone as an infant or as a child or even as a teenager.  What I do know, for example, is that in our family it was perfectly fine for my mentally ill mother to beat me often, whenever she wanted to for as long as she wanted to for no reason that any sane person could have determined.

Yet at the same time all her children were trained to climb the steep hillside above our Alaskan homestead shack ALWAYS on a specified single narrow pathway out of respect for NOT harming, not hurting, not damaging, not trampling any tiny tendril of any plant that grew there.

So I DID learn certain things about respect from my parents?

Yes.

But I learned NOTHING about what it would be like to be respected myself – except perhaps by default from teachers at school – in some sort of remote and depersonalized way.

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(Interesting)  Origin of RESPECT

Middle English, from Latin respectus, literally, act of looking back, from respicere to look back, regard, from re- + specere to look — more at spy

First Known Use: 14th century
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Taking a massive leap forward, today I look back at my parenting of my three very-grown children.  By miracles I will probably never specifically be able to identify I was able to completely respect my children and to teach them to respect their self.  I can’t see, however, that I kept our relationships in healthy balance, however.  I could not do a good job at teaching my children to respect me.

I still have aspects of a huge-hole-within struggle when it comes to understanding what it feels like to be respected – wholly respected – for who I am.  I attach “completely valued” now to any concept of respect I come up with.  (I am very blessed to have a few fantastic friendships with people who offer me the best kind of respect that I can imagine.)

I think there is a kind of warm and tender caring involved for me to FEEL fully respected.  It involves on the part of another person (and what I know I do not always give to other people myself) careful listening with an open mind and heart so that I feel listened to and HEARD with high positive regard and empathy for me to FEEL respected.

I don’t think I built that kind of an infrastructure from early on into my children’s relationship with me.  (Oops!)

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I can learn to more clearly identify that when my reactions to others are filled with feelings of disappointment, fear, sadness, frustration, loneliness, shame and even of anger it may well be my “respect-hole” that is being activated and needs to be honored, examined and healed (some more).

I don’t want to keep falling blindly into that hole created, in part, by my tendency to attribute worth and value to others without keeping my half of all interactions firmly anchored in what now needs to be my OWN respect for myself.

I need to strengthen my own self-respect foundations.  This is part of building more resiliencies into me as I decrease my reactivity to how I perceive other people as acting toward me.

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In the massive tumult and jumble of unresolved traumas passed down over generations in families (and in cultures) it can be hard and can take a very long time before complicating factors can be disentangled so that they can begin to be identified and examined.  Both of my parents always had terrible relationships with their parents.

Yes, respect is a part of love.  But it is its OWN part.  To use attachment-related terminology from developmental neuroscientist Dr. Allan N. Schore, problems with respect are about “ruptures without repair” in traumatized family and the people who grew up in them.  Healing can at times seem overwhelming.

Hopefully having the processes of “respect” jump into my current life’s limelight will help me even at age 64 to examine some specific related patterns that have always been troubling to me, usually without my knowledge.  Intergenerational trauma is often entrenched in patterns of “shame and blame” (the antithesis of respect) so that any attempts to heal these traumas and their consequences MUST take place entirely free of those deadly cycles.

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Essentially these processes are about healing our attachment trauma wound at its core that left us perpetually asking, “Will you love me if I am completely myself?”  (“Will you respect me if I am completely myself?”)

We are learning, bit by bit, to replace the unequivocal “NO!” we were so traumatized by with a permanent (we can TRUST it) unconditional “YES!”

This healing, as it takes place, happens in all of our relationships ESPECIALLY in our relationship with our self.

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Here is our first book out in ebook format.  Click here to view or purchase –

Story Without Words:  How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.

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Tags: adult attachment disordersadult reactive attachment disorderanxiety disorders,borderline motherborderline personality disorderbrain developmentchild abuse,depression,derealizationdisorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorderempathyinfant abusePosttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factorsPTSDresiliencyresiliency factorsrisk factorsshame

+THE INSIDIOUS ATTACHMENT TRAUMAS OF DAYCARE “DUMP CENTERS” – WHAT ARE WE REALLY DOING TO OUR LITTLE PEOPLE?

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015.  There are times in our life when the last thing people around us want from us is that we BE REAL.  If there are important choices being made, significant choices and especially ones that gravely affect very young innocent children — that appear to be being made by others who are operating from an unconscious inner “data base” — EVERY PERSON involved better remain unconscious as well and if this is not possible – then they better be SILENT.

Or what?

Confrontations in these kinds of patterns within relationships do not work.  There is a kind of inner status quo in people who seem to need to remain in an “unconscious” state about matters of import that seems necessary to them being able to sustain their life.  The power held by the unconsciousness itself can never be underestimated.

It is serving a purpose.  A very big purpose.  The good or bad of such purpose is open to question.

Or is it?

What might the critical difference be between that which seems to sustain life and that which seems to sustain a LIFESTYLE?  In American mainstream materialistic, consumer society do we differentiate between the two?

Are we clear about the difference between a want and a need?  How much do we understand about the essential attachment NEEDS of infants and very young children (I would say especially under the age of five)?  In these little people what they NEED and what they WANT is exactly the same thing IF they are being parented correctly with at least GOOD ENOUGH safe and secure attachment permeating the little one’s every early life moment.

A parent’s – especially a mother’s – lack of specific clarity about the difference between their own wants and needs is very likely going to damage their children’s essential development because there IS some suffering-through-personal-sacrifice of WANTS in caregiving attachment adults – and often even some sacrifice of NEEDS required to maintain a stable and fulfilling safe and secure environment for very young humans to grow their self, their connection to and their personal relationship with this self.

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In a materialistic society where WANT is the fuel and GET IT is the fire it is incredibly easy to drop one’s very young children along the roadside in the mad rush to acquire WHATEVER.

Or, just an easy process to drop one’s very young children in some large daycare center and forget about them during the most important formative moments, hours, days, weeks, months and years of those little ones’ lives.  Easy to do so unconsciously.  Easy to do so unchallenged.  Easy for everyone except for those little people who will grow up, and I mean WILL grow up, wounded and lost-within.

Parents who do not want to know what the critically important attachment needs of their children are – won’t know.  Nor will they let anyone else tell them either about these needs or about how not meeting these needs harms their so-young and vulnerable children.

It’s an emotional death trap.  I suspect that this mass abandonment of little ones by mothers into daycare centers from birth is the number one way that trauma is being passed down through the generations to the largest number of people in America today.

It seems not to matter one bit whether or not these kinds of parents were “traumatized” in their childhood or not.  This society condones, enables and encourages such kinds of abandonment of the young – at very young ages and for very VERY long hours per day — and it seems that fewer and fewer parents are willing to question how destructive to the development of a whole and healthy self in young children these patterns of neglect actually are.

It works fine for the creation of a consumer society which best operates by luring its citizens to attempt to fulfill their vast hole-within-self (replete with the kinds of gaping internal wounds that early abandonment creates) by BUYING THINGS.  Buying more and more and more and MORE – things.  Consume.  Consume.  CONSUME.

These children grieve for their mothers all through their waking days.  Who cares?  Who, really, cares?

And when mothers become “super affectionate” love machines to their abandoned young for perhaps an hour in the mornings and perhaps two hours in the evenings – with some kind of super smooching also on the very short weekends filled with GO!  GO!  GO! — these young ones do NOT understand that such love is not a life sustaining, long-term kind of moment-to-moment intimate sharing of continual life experiences kind of love that actually builds happy, healthy self-sustaining whole human beings.

It takes TIME to raise a child, to create a human being.  That is what our evolution has determined best suits our development and frees our fullest potential.  TIME with loving attachment people whose very life is itself devoted primarily to meeting the needs of the little ones being brought into the world.

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Daycare centers are herding pens for lost children, no matter how much they cost, no matter how great their hard-sell for customers is.  Daycares are about BUSINESS.  About making money.

They are not about solacing the breaking hearts of the abandoned young who fill up their toy-packed rooms.  They are not about looking within a child with love to draw out the best possible self of a child into a world where love is dependably there to welcome them every moment of their young life.

Daycare centers overwhelm and overstimulate young children in ways that are not remotely related to the actual needs for intimate development that each child has.  Perhaps by age three “play date” experiences with other children maybe twice a week in two hour segments can be helpful to them.  But this is NOT what is happening to larger and larger segments of our child population.

Not by a long shot.

How long will it take before our society’s great experiment garners attention as the ACE score long-range traumatic event that it is in young children’s lives?  It will take generations because nobody wants to think about or talk about or do anything to stop these patterns.

There may be some cases where daycares can offer to some children more than the parents have to offer them.  But little people do NOT need daycare in most cases to gain some kind of imagined competitive academic edge over their peers.  They do not need daycare “prep schools.”

Neither do they need “friends” to become whole little people at these so-young ages.  They do not need to be overly structured, overly stimulated, overly lost with such long times away (usually 10-11 hours per weekday) away from their primary attachment people.

What are the solutions to these great problems we are creating for our new generations?  How, when and where will our society identify the problems over a person’s lifespan that began with these kinds of patterns of early abandonment?

Who cares?

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Here is our first book out in ebook format.  Click here to view or purchase –

Story Without Words:  How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.

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NOTE:  I am still stuck with this new version of the blog’s posting page that I do not like and cannot get out of.  It has refused to post or include my chosen tags:

adult attachment disordersadult reactive attachment disorderanxiety disorders,borderline motherborderline personality disorderbrain developmentchild abuse,depression,derealizationdisorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorderempathyinfant abusePosttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factorsPTSDresiliencyresiliency factorsrisk factorsshame