Models of the development of Self
I am trying to work out my own version of how I think trauma impacts the development of the personality.
Part of why I need to do this is because there are no models I can turn to that take into account the existence of soul. I am looking at this soul from a point of view I hope is similar to Hillman’s.
I believe that there is a spark at the center of this soul, this acorn, this calling. I therefore am tempted to see the soul almost like a circle with the fire within it.
This spark can be fed and nurtured and fanned into a blaze, or it can be starved and neglected until barely a glimmer remains.
I will use the word PERSON, practical because we are used to the world PERSONALITY which has the person in it. I think person would be the all inclusive word I would use.
This is different from what I think I might call CHARACTER. Somehow character takes into account the choices a person makes. If a person has suffered trauma, they may be affected in terms of HOW they make decisions and choices as the number one motivation would be to avoid the unbearable pain.
Character involves the calling of the soul and the ego self, which has had to incorporate influential defenses to protect itself. (when there is severe early trauma)
The degree to which these are impacted by early trauma remains to be determined.
Somehow all of this has to do with what I call the interplay with the Personal Truth.
Does personal truth include a perception that the world is a dangerous place?
This dangerous place awareness gets built right into the body/CNS/brain, as well as into the mind and into the psychology of the person.
I do not see how early trauma could not help but completely alter the development of an individual on all levels. We are “integrated systems.” Everything affects everything else. We are also a system with very sophisticated feedback-loop mechanisms. What affects one thing affects everything else.
This is an evolutionary asset. It allows us to adapt to the impossible, the “unsolvable problems” in life.
It also assists us when we wish to change because every life-affirming change that we make affects the entire system that is us so that all changes become magnified.
There are things about people that we assume in our culture to be truths because “normally” we seem to possess them. We not only take them for granted, we believe they are facts.
(Ellis says that worth of a person is not relevant, for example.)
First and foremost we need to be concerned with the topic of REALITY. Glasser says that reality is the “trash” really, the enough-of-stuff that we don’t keep in our own personal quality worlds that leaves something left over for others? (I need to understand better what he means about this.)
We cannot know what is real for us in relationship to our soul calling unless we can access our Personal Truth.
Otherwise, we are re-acting.
Reactive attachment disorders.
How can they not be PTSD trauma memories and their reactions? That’s what the call them: trauma reenactments.
Perhaps there’s a way we get a “split-soul” or at least what looks like a split soul relationship internally. I am thinking about Ernest being my animus and me being his anima. Are male female relationships always like that? Is it the Anima in me that relates to his Animus, and his Animus relating to my Anima? If this is a love affair of BOTH of our souls, this would not surprise me.
If, on the soul level, he can simply walk away from this, from me, then there IS no hope. Which is probably the case. He is totally motivated by his insecurity fears, and as he has told me, he therefore cannot take risks and sees himself as having no courage.
I miss him, and I long for him, and evidently in THIS world, that is a crime.
So somehow it is the being apart from him, being away from him, being without him, being separated from him – that I must learn to love. For if I did not love him, it would not be a problem. As Hillman says of the mystic, if the visible and the invisible are not separated by a chasm, there is no PROBLEM. If this is a soul love, it needs to make no difference that we are physically separated.
How is this, the receptive Anima and the projecting Animus? Is it possible that if I just BE receptive, and let him do any projecting, that it might strengthen him in some way, making some balance possible within his psyche that has been deeply disturbed by the missing sexual ability and pleasure?
But I do not truly feel that any stance I can take, or anything I do or don’t do is going to make a difference here. I think he is making a business decision regarding the next stage of his life. Mari and Suzi are like the wreckers, then. Tools to get the job done.
As Anima, I would be using passive coping – to remain completely passive, to be still (like when a woman has to NOT MOVE when a man is inside of her and so close to orgasm). He can’t have one of those, so perhaps the need has changed forms – so there’s a transformation and a transcendence needed.
Not that I need to be someone different, just some HOW different. I would just need to not need or expect or anticipate or hope for anything from him. Nothing.
I had to develop my Animus, I suspect, in order to remain alive in the malevolent environment of my childhood. But being a Warrior is not about being either sex. It is a state of being.
Confidence, competence, rising to a challenge, sticking to the task – maybe that is part of what our ability to work so hard is, coming from the development of our internal Warrior abilities – using active coping skills – to stay alive.
Are Anima and Animus aspects or characteristics of the soul?
I had to ask him if I could go see him for a little while. I miss him so much. I have not “grown down into the world,” as Hillman says. I understand nothing about it. But my soul knows Ernest. Mari has him in the “grown down into the world” sort of way. I wouldn’t know how to care for him that way, anyway.
It does piss me off, to have been deprived of that – both in regard to Ernest and in regard to my entire lifetime here.
When a soul does not get to grown down into the world correctly, into a healthy body and a healthily developed self, the person at the end doesn’t even know it. Perhaps if they get diagnosed somewhere down the road with this mental disorder or that, it will become apparent that something is wrong, though the person will not know how deep the problem lies.
If an infant is abused from birth, and does not have a consistent secure loving OTHER person to connect to, then there is no way in the world that person will be OK after development. They will have PTSD, they will have an attachment disorder, and more than likely, if there has been the complication of childhood sexual abuse, there will be the acute complication of a mental disorder, including all of the personality disorders.
That is part of what makes us so intense. It is built right into our right brain, the interactional disability of the functioning of our hemispheres, built into our CNS. Our soul never got to grown down into our bodies or our self. THAT is truly where the sadness is. That is what makes us misfits. We mis-fit even our bodies, and certainly the world of people.
Our soul needs a secure attachment in infancy to grow into its life here on earth.
Ernest cannot care for my soul. He cannot cure me. Yet every second I am with him, I can feel that soul connection.
It is like the jet took off without us being fully on board. Maybe we are hanging onto the door jambs, with the door shut and our fingers crushed inside, while the rest of our body hangs outside the plane. How workable, how comfortable, how safe do you think that would be?
My mother was partly in the world in a different way than I am. She started the forming process, had attached herself – even if her infant and childhood environment was not entirely pleasant – to someone in her life. And then I believe she was betrayed. I believe that someone molested her.
I did not form at all. I was just a little body with a soul attached that was victimized and beaten and terrified from the time of my birth. I had no consistent OTHER caregiver. There was nobody but my brother, merely 14 months older than myself, to relate to. His soul did not have a chance to fully grown into the world of his body and his life, either, but he had it a whole let better than I did. But his soul was there for me. I know he recognized me. And perhaps because his life was not perfect either, he could see my soul even better.
Initially all that an infant and a young child have to give is their self. If they are rejected – and this will appear after the age of 12 months as a shame rejection and a rupture without repair (betrayal), I think the person puts that part of themselves away. So far away, not even their ego self knows where it is. But I believe the soul self knows, and talks to it, as Jered told me when he was 7, that the angels talk to a fetus all the time it is in it’s mother’s womb.
I am reading my mother’s 1953 diary. She makes everything sound idyllic, and makes it sound as if she loved me. Where is the devil hiding in these pages?
She talks about my grandmother staying over sometimes to baby sit while she and dad go out, or just staying over to visit. I was about 17 to 18 months old during the time she is writing, and John would have been about 3.
Reading this is like raking through the coals of a dead fire looking for the bones. Who was burned to death here?
Certainly she seems to have only written when she felt positive. That does not mean that there wasn’t horrendous “attacks” in between. This is perhaps like she is writing the “public stuff,” what some part of her wanted to believe was real and what she would have wanted others to believe was real.
If I did not know “the rest of the story” I would think I was crazy to be doing this research, to be writing this book, to be accusing my mother who seems in this diary to have loved me so much, of scaring me very nearly to death in between.