I have had a very hard day, so much sadness all of the time. The sadness is real, though I don’t know how I kept it at bay all these years while raising the children. I feel so lost. I belong nowhere. I know in not much over 2 weeks I will be leaving Fargo, and leaving my children. It makes me so sad. Yet I don’t belong here with them, or I would be making a home here.
I will so miss them. The way I already miss Ernie. I am going down to see Cindy in Texas, even for a week. I don’t know what will happen next. I don’t know where I am going or why. I could get some kind of pill to deaden my pain and sadness. But I want to write this book from my heart. I want to touch hearts with it.
But tonight I don’t see how it is possible to offer any hope to anyone who has had the experience of infant abuse happen to them. Let alone hope to those like myself who lived their entire childhoods under the kind of terrible abuse that I did.
I am beginning to see how this sadness formed itself into my very brain circuitry and pathways. I don’t know how to change it. What if I can never stop crying myself? All I can do is write about infant abuse and try to educate people to the devastating effects it has on infants, and how it forms itself into the adult that follows the infant and the child.
There certainly have been times in my life where I thought I was OK. But nothing stays the same, and eventually all is lost. I miss Jered at home in our home by Naco. I miss that home. I have no home. I can’t imagine having one. I want to be able to come to see my children in the summers. I don’t want to be away from them this long again.
I don’t know why I didn’t tell Ernie last March that I wanted to come back to the apartment in Naco. Why I went to Douglas instead. It didn’t work. If I am going to try to spend any time with Ernie, I have to live in Naco. I don’t know how to do that. Is there a place? What can I do for work? Will I be able to write this book there?
I am supposed to be reading Siegel’s chapter on mental representations and the construction of subjective reality. I am having the worst time yet with this chapter. It seems that he is so far removed from what happens when things go so terribly terribly wrong. This chapter is describing the functional differences between the left and right hemispheres. It is all very technical information. Yet to understand it in the deeper senses, I also have to grasp it all on the emotional level, as well.
And knowing that way down deep, from the beginning of my life, I had no worth, no right to even be alive. I was not considered human, and I fit in nowhere with nobody. Those representations are still so real, as they are so permanent.t.
That last night that I wrote, I hit the sadness. Talking to sis Cindy today about the information she found about the woman who is using a neuro feedback technique to reawaken, or to “jump start” the development of the self in children who did not have a self develop.
Lots of what Cindy read to me echoed my own work from this summer. And yet a few things did not ring true for me. One was that the woman made no mention of the horrifying effect of an out-of-control caregiver on the infant’s already chaotic mind. The word and concept of chaos is important. Yet if it is true that this severe infant abuse, which I call living in a chronic sate of peritrauma, just amplifies the infant’s already chaotic mind…..and this research shows that there’s a 50% chance they will become bi-polar? Was mother bi-polar?
What is the difference that I sense between attachment and belonging? They say they can reawaken attachment with this feedback technique. Because attachment is a fundamental human characteristic.
Attachment as a drive? I keep thinking of being thirsty which inspires or evokes the seeking behavior to alleviate the thirst. To get something to drink. Thirst is one thing. The water is another.
Thirst drives me to get up out of my chair, go to the sink, reach for a glass, turn on the faucet and fill the cup, and then put the cup to my lips to drink. The thirst is quenched.
Thirst = driving force = motivator
Water = what I need to quench the thirst = satisfaction = fulfillment of need
Drinking the water satisfies the need
Belonging is the drive
Belonging = drive = motivator
Attachment is what I need to meet the need
Attachment is like drinking the water
These are not the same thing. A need is not the same as the actual drive that seeks to find a way to fulfill or to meet the need.
The actual drive is to stay alive. What we seek is to stay alive. What we seek is what we need to stay alive.
Seeking is biologically driven. Like a sperm driven to seek an egg. Like the zygote driven to attach to the uterine wall. Genetically programmed with this drive.
A sperm is genetically programmed with the information that directs it to seek the egg. The zygote is genetically programmed with the information that directs it to seek to attach to the uterine wall. Because that is where they BELONG.
A human being is genetically programmed with the information that directs it to seek its own kind. It belongs with its own species so that it can survive. Belonging is what it is genetically programmed to do. HOW it does this is through attachment. It’s the same thing a sperm does when it JOINS with an egg. That a zygote does when it JOINS with its mother’s body.
[ME, fr. AF joindre, fr. L jungere – more at YOKE]
1 a: to put or bring together so as to form a unit b: to connect (as points) by a line c: ADJOIN
2: to put or bring into close association or relationship
3: to engage in (battle)
4 a: to come into the company of b: to associate oneself with
1 a: to come together so as to be connected b: ADJOIN
2: to come into close association or relationship: as a: to form an alliance b: to become a member of a group c: to take part in a collective activity
syn JOIN, COMBINE, UNITE, CONNECT, LINK, ASSOCIATE, RELATE mean to bring or come together into some manner of union. JOIN implies a bringing into contact or conjunction of any degree of closeness. COMBINE implies some merging or mingling with corresponding loss of identity of each unity. UNITE implies somewhat greater loss of separate identity. CONNECT suggests a loose or external attachment with little or no loss of identity. LINK may imply strong connection or inseparability of elements still retaining identity. ASSOCIATE stresses the mere fact of frequent occurrence or existence together in space or in logical relation. RELATE suggests the existence of a real or presumed logical connection.
[ME, fr. AF ajoindre, fr. L adjungere, fr. ad– + jungere to join – more at YOKE]
1: to add or attach by joining
2: to lie next to or in contact with
: to be close or in contact with one another
YOKE (bef. 12c)
[ME yok, fr. OE geoc; akin to OHG joh yoke, L jugum, Gk sygon, Skt yuga, L jungere to join]
“some manner of union” – “bring together so as to form a unit “ – Is, say, a mother and a newborn infant a “unit?” They were certainly joined into a unit before the infant’s birth. The sperm and egg become a new unit.
With the case of my mother, we were associated through “the mere fact of frequent occurrence or existence together in space or in logical relation.” I would add, “in time.” There was no connection, no linking, no union or combining or joining.
I am just not sure they are using the correct word or concept for what infant abuse peritrauma is about…. If there is no self, attachment is not the issue. Non-attachment is.
[ME belongen, fr. be– + longen to be suitable – more at LONG]
1 a: to be suitable, appropriate, or advantageous b: to be in a proper situation
2 a: to be the property of a person or thing – used with to b: to be attached or bound by birth, allegiance, or dependently – usually used with to c: to be a member of a club, organization, or set – usually used with to
3: to be an attribute, part, adjunct, or function of a person or thing
4: to be properly classified
[ME, fr. AF attacher, alter. of OF estachier, fr. estache stake, of Gmc origin; akin to OE staca stake]
1: to take by legal authority especially under a writ
2 a: to bring (oneself) into an association b: to assign (an individual or unit in the military) temporarily
3: to bind by personal ties (as of affection or sympathy)
4: to make fast (as by tying or gluing)
5: to associate especially as a property or an attribute: ASCRIBE
syn see FASTEN
1: a seizure by legal process; also: the writ or precept commanding such seizure
2 a: the state of being personally attached: FIDELITY b: affectionate regard
3: a device attached to a machine or implement
4: the physical connection b which one thing is attached to another
5: the process of physically attaching
This is a physical word, not a “living” word. I am NOT going to use this word the way it is being used in relation to parenting JUST because everyone else is using it! It doesn’t FEEL RIGHT to me! It describes physical/material aspects of an association.
FASTEN (bef. 12c)
[ME fastnen, fr. OE faestnian to make fast; akin to OHG festinon to make fast, OE faest fast]
1 a: to attach especially by pinning, tying, or nailing b: to make fast and secure c: to fix firmly or securely d: to secure against opening
2: to fix or set steadily
3: to take a firm grip with
4 a: to attach (oneself) persistently and usually objectionably b: to place forcefully: IMPOSE
1: to become fast or fixed
2 a: to take a firm grip or hold b: to focus attention
syn FASTEN, FIX, ATTACH, AFFIC mean to make something stay firmly in place. FASTEN implies an action such as tying, buttoning, nailing, locking, or otherwise securing. FIX usually implies a driving in, implanting, or embedding. ATTACH suggests a connecting or uniting b a bond, link, or tie in order to keep things together. AFFIX implies an imposing of one thing on another by gluing, impressing, or nailing.
What is at issue is proximity needs so that the infant can survive. What has to happen is that caregivers attend in an attuned manner to the states of the infant to help it create order out of the immature and underdeveloped brain functioning that it is born with – so that it can order the chaos of its birth mind into a well-functioning adult brain-mind.
When Cindy read some of that article to me what caught my attention is that they are saying that a Reactive Attachment Disordered child must be able to CARE about or for the therapist for therapy to work. This struck me WRONG! A child, or an infant, is not in the business of taking care of its caregivers. Not its parents. Not its therapist!
The purpose of this supposed “attachment” is so that the child grows a brain-mind-self that allows it to bond with its species. So that it BELONGS first to itself, and then to its species.
I think we lose the importance of SEEKING in the current field of “attachment,” and of the need to BELONG. It is not a need to attach. Attachment is the glass we put the water in. We need resonant states with caregivers as infants. But what we need once that stage has passed is resonance with our selves! With our own brain-mind-self. Is it at all intact in people like my mother or like in these RAD children? I keep thinking of the client/boy with the rhino with the bird on its back, and his statement: “Isn’t that rhinoceros kind to let that bird stand on its back?” This was a child that everyone said “had no conscience.”
Isn’t consciousness what we want so that we can have a conscience in the first place? But how does anyone learn to CARE about anyone or anything?
A child needs only to be “made fast” to its parents long enough for it to get its needs met adequately so that it can take its place in its species. Any purpose of attachment would be so that the infant can BELONG to the human race.
If a child is bereaved, it is bereft of itself. Not words we commonly use, but BEREAVE is an old one.
BEREAVE (bef. 12c)
[ME bereven, fr. OE bereafian, fr. be– + reafian to rob – more at REAVE]
1: to deprive of something
2: to take away (a valued or necessary possession) especially by force
BEREAVEMENT (ca. 1731)
: the state or fact of being bereaved; especially: the loss of a loved one by death
1 a: deprived or robbed of the possession or use of something b: lacking something needed, wanted, or expected
[ME depriven, fr. AF depriver, fr. ML deprivare, fr. L de- + privare to deprive – more at PRIVATE]
1 obs: REMOVE
2: to take something away from
3: to remove from office
4: to withhold something from
[ME privat, fr. AF, fr. L privates, fr. pp. of privare to deprive, release, fr. privus private, individual; prob. akin to L pro for, in front of – more at FOR]
1 a: intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person, group, or class b: belonging to or concerning an individual person, company, or interest c (1): restricted to the individual or arising independently of others (2): carried on by the individual independently….
This brings to my mind a strange image….that the “self” is in front of an individual when they are born. As if it is a “body” that their body is meant to be born into. But when there is peritrauma through abuse, the infant is DEPRIVED of that self……In fact, the brain has to develop first so that the SELF can blossom, so that the mind can take its place, also. Like we aren’t developed enough for this SELF when we are born. There is a time lag…..like we are supposed to be safe during our early brain developing time, that nobody will interfere with us getting to the point where this SELF is waiting for us. Waiting ahead of us, in front of us. This SELF that is restricted just to us, ourselves, that arises independently of others….yet is dependent on those others to prepare us for this SELF. We belong only to our-SELF.
Like a destiny. Our-self as our destiny. Like our-self as a promise. We are promised a self down the line once we grow into it, get big enough for it. It waits for us down the road there, but some of us don’t get there. Are we supposed to RELAX into ourselves? Peritrauma sure doesn’t allow for THAT to happen! When we are set free from the restraint and confinement of our underdeveloped brains, let go of our tiny selves…..and relax into our PRIVATE self.
[ME relesen, fr. AF relesser, fr. L relaxare to relax]
1: to set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude; also: to let go: DISMISS
2: to relieve from something that confines, burdens, or oppresses
3: to give up in favor of another: RELINQUISH
1: relief or deliverance from sorrow, suffering, or trouble
2 a: discharge from obligation or responsibility b (1): relinquishment of a right or claim (2): an act by which a legal right is discharged; specif: a conveyance of a right iin lands or tenements to another having an estate in possession
3 a: the act or an instance of liberating or freeing (as from restraint) b: the act or manner of concluding a musical tone or phrase….
[ME relinquisshen, fr. AF relinquiss-, stem of relinquir, fr. L relinquere to leave behind, fr. re- + linquere to leave – more at LOAN]
1: to withdraw or retreat from: leave behind
2: GIVE UP
3 a: to stop holding physically: RELEASE b: to give over possession or control of: YIELD
I keep telling Cindy that I did not have a self even at 18 when I left home – that I shared my mother’s mind. I KNOW this, but I can’t yet describe it. It has something to do with the fact that she so intensely and totally ABHORED me. Her conceptualization of me was so pervasive that there was no “time or space” for me to “envision” myself (other than in the vision, or in that little split second “It is not humanly possible for anyone to be as bad as your mother says you are” statement that I “heard”)—she controlled me (rear view mirror) (fox)….she defined me…..I had no SELF definition…..no consciousness, no ability to reflect from the inside of myself on anything that happened to me. I searched the pages of Heidi and Jane Eyre for an illusive image of my SELF, but I could never find myself, or grasp myself….or define myself. I could not OUTLINE myself. I was NOTHING against her. I was NOWHERE against her. I did not exist against her. She held me and did not let me go. She did not relinquish any part of myself to myself. She held ALL of me hostage, completely, from my birth. I had no AWARENESS of my self. No VISION of myself. Therefore I could not see my self, hear myself, touch my self, feel my self. “My self” was never close to being “myself.” I had no definition, I could not define myself. I was not defined. Other than in my mother’s terms. She “pervaded” me. SHE went through every single aspect of ME.
[L pervadere to go through, pervade, fr. per– through + vadere to go – more at PER-, WADE]
: to become diffused throughout every part of
: the action of pervading or condition of being pervaded
(Well, that’s an interesting word! It covers both of us! She the pervader and me the pervadee!! But she “went through” me, certainly not the other way around. I was completely permeable!)
[L, through, throughout, thoroughly, detrimental to, fr. per]
1: throughout: thoroughly
2 a: containing the largest possible or a relatively large proportion of a (specified) chemical element b: containing an element in its highest or a high oxidation state
[ME, fr. OE wadan; akin to OHG watan to go, wade, L vadere to go]
1: to step in or through a medium (as water) offering more resistance than air
2: to move or proceed with difficulty or labor
3: to set to work or attack with determination or vigor – used with in or into
: to pass or cross by wading
But I could not wade through her or around her. (boot wading incident – interesting connection). I couldn’t even proceed with difficulty or labor in any direction my SELF in relation to her. I was completely DIFFUSED.
[L permeates, pp. of permeare, fr. per– through + meare to go, pass; akin to MW mynet to go, Czech to pass]
: to diffuse through or penetrate something
1: to spread or diffuse through
2: to pass through the pores of interstices of
: capable of being permeated; PENETRABLE; especially: having pores or openings that permit liquids or gases to pass through
(If you are looking at something through something else that alters the image of what you are looking for….the word is not distort….what is it?)
Parents are supposed to take care of their offspring until the offspring is old enough and big enough, has developed enough and to the point of “stepping into” their own SELF. Infanthood is a confinement, a restraint on the full functioning of a human being. Infanthood is something we are supposed to be discharged from, delivered (safely) from.
Parents are not only caring for the small body of the infant once it is born, they are also holding the development of that individual in their safekeeping, as it is prepared to step into its SELF.
This concept is a shift in TIME sense. That the self exists in the future! Like the syntropy concept. If things go terribly wrong, and the child misses stepping into its SELF, is deprived of its SELF, then it will be DEVOID of a SELF. It will grieve for this self.
Which brings me to another thought about Cindy’s information she read to me today: RAD children are enraged! I don’t know where my rage is…..or did things happen just right enough for me that I did get to a SELF, even if it is only partial at this point. And these children, like my mother, missed out entirely!? Is that where the rage is?
I still think the grief and sadness are under the rage!
And I still wonder what place beauty holds in all of this. If we are supposed to RELAX into our SELF, is this essentially a process of orderliness and organization – which equals peace and harmony within – and that it corresponds with an inner genetic predisposition not only to GAIN this order within from chaos, but to recognize beauty?
I did recognize and respond to and resonate with beauty as a child. I believe my mother did, too. But that alone is not enough to preserve the way to our selfhood. But it plays a part. I know it somehow does!