A Shaman Daughter
Friday, July 4, 2008
I am delineating this thought from the 12th one because I did not call or speak to or see ER on Wed or Thurs, and today is a holiday and then the weekend, and I feel something has changed inside of me. I do not WANT to speak to him or to see him. That is a first in 8 years. Tomorrow is his 71st birthday, and what I am thinking today is that if a person is traumatized early in childhood, then a psychological self originates there that is different from the self the soul could have been, or wants to be.
I think ER’s psychological self is very damaged if not broken, like my mother’s was. There is far too much about who he is and what he chooses to do that he is not conscious of. The psychological self seems to rule in these such cases, and the soul self is basically in exile.
I cannot reach his exiled self, any more than someone could have reached my mother’s. So it no longer matters if I am physically present with him or not, because when I am with him, I am with his psychological self and the other one is banished. I think in part this is due to his fatigue and general fears about his health, and his terror of being old and approaching death. He has never been alone, and will do anything he needs to to keep his present woman in that home and doing her robotic best to take care of him. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I can do or say to change anything, as sad as that has made me in the past. I suspect that I am reaching a point of acceptance, and for me the operational part of this is being able to pay the rent, which I did last week for the first time since November’s rent was paid.
He does not willingly give me anything. I want nothing from him if I can help it if he doesn’t want to give it to me. I do not want to be a participant in his ego-psychological mess.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
I’m still doing OK emotionally, but wondering about the difference between being numb and being calm.
I am cleaning house, moving things around, want to stay here, this is my home, no idea what the future holds financially, am making the living room into an office, study room, place to concentrate entirely on writing, moved the TV into the other room with the loom.
Cannot be numb or calm if I see or speak to ER.
Thunders are here.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
What strikes me today when I called ER this morning is that more than anything I want to matter to him. This has to do not with mirroring, but with what happens next, that there is a real person on the other side who is separate from me, that cares, that I matter to, that I can touch and who can be touched by me – that we are separate people, that mattering, caring, touching and being touched only results from separateness.
My mother could not see me as separate from her. We were merged from birth, me being her projection and never me being a separate entity.
I think this is where the pain lies to a huge extent, that terrible aloneness where there is no REAL separate person – not one that can mirror us back to ourselves in the beginning – then because that never happened we don’t have our own clear identity – and then because it was so wrong in the beginning, we don’t have a clear sense of OTHER, either, so there is nobody to touch us, we don’t exist so there’s nobody to touch.
How do I explain this? It feels deep, important, fundamental, essential to these issues at hand. How can I be the one performing the touch if I don’t exist? How can I be the one that is being touched if I don’t exist? How can anyone touch me if I don’t exist (like trying to touch something by touching its shadow?)? How is there anyone out there to touch me anyway because nobody exists there anyway?
This is all deep and fundamental because I believe its what lies at the creational, epic center (epicenter) of the malevolently formed brain.
Maybe this is an essential form of damage in the severe attachment disorders that carries over into our love relationships. Maybe this is what we are trying to work out, trying to repair so desperately – because it is at the epicenter of the boundary issues everyone likes so to talk about. If nobody exists, there’s no possibility of boundaries – nothing is real. Depersonalization and unreality are the reality.
I am searching for the neural sites that process both depersonalization and dissociation. This involves reading about consciousness and awareness and memory.
I believe there is an entire field of theory that is built on an assumption that does not apply to those of us raised from birth in these malevolent worlds. What others take fore granted, take as givens, do not accurately apply to us because they do not exist in our world.
How do we explain that because our caregiver did not exist, they could not let us exist, nor did they even have the capacity or the tools or the inner resources to participate with us in this necessary step of becoming a member of our species.
Then what about cultures where the separate “I” is not allowed or enabled to developer exist, like in the movie I just watched about Native American stories? (Dreamkeeper – Hallmark movie) The grandfather tells his grandson that there is no word for I or me in their language, only us and we. But to be a part of an us and a we is far different from being a NOTHING.
In an us/we culture everyone is a part. It is inclusive, but does not discriminate. Like my situation – she was she and I was she only she didn’t really exist as a whole person so I could not, either. I wasn’t a whole part of the whole. She was broken, I was not even really allowed this. (I am studying memory, too, connected to dissociation at this moment).
So in an us/we culture the boundaries are automatically set to include everyone.
In an I/me/you culture there are great dangers because if there is no healthy I to be raising a healthy you then the whole picture is fragmented and the boundaries are in a horrible mess.
Perhaps this is in part what the term borderline is reflecting.
Boundaries reflect cultural perceptions regarding placement and value, worth and participation of its members – how they matter, how the mattering manifests. In relation to other members of our species and our membership in our species.
My guess is that through evolution the we was IT, not the I.
We are not designed to define ourselves from birth without interaction with others. And these interactions have to be adequate (good enough).
With pathetic relationships, my guess is that we are still trying to accomplish this most basic task, defining ourselves and others through our interactions. But so much is missing – actually within the structure and operation of our already-formed brains – that the process appears hopeless – and hurtful.
Would it help to realize what is actually going on? What is really going on, therefore what is real? Self definition – is that different from self discovery?
Perhaps our culture’s way is far more complicated in that we are expected BOTH to know who we are separate from our group, AND to know who we are as a part of our group? We have an additional burden. Is this some kind of evolutionary advancement, progress? A weighted task?
While at the same time so many of us weren’t given what we needed to accomplish EITHER task adequately?
So we are always trying to work this out NOW, what should have been done when our brain was forming. We need to do NOW consciously what others did back then while they were completely unconscious – seeing the healthy normal process is to have an adequate self before the age of two.
Are we trying to accomplish the impossible? Is there hope? Are we all trying to do the same thing? It all has to do, eventually, with good bad right wrong approach avoid rupture repair life and death.
Life and death may well have an entirely different meaning to those of us who have never truly been born as individuals in the first place.
So, initial mirroring leads comes from a whole self who can recognize and interact with another whole self (who is developing and is being defined in the process of that mirroring).
If there is no whole self caregiver, the whole process is tampered with and goes awry. Forever more we are trying to get square one right because we never left it in the first place.
Are these core issues? Are they connected to the first opioid system? Whatever the causes of the initial complications are, we at least need to recognize that they were there and what the consequences were and are.
Otherwise we remain terribly alone and lonely both for a separate other (which I suspect we are supposed to know first) and for our separate self (which is supposed to be defined in interaction with this other)
In our thinking about all the problems that exist in the present, have we been putting the cart before the proverbial horse? There has to be very real and separate others first before we can define ourselves. That’s why Schore talks about the best of the best therapists who KNOW this being essential for healing to occur. THEY have to exist as separate and clear entities so that they can clearly mirror ourselves back to ourselves. There would be someone there to touch us, and for us to touch, and once we have our own self, someone that can feel that touch.
Now comes the Sistine chapel image. It seems that in the worst-case scenarios, one would have to erase the entire thing – nobody would be there (thinking of that image as a caregiver (already developed one) to the one being developed, doing the developing). That terrible emptiness connects to our terrible pain and anguish of being so alone.
If there is no other, there cannot be a “me.”
There is no bat, there is nothing for the sonar to bounce back from. There is maybe the sonar. Maybe the searching, but also an emptiness that goes far beyond what we think of when we think of loneliness. It is a void, a vacuum. Back before the big bang, before creation happened. Like knowing the old old stuff. The ancient stuff.
Then we are simply going through the motions of having a life and doing this or that. We are set up for trauma reenactments because that is the only script available. We are not a whole real self capable of initiating new and original scripts – not really. We are the insecurely attached, and this is what that state has created – a non person trying to define itself in interaction with other non persons. There ARE no boundaries, not even between past and present.
So there must be a distinction in talking about autobiographical memory. Writers assume that a self is there. What if there really isn’t a self there at all? Can we find that in the brain’s neuronal environment and operation?
If it exists, it exists, and we can locate it. In the worst cases when the brain forms in peritrauma, both the trauma and the dissociation are the norm, not the exception.
Can you dissociate from a self that never formed in the first place? Are we still just extensions somehow of the life force of it all, never having truly differentiated from it? Are we still truly innocents?
Are we still back at genesis where and when “the Word was with God?” Are we just an unspoken word hanging in air, not heard by anyone but our Creator? Are we lost in the babble, the scrabble, the static, the noise? (I think of that strange piece I wrote in 1972). Are we a word that was never spoken except by and to God, before we were even born because there was nobody there to hear our Word at our birth or beyond?
We never got off the starting line. We just grew up. Our bodies got bigger.
OK, I will say that having a self separate from the group AND being a part of the group is an evolutionary advancement and complication that the human race is going to have to grow through. These “dysfunctions,” then, are growing pains.
How do we make this transition, especially when we are left at the mercy of mostly single or very few caregivers in the beginning? (I imagine a Sistine chapel with a whole bunch of gods reaching for that new person “back then,” not just one).
If God created people because it was empty, he was lonely, he wanted to be loved – we are experiencing this essential state? It is most spiritual, then, most sacred.
We need an OTHER to love us or we don’t exist at all. That has to happen in the first place, not the second place. Even those of us suffering in awful relationships are at least following (not trying to change) the ordained natural order of things. We need to know what we are doing – we need to obtain consciousness so that we can guide ourselves safely through this process – and we need help in knowing how to do it. No OTHER existed when our brains formed, so they couldn’t and didn’t do what we needed them to do so that we could see ourselves as mirrored back to us by them. Mostly THIS is the pattern we are repeating. We are involved with unformed others who cannot do what our initial caregivers could not do.
So of course we are looking to others outside of ourselves for our own definition process, it is the natural order of things. That’s not a bad thing, then. It’s a good and a natural thing. But how do we take care of ourselves in the process? We must educate ourselves so that we can make conscious choices on our own behalf in light of what we are trying to do. We have to identify what we need, what we want, what we are doing so that we can decide and chose (higher functions) the best way to go about it.
So we have overlays upon overlays upon overlays of the past upon our present. How can there be hope for us? How does hope exist for us if it wasn’t put there in the first place? (no mirroring or rupture and repair)
Actually, maybe there weren’t even conditions to allow “together” to happen, so rupture takes on a different value, also.
If we are created in the image of god, that god being our caregiver, and the caregiver has no image, we have no image. Simple as that. And we spend the rest of our lives reliving this reality until we identify it and change how we accomplish what we need to do. (remember to note that when a mother interacts with her infant her brain is changing as it reacts, also).
Otherwise, a negative one plus a negative one only makes a positive one on the number line. We have to do better than that.
Do Americans really have something like an over expression of an independence gene? If so, does that give us the job of riding point on this new evolutionary process of becoming both/and, I and we? Does it make the problems of that evolutionary transition more pronounced among us? That we will destroy the environment that is part of the we in our pursuit of the I?
Can we recognize the presence of “no, or nil, other?” Null coming late into English from Latin meaning not + any, akin to NO, ONE
What is the null hypothesis? Something about due to random chance and not due to something in a system?
Am I able to think and write again because I am separating from my sickness, from my cancer? In all ways?
Are we fighting a war of independence, a revolutionary war, to find the other (mother country) and then differentiate ourselves from it? How deep in the evolutionary human psyche does this process go? Do we take it for granted, this leisure to disengage a separate self from the mass of our tribe? Will this process lead eventually to a different species with a different brain? At what point would we know if that happened and what constitutes the parameters?
Don’t forget what Cousins says in the hope book about “fierce determination” – it will take this to work toward conscious recognition of these situations we face.
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