Tuesday, January 31, 2017. This is a repost of research study and reflection – that bears some rethought in relation to my new-found understanding of myself as a spectrum person:
I will also say today that early caregiver interactions with infants and young children are essentially parallel to “therapeutic relationships” – in their impacts, only from the beginning of life these interactions form the brain and set genetics into motion –
(I have no recollection today of who Frank was….)
Stored in schore/ad/genetics
copied from schore/ar/ pp 96-102 over in file called projective identification—copied down to the triple plus signs
“The developmental progression that results from the growth-promoting environment embedded in the therapeutic relationship [This has to work both ways – in good parenting, this would no doubt also have been a developmental milestone.]
allows not only for a more stable and constant sense of self, but also
for the emergence of a “reflective self” that is capable of in-sight, a visuoperceptual metaphor of internal sight – that is, access to the mind’s eye that can see not just hidden thoughts but also the rhythms and flows of one’s inner psychobiological self-states, and hold these affective experiences in mind long enough to tolerate, recognize, label and introspect upon tem. This advance allows the patient’s
increasingly complex self-system to access not only a more fully developed subjective nonverbal affective “support-experience” factor, but
also an objective “insight” factor that is activated by adequate interpretation (de Jonghe et al., 1992). (schore/ar/102)”
IMAGES & METAPHORS
“In order to accomplish this, the resonating therapist must flexibly shift, in a timely manner, into a state of “reparative withdrawal,” a self-regulating maneuver that allows continued access to a state in which a symbolizing process can take place, thereby enabling him/her to create a parallel affective and imagistic scenario that resonates with the patient’s (Friedman & Lavender, 1997).This “symbolizing process” involves being open to the patient’s communication and holding onto the state long enough to allow internal sensoriaffective images to emerge into consciousness. [This is what happened for me with the powder puff! I thought it was remembering someone else’s memory…] Recall, countertransferential processes are manifest in the capacity to recognize and utilize the sensory (visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and olfactory) and affective qualities of imagery that the patient generates in the therapist. (schore/ar/96)”
“To do this, the therapist must reestablish equilibrium enough to access “potential space,” a right hemispheric organization (Weinberg, 2000), which, according to Ogden (1990), lies between “the symbol and the symbolized” where the self distinguishes one’s feelings from what one is responding to. Winnicott (1971a) described this space as an intermediate zone of experience that lies between outer external reality and inner psychic fantasty. [This is exactly what Bateman describes!] As described by Gendlin (1981),
the ability to develop an
internal imaginal “working space”
allows the self to attend to one’s felt sense
and thereby a symbolic expression in the form of an image or a metaphor. (schore/ar/96)”
Wow!! Schore, you continue to amaze and astound me!! And, coming from my background in training as an “imaginal art therapist,” these words have a solid ring of truth to me!! They excite me!
“One of the prominent characteristics of the processing of metaphors, which is a right hemispheric activity (Anaki, Faust, & Kravetz, 1998; Cox & Theilgaard, 1997; Winner & Gardner, 1977), is its image-generating picturing function [ability] in which inner states are “set before the eye.” This hemisphere is dominant for “image thinking,” a holistic, synthetic strategy that allows individual facets of images to interact with each other on many planes simultaneously (Rotenberg, 1995).” (schore/ar/96)”
WOW!! This might be something I am actually very good at!!
“In this “state-dependent recall” (Bower, 1981), images may arise from the clinician’s unconscious bodily based, implicit-procedural affective memory, specifically those regulatory strategies associated with his/her own experiences with, and perhaps regulation of, this particular negative state. The clinician’s monitoring and autoregulation of the negative state is performed at preconscious levels, and this allows for recovery of his/her “evenly hovering attention” to not only the patient’s externally expressed distress state, but also to his/her state–dependent perceptual-somatic-affective internal images. (schore/ar/96)”
“Reiser (1997) described that in this state:
The analyst’s inner thoughts and images draw upon his or her memory networks, which encode not only personal life experiences, but also the patient’s memory networks as these have developed in the analyst’s mind as the analysis has been unfolding. This means that the analyst … will be able to identify elements encoded there from the patient’s history that (schore/ar/96) are relevant to the analytic situation and the patient’s problems in the here and now, including the transference. (p. 903) in (schore/ar/97)”
I need to call in these Schore references, which will take some time. But there is a connection between this information and what Bateman says about mentalizing, and about the primitive modes of thinking.
I pretended the nickels were people and cars during the bubble gum incident, but when mother took the nickels away I knew they were nickels, not people. I also knew they were something I had worked very hard for by dusting the living room repeated times – having been rewarded each time by mother’s pleasure in ME and by the rewards given of those nickels. They also represented her power over me – that she could devastate me, which she did far more than she did utilizing her powers to reward me.
So, sometimes objects symbolize other things. In my conversation last evening with Frank about the difference between analogiy and metaphor – topics which vastl confuse me – and which right now I am realizing is due to brain damage in childhood – during stages of development –
Is this inability to use metaphor, to symbolize, and to remember and link my experiences in childhood directly connected?
Frank says my chasing the rabbit was an analogy rather than a metaphor because it was real – I really chased a real rabbit – so maybe the rabbit symbolized me? That the interactions between me preying on the rabbit represented my relationship with my mother?
But Frank also believes that the angel on the mountain that I talked to as a child was a metaphor. The angel was not REALLY there…..only I think the problem was, I did not pretend that formation of rock snow and ice was an angel, she WAS what she was to me – an angel on the mountain. I certainly personalized her. I don’t think I ever thought that anybody else could see her there, or paid her any attention at all.
What about the marbles I hid under the stump – like the represented in a different way, looking back on it, the gems that were inside of me. That if I hid parts of myself away, mother couldn’t get to them. But at the time they were just marbles, I simply pretended were a treasure.
Not being able to move flexibly and competently around in the world of metaphor will make writing even more difficult. But I think it has something to do with the way my thought processes developed.
It has something to do with my needing to be physically in contact with Ernie to feel comforted. It has to do with that inability to move around in that “transitional” space that both Schore and Bateman are talking about.
And difficulty in TRANSITIONS, I believe, is still somehow connected to dissociation – transitioning between states.
When I sat on the mountain all day at age 18 and did not think a thought, I was in the real world absolutely. I did not have a reflective space to move into. Without that there was no abstract wonder, although I did very carefully and slowly over time pick that old log apart so I could see what the ants were doing in there. I did not want to scare them or bother them. Somehow I thought (!) that if I just did that gradually they would adapt and not be compromised in any way.
Looking back, is that, then, a metaphor for the kind of research I am now doing on myself? That if I pick at this from around the edges, and don’t just go bludgeoning my way in, that I will cause no harm? Do I still think there is a way to uncover what is hidden without really changing anything, like I thought with the ants?
So, I must have been curious about the ants. I must have wondered what they were doing and where. I was not curious about the plants I “watched” all around me. It seems that much of what I “did” was just notice things. I SAW them. I particularly delighted in the little tiny mineature worlds that I saw in Alaska in the wild. Tiny beautiful little pink flowers, that were nestled in exactly a specific way against a stone, which in turn had a beautiful pattern of lichen on it, a beautiful color agains the gray, and then a tuft of grass that grew in just a certain way in a certain place beside this “picture.”
I loved the way the mountains turned gold in the fall, the way the raspberry leaves turned dark red. I guess I was attuned to seeing beauty. Like the way a person would position themselves to look at a master painting. Not with any sense of intention toward changing anything. Just looking with attention, noticing things, things that I “appraised” as beautiful.
It’s like that’s what happened when I was not interrupted by mother. That’s what I did with the time and space I had to myself. I didn’t interact with this natural world. I didn’t participate in it. Only when I thought about the beautiful mountainside garden I had seen in LA before we went to Alaska, and I thought how much I would love to make a place like that, did I maybe pick up a stone here or there and place them on top of each other in one of the lower fields that had a rise in the center of it – WISHING that I knew how to make one of those gardens.
Or like sitting under the big pine trees by the cottonwood trees, holding a handful of pine needles, wanting to make them into something. Or like carrying a kitchen knife up there, taking a chunk of cottonwood bark, wishing I knew how to carve it into something – disappointed that I didn’t know how. That I couldn’t do it.
But I do not remember ever going outside on the homestead with any sense of malice for all the torment I was made to endure. Like there was a recognized invisible threshold between my worlds. I guess a threshold inside of myself, where I didn’t carry the one world into the other. They were completely separate. I did not lay in my punishment bed, or stand in the corner (that I know of) imagining myself to be somewhere else. I don’t think I had the capacity to imagine – except I remember age 7 at Bockstahler’s cabin that summer, with the green wool blankets, taking naps, pretending there were hills and valleys and farms hidden and entwined there.
But what else could I pretend? I didn’t pretend I was Heidi – I saw in that story someone who felt as I did – a parallel confirmation of my reality, experience and world. Heidi was not pretend to me. We shared a “real world” place.
I really picked up moose droppings for the gardens and really collected firewood and really made edible salads for my rabbits and really picked flowers and pressed them and really collected wildflower seeds and really drew pictures and made paper things and doll clothes.
So, while mother’s world was entirely “pretend” fantasy – projection, was my world just as real in proportion to her pretend one? Like I had the reality part and she had the pretend part? And these modes were dependent upon one another in that they were exclusive? There wasn’t enough pretend to go around. Mother had it al, a corner on the pretend mode.
Like I lived almost entirely in the real world of physical objects while she lived in the fantasy world of externalized mental objects. She wore here mind outside of herself. There was no boundary for her between what was in her head, in her head, and what outside of her head that was a projection of what was really in her head.
It is like somehow my interaction with her in her world did not allow me to have ANYTHING inside of my head or outside of my head. I was just there with everything else that was just there. Is this an “as if” and the “as is” split?
So I am caught in the real world as a fly on flypaper, and I cannot escape or move away from it. I am trapped by the limitations of my own brain-mind. I am as trapped in this real literal objective world as my mother was caught in her urneal world that she was powerless to escape, either.
When I was two, sitting in the middle of the living room floor playing with pop beads – which my mother ever afterwards cited as proof of how stupid I was – I was in the safest place I could no doubt either imagine or invent. I simply WAS there doing that thing with those objects. Maybe that is why I DO things, make things, manipulate material. I am trapped here. Marooned her on this island I cannot leave.
Not that I understand any of this, not even now. What does it mean that I cannot pretend?
I remember that time mother must have been selling Tupperware and we were left with the babysitter on Government Hill (I suppose about the same time we were left with a babysitter there when I was 7 and I went into the puddle and got my shoes wet) and the kids were playing – which they knew how to do – and I had wter in a soda bottle and was “pretending” it was medicine.
But what mother saw when she came to pick us up was that I had a baby bottle and that was evidently REAL to her. I was berated and punished and belittled because to her, I wanted to be a baby. I had no way of putting her reality and my reality together in the same world. Mine just had to “go somewhere else.” (Similar to when she said when I was 18 that Dad should have married me – and I could “hold” her reality as being real and valid.)
So there was no VALIDITY to my perceptions or reality. But with that soda bottle, I could at least PRETEND that it was medicine. I must have still had the ability to pretend – but no opportunity in my environment to practice pretending – and I think it is an ability that atrophies or dies.
In mother’s world, it was a FACT that she saw me with a baby bottle. Obviously it was REAL to her. How could she see something in the real world that was a soda bottle with water in it – and SEE as REAL a baby bottle?
I can still see the place that day where we were playing. It was dim, not brightly lit. There was a narrow table with a cloth over it. There were other children there. I had the bottle up to my lips when she came through the door into the apartment. There was no way for me to assert the “truth” to her on my own behalf. I imagine my left brain was left in limbo – logic had nothing to do with my “real” world. Just like when she always insisted as fact that I pulled my pants all the way down in front of the Vanover boy, when I knew that he said he would give me a nickel if I showed him by belly button. That I was playing with my marbles, not hiding them…
I know that mother did not see me “as if” I was the devil’s child. I WAS – “as is” – that exact, specific, and real thing. It was never that I was naughty or bad “as if” I was the devil’s child. I was fundamentally and essentially and irrevocably bad and evil because it was a FACT that I was the devil’s child, that I had been sent to kill her during childbirth – and that I had been sent as a curse upon her life.
Every once in a while I did “good” things, like dust the living room right, or roll the socks right, or liked art and flowers. So it was some sort of a reverse from being good and once in a while making a mistake. I WAS a mistake.
She attributed intentions to me: I intended to make her life miserable; I intended to murder Cindy when I was 4. She attributed desires to me: I wanted to be a baby, I wanted to hide my marbles so I wouldn’t have to share them, I wanted to be an only child.
And, I didn’t need to imagine a place to escape to. I knew a very real factual literal place where I could go. It did not exist in my imagination. I knew exactly where it was. I could not fantasize that. And I did not need to. But I also don’t think I could “pretend” to go there when I was away from it, either. I could not “return there” in my mind or imagination.
I remember the cross over the moon that summer at Bockstahler’s, and how all she would have had to have done was look through another window, or go outside, and the cross would have disappeared. It simply had something to do with the moisture caught in the screen on the screen door. But she was terrified by that cross. It was some kind of sign to her. She had us all come to look at it, but “don’t go out there!” No, if we’d gone “out there” the cross would have been nonexistent.
Now, is that some kind of metaphor for her mind?