Many abused children cling to the hope that growing up will bring escape and freedom. But the personality formed in the environment of coercive control is not well adapted to adult life. The survivor is left with fundamental problems in basic trust, autonomy, and initiative. She approaches the task of early adulthood――establishing independence and intimacy――burdened by major impairments in self-care, in cognition and in memory, in identity, and in the capacity to form stable relationships. She is still a prisoner of her childhood; attempting to create a new life, she reencounters the trauma.
You survived by seizing every tiny drop of love you could find anywhere, and milking it, relishing it, for all it was worth. And as you grew up, you sought love, anywhere you could find it, whether it was a teacher or a coach or a friend or a friend's parents. You sought those tiny droplets of love, basking in them when you found them. They sustained you. For all these years, you've lived under the illusion that somehow, you made it because you were tough enough to overpower the abuse, the hatred, the hard knocks of life. But really you made it because love is so powerful that tiny little doses of it are enough to overcome the pain of the worst things life can dish out. Toughness was a faulty coping mechanism you devised to get by. But, in reality, it has been your ability to never give up, to keep seeking love, and your resourcefulness to make that love last long enough to sustain you. That is what has gotten you by.
Sam. I've got news for you. Not every childhood trauma can be healed by finding the right penis." Sam looked devastated. He opened and closed his mouth, eyes wide, then suddenly slumped back against the railing, unable to support himself anymore. "You mean," his voice was barely a whisper. "All those romance novels lied?
Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and unique history of our childhood.
Most parents try really hard to give their kids the best possible life. They give them the best food and clothes they can afford, take their own kind of take on training kids to be honest and polite. But what they don't realize is no matter how much they try, their kids will get out there. Out to this complicated little world. If they are lucky they will survive, through backstabbers, broken hearts, failures and all the kinds of invisible insane pressures out there. But most kids get lost in them. They will get caught up in all kinds of bubbles. Trouble bubbles. Bubbles that continuously tell them that they are not good enough. Bubbles that get them carried away with what they think is love, give them broken hearts. Bubbles that will blur the rest of the world to them, make them feel like that is it, that they've reached the end. Sometimes, even the really smart kids, make stupid decisions. They lose control. Parents need to realize that the world is getting complicated every second of every day. With new problems, new diseases, new habits. They have to realize the vast probability of their kids being victims of this age, this complicated era. Your kids could be exposed to problems that no kind of therapy can help. Your kids could be brainwashed by themselves to believe in insane theories that drive them crazy. Most kids will go through this stage. The lucky ones will understand. They will grow out of them. The unlucky ones will live in these problems. Grow in them and never move forward. They will cut themselves, overdose on drugs, take up excessive drinking and smoking, for the slightest problems in their lives. You can't blame these kids for not being thankful or satisfied with what they have. Their mentality eludes them from the reality.
Dissociation is the common response of children to repetitive, overwhelming trauma and holds the untenable knowledge out of awareness. The losses and the emotions engendered by the assaults on soul and body cannot, however be held indefinitely. In the absence of effective restorative experiences, the reactions to trauma will find expression. As the child gets older, he will turn the rage in upon himself or act it out on others, else it all will turn into madness.
-If I somehow possessed a set of videotapes that contained all the most significant events of your childhood, in their entirety, would you want to see them? -Absolutely. Right this very second. -But why? Don't you think some of the tapes would be very sad? -Most of them, yes. But if I could see them, then I could have them in my brain like regular memories-horrible memories, yes, but regular memories, not sinister little ghosts in my head that pop out of some part of me I don't even know, and take the rest of me away. Do you know what I mean? -I think so, If you have to remeber, you'd rather do it in the front of your brain than in the back.
The manic relief that comes from the fantasy that we can with one savage slash cut the chains of the past and rise like a phoenix, free of all history, is generally a tipping point into insanity, akin to believing that we can escape the endless constraints of gravity, and fly off a tall building. “I’m freeeee… SPLAT!”.
I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have a childhood that was _not_ like mine. I have no real frame of reference, but when I question strangers I've found that their childhood generally had much less blood in it, and also that strangers seem uncomfortable when you question them about their childhood. But really, what else are you going to talk about in line at the liquor store? Childhood trauma seems like the natural choice, since it's the reason why most of us are in line there to begin with.
The hardcore drug addicts that I treat, are, without exception, people who have had extraordinarily difficult lives. The commonality is childhood abuse. These people all enter life under extremely adverse circumstances. Not only did they not get what they need for healthy development; they actually got negative circumstances of neglect. I don’t have a single female patient in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver who wasn’t sexually abused, for example, as were many of the men, or abused, neglected and abandoned serially, over and over again. That’s what sets up the brain biology of addiction. In other words, the addiction is related both psychologically, in terms of emotional pain relief, and neurobiological development to early adversity.
Dissociation (being split-off from one’s deepest truth) mimics enlightenment – but it isn’t enlightenment. People who are dissociated live in great peace. But this is only because they have blocked their negative feelings. The enlightened person resolves his negatives feelings, and thus his peace is not false. People who are dissociated do not suffer. But this is only because they have abandoned their healing process and numbed their pain. Enlightenment grows from the fertilized soil of suffering. People who are dissociated call themselves enlightened. But this is only because they have they have no conception of what enlightenment is. Enlightenment is the polar opposite of dissociation. People who are dissociated feel they have mastered forgiveness. But this is only because they completely deny the harm done to them – and the damage remaining. The enlightened forgive spontaneously and without effort because they have fully embraced their damaged parts and grieved every honest ounce of their misery.
Other personalities are created to handle new traumas, their existence usually occurring one at a time. Each has a singular purpose and is totally focused on that task. The important aspect of the mind's extreme dissociation is that each ego state is totally without knowledge of the other. Because of this, the researchers for the CIA and the Department of Defense believed they could take a personality, train him or her to be a killer and no other ego stares would be aware of the violence that was taking place. The personality running the body would be genuinely unaware of the deaths another personality was causing. Even torture could not expose the with, because the personality experiencing the torture would have no awareness of the information being sought. Earlier, such knowledge was gained from therapists working with adults who had multiple personalities. The earliest pioneers in the field, such as Dr. Ralph Alison, a psychiatrist then living in Santa Cruz, California, were helping victims of severe early childhood trauma. Because there were no protocols for treatment, the pioneers made careful notes, publishing their discoveries so other therapists would understand how to help these rare cases. By 1965, the information was fairly extensive, including the knowledge that only unusually intelligent children become multiple personalities and that sexual trauma endured by a restrained child under the age of seven is the most common way to induce hysteric dissociation.
Attachment. A secure attachment is the ability to bond; to develop a secure and safe base; an unbreakable or perceivable inability to shatter to bond between primary parental caregiver(s) and child; a quest for familiarity; an unspoken language and knowledge that a caregiver will be a permanent fixture.
The child is right," she announced firmly. Arrietty's eyes grew big. "Oh, no-" she began. It shocked her to be right. Parents were right, not children. Children could say anything, Arrietty knew, and enjoy saying it-knowing always they were safe and wrong.
By the time Cheryl Hersha came to the facility, knowledge of multiple personality was so complete that doctors understood how the mind separated into distinct ego states, each unaware of the other. First, the person traumatized had to be both extremely intelligent and under the age of seven, two conditions not yet understood though remaining consistent as factors. The trauma was almost always of a sexual nature… (p52)
He had been haunted his whole life by a mild case of claustrophobia—the vestige of a childhood incident he had never quite overcome. Langdon’s aversion to closed spaces was by no means debilitating, but it had always frustrated him. It manifested itself in subtle ways. He avoided enclosed sports like racquetball or squash, and he had gladly paid a small fortune for his airy, high-ceilinged Victorian home even though economical faculty housing was readily available. Langdon had often suspected his attraction to the art world as a young boy sprang from his love of museums’ wide open spaces.
FËDOR Mikhailovich Dostoevski, the Russian novelist, said one time that, "One sacred memory from childhood is perhaps the best education." I can think of another quickie education for a child, which, in its way, is almost as salutary: Meeting a human being who is tremendously respected by the adult world, and realizing that that person is actually a malicious lunatic.
I need to ask, are you afraid of spiders?" Nicholas blinked, suddenly caught off guard, "Yes, I'm afraid of spiders." "Were you always?" "What are you, a psychiatrist?" Pritam took a breath. He could feel Laine's eyes on him, appraising his line of questioning. "Is it possible that the trauma of losing your best friend as a child and the trauma of losing your wife as an adult and the trauma of seeing Laine's husband take his life in front of you just recently..." Pritam shrugged and raised his palms, "You see where I'm going?" Nicholas looked at Laine. She watched back. Her gray eyes missed nothing. "Sure," agreed Nicholas, standing. "And my sister's nuts, too, and we both like imagining that little white dogs are big nasty spiders because our daddy died and we never got enough cuddles." "Your father died?" asked Laine. "When?" "Who cares?" Pritam sighed. "You must see this from our point of - " "I'd love to!" snapped Nicholas. "I'd love to see it from your point of view, because mine is not that much fun! It's insane! It's insane that I see dead people, Pritam! It's insane that this," he flicked out the sardonyx necklace,"stopped me from kidnapping a little girl!" "That's what you believe," Pritam said carefully. "That's what I fucking believe!" Nicholas stabbed his finger through the air at the dead bird talisman lying slack on the coffee table.
The government researchers,aware of the information in the professional journals, decided to reverse the process (of healing from hysteric dissociation). They decided to use selective trauma on healthy children to create personalities capable of committing acts desired for national security and defense. p. 53 – 54
I look at my mother, connected by a breath of glimmering hope, her red and shadowed eyes reveal that some element of our whole being has been lost and, somehow, thrown away. Sob-gasp, sob-gasp, sob-gasp. Slowly, that feeling within me fades. But wisps of it stay with you, locked in the chambers of your mind, always.
He's dead Duncan, killed himself when I was 13. In all those years he forgot something vital. He taught me when he was learning for himself. I know how to inflict pain; the scary thing is it doesn't bother me, a trait I'm sure I inherited from him." Lorelei Preston-The Wild Hunt