Spending Time at the Bottom of the Pit

Friday morning, November 29, I watched a Dan Siegel talk on “Presence, Parenting, and Planet.”  It was great.  It was easy to see why I’ve had such a struggle.  Neither Mom nor Dad was capable of being present.  I was not seen, I was not soothed, I was not safe, I never felt secure — until I got here.  I never felt really seen, until Erica started giving me feedback.  I still have trouble self-regulating, but I can see that I’m much better than I was.  I think of the two weeks of terror in February of 1971.

“Self-regulation” is being able to calm yourself down after being triggered into a state of terror.  Those two weeks were so bad because I was in the house where I grew up, with my parents, and I was unable to self-regulate.

my notes from the talk:
Relationship — soothing — changes the structure of the brain so we can self-regulate
Child needs to be seen, soothed, and safe to develop security, which is foundation for resilience
Presence of the parent’s mind is the predictor of the four S’s
Difficulty reasoning under stress is related to “disorganized attachment”
which happens when the child is terrified by the parent.
“Disorganized attachment” makes it difficult to have rewarding relationships.

“Disorganized attachment” is what I suffer from.

I told Erica I’d started reading Mindsight, but couldn’t keep going, made me feel too damaged.  She connected the title of the book with my diagnosis of macular degeneration. I am really upset about it, but not letting myself feel it.  Seeing is a portal to relationality, something I have a very hard time with.  My “addiction of choice” is reading — I feel safe when I’m able to lose myself in a book.  The possibility of not being able to read evokes vulnerability and tenderness, specially around intimacy.  I tell Erica that I’m isolating, I let myself do it, but still think I’m wrong or weak to do it.  Erica says no, I’m protecting myself from the fear of not connecting.  This continues to be a very difficult subject for me.  I feel like a total failure at relating to people, I feel like I have been damaged too much to be able to heal.

Richard Rohr’s meditation for Sunday, December 8 is about addiction.  I see that I am addicted to seeing myself as bad beyond redemption.  Of course, when I am in this place, it’s impossible to get in touch with “God” or to believe that I might have some unique reason to be here, and that being my Self helps the planet as a whole. I did, sometime this morning, despite my sense of total worthlessness, see/feel that people could still love me.

Another quote from Rohr: “Some form of alternative consciousness is the only freedom from this self and from cultural lies.”

Earlier in the week, I read my early journal, all the terrible emotional stuff that happened when I went to California and started trying to have relationships with boys.  I think that brought me down to the bottom of the pit of “bad beyond redemption.”  I realize this is where the need to prove that I deserve to live is rooted.  I thought about all the other people who feel this way, and I went down to the bottom of the pit and sat there in the darkness with them.  Then I decided to go down there and sit with younger Jenny, just be with her, tell her I know what she’s going through.  This continues to feel like the right thing to do for the rest of the day.

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