1996: Need to Deal with Damage to the Foundation

From my journal for April 17, 1996

I’ve been thinking how out of touch I feel with that experience of spaciousness I had last year.  It’s as though it happened to a different person.  I feel like I’ve had all these experiences, many of them wonderful, and very solid feeling at the time, but somehow they haven’t stuck, I haven’t integrated them into who I am.  It’s like I captured them briefly in a net and then they dissolved and disappeared.

Reading the books on infancy does suggest that most of my recent experience is related to infancy, somehow I’ve lost contact with the more adult parts of myself — like that notion of the descent of Inanna, leaving all her adult coping strategies behind as she goes down into the most ancient wounded place.  I had a different image — I saw myself as though engaged in a task of assembling something and one of the first steps had been done wrong.  Therefore, the whole thing had to be dismantled, painstakingly, so I could readjust the pieces of the foundation.  I see myself setting aside “spaciousness” and “creativity” and other pieces as I work my way down to the bottom.  When I finally get the bottom “put together right” will I then be able to reclaim all the other pieces?  It’s an interesting analogy/paradigm for the functioning of psyche, but it is accurate?

I’d been reading books by D.W.Winnicott and Daniel Stern. Lots of interesting ideas about the psychological dynamics of mothers and babies. I think my intuition is right on, that there’s something important right at the beginning of my life, “one of the first steps had been done wrong.” Yes, I was traumatized before the age of three which is when the brain matures. That means that my brain matured under the influence of trauma. There is no actual term for this kind of early trauma.  Bessel van der Kolk proposed a diagnosis of DTD — Developmental Trauma Disorder, for children traumatized before the age of three. But so far the people in charge of the Diagnostic Categories have only allowed CPTSD — Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — which covers a number of different conditions.

Yes, I had to actually go back and deal with the foundations, with the consequences of that early trauma, before I could begin to heal from my childhood. The work with Erica, a specialist in trauma and attachment — my earliest relationship with my mother —has finally helped me get down to the bottom.

I love that my scientist asks of my idea “Is it accurate?” I had no way to know until I understood about the early trauma.

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