Trauma and the Hummingbird

I was watching a “red throated” hummingbird this morning. The same hummingbird who I had, for about a month, shooed away from a hummingbird feeder I have outside my window, because I thought it was keeping a “green backed” hummingbird from feeding.

The green backed hummingbird, when it feeds, lights on the metal ring that encircles the feeder so that a hummningbird can light when it comes to feed. What I noticed this morning was that the red throated hummingbird does not light when it feeds.

I write this becuase I am more like the red throated hummingbird. Whenever I am doing what I do, what I need to do, I cant stop going on the inside.

I was talking with the Fanatic yesterday, yes that Fanatic, and we were discussing what I believe is one of the major causes of my depression. I believe that my body has produced way more cortisol and adrenaline, and not processed it out of my system, than my body can handle. As I have aged, I suffer with inflammation more and more.

I think the imbalance caused by the adrenaline/cortisol overload causes my physiology to be imbalanced. That in and of itself seems like it would be a problem with an easy fix. But my mind, like the red throated hummingbird, continues to have to be hyper vigilant even when there is no need to be.

Another friend was telling me that her husband had recieved a bunch of films made when he was a child. She was telling me that after the husband had watched some of the videos his reaction was one of anger and not what might be the normal response of nostalgic rememberence.

To me the red throated hummingbird, my friends husband and I are responding to the same thing. A fear that has been instilled in us by the traumas we have in our bodies/minds that are unresolved. Gabor Mate said the base root of almost all addiction is trauma, I agree 100%. The hummingbird is reliving the trauma I created by threatening him by shooing him away. My friends husband is reliving the trauma of his childhood and I am also by the power of the depression in my life.

I offer no empirical evidence of the above, just a knowledge learned by observing and seeking to understand my own suffering.

I pray we reduce the trauma in this world. It is killing us.

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FRAGILE

cropped-heart3
We are fragile. You and me.
Though we act strong,
our lives are
held together with
thoughts of where
we might be tomorrow.
And of disappointed
yesterdays.At any moment we might shatter.
We might fall to our knees
weighed down by the terror
of being so far from
our own control.

Dare we look up, we’d not know
where to go or what to do.

We are fragile. You and me.

If we were to turn to each other,
we might see the whole world
on their knees.
Hurting, and seemingly
alone.

But none of us are.

We are fragile together.

                                                                                                                                                                    (Authored by one of my favorite seekers  Nic Askew
You can see his work at his website “Soul Biographies.” http://nicaskew.com/)

“Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.”(1)

mysterious-glowing-light-in-a-fnland-forest-mikko-lagerstedtAs I normally do, I ask the Ggods to show me what I need to see when I sit down to write.  I found this quote perusing a collection of quotes from some of my favorite people. What it brought up for me is that I have never been able to truly touch that flame.  I learned early on in life, before I could even articulate my thoughts and feelings that I was not allowed to express anger.

hillmanWhat happened to me was that I have struggled with defending or protecting myself when confronted with another’s anger or any situation that I felt overwhelmed by.  I could go into the history but that is just a bunch of blah, blah, blah

“Soul enters only via symptoms, via outcast phenomena like the imagination of artists or alchemy or “primitives,” or of course, disguised as psychopathology.”

This is what happened for me when I had to stuff my feelings of anger as a boy.  I kept it all in and it caught up to me in the form of depression at the age of 50.   Yes, I know that I suffered all of my life from the effects of those deep seated emotional conflicts, but I was able to keep slightly ahead of those effects until 2007.

20150821_063716 (2)Hillman says my soul is present in my life today.  Damn, talking to my buddy Steve this morning, it sure feels like I am wandering away without any soul.  Like I am a hologram or a scarecrow.  I would love to be able to live from my soul, to truly love a woman like I sense I have the capacity to.

2009 Mt Shasta to Oak street 098But there is always this gnawing self doubt.  It is a quiet voice, so quiet I cannot hear it any more, but it is always there.  I see a mistake I made and not something I did well.  I expect well and have no empathy for my own self today.  Again talking to Steve I reiterated that I wanted to try and love myself a little more today.  Now at 9:45 at night,  I am glad to report that I did treat myself a little better today than I would have had I let my shame win.

I am aware that I write in metaphoric language and dont let articulate my demons and  thoughts as openly as some of the others who write here, but just writing around something is sometimes the best I can do.

I also like to write in less than 500 words as I have little patience to read long drawn out posts, so I try to remember that I may not be the only one who thinks like that.

123 RV, SA, PA, RW, MB, SK, JM, WC, PH!

(1) John O’Donohoe                                                                                                                                (2) James Hillman

Stormy Monday

“In the confrontation with the unconscious there are indeed a considerable number of arid patches to be worked through.’

11707660_974787155951568_4667623480132897462_nAs I work or walk through this process or stage of life I am feeling like this arid patch continues to be what is my present day life.  “In the confrontation with the unconscious there are indeed a considerable number of arid patches to be worked through.’ As I work or walk through this process or stage of life I am feeling like this arid patch continues to be what is my present day life.   Always I am lead back to Jung. Hillman leads me back there.  Campbell leads me there.  It is always trying to make sense of “why” I do what I do.  How my unconscious “reality” can and has dominated my outward life for as long as it has.   So as I sit here I am as confused as I have ever been about the power of the unconscious.

11144416_974787355951548_7417282000083361679_nWhat I hold onto is a statement I have sort of memorized.   “Very deep, sometimes quite forgotten, damaging emotional conflicts persist below the level of our consciousness. At the time of these occurrences, they may have given our emotions violent twists which have since discolored our personalities and altered our lives for the worse.”What else could explain my going from a small town boy to living in one of the nicest places on earth living as comfortable as a member of the 1% could live,  to sitting in a tiny house on an acre of land in the middle of nowhere.  But this is the reality.  Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress are what I live in and live with.  It just depends on the time of life I am in.  I have sought answers and help for the situation I am living with and have found them.  However they are and have been short lived and most of the time I feel like I have learned nothing and am back at square one.

As they say, more will be revealed.  Hey Ggods, I am waiting!!

Quote from Carl Jung

123 RV, SA, PH, PA, JDK, DA, JW, JEW

100_1607

“I want to tear down the walls…That hold me inside”

jess-and-oatieSitting here tonight all I can do is play this music as loud as it can go.  I sit here in the dark with only the light of the computer screen to tell me that this is more than the darkness that feels so brutally empty and yet consuming at the same time.
The holidays are always tough for me.  My good friend today acknowledged that I am of service to others during the holidays.  Yes that is true for the most part, but it is out of the hole in my soul because of the condition that I have with my own family.  I haven’t been invited to a family Christmas in over 26 years and they all live within a half hour of where I live.  I don’t know why I am even writing this as it only causes tears to stream down my face as I write the words.
me brad and MariaI understand that these are consequences of being true to who I am and speaking my truth at that time.  But that does not make the emptiness of not being with nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and sisters and brothers any less painful.
‘I wanna reach out…And touch the flame” When was that time in my own life where the flame was present?  No not in the external world but in the inner world.  I cant remember a time right now as I sit here and write this.  I am not saying that there were not moments of life timageshat are so profound that time almost stood still.  But where is that life that is effort and thought less.  Life that is lived out of the intuition that was given to me to help me maneuver through life in a way that is loving and kind instead of out of fear and shame.
‘You gotta scream without raising your voice” It feels like I have a set of shackles that I carry around all the time.  Not a ball and chain necessarily but like a set of weights built into my clothes that makes my feel so heavy all the time.  I know that there are no answers in this writing but the darkness of the Depression is strong and it seems like I cant get out of the shame that usually encompasses times like these.
10435979_946529865387071_546207751560709670_nBut there are actions that I am taking that are about me screaming that I have had enough.  I wont even talk about what has transpired in this country in the last year.  I am doing something for my self fhat has always been so fucking hard for me to do.  To protect, stand up and say to that beautiful spirit that is burning somewhere inside of me that it is okay to be who I am.  Nothing more nothing less.

100_1607All quotes from U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” off of the Joshua Tree album of 1986

123 RW, JZ, PA, PH, RV, SA and I pray that Jerry is in peace.finger touching nose of baby

Trump, Clinton and Trauma by Gabor Mate

The consensus as to Donald Trump’s psychiatric issues is nearly unanimous. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” according to clinical psychologists quoted In Vanity Fair, among many who have reached the same conclusion. Noting his motor mouth, chronic inability to pay attention and shockingly deficient impulse control, others diagnosed Trump as a severe case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter for his 1987 bestseller The Art of the Deal, reported that his client had no attention span and fidgeted “like a kindergartner who cannot sit still.”

Yet, while the various diagnoses with which he has been labeled may accurately describe his actions, attitudes, verbal patterns and mental states, they cannot explain them. As a stressed electorate tries to make sense of a campaign unlike any other, many people are asking themselves, what is the root of Trump’s bizarre displays?

What we perceive as the adult personality often reflects compensations a helpless child unwittingly adopted in order to survive. Such adaptations can become wired into the brain, persisting into adulthood. Underneath all psychiatric categories Trump manifests childhood trauma. His opponent Hillary Clinton evinces her own history of early suffering, even if milder and far more muted in its impact.

The ghostwriter Schwartz reports that Trump had no recollection of his youth.

There is always a reason for such amnesia. People have poor recall of their childhoods when they found reality so painful that their minds had to repress awareness and push memories into the unconscious. “I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” Trump admitted to a biographer.

According to biographers, Trump’s father was workaholic, ruthless, emotionally cold and authoritarian, a man who believed that life is a competition where the “killers” win. Donald’s elder brother drove himself into alcoholism, a common escape from pain, and to an early death. The younger, favoured child is now self-destructing on the world stage.

Lying is such an endemic aspect of his personality that he does so almost helplessly and reflexively. “Lying is second nature to him,” Tony Schwartz told The New Yorker “More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.”

How are such patterns compensations?  Not paying attention, tuning out, is a way of coping with stress or emotional hurt. Narcissistic obsession with the self compensates for a lack of nurturing care. Grandiosity covers a deeply negative sense of self-worth. Bullying hides an unconscious conviction of weakness. Lying becomes a mode of survival in a harsh environment. Misogyny is a son’s outwardly projected revenge on a mother who was unable to protect him.

Trump’s opponent also appears to have learned reality-denial at an early age. Her father, too, according to biographic reports, was harsh, verbally abusive, and dismissive of his daughter’s achievements. The opaque persona many now see as inauthentic would have developed as young Hillary Rodham’s protective shell. In an anecdote related by the former Secretary of State herself as an example of salutary character building, four-year-old Hillary runs into her home to escape neighbourhood bullies. “There is no room for cowards in this house,” says her mother, sending the child out into the street to face her tormentors.  The real message was: “Do not feel or show your pain. You are on your own.” Over six decades later the candidate hides her pneumonia even from her doctor and from those closest to her. Repeatedly she has overlooked her husband’s outlandish infidelities, defending him against disgrace— no doubt suppressing her own emotional turmoil in the process.

It is not surprising that when the Oxford University psychologist Kevin Dutton analyzed the candidates for Scientific American Mind, he scored both Trump and Clinton in the upper quintile of self-centered impulsivity and coldheartedness. Trump rated high on traits of psychopathy, between Idi Amin and Adolf Hitler.

We Canadians are no strangers to political leaders whose childhood suffering formed their personalities and infused their policies. The journalist and Stephen Harper biographer John Ibbitson characterized our former prime minister as “autocratic, secretive, and cruel.” A journalist described him as “chilly and inscrutable,” while his former chief of staff recalled him as “vindictive, prone to sudden eruptions of white-hot rage over meaningless trivia.” These traits, too, are uniformly markers of trauma. Unsurprisingly, Harper also resisted discussing his childhood.

No infant is born a bully, cruel or cold-hearted. Well-nurtured children mature naturally past infantile self-regard, develop impulse control and find empathy. They learn to feel and regulate their emotions. In the case of those who do not, there is pain they are unable or unwilling to confront. Their development was distorted.

A political leader in denial of his trauma may be so little able to bear his core pain, fear and weakness that he will identify with the powerful, disdain and attack the vulnerable. Or, behind a false persona, she vows to support the downtrodden while kowtowing to the rich and dominant.

What does it say about our society that such deeply troubled individuals frequently rise to the top ruling circles, attaining wealth and power and even the admiration of millions?

We need not be perplexed that a Donald Trump can vie for the presidency of the most powerful nation on Earth. We live in a culture where many people are hurt and, like the leaders they idolize, insulated against reality. Trauma is so commonplace that its manifestations have become the norm.

People who are anxious, fearful and aggrieved may be unable to recognize the flaws In those seeking power. They mistake desperate ambition for determination, see grandiosity as authority, paranoia as security, seductiveness as charm, dogmatism as decisiveness, selfishness as economic wisdom, manipulation as political savvy, lack of principles as flexibility. Trauma-induced defences such as venal dishonesty and aggressive self-promotion often lead to success.

The flaws of our leaders perfectly mirror the emotional underdevelopment of the society that elevates them to power.

This originally appeared in The Globe and Mail.

http://drgabormate.com/trump-clinton-trauma/

123 all survivors including HRC and DT.