“With broken selves in a world on fire, trauma is everywhere.” Page 47 of The Trauma of Everyday Life by Mark Epstein, MD.
That about sums it up.
As I’ve been reading lately, I have come to the conclusion that something happened to break the infant/mother bond when I was a baby. Problem: I seriously doubt that Ma would have any recollection of her going on vacation or to the hospital for a few days or anything like that when I was a baby. Her memory is highly selective and she isn’t great at connecting the dots of cause-and-effect. My parents are not bad people. Ma, in particular, means well. She would never do anything intentionally to hurt anyone, especially me. But the reality remains: If I saw my childhood behavior in a kid today, I would instantly wonder, “Wow. What the hell is wrong with this kid? Some basic need must not have gotten met.” In compensation for my lack of emotional connection, I learned to rely on my brain. I have lived most of my life in my head–minus a will to live. Intellect is no substitute for emotional stability.
It is only now, with Barry gone and me now having the time to focus on myself, that I can accumulate and connect my own dots. Many women never get this opportunity. Our lives are never about us.
Look at the political situation now. It is bizarre. People are defending the indefensible and then they are going to be shocked when they discover their credibility is gone forever. Imagine what the world will be like in ten years and you will understand where I am coming from. I am looking beyond the current situation and trying to figure out what can possibly come next. I cannot guarantee much, but I can guarantee that no one lives forever and that future generations will freely judge our behavior.
I went to the mall today. I watched everyone and saw only one “normal” person doing what he normally does, a regular. Everyone else seemed a little dazed and disoriented. My parents are fabulous compared to those of one of my friends, whose mother actually tried to kill her at least twice. Is everyone messed up? That seems to be the case. There is simply no solution.Epstein says that, “The effort required to ward off the possibility of trauma–the rush to normal that the absolutisms of daily life encourages–is itself traumatic.” (page 56) There is no escape. Period.
The book comes from a Buddhist perspective and goes into the Buddha’s childhood. It is very interesting.
I want to be a constructive influence and help prevent trauma. But I feel like I am playing with a deck of 35 cards socially, instead of the normal 52. I cannot help others when I am such a basket case. I’m working on it.