I found myself thinking about what has always seemed like simply-a-word to me all of my life – meaning that never before this morning as my feet followed my 45-minute walking route have I ever actually THOUGHT about this word I popped into my last post right next to the word ‘deny’.
IGNORE – it strikes me today that this word exactly describes my father’s complete non-reaction to all of his wife’s terrible abuse of me while I grew up. I would add that I never saw any visible sign that Father was reacting to what he witnessed. Yes, this seems to be exactly what he was so good at – IGNORING THINGS!
Then I began to wonder how the word IGNORE might be connected to the word IGNORANCE. Webster’s online dictionary states that ‘ignorance’ appeared in our modern English language 500 years before ‘ignore’ did. Yet both words are rooted in Latin for KNOW – or rather, in NOT knowing.
Is ignorance an acceptable excuse for people’s unacceptable behaviors? The concept I associate with the word ‘ignore’ implies to me an action that happens through conscious choice not to know, while ignorance seems to mean to me the existence of some kind of a ‘forgiving’ blanket that diminishes accountability.
I also happen to know that it is one of the hallmark patterns in what can be called a Dismissive-Avoidant Insecure Attachment Disorder (pattern) that was built within an infant prior to one year of age through patterns of an early caregiver’s relating to an infant in which MUCH information, especially EMOTIONAL information was NOT present in the infant-caregiver interactions.
When an early caregiver does not provide an infant with appropriate emotional signals the early-forming right social-emotional limbic region of the infant’s brain is not fed the right kind – or often ANY kind – of necessary emotional information so the emotional regulation brain circuits and pathways in the brain never get built in the first place.
Yes, these inadequate patterns of early caregiver response to an infant are most often accomplished through ignorance. Nonetheless, it is IGNORING emotional information that creates the foundation for the creation of a Dismissive-Avoidant Insecure Attachment Disorder individual – such as my father was.
Parenting From the Inside Out by Mary Hartzell and Daniel J. Siegel (Apr 22, 2004) – includes an excellent description of the Insecure Attachment Disorders and how they operate in infant-caregiver interactions, thus transmitting to the infant the same disorder the caregiver has – unless there are other very healthy, strong, safe and secure attachment relationships available to the infant as it’s right brain grows during its first year of life.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson (Oct 4, 2011)
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel (Dec 28, 2010)
Ignorance is NOT bliss! (The phrase “Ignorance is bliss” is from the poem Ode on A Distant Prospect of Eton College by the English poet Thomas Gray. The poem was published in 1742.) Ignorance always carries great risk for harm – and in my thinking needs to be eliminated in every circumstance in which we recognize its presence.
Do I EXCUSE my father’s complete complicity with my mother’s insane abuse? Were there extenuating circumstances (as the list of synonym descriptions of ‘excuse’ implies)? Was my father exempt from accountability? Was my mother? Was the society I was raised within that also never offered help to me blameless?
HOW exactly did my father repeatedly watch my mother beat the crap out of the little person that was his daughter and do NOTHING to intervene? Or is the more accurate question WHY did he not intervene?
I seem to be further out on the ‘ignorance’ end of the knowing spectrum today – because I still do not have answers to my own questions. Perhaps I never will in this lifetime.
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