Chapter 39



I just want you to know that I am experiencing exactly what I am writing about.  I just received a call that I have been fired from the temporary job at the factory where I have been working.  “Not getting along with co-workers.”  This is the second job I have been fired from this summer for not being able to be emotionally appropriate.

It is very difficult – and I guess impossible – for me to be writing about my infant abuse, about my status in the world as a “sacrificial lamb” and quit writing in the midst of the topic and go off to work to be a functioning “robot.”

There is probably little else I can do at this point other than to complete and publish this book.  Except, perhaps, to find a job just working with animals.  I seem to be allergic to people, my own self included.

This is another instance of how belonging comes into play.  I do not belong in an inefficient factory with peer employees who don’t care if they work or not.  I do not belong standing around for hours pretending to work when there is nothing productive to do.  I didn’t belong there.  It helps when my daughter affirms that she could not work in that environment under those conditions, either, and that she doesn’t think that she would have lasted as long as I did.


I am one of the “outsiders.”  What appears to be the “monster within” is, in fact, unbridled emotion without the capacity to regulate it or to control our reactions to the emotions and from them.  It is scary.  Very very scary.



[ME, r. AF, fr. L sacrificium, fr. sacr-, sacer + facere to make – more at DO]

1: an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially:  the killing of a victim of on an altar

2: something offered in sacrifice

3 a: destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else  b: something given up or lost


[ME, fr. AF, fr. L sacrilegium, fr. sacrilegus one who robs sacred property, fr. sacr-, sacer + legere to gather, steal – more at LEGEND]

1: a technical and not necessarily intrinsically outrageous violation (as improper reception of a sacrament) of what is sacred because consecrated to God

2: gross irreverence toward a hallowed person, place, or thing

SACRED (14c)

[ME, fr. pp. of sacren to consecrate, fr. AF sacrer, fr. L sacrare, fr. sacr-, sacer sacred; akin to L sancire to make sacred, Hitt saklairite]

1 a: dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity  b: devoted exclusively to one service or use (as of a person or purpose)

2 a: worthy of religious veneration:  HOLY  b: entitled to reverence and respect

3: of or relating to religion:  not secular or profane

4 archaic: ACCURSED

5 a: UNASSAILABLE, INVIOLABLE  b: highly valued and important


++++  (the following on INTELLIGENCE copied from ch 21 – trauma)



[ME, fr. MF, fr. L intelligentia, fr. intelligent-, intelligens intelligent}

1 a (1): the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations:  REASON; also:  the skilled use of reason (2): the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)

2 a: an intelligent entity; esp : ANGEL  b: intelligent minds or mind

3: the act of understanding:  COMPREHENSION



[L intelligent-, intelligens, prp. Of intelligere, intellegere to understand, fr. inter– + legere to gather, select – more at LEGEND]


The words INTELLIGENT and SACRILEGE both connected with the word LEGEND through their roots in “to gather.”


LEGEND (14c)

[ME legende, fr. AF & ML; AF legende, fr. ML legenda, fr. L, feminine of legendus, gerundive of legere to gather, select, read; akin to Gk legein to gather, say, logos speech, word, reason]

1 a: a story coming down from the past; especially:  one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable  b: a body of such stories c: a popular myth of recent origin  d: a person or thing that inspires legends  e: the subject of a legend

2 a: an inscription or title on an object (as a coin)  b: CAPTION  c: an explanatory list of the symbols on a map or chart


Human beings gather information from repeated experience and then classify them into words.  This is a result of complex processes attributed to the highly evolved human brain.  We are not born as infants with a brain that is developed enough to process complex information into thoughts, but we are born with the capacity to develop this ability.  As we experience repeated experiences, they form patterns and pathways in our brains.  Through adequate organization and ordering of our brains, acquired through adequate initial caregiver interactions, humans acquire the ability to associate experiences in such a way that they form the foundation of our adult minds.

As our brains develop we go through a series of stages marked by milestone achievements.  At about nine months of age an infant can begin to “mentalize” by forming mental representations, or the virtual others that can be summoned within the infant’s brain-mind to sooth it in the absence of its caregivers.  I am seeking in the writing of this book for an explanation, as far as I can tell it, of what happens to an infant’s brain-mind when adequate caregiving is NOT available to orchestrate this vital and necessary brain organization.

We know that the intended organizational process has been altered when we discover in older children and in adults certain patterns of behavior that indicate the necessary order and organization of the mind has not occurred.  Those on the outside of such a person can see the behaviors.  Those of us who have personally experienced the peritrauma of chronic infant abuse can not only begin to see it in our behaviors, actions, and reactions to life, but we can feel it on the inside.  Or, if the damage is pervasive enough, we will NOT feel it.  It is a matter for discussion at this point if it is worse NOT to FEEL, or to have feelings that are intense, mystifying, and cannot be either understood or self regulated.


An infant comes into this word with the innate DRIVE to attach in order to meet its needs to belong.  If its early caregivers are entirely negligent and incapable of meeting these needs for the infant, the drive can become so weakened that it ceases to operate.  Just as there would be dire results from a severely diminished drive to meet the needs of hunger and thirst, when the need to belong is severely diminished, the “self” of the individual does not thrive and at times does not survive – even if the physical body does.  It is through the need to belong that humans derive what they need to build an organized brain-mind-self.  Because absolute chaos of mind cannot sustain an individual past the very early stages of infantile development during which the infant is completely dependent upon its caregivers for fulfillment of its needs, the chaos will pattern itself the best way possible so that some semblance of existence can be achieved.

If we look at such patterns of adjustment with uninformed minds ourselves, we cannot possibly “make sense” out of the patterns such individuals were forced to develop and to live with within their own brain-minds.  The most certain thing that we need to accept and to know is that these people, given the entirety of the picture, the story, indeed the “legend” of their lives – did the very best they could with what they had to work with.  I assure you, as a person who suffered severe abuse every day of the first 18 years of my life, I do not make this statement lightly.  I strongly suspect that I do not make it erroneously, either.

In order to more fully comprehend the “nature of the beast” we must look at the story of the JOURNEY any given individual had to follow to get to where they ended up in life.  If we intercept child abuse, we still HAVE to trace the pathways back in time to birth in order to find how the abuse not only infiltrated the minds of the child, but to find how they formed the brain in the first place.

If we discover an unmitigated infanthood of peritraumatic abuse history, the only hope we or that individual has for healing lies in what we HOPE is the inherent plasticity of the parts and workings of the brain that have been so damaged.  We can hold to this hope in today’s world precisely because it is to the development of the brain and its workings that researchers are focusing their light of understanding.  When we as lay people can understand what the experts understand, we can begin the journey of healing that will require that this knowledge be applied whenever and wherever possible.

In this way the furthering legend of the life such an individual is living can become one of CONSTRUCTION rather than one of DESRUCTION.  Chaos and confusion must become order and organization.  Fragmentation must become wholeness.  But we have to understand what went so terribly wrong in the beginning, and what the consequences of peritrauma are so that we can find the disconnections and dis-associations and harmful connections and associations that have been made so that a new legend can be born in the brains, and therefore the minds, of infantile peritrauma survivors.

It is a process of “regathering” and “resorting.”  It is a process of restoration, but only as it applies to going back, way back, to the beginning.  Because if an infant does not have its belonging needs met, the entire structure of the brain-mind will not be based on accurate approach-avoid information.  Therefore good-bad is distorted, and from that all sense of meaning and value has been altered and distorted as well.  This process is about infants being born into human bodies but deprived of proper human interactions that would have allowed them to develop a human value system correctly.



[ME, fr. AF restorer, fr. L restaurare to renew, rebuild, alter. of instaurare to renew]


2: to put or bring back into existence or use

3: to bring back to or put back into a former or original state:  RENEW

4: to put again in possession of something

syn see RENEW

Many professionals believe that the effects of infant abuse on brain-mind-self development can only be “reversed” through secure attachment relationships in the present.  I believe, however, that this view as an applied technique will miss most of what is most needed for rejuvenation and healing to take place.

When I went through 7 weeks of in-patient treatment for alcoholism I was working as hard as I could toward “sobriety” and toward pleasing my counselors.  When it came time in the program for me to consider being “restored to sanity” I told my counselors that I could not understand being restored to a state of sanity I had never experienced in the first place.  Their reaction was to accuse me of using “intellectualizing” as a defense mechanism.  I of course believed I was “wrong” and they were “right.”

I know now that I knew the truth then:  sanity was not an option for me to consider returning to because I NEVER KNEW IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!  Most therapists are either not trained to listen to their clients, or are too “puffed up” with their own theories to truly listen.  This is a fact.  To hold onto some shred of hope that we will find just the right therapist, AND be able to afford their fees, is to hold onto nothing, in my book.  We need something more accessible, more realistic, and certainly more affordable to offer ourselves and our loved ones when it comes time to learn about the effects infant abuse has had on our lives.  I tell you the truth:  no matter what the intervention, if severe infant abuse happened to you, it HAS and DOES effect you.

So, to get off of my soap box….

Let us look afresh at this next word:

RENEW (14c)

1: to make like new:  restore to freshness, vigor, or perfection

2: to make new spiritually:  REGENERATE

3 a: to restore to existence:  REVIVE  b: to make extensive changes in:  REBUILD

4: to do again:  REPEAT

5: to begin again:  RESUME



1: to become new or as new

2: to begin again:  RESUME

syn RENEW, RESTORE, REFRESH, RENOVATE, REJUVENATE mean to make like new.  RENEW implies a restoration of what had become faded or disintegrated so that it seems like new.  RESTORE implies a return to an original state after depletion or loss.  REFRESH implies the supplying of something necessary to restore lost strength, animation, or power.  RENOVATE suggests the restoration of youthful vigor, powers, or appearance


This is not a mute point.  For those of us who were born into a chronic peritraumatic environment of infant abuse and neglect, we were never recognized or remembered as entities within ourselves, and certainly not as infants with needs and rights.  We came into this word as innocents, but found waiting for us a world hostile, devastating, cruel, torturous, terrifying, annihilating.  That we are alive, no matter what, is testimony to the sheer power of the human will to survive.

Reread this definition:


[ME, r. AF, fr. L sacrificium, fr. sacr-, sacer + facere to make – more at DO]

1: an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially:  the killing of a victim of on an altar

2: something offered in sacrifice

3 a: destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else  b: something given up or lost

We were the “something given up or lost” from the time of our birth.  We can never return to that time or that stage, so how is this needed renewal, restoration, rebuilding, reviving, rejuvenation supposed to actually happen?  How can it be achieved?  How can what has been stolen from us ever be given back or returned?  How can this “gross irreverence toward a hallowed person” that was us as infant and is us now in the present ever be atoned for?  Who or what was the “deity” we were offered to, and how can we ever reclaim our birth right as being “something precious?”

The first step is to realize that what we need to accomplish is exactly this!  For people who were born to parents that loved and cherished them, and who cared for them in all regards in appropriate and adequate ways, these points will not even probably make sense to them.  The state of mind that they are precious was built into the very structure of their brain-mind – as it is SUPPOSED to be!  But for the rest of us, infant abuse survivors that we are, something went terribly wrong during our infancy and something needs to be restored to and for and in us as a result.


What we were when we were born was a tiny body of potential just freshly separated from our mother’s body.  We had committed no “sin” that we needed to atone for – not even the sin of being born.  We were pure.

PURE (14c)

[ME pur, fr. AF, fr. L purus; akin to OHG fowen to sift, Skt punati he cleanses, MIr ur fresh, new]

1 a (1): unmixed with any other matter  (2): free from dust, dirt, or taint  (3): SPOTLESS, STAINLESS  b: free from harshness or roughness and being in tune – used of a musical tone…

2 a: being thus and no other:  SHEER, UNMITIGATED….

3 a (1): free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes  (2): containing nothing that does not properly belong  b: free from moral fault or guilt  c: marked by chastity….

4: having exactly the talents or skills needed for a particular role


Now we are not just “gathering” things, we are sifting and cleansing so that something can become fresh and new.  Remember, as with the roots of words that trace back to the simple yet fundamental process of – to do – we are MAKING something.  We are making ourselves whole, and therefore healthy, so that we can experience order and organization within our brain-minds that was stolen from us when we were sacrificed at birth.

(Please remember:  I am not blaming anyone.  I am not even attempting to hold anyone accountable.  I knew instinctively that I could not truly begin my own investigation into what happened to me in my infancy and childhood, or begin to fully comprehend the consequences that horrible abuse had on me, until I had finished raising my own 3 children – which took me 35 years – and until my own parents were dead.  The book that I am writing, the picture that I am painting with words, is much bigger than I am.  It is much bigger than you are.  It is bigger and older going back generations upon generations.  That is the nature of the beast of infant abuse.  At the moment I am more like one of those African catfish that can use its fins to walk across the land from one dried up river or pond to another one full of life giving water.  I am seeking.  As you are.  Not blaming.)

Note the key properties of this definition of PURE:  (1) Not mixed with any other matter.  Oh, how we were mixed up with the matters that belonged to our parents!  They gave them to us, perhaps in spite of themselves!  (2) We were not born dusty, dirty, or tainted!  (3) We were born spotless and stainless.  (4) We were born with the ability to be attuned to!  We were ready to be “in tune” with anybody who was ready and able to be attuned, to be “in tune” with us.  Humans are MADE this way because it is through this ability we are born with to be attuned and through our need to belong we seek through the drive to attach that our very brains are formed and structured!  We were not harsh or rough, either.  (5) We were born “being thus and no other.”  That we became mixed up in the madness that belonged to our parents just upon our entry into this world was never our fault!  We were born being exactly who we were meant to be and who we were meant to become.

OK, now bear with me!  Things get a little more complicated in our journey at this point.  Let us look more closely at these next two words found within the definitions of the word PURE:  SHEER and UNMITIGATED.

SHEER (about 1568)

[ME schere freed from guilt, probably alteration of skere, fr. ON skaerr pure; akin to OE scinan to shine]


2: of very thin or transparent texture:  DIAPHANOUS

3 a: UNQUALIFIED, UTTER  b: being free from an adulterant:  PURE, UNMIXED  c: viewed or acting in dissociation from all else

4: marked by great and continuous steepness

So, we can accept this concept – that (6) we entered the world all bright and shining!  The quality of being “thin” is an interesting one in light of what we will be looking at next – containment.  But for now we will just consider that our infant self was fragile.  That any claim we could have made to even being a self from our beginning was a “thin” one because we only just barely got our start on this thing called life.  From my mother’s standpoint, I did not qualify to be her daughter.  I didn’t even qualify to her for being a human being!  Yet the truth of the matter is that I was unqualified to be anyone or anything other than MY SELF!  Utterly my self.  But that was not allowed!

My mother’s thinking was adulterated!  I was born free from an adulterant, pure and unmixed up in her madness, but it didn’t last past first breath!  (And I believe the same scenario was true for her when she was born.)  I had no way to dissociate from her.  Because I was born with an instinct to “attune” with my caregiver, and my brain formed in relation to her madness (directly – this is not an “as if.”).  And having spent many of my childhood years on an Alaskan mountain homestead certainly gives me a sense of what trying to go up a “great and continuous” steep slope would entail.  Perhaps that is why I am only now at 55 feeling ready to even begin to attempt scaling the steepness that might have at the apex some clue or answer that I am seeking.


So what about this next word from the definition of PURE?  Even though my first sense of the word is connected to “unmitigated sadness” I am willing to see what my trusty and trusted dictionary has to say in this word’s defense.

First I will look at its root….


[ME, fr. L mitigates, pp. of mitigare to soften, fr. mitis soft + –igare (akin to L agere to drive); akin to OIr moith soft – more at AGENT]

1: to cause to become less harsh or hostile:  MOLLIFY

2 a: to make less severe or painful:  ALLEVIATE  b: EXTENTUATE

syn see RELIEVE


1: not lessened:  UNRELIEVED

2: being so definitely what is stated as to offer little chance of change or relief

Well, this is interesting!  I instantly thought of computers as I wrote these definitions.  MITIGATE is like the software.  It can be changed in and out of a computer, updated, altered, changed.  UNMITIGATED is like the hard drive.  You change it by getting another one!  Otherwise a hard drive is “definitely what is stated.”

So we can continue with (7) we are not born to be lessened or mitigated.  Nothing should be taken away from us by anyone.  Nobody should have relieved us of our rights or of the necessary fulfillment of our needs in any way.  We were born being “definitely what is stated” – a dependent human infant!  Guaranteed, but without possibility of return.

(8) We are not able to “vitiate,” which means to make anyone or anything else “faulty or defective,” nor could we cause anyone (like our parents!) to be ineffective, debased, weaken, or “polluted.”  In other words, whatever was wrong between ourselves as infants and our parents was in NO WAY OUR FAULT.  This is a fact.  It is not speculation.  In addition, we contained nothing that didn’t properly belong to us, genetic or otherwise.  We were just and exactly right when we were born, no matter what!  We were “free from moral fault or guilt” and “marked by chastity.”

I have to say that my personal favorite part of the definition of the word PURE is the last line, which is the best description yet of the way I like to think of us when we were born:  (9)  ”having exactly the talents or skills needed for a particular role.”  How perfect is that!  We were exactly suited for the job of being us, for the “role” of being our self on the stage of this play called life!


But, “LOOK OUT!  WACH OUT!”  For me, I didn’t have the time to take a second breath before the reality was upon me that I was born into the world just in time to land on a land mine, and it exploded!  Nothing was “as it should be.”  The ramifications of being considered “evil” rather than “sacred” at the moment of my birth are certainly another chapter.

But what I want to introduce here is the sense that we who were abused as infants seemed to be made to PAY FOR something that had nothing to do with us.  It was as if we had to ATONE FOR something that had nothing to do with us.  What this means is that we were PUNISHED simply for being born.  We were SACRIFICED on some altar that belonged to our parents.  Whatever it was that caused them to hurt us that much belonged to them, but we belonged to them, also, so we got to share in the whole awful mess.  Their war became our war.  We were born into it.  And unless someone is there to rescue infants born into such conditions, there is absolutely no possibility of escape.  The peritrauma of their abusive infancy will be unmitigated.  Such parents as these cannot and will not recognize or remember that this pure infant born into their care is NOT a part of their personal disaster, because their parents before them couldn’t escape from their war, either.

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