A Shaman Daughter
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I was thinking about empathy today, that perhaps the ability to feel empathy for another’s pain is an advancement in the human brain and experience as it shares the pain matrix neurologically yet utilizes additional sections of the brain that DO NOT contain mirror neurons.
But what if a person is full of the unbearable pain and sadness that comes from truly traumatizing infant experiences when the brain is forming? Is it possible that (I find myself writing with my eyes open – now I know the alpha state vanishes when a person opens their eyes) if a person is filled with so much pain it is hard if not impossible for them to extend themselves into this “next room” in the brain? If they are overwhelmed in the pain matrix, and they have run out of resources, perhaps they simply can’t get there.
It also makes me think of that Buddhist practice of taking another’s pain away, to take negative out of the world and let the positive thrive. We need people to do that for us, those of us that have this terrible sadness.
I was also thinking about prediction and control as completely natural and necessary activities, that they are at the basis of survival. Prediction matters from the first breath, that when we need something our opiod receptors are empty, and when our caregivers respond, they are full. Isn’t this the absolute basis of everything?
I need to check references that there are opioids in the placenta, in mother’s milk. I have the articles, including ones on eating the placenta. Even recipes, funny.
Once we can depend on someone coming to care for us, trust begins to build, as does hope and expectation. Monkey research says that even monkey mothers who belong to a matrilineal line that abuses their infants, will abuse a baby but continue to feed it – her natural offspring of a foster baby. (I have that article)
I was also thinking about the homeostatic equilibrium set point, and how that goes awry and ends up somewhere other than at calm, rest, peace. Ours can be hypo alert with overwhelming sadness of the frozen state, hyper alert in fear or rage.
Trust, secure base, safety are tied to prediction and then to competency. Even a tiny newborn will cry for help, and instinctual utilization of its early active coping skills and its assertion of its needs out into the environment that surrounds it.
when dysregulated brain people are in interaction with other dysregulated people, we tend to escalate one another, not calm one another. This is insecure in interaction with insecure. We need to be with secure people.
What is stressful for others is for us, again, distress. Distress for others is our panic. What would panic them throws us into chaos.
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