Your Page – Readers’ Responses


Post December 1, 2014:



Get some hope here:


October 4, 2012



This page is dedicated to this blog’s readers.  Feel free to write any trauma related response in the comment section below:


44 thoughts on “Your Page – Readers’ Responses

  1. You make so much sense it’s ridiculous! I keep dictating therapy, telling her which direction I need her to go in; and trying to get my husband to understand my physical reactions to touch to no avail.

    My biggest conundrum is everything about me is a contradiction! I hate touch but crave it ( and he sees the kids all over me and it hurts his feelings). I can’t leave the house because of sensory issues, but crave people. I hate noise but find the quietest place in my mind when its loud. I equate everything that is me to the scene in patch Adams where the old man holds up 4 fingers and asks robin Williams how many fingers he sees. Eventually it dawns on him there are 8, he just needed to cross his eyes a little.

    I know my biggest problems are I feel to much. I am bombarded by people’s minds when I go out in public so I shut down. I don’t feel the bullets that are piercing their psyche per say as much as its like their emotions swirl around inside of me like a tornado; it’s their energy. As a kid it really messed with me. My moms energy was intense and my dads was scary. I did not become borderline or schizophrenic as much as I became a tune to the workings of a broken mind; which broke me like a sad song on a piano. My mind protected itself, and I’m so thankful. But now it needs to come undone, unravel like a spool of thread so I can be what I want and need to be.

    Everyday, I find peace in chaos. I hate chaos; it makes me feel out of control, but it’s the purest way of finding peace. I need that to transfer to everyday scenarios. For example, I feel god invests in me. He gets me out of tight spots, builds me up, and all that is great! But I’m no longer content with being an investment, I want to see the pay off. Kind of a “why the caged bird sings” ( maya Angelou) scenario

  2. Wednesday, November 12, 2014. This is a reply to a comment from CW today that I was asked not to “make public.” It was a fantastic statement of how it feels to have suffered from Trauma Altered Development due to early abuse and neglect.

    I considered writing a post to respond to CW but if someone mentions that they want to be “heard” at the same time they keep their words hidden from these pages I am not sure there is much I can do to “help.”

    This blog is jam packed with helpful information that might be useful, CW. If you are reading this please think about commenting anywhere on this blog and allowing your words to “go public.” Change your name to something unrecognizable first, if you wish. Many people do that. You have a lot of valuable things to say! Please let us hear you.

    • YAY!!! So powerful. So beautiful! THANK YOU!!!

      So many thoughts and feelings come through my heart and thoughts as I read your words. The first and most powerful ones are — CONGRATULATIONS! I am just one person over here, but I HEAR YOU loud and clear! I am so happy for you and so proud of you! For who you are, all you have accomplished and continue to accomplish that is so GOOD and pure!

      Other responses come to me as well. I believe when there is no physical sickness in the body, such as severe mental illness like your parents had and my mother had, the instincts to mother come through just fine. Along with caring days for my little grandson I realize that when my mother had two more boys later in her life, one when I was in 4th grade and one when I was in 8th — and as she did not want to really care for her “baby dolls” I was called in along with my 2-year-younger sister to KEEP THOSE BOYS QUIET!

      Now I realize there was only one true way to accomplish what maniac mother demanded. We had to keep those little guys HAPPY! Nobody taught me how to do that except for the babies themselves. I made very good use of what I learned back then, along with my untampered-with natural instincts, to mother – and now grandmother – babies and children.

      It is like a beautiful dance. We know the steps. HOWEVER, speaking from my own experience, the ability to “feel through the glass” the love they return is an entirely different matter.

      For myself, at age 63, I do not believe it is possible for the physiological wiring in my body-brain to ever allow me to feel what it feels like to be loved. Not to discourage anyone else in their journey toward this so beautiful experience, I am just saying that because my mother suffered a massive psychotic break while birthing me so that she hated me forever more, and because I had no one except my 13-month-older brother to SEE me and to HEAR me as he LOVED me — and due to the consistent horrible abuse I suffered without anyone to help me for 18 years — I don’t expect in THIS lifetime to be able to LOVE and feel loved in any kind of ordinary way.

      This is a huge sorrow to me but one I am making peace with. I have talked to my children about this. I now know how this loss affects me. Sometimes it is this level of knowing and understanding and making peace WITH our physiological processes that is the healing we can receive in this lifetime.

      You are so capable!! You are receiving magical blessings and giving them with every breath you take. I agree that there reaches a point when the gleam of learning from “all of this” happens in relationship with our own self and is no longer aimed toward our abusers.

      I understand the not wanting to leave home. It has gotten so much worse since I returned north to this city. I can no longer even drive. I am terrified into immobility as far as “learning how” to even ride a city bus. My independence has been removed from me by my “disabilities” and I HATE IT!

      We need SANCTUARY in ways that ordinary more safely and securely attached — in their body brain — people do not. There is lots of info on this blog about these processes. What “stresses” other people “DISTRESSES” us — in specific ways and for specific reasons. We work with these things in our life….

      I call the kind of attachment I have with my kids BORROWED SECURE ATTACHMENT. I believe all humans naturally KNOW how to attach. I simply was able to follow the lead of my children, and now my grandchildren.

      I can also trace in my early childhood what specific things were available that enabled me to USE them to get wired up in my body-brain to be able to make it as far as I have with attachment. One was certainly my baby brother. One was my pet rabbit when I was around 8. The BIG one was ALASKA and its wilderness.

      I also know that the spiritual purity my soul was born with was not tampered with or touched by abuse in any way. I was able to stay “that pure” much, much longer than I think ordinary children do. We are MEANT to be guided into the world by people who love us. I had no guides so in many ways I am separated from this material world in major ways. I am learning about that and making peace with that fact, as well.

      Professionals like to talk about resiliency. I see it as “resiliency factors” and “risk factors” that in combination work to keep us alive and to move forward in good ways through all the circumstances of our life. Nobody who survived a horrific childhood had ONLY a bad one. There is much good in us – both because we were born that way and because resiliency factors available to us were used to the max by our soul to keep on keeping on!

      I hope to HEAR from you many times in the future! Have a wonderful love-filled day! And THANK YOU!! Linda – alchemynow

  3. reading these stories helps me enormously. i am just starting to understand what happened to me. i ended up with a npd /bpd boyfriend who, after 1.5 years was manipulated away from me by my borderline ‘girlfriend’ to her borderline friend. anyway after i watched him go down down hill for 5 or 6 years and having heard of all the folie a deux shenanigans they were known for, it suddenly dawned on me…that girl must be one of those borderlines i heard about at the disability organization i had once worked for.

    so i started to research bpd because this woman has been emotionally terrorizing me for 7 years! (stalking me, calling me – a week after she stole my partner she called me and wanted to come over!) taunting me every time she saw me, intimidating me with crazy stares and blocking my car door when i’d come out of a store.) she was no shrinking violet! but the point of my story is that finally, the penny dropped and i realized that three of my closest living relatives are probably also BPD.

    my older sister, my closest living relative since my parents died in my twenties, is bpd. her 28 year old son has never, and probably will never, be allowed or able to spend any time away from her during her life. its a complete trauma bond.

    my younger step sister was a known con artist in our family. a consumate manipulator, mainly of doctors but others too. because of the blended family situation it was very hard for anyone to take a united stand and do anything about it. she’s never worked a day in her life.

    and my dads second wife – the queen BPD. just plain nasty. i was a huge target of hers.

    so essentially i was surrounded by quite a few con artists growing up. the shock and grief was so great that i ended up collapsing, going into a dream state where i was completely dissociated from reality. freud would have had a field day with what was going on in my head. i was completely out of it until my neighbour found me naked on my front lawn and called the ambulance as she could see something was wrong. i recovered after a couple of days rest in the hospital.

    nothing like that has ever happened to me in my life before. i am 50, successful, single and pretty happy. the impacted grief was just too much. I couldnt believe that the upside down world i endured for so long was true!

    the borderline stepmother – this woman tortured me growing up, mostly by preventing me from having quality time with my dad, but lots and lots of esteem undermining manipulations like weird gifts and even stealing from me! worst of all was that she was an ex nurse who didnt work but was paid by my wealthy grandmother to look after her. she tortured her – my grandma told me that she starved her on purpose by hiding readily edible foods from her (grandma was blind). at one point she hit her with an object on her head and grandma ended up in the hospital with stitches. Everyone in my family just kept acting like everything was good and normal.

    my dad couldnt escape her – although he did try. He developed prostate cancer and died age 65. shortly before my father died she got him to change his will so that everything he had would go to her. including everything my grandmother had. so, when my grandma remarked one day how happy she was to know that we would all have a little nest egg after she was gone i filled her in on how my dad came to us one day and told us he had changed his will so in fact that wouldn’t be the case. She did not want that so together, we used my student loan money (she didnt have access to her own money!) to hire a lawyer to see if there was any way she could get around her trust. there was and we were successful. my siblings, i, and the 2nd wife each received an equal share of my grandmas estate. wow that was a trip! i had to circumvent the nastiness of this consumate manipulator and i was practically just a kid myself!

    i truly remember thinking that that world was upside down. i new something was up but how does the youngest child fight the whole family? i had no allies in any of my wars. im so thankful for the few people along my path that substitute parented me and gave me the fun, self esteem, and relief from emotional pain that was killing me.

    The biggest impacts on me, that i have figured out so far are:

    1. adhd like symptoms throughout my childhood/teens/adult life ( i succeeded anyway and have achieved two university degrees and now run and own my own business.)

    2. difficulty to form a lasting intimate relationships. completely clueless as to how to go abut this. i always ask people, how did you meet your husband/wife/ etc. because to me this is a mystery! i cannot recognize con artists so i get a lot of those for dates!.

    3. target of bullies. ive been bullied in my town because i cant recognize bpd women so im an easy target for them. i read that they see people as two camps – victimizers and victims – and it was certainly the latter that was stamped on my forehead! i guess they can see immediately how vulnerable i am – that somebody has already broken me in for them! luckily i documented all the bullying and always updated the police on what was happening. i am so grateful to our local police because they are excellent. they got involved! they listened! they did more than my family ever did! amonth ago a woman in my town sent me a threatening text message and then came to my house, broke in, and wanted to beat me up! i was hiding in the closet with my cell phone and a baseball bat but she didnt find me. the police came immediately – i believe because i had been sending them evidence of the bullying for years. bullying is often thought of as a teenage thing…i am 50 ..the women bullying me are 30 – 50 and are mothers themselves with children!

    4. excellent independent and creative problem solving skills! thats the upside. im completely independent financially. im a survivor. you could drop me anywhere and despite the fact that i cant recognize a con artist i have survived and thrived in many parts of the world. im educated, have travelled, and had a wonderful life on my own.

    i have now divorced my family for good. its the only way that i can stop them from hurting me emotionally anymore. and that was the main thing that i was responding to, a comment that said, you cant take anyone with you when you go. unfortunately that did to turn out to be true. at least for now.

    i do recognize con artists now and i believe the victim sign is now gone from my forehead! i’m chartng a course of action to discover and improve the defenses i no longer need.

    well, thanks for this forum. it helps me understand. the least i can do is offer my own story in the hope that something in it helps someone else stand up for themselves.

    • Thank you for writing, Sky! If we could attach tracking devices to BPD people so as to avoid them, trauma drama would drop dramatically! You have known more than your share! Supposedly 2% of the general population suffers from BPD – my suspicion is it is MUCH higher than this!!

  4. I have been reading this blog as much as possible for the past few days and like so many others fortunate enough to have already found this site, have been through a virtual gauntlet of varied emotional, mental, and even physical responses to what has finally been made available to people who so desperately need to know. While the personal mental roller coaster set in motion by reading all this has been through many hills, valleys and sharp turns of memories, pain, and enlightenment of understanding, there is one purely felt reaction that overrides all the rest as I sit here writing this. And that is a profound sense of gratitude to alchemynow and all the site contributers who have made this blog what it has already become up to this point.

    The words “THANK YOU” do not even begin to express the true magnitude of gratefulness what you have already accomplished deserves, especially when someone is unfortunate enough to truely understand how difficult it is for long suffering minds to get this information out of their heads and written down in order to both seek help, as well as to help others. If there is a stronger better way of saying “THANK YOU”, then consider it said and directed in a most heartfelt way to everyone and anyone involved with this project!!!!!

    I have more to say and ask, but those things will have to wait for another day because its late and I am tired and the most important thoughts I wanted to share have already been said. Good Night to everyone and God Bless You ALL!

    • Oh, Rosemarie – THANK YOU!! More than I can ever express. I am in the process of working toward book publication – finally – and I so highly value the inspiration and encouragement your heartfelt words bring to me in the midst of this terribly difficult – yet somehow giftedly blessed – work I am doing toward healing of myself and of anyone else that can discover and use this information.

      There are MASSES of pages on this blog – just poke around – through the top tabs – through the list of prior months’ of writing.

      It sounds as though you are in the midst of the miracle of what I call ‘quantum healing’ – with just the simple suggestion that you listen to your body in all ways – and rest and be gentle when you feel that need.

      I look forward to hearing from you often in the future! thank you so much for visiting here and for your kindest words! Linda – alchemynow

  5. my heart goes out to you as a sister sufferer. Our suffering and our grieving at what we will never have at the hand of our biological mother makes us stronger women able to minister to the needs of needy people. I am proud of you for refusing to choose to act out abusively to your own family, what a triumph over evil to know we can love our own flesh and blood well…and now that I am older I can love others and pass on wisdom of how we were created for relationionships with others. I think my life has been well lived by serving others along with being my own mother to mother myself. What joy there is in just being yourself…yes I am over reactionary to stress…but I know why. I also know how to tell others I am sorry for that reaction that hurt their feelings and I have the CHOICE to be compassionate or evil to other human beings who are created in the likeness of God. Who would choose to disrespect Gods creation ? Love yourself, be all who you are meant to be. There is no future in the past…forgive and let yourself live free. Margaret

  6. Thank you for taking the extra time & energy to share yourself, your pain, & research. I just found your site tonight on my antique phone, please forgive my thumbnail typing. -I have started researching BPD for parenting my youngest, 13 1/2yo daughter who will be finishing a DBT class soon. I’m not sure the next step of therapy to start to help her. – I transferred myself to a DBT therapist a few months ago after she was hospitalized for suicide attempt. It, along with the parent class have helped with my own emotional dysregulation, but they say I’m too “high-functioning” to need a DBT group. My beautful, painfilled daughter deserves a. Mother who is healthier, more consistant, not depressed, not self-absorbed, not feeling 99 instead of 49. So I will learn & try & heal & fail & get up & search until my dying breath to wholly love her because she deserves a chance. She’s the 5th generation female (that I know of) to have serious circumstaces from the start. I pray she will be the last……

    • Hi! I feel a universe of love and wisdom, openness, willingness and commitment in your words!!!! (Other readers, Google search “DBT therapy” for descriptions)

      I am impressed your family has identified your daughter’s patterns at her young age. Perhaps more than most readers you can appreciate that I can detect my mother’s BPD illness in her age-ten stories as presented here:

      The more we can learn the more empowered we become! There is much on this blog about ‘trauma altered development’ – how our physiological development is changed with exposure to traumas in our earliest most critical stages of body-brain development. I honor your awareness of the need AND of the potential of healing changes!! Welcome aboard!!

  7. After research, and finding this…I’m relieved and scared to death at the same time. My problems are tearing my marriage apart, and I can’t explain anything to him. I can’t talk about how I feel, I have trouble sorting it all out for myself much less anyone else. I end up just shutting down. Several things you have written have resonated common things in me. I never had it as bad as you have, but my early childhood was a mess. It is so hard to try to talk to other people.

    • Welcome, Lequitta. The earliest experiences before age 2 have such a terrific impact on how our body-brain develops!! There’s a lot on this blog – I hope you will continue to find posts that make sense to you — and please feel free to comment anywhere on here. I am so sorry for your suffering!!

  8. I tried to post this under the Resilliency and Daring post but not sure if it went through.
    Maybe its better if it goes here.

    Today (21st March) is Human Rights day here in South Africa and I woke up thinking about abuse, trauma and the cycle of abuse.
    If only, in our societies we would become more aware of shame – toxic shame and how this takes root in human beings, preventing
    Us from embracing our true selves and finding healing. Just now I googles Complex PTSD and found a really helpful website –
    Just google ‘Emotional Flashback Management in the treatment of Complex PTSD’. This article is by Pete Walker who has 30 years of
    Experience with the topic. I found my feelings and reactions expressed here – and in a very readable, compassionate way. He also give
    Steps to assist people to deal with a flashback.

    I think that tho we have experienced different levels of abuse and thus have more complicated flashbacks – there is something here to
    Apply. Perhaps someone will be able to use Walker’s tips or benefit just from the affirmation gained that their experience was real, traumatic
    And their responses and reactions are not to blame but are in fact right reactions in the context of that abuse! I hope that as more people become
    Aware of the terrible nature of abuse that they will think about how to help themselves and others.

    Walker also has a personal website with more information –


  9. I found this blog a few weeks ago. I think it has really been helpful. Keep writing. You are far more eloquent than I can be at this point. Even the gardening and astrology stuff I find useful.

    Been abused by both parents. Father beat and verbally abused me. Mother abandoned me for a while at age 2, then came back. She allowed our stepfather who tried to molest my sibling and myself to come back. I was 8 or 9 then. I was so terrified then I hid in a bedroom for a while. Mom did not physically abuse us, but there was neglect and abandonment. I remember missing her so much, before the stepfather ordeal.

    This has resulted in social phobia and I have been alone all my life. Never married or had kids. This is really coming back to bite me in middle age. On the outside I appear normal. Never arrested or obvious mental health symptoms. I just keep it all inside.

    Your blog has inspired me because I have read elsewhere that damage at such a young age can be insurmountable according to some mental health professionals.

    I did have fantasies about running away as a child though I was too afraid to act on them.

    • It is so easy for me to lose track of any value my writing might have for other people — it means so much to me to hear from readers like yourself that there is something here that has meaning!!

      Thank you for visiting, and thank you for commenting!! “Insurmountable” – that word sure popped out to me!

      As you probably know, I am in the middle of writing my childhood story — in a line — for the first time in my life. I can see that I was ALWAYS THERE — no matter what my mother did to me, as I look back now — I WAS THERE!!!!!

      And I am STILL HERE! That seems so amazing to me! Only child abuse survivors probably ever have that amazing sense of the miracle they are to have endured and survived through such early hell — and come out of it as a strong, beautiful, wonderful INTACT human being!!

      Inside our childhood stories of abuse, no matter who did the abuse to us, no matter what the abuse was that they did — INSIDE THE STORY is where WE are — and we were PERFECT children!!!

      I have accumulated lots of info on this blog — and I am so happy you are visiting!! Please write again here any time you wish!! You are an honored guest in this verbal house from my heart!!!!

      If there are special ‘ideas’ that interest you you can always Google search the terms putting “stop the storm” and then your terms – like vagus nerve, autonomic nervous system, verbal abuse, trauma altered development, dissociation…..anything that comes to mind. Just hook the terms to ‘stop the storm….” and pages on the blog will show up! Strange to say “happy reading” – but learning is a positive experience! all the best, Linda – alchemynow

  10. I am an adult, willing to relocate anywhere, looking for a GOOD therapist who knows how to help adults who were not bonded with. Anybody know of anything? Please e mail me at Thanks. I’ve been networking very hard.

    • Dear One: I hope exactly the right person reads your words and responds with the info you are looking for. I sure don’t know of such a therapist. You need one who is trained in Adult Attachment Disorders — and is light years ahead of other ‘professionals’ in the so-called ‘mental health’ field.

      Please post again if there is anything on this blog that strikes you! As a woman who knows what you are asking, my heart goes out to you with love! Linda – alchemynow

  11. Memories of Mom

    My mother was a witch. Not a Wicca witch. Growing up my two younger brothers called her that. She used to laugh when they called her a witch. Once they even bought a four inch Halloween doll-witch which she proudly hung from the dining room candelabra. It even had a big sharp pointed nose like hers.
    They started calling her that whenever she started to yell at them and found that that defused her rage and she would start laughing. She never got upset with them for saying, “You are such a witch” and in fact it became an “endearing” way of talking to her; almost like a nickname.

    My mother did not take kindly to my calling her a witch. For some reason, she interpreted my calling her that as being disrespectful. I was confused. How could my brothers “get away with” calling her that but I got spanked with a belt whenever I said the same thing? Maybe it was my delivery. Anyway, I never learned how to defuse her rage the way they did. I stood there frozen until she was done yelling or finished with a “whack whack” of the belt.

    I learned to behave and keep my distance from her as much as possible. I played outside a lot and as I got older played sports and dated. But that only worked for awhile since my Dad interfered. He would say, “Your mother misses you and doesn’t like you being gone so much.”
    Guilt is like a belt on the butt too.

    Years later, as a psychotherapist, I learned what this behavior was about. It is called a double bind: two opposite statements both of which are to be obeyed. Her rage said, “I’ll spank you if you think you’re going to get away with calling me a witch”.
    But when I left and went out on my own her attitude was, “You don’t love me. Don’t abandon me. I’m a good witch Come here and give me a hug.” When she hugged me, she whispered an insult into my ear. “Come close/ Get away” was the name of the game.

    Deeply ingrained messages like that don’t go away easily. Even with my own therapy and personal growth I still am mistrustful of someone wanting to get “close”. I’m afraid they will yell or worse.

    My mother died fifteen years ago. Today I can tell my wife when I’m starting to go into my fear of closeness and punishment for being close. Amazingly, that helps. I have watched her for signs of double bind (mind?) messages for decades and there are none. My wife is not a witch.

    • Wow, so clearly and well put – I appreciate this post so much because it really shows me yet again that we are not being ‘silly’ or ‘crazy’ to think and feel the way we do as a result of trauma. This is how my mother behaves too and tho I was not physically abused, the ‘come close/get away’ message and the swamping my boundaries had the same effect of fear of closeness and punishment for being close. That punishment for being close, is to me the absolute demolishment of my boundaries, the using of me as an object for her comfort/gratification and then at times ‘toyed’ with as an object to ‘tease’. Double bind – absolutely! So much clearer to me.

      Richard, if you still read this, thanks and thanks for that point about telling your wife about your fears. How brave and helpful for others who are struggling with the same things.

  12. Memories of Mom

    My mother was a witch. Not a Wicca witch. Growing up my two younger brothers called her that. She used to laugh when they called her a witch. Once they even bought a four inch Halloween doll-witch which she proudly hung from the dining room candelabra. It even had a big sharp pointed nose like hers.
    They started calling her that whenever she started to yell at them and found that that defused her rage and she would start laughing. She never got upset with them for saying, “You are such a witch” and in fact it became an “endearing” way of talking to her; almost like a nickname.

    My mother did not take kindly to my calling her a witch. For some reason, she interpreted my calling her that as being disrespectful. I was confused. How could my brothers “get away with” calling her that but I got spanked with a belt whenever I said the same thing? Maybe it was my delivery. Anyway, I never learned how to defuse her rage the way they did. I stood there frozen until she was done yelling or finished with a “whack whack” of the belt.

    I learned to behave and keep my distance from her as much as possible. I played outside a lot and as I got older played sports and dated. But that only worked for awhile since my Dad interfered. He would say, “Your mother misses you and doesn’t like you being gone so much.”
    Guilt is like a belt on the butt too.

    Years later, as a psychotherapist, I learned what this behavior was about. It is called a double bind: two opposite statements both of which are to be obeyed. Her rage said, “I’ll spank you if you think you’re going to get away with calling me a witch”.
    But when I left and went out on my own her attitude was, “You don’t love me. Don’t abandon me. I’m a good witch Come here and give me a hug.” When she hugged me, she whispered an insult into my ear. “Come close/ Get away” was the name of the game.

    Deeply ingrained messages like that don’t go away easily. Even with my own therapy and personal growth I still am mistrustful of someone wanting to get “close”. I’m afraid they will yell or worse.

    My mother died fifteen years ago. Today I can tell my wife when I’m starting to go into my fear of closeness and punishment for being close. Amazingly, that helps. I have watched her for signs of double mind messages for decades and there are none. My wife is not a witch.

  13. I wanted to talk to someone who had been through what Dr. Daniel J. Siegel said in “The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are” about windows of tolerance and an INTERNAL SENSE OF EXPLOSION. This happened to me so I want to talk to someone who has had the same experience. Your blog has illuminated my life THANK YOU! I don’t want to miss the answer if it is a post on this site (checked the notification box below) because I don’t know how to navigate blogs, I’m a newbie. If they have a blog or something, please tell me how to connect to their site. You can send them my email address or if they will allow it I can email them. Thanks for all of your help!

    • Good Morning! This might sound strange, but I also want to say “Congratulations!” and that I am proud of you!

      The kind of information Dr. Siegel and other researchers are shedding on the subject of the human experience is finally the truth that those of us with ‘unfortunate’ beginnings in our lives absolutely NEED TO KNOW!

      If you are reading Siegel’s book you mention, I hope you are highlighting and underlining, writing in all margins, and have your own notebook at your side to write in as you read. You can do a Google search any time you find something like “Windows of Tolerance” and begin to follow the links that pop up.

      Dr. Siegel’s website is THE MINDSIGHT INSTITUTE at

      If you Google ‘Siegel mindsight’ you will find many links to follow, and among them might be a blog – I don’t know.

      I can tell from your question that something went wrong during the first two years of your life. Siegel has written another book in which he has done his best to simplify the information he presents in “The Developing Mind,” and if you haven’t come across it, here’s the link on Amazon for it:

      Parenting From the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell (Paperback – Apr 22, 2004) at

      Siegel has also authored a series of extremely informative books that can be found on this link, though I haven’t read them all I would recommend anything he has written:


      In the smallest nutshell I can put this vital information into, I would say that when the interactions between a newborn infant and its primary caregiver (nature has dictated MOTHER – though most often there are multiple earliest caregivers) cannot happen in the most safe and secure environment possible, so that the caregiver can exactly and appropriately respond to the signals the infant is sending out and resonate with the infant, mirror the infant’s state back to it appropriately and correctly, the infant cannot possibly develop itself in the best way possible.

      An infant’s primary caregiver is literally ‘downloading’ its brain into its infant. As all these books describe, it is the RIGHT brain that develops first through these interactions. Our right brain, according to how these early interactions actually went, either can regulate and control emotions ‘properly’ or will be built in ‘traumatic’ infancies NOT to regulate and control emotions. Then we have problems with emotional DYSREGULATION, which is where the description of windows of tolerance fits in (along with a whole lot of other things: ability to smoothly transition between emotional-mental states, the ability to self-sooth or ‘down-regulate’ emotional intensity (yes, like a car’s gas pedal and brake system) — etc.)

      This entire right brain development is NOT ONLY about emotional regulation abilities. This same right brain develops through SOCIAL interactions and is, in fact, our SOCIAL brain as well as our emotional one. All these complexities are tied through our earliest experiences with our primary caregivers into the development of our entire nervous system (of which the brain is a part of), our autonomic nervous system (and vagus nerve system) which is our STOP and GO part of our body that governs our stress-anxiety (fight flight, freeze) response AND our calm and connection system, as well as the development of our entire immune system and the development of how our very DNA manifests itself (which changes in early stressful environments).

      Because you have found Siegel’s work, I strongly suspect you (as I am) fit into the category of less-than-best earliest caregiver interactions. This has affected how we grew and developed — and who we are today.

      I am going to give you here a link to an article written by Dr. Allan N. Schore. His books can be found also on, but believe me, he is NOT easy to read though his work contains the absolute truth about how this entire human development process is affected by early caregiver-infant interactions:

      On Amazon:



      Click to access SchoreDP97.pdf

      This article is absolutely fascinating, and provides the foundational information (including drawings) that all the other developmental neuroscientists are ultimately referring to.


      As if this isn’t already a BUNCH of information, here’s what a search of this blog for “Teicher” leads to:

      His work, (search Google for Martin Teicher child abuse) concludes that given enough ‘trouble’ during early developmental years, it is possible that an entirely different brain forms from the one that would have formed in a safe and secure “good enough” early attachment environment — and he and his Harvard researchers call these trauma altered development brains, “evolutionarily altered.” I extend his thoughts to include an entirely different BODY as a whole.


      To address your mention of “an INTERNAL SENSE OF EXPLOSION” I would say that an experience of this nature, and one that led you to this blog and to Dr. Siegel’s work, is a piece of the puzzle whose bigger picture is included in all this information I have provided you links for. This ‘sense of explosion’ is probably NOT happening in a body-brain-mind-self whose earliest body-brain (especially right brain) needs were met ESPECIALLY birth to age one. It is an experience of emotional-physiological intensity that (in my thinking) missed its chance to be regulated BEFORE it reached this state because those abilities were NOT built into the body-brain adequately in the first place – as all these researchers describe. AGAIN, read the Schore online article!!

      When an infant’s earliest caregiver interactions do NOT build the right brain and its related physiology within an OPTIMAL infant developmental environment, the SET POINT for the entire body-brain will not be set at CALM. That is the GOAL, and any of us who did not get what we needed for this to happen have the center point for our entire physiology SET somewhere else — like the timing on a car, perhaps. Homeostasis, or a state of ‘balanced equilibrium’ is supposed to be where our nervous system-stress response system comes to rest. That point is CALM — not over or under amped! If we didn’t get our internal balance point set at CALM before we were one year old, we will struggle the rest of our lives to balance-regulate our emotional-physiological state.

      Lots of info. Include ‘child abuse’ even if you do not believe you suffered it in your Google searches for information along with ‘brain development’. As you read what comes up I think you will be amazed at how this ‘new picture’ describes the basis of our adult difficulties all the way around! Please stop by here again with any comments you would like to make, and have a wonderful new learning experience! Linda

  14. Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:37 AM


    By Nan:

    Wow, I find such validating clear information related in books and on websites I have known nothing of, until very recently. I am a 48-year-old survivor, of my father’s sexual actions and my mother’s monetarily-driven inactions, healing now on my own, for lack of trust in anything or anyone else.

    I always appreciate and marvel at what I now find; I want to say, I could not find it previously; but must call out that lie, as I also now know that I was told years ago that I have this damage and must face it honestly. Or at least, I think that is what they wanted to say; I always stomped out of the counselor’s rooms, frustrated that they would ask me about the years-ago past, when all I wanted help with was how to live at that point of my life.

    I mourn for the who-I-would-have-lived-to-be; and I still fight alone.

  15. 2010/02/05 at 5:58am | In reply to debbi irish.

    comment made by LilAdopted1 to CONTACT INFO page at:


    WOW, I had no idea that my “monster”, I mean “mother”, (that constantly told me I cost,$10,000.00 of her hard earn’d $, she’d wasted her entire retirement fund on me & my adoption) told me almost daily I should’ve never been born! She adopted me when I was 3 days old along with her 13-year younger husband that was an alcoholic since his early teens. She was in her mid 20’s when she had an etopic pregnancy& in those days(1940’s)she was given a complete hysterectomy. Her husband & she had tried to adopt once before my adoption.

    They had the baby Laura for almost the full 6 months when the young parents decided to get married & they came and took their daughter back to be with her biological parents(NP)/with only a few days left for Mary Ann (my adoptive Mother)& Kelly (my adoptive Father(AP), by law they had to give the baby back to the natural parents(NP).

    Well (my Obstetrician), Dr.Frank Norris, somehow knew both sets of my NP & old AP, he put, “the wheels in motion.” He called Mary Ann & Kelly,(AP)& Bradford&Josephine (my100%Natural Parents) Lagomarsino, who had my older brother Dino & my 2 yr,1month,1day older sister Gina, I equalled #3 in the gene pool. Gee Thankx Dr.Norris, for such a great background check on family substance? He delivered me into the hands of a woman that never once physically touched me but I will go to my grave with the scars she gave me over a 14 year span of time then I moved out to get away from her vicious constant comments & manipulation games along with sick guilt games, “why don’t You love me? I’ve done nothing but love you and all you do is hate me?? What did I ever do to deserve this?”

    And cry,boy,could she cry. I had learned at a very early age that when introduced to new comer’s , “This is my “ADOPTED DAUGHTER, Lee Ann.” It felt as though, it was the judge, handing out a death sentence, it just sounded so cold to a small child. So insignificant,it made me feel as if I was an object, purchased! for her to try an vicariously live her obviously bane existence through me.

    Her marriage on the rocks now, with me age 5 or 6 yrs old, I lost my 2nd dad (since birth)& we left Pacifica, headed up to Lake County, to live with Mary Ann’s mother who was around 80 yrs old. By the age of 7, a creepy old man & his wife had befriended Mary Ann & Babka. They invited us over to their place just a dirt road away from where we lived, they had a Winnabago, well 2 make a short story, even shorter, I was molested N’ that, “big barbie mobile”

    I was so excited to get to look inside of (I was 7yrs old), I couldn’t even talk about it because I had been raised to always respect my elders, and have manners if nothing else. I at 7 had some how convinced myself that I had obviously done something to make that old man do those gross things to me? Finally 3 days later after cry’n lots of day, I told Mary Ann: she simply told me, “That never happened!!”

    What kind of a mother would brush her child off like that? Or, answer me this question?! Why or what type of deviant personality, would tell a small child that their real mother tried to abort them with a coat hanger? I didn’t even know what an abortion was till school and talking to other kids?

    Ok, I am exhausted, and kind of feel ill. Mary Ann’s passed away 12/28/2001 but I still feel all that guilt she raised me with when I speak upon her name in a bad light. How can she still have such a hold on my feelings of guilt & shame? She’z in her grave?? I’ve put myself through anger management class’s and pray’d about it tried to forgive everyone that’s done bad things to me in my life? Why is this wicked woman still infecting my life? and why??

  16. 2010/01/19 at 2:29pm posted comment to


    Have you written a book? Is your website a series of blogs…sorry to sound ignorant, I just had trouble navigating the site and figuring it out. Would love to read more of what you have written.
    I am writing a paper on RAD and came across you website as a result of a Google search. I am fascinated with attachment disorders, particularly since I have been diagnosed with clinincal depression and disorganized/disoriented attachment.
    My mother was a screaming maniac when I was a kid. I was physically little- and she was an Amazon, 6 ft tall and 300 pounds. She terrified me and then sometime later would want me to be physically close and affectionate. I couldn’t do it- leading to more maniacal rage. To this day, I tolerate her and love her but I do not touch her. Reading your information has been very helpful in understanding this problem even though I have discussed it interminably with my wonderful psychologist of 18 years.
    Thank you for letting others know…so they can understand too.

  17. +++++++

    COMMENT FROM: Randy Webb, — 2010/01/08 at 6:58am
    TO: *Chapter 3a Symptoms at

    – follow this link also to my reply

    I’ve noticed anecdotally that my clients who have reported experiences of trauma seem more likely than others who have not reported trauma to indicate “black and white” and relatively more “rigid” views of religion, definitions of happiness or success and other people’s behavior. Could these be indications of relatively less CNS plasticity and an indication of something getting “frozen” instead of “completing” some cycle of recovery in response to trauma?”


  18. Comment posted December 15, 2009 by reader: PhilA

    What about parents who steal their children’s assets and then try to alienate them from the rest of the family in order to keep others from knowing or destroying the credibility of the child in hopes that even if the child complains about severe abuse the child won’t be believed?


  19. Some of us who read the posts on this blog have been fortunate to be spared the direct abuse that other readers have endured. Even so, I believe that every person in the U.S. currently or previously has had a relationship with a person whose life has been altered by poor early attachments, neglect or direct malevolent abuse. In my own life, besides my sister who is the author of this blog, my ex-husband, former boyfriend, three of my daughter-in-laws and numerous friends have all had these hardships to endure. These issues affect us all, and we can all be part of the solution.

    Today I wanted to offer a tribute, to all who have suffered and yet, survived. It may be a bit corny, but I’ve always love the song made famous by Bette Midler, “The Wind Beneath my Wings”, and these lyrics come to mind:

    So I was the one with all the glory,
    while you were the one with all the strength.
    A beautiful face without a name for so long.
    A beautiful smile to hide the pain.
    Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
    and everything I would like to be?
    I can fly higher than an eagle,
    for you are the wind beneath my wings.
    (all credit to Ms. Midler, author and performer of this song)

    Many of you, did not often have a smile, but occasionally a little glimmer of who you really were would peek out. You, who are reading here, are survivors! My best friend, a psychiatric nurse at a children’s mental hospital, has told me that only around 5% of those who have suffered, for instance, childhood sexual abuse will ever recover enough to live a ‘normal’ life. And yet, You, have survived!! You are reading this blog, looking for answers, believing in hope and I want to say that You are all my Heroes and I aspire to be as strong and as resilient in the face of adversity as You.

  20. Hello again –

    Alchemynow, that’s a slightly spooky question – I am indeed left-handed – so are my husband and little sister, while my mother is ambidextrous (self-taught with the right; left-handed originally).

    I once found a picture of two mandalas linked like cog-wheels – that is the best description I’ve found of how I think – if the meeting point is any given event, then the thinking turns simultaneously in opposing directions from there, & usually loops back to the meeting point (now experienced as inability to interpret/decide).

    I can’t yet tell the difference between shame/guilt/embarrassment…. Have started work with a good therapist on current stuff, will move to EMDR on earlier life stuff later. I have plenty of memories, I don’t think I’ve blanked stuff, but I’m still scared of what will emerge as we go back because I don’t quite understand my attachment pattern (just that it’s not quite secure) or its source in that early age. Reasons for it to go awry later, though.

    Dorothy, thanks for your comment – haven’t been checked for those things & am twitchy about meds, so I don’t think I’ll go there – but my current course of exploration seems to hold promise. I just want to be able to settle into my work.

    You are right about the need for witnessing. Thank you for saying that.

    & alchemynow, thank you for the statistic – weirdly, that does help! & your note about not being ordinary sparked something today…. the thought that maybe I will always have to take more care of my mental health than others….that maybe it’s not just going to be cured or go away, but is part of my self & my journey. not such a horrible thought – at least it’s better than “but I’ve tried so hard! why aren’t I fine already?!”

    All good wishes.

  21. Alchemynow – are you left-handed? I was born left-handed and made to use my right hand instead (something else I was beaten for). My girl cousin is ambidextrous because she was taught to use her right hand for most things – she told me she could even write left-handed (legibly). I’m still left-footed and left-eyed and there are some things I do left-handed even now. When I broke my right wrist (badly) a couple years ago it was less of a hassle for me to learn to use my left hand for stuff (not including handwriting) than it would have been if I’d been born right-handed.

    Any links on the left-handed/trauma stuff?

    • I am not left handed, but my father was — fortunately for me, I am right handed! Forced changes through use does not actually change the way the brain is set up!! Also, the testing that can be done to determine ‘lateralization’ is more complex than just asking people about their preferences and use, etc.

      Try these links — poke around — it’s pretty interesting. From how I understand it, when we are only 4-cells-old the process kicks in that directs the cellular traffic of our development: up versus down, front versus back, left versus right. All moving organisms seem to go through a similar process — and what is so fascinating to me is that only in the human kingdom do we evidently find the 10% variation of lateral preference (90% of humans are right handed) — I think because our higher brain helped us figure out how to adjust and still survive.

      What this means, really, is that all life between predators and prey (and also when predators ARE themselves prey) knows instinctively which is a critter’s strong side and which is their weak. Sort of a cooperative survival — predators will try to attack their prey’s weak side, the prey knows automatically the predator is going to do this so they adjust their defense, etc.

      Pretty cool — but with humans, evidently it does complicate the processing of trauma-related information!!

      Here’s a basic Google search:

      This article is great: “Mixed lateral preference and parental left-handedness” see abstract at

      and on down the line from the Google search!

      Personally, I think the military is terribly amiss in not screening for handedness — never should the most at risk left handers, etc be sent into combat — their risk for PTSD is KNOWN!

  22. I feel guilty reading these stories – because my background although difficult wasn’t anywhere near this rough and I feel like a hideous voyeur.

    But I’m captivated, and I read them… and I’m learning some things about the way my mind works. Yes, “three things at once”, “losing ideas”, as written above. Always ready to leap into another interpretation, another way of being, if this one proves problematic. Always second guessing, and guilty as a first response to every move I make…. Is it true that not everybody thinks & feels this way? How will I ever know? I want a percentage, damnit!

    Thank you for your great, great courage in SPEAKING.

    • Have you ever seen one of those infant-child growth charts — sometimes in posters, sometimes in pamphlets — to tell parents when their little one will roll over, get its first tooth, sit up, etc.?

      When I began my research to try to understand what REALLY happened to me as a result of my mother’s abuse, and as I worked my way through the new developmental neuroscience information, I realized what we truly need is a version of this kind of growth and development chart about what REALLY matters — the time line for nervous system and brain development of little ones that happens directly through its interactions — for good and for ill — with its early caregivers! That is what really matters!!

      During my research I found tidbits of information here and there in the very dense and complicated developmental neuroscience books — and I put the info on sticky notes and attached them where they belong on the ‘usual’ child development chart I have attached to my living room wall.

      Your comment made me remember that chart and those sticky notes!

      Although the neuroscience info is extremely complex, we can begin to understand the basics. One thing that is very basic to us in our physiological development (of our nervous system of which our brain is a part) is that shame, guilt and embarrassment are NOT the same thing. They ‘come online’ in a particular order determined by the growth and development of our little bodies!

      Shame is first online. Our body-brains are not advanced enough in development until around age one for us to experience anything like shame before that time. This ability corresponds to the time our body allows us to ‘hatch’ off of the lap of our caregiver so we can go off and begin to explore the world on our own.

      The shame experience will be moderated completely by the degree of security or insecurity the infant feels with its primary caregivers based on all the experiences it has had with them prior to age one. Once the infant goes out into the world it has to feel connected and safe enough with its caregiver to return to them to CHECK IN periodically.

      This is the ongoing ‘rupture’ and ‘repair’ process between infant and caregiver that has been happening from moment one — these patterns are already built into the infant’s body-nervous system-brain. SHAME happens as a nervous system ‘stop and go’ operation as the infant negotiates itself in a wider and wider world. “Am I OK? Am I safe? Does something need to be changed and moderated so that I am OK and safe? Whose problem is it, mine or my caregiver’s? Who needs to change what?”

      It seems hard to believe that all this is actually going on when a little one is a year old, but it is, and it is forming who we are and how we negotiate change, conflict, rupture and repair, transitions between emotional and mental states — for the rest of our lives. All these transactions are built on the prior history of secure or insecure attachment that infant has built into it from birth.


      Our brain hemispheres, our cortex, and our nervous system does not develop or advance enough to experience GUILT and embarrassment until much later. My little green sticky note on my developmental chart attached to my wall says that not until around the age of THREE is a child developed enough physiologically to be able to handle these more complex states.


      Which leads me to my response to your comment as it struck me when I read it. We are fundamentally CONSTRUCTED AND BUILT from the bottom up by our experiences that happen to us that we are not likely to ever remember consciously — they happen that early — and affect us profoundly on the physiological level. It has never been required that parents be perfect. However, the most important thing we can examine within our own lives — as openly and honestly as we can — is our SENSE of how our parents were in the world from the time we were born until we were about three – four years old.

      This requires that we throw any denial or imaginary thinking out the window when it comes to knowing what we can know about any unresolved trauma that our parents carried from their childhood into their adulthood (including in our thinking anything we know about later trauma that might have happened as well — to include assault, rape, war traumas, great loss and tragedy, loss of earlier-born children including miscarriage, etc. as older-child and later traumas they might have experienced).

      Parental unresolved traumas impact how they interact with their young offspring. If you have (if I can be so forward as to say this) ‘issues’ about GUILT that continue to trouble you, it is back to your pre-four-year old years that you would have to go to in order to discover the roots of the problem.


      Seeds of adult complications in our well-being in the world stem from seeds that germinated and took root — in our physiological development — well before our conscious ability to recall the facts of experience are possible.


      The other most simple and basic thing I would ask you is this: Are you left handed or ambidextrous? Were either one of your parents? Research shows that any alteration from right-handedness changes how the brain processes particularly trauma related experiences. It’s the first place to look when a person seems to process information different from ‘ordinary’.


      Oh, and on the statistics: 50 – 55% of people in our culture have ‘ordinary’ secure-enough attachment systems from birth. That leaves the rest of us with some version of an insecure attachment disorder!

    • The original comment is from an e-mail I sent alchemynow that she asked if she could post. I’m ADHD and that is, at least in part, the base of my losing sight of an idea or thinking three things at once. Have you been checked for ADD or ADHD? I find the meds do help me with focusing some (thought they’re expensive!). They don’t get rid of all of the problems but I can concentrate better on everyday things (including work) with them than without them (as I find out when my prescription coverage runs out at the end of the year). Also, even if you weren’t as terrifically abused as others (and no one has a right to judge what you “ought” to be able to bear) you’re not so much a voyeur as a witness. And we *need* witnesses to this so that someday there will be less child abuse and more interventions and help for both abused and abuser.

  23. From a reader:

    I read your description of the “bubblegum incident” and it broke my heart. Sometimes “evil” seems to fit our mothers better than than the toxically crazy label. My mother, too, would rage uncontrollably over tiny incidents that – even if we’d actually done anything wrong – any sane parent would not get upset over. It’s like they were looking for an excuse to harm us. As if they had to justify their “punishment” of us to themselves (or others?). I was also flabergasted at your mother charging you for her breaking the things she used to hit you. Amazingly enough, my mother never thought of that one. Of course here in semi-sane land it seems if you did “owe” anyone (and, of course, you didn’t) it should have been your father, since he supported the family financially. Way for your mother to make everything all about her as usual!

    I did want to ask if your mother ever told you to commit suicide. One of the reasons for the suicide litany for me is that my mother was always telling me that I should commit suicide. Gee, got a “C” on a spelling test? Well, I should just kill myself because my “life is over.” She used this formula for every small thing that went wrong in my life and I also heard how I “deserved to die” because I was “so evil.” I know from reading your blog that your mother told you that you “deserved to die” – and maybe that translates for us as not “deserving” to live or that we’d be “better off dead” (that was another of my mother’s favorites). It’s interesting how some of this all ties together.

    I need to sit down and try and put things (or at least events) in some semblance of order – due to early trauma and ADHD (no doubt having to do with the trauma – it’d be fascinating to know how much effect genetics had on this and how much of the effect came from the trauma) I tend to go off on tangets and be thinking of three (or more) things at once and also “lose” ideas. I’ll realize a connection and then forget it again – I keep having to remind myself how much the early trauma affected my mind/body/life and try not to be impatient with myself that I have trouble coping.

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