I realized that stating “The Genesis of CPTSD” in the title for this series was open to misinterpretation. This is very much about how mine started and so I made that adjustment. Your mileage may vary.
Mother as Place of Attachment
From The Emotionally Absent Mother (affiliate link):
Jasmin Lee Cori writes:
Here we focus not on Mother as the ocean we come from, but as the more immediate place where we are attached….
When you watch securely attached toddlers and young children with their mothers, they are in constant physical contact, climbing over, pulling on, sucking, and hugging the mother’s body.
I don’t remember any contact even approaching that kind of intimacy with my mother. As with her mother, grandmother, and all the female relatives on her side of the family, there was no physical contact. No hugs, no kisses, no leaning up against them. Holding hands was rare, usually a means of yanking us into submission or crossing the street. The only pictures I have of anyone holding me are of my father or brothers. There was always space around my mother in family photos as in real life and there were unpleasant consequences for breaching that space. Not unusual in an incest survivor/victim, but still detrimental for her children. My brothers and I were very affectionate with our own children, having missed out on it growing up.
Attachment for the young child brings the feeling I belong to you. And because I belong to you, I have a place. Without this, we are untethered, adrift well into our adult years.From The Emotionally Absent Mother
Driftwood is an appropriate metaphor since I grew up near the sea. Floating on unpredictable waves, adrift well into my adult years is a very good description of my experience. The thing about driftwood is that it’s had all the life sucked out of it and lies dormant, lifeless. It took years of work to recover my creativity and sense of fruitfulness.
Next week – First Responder.