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#11408 - 04/28/03 12:10 AM Cutting the Umbilical Cord?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
"Our earliest emotional experiences, both good and bad, occurred first through our bodies. Only later did we process emotions mentally. What we learned through our bodies, as children became the foundation of our emotional life beyond childhood." (Van der Kolk, P 25)

My own abuse, a sense of being hated, unwanted, & made an object of vengeance, began with me in the womb, while still attached to my unwed mothers' umbilical cord, thru which I could feel the malice
against all men that my mother held & would take out on my her "bastard" firstborn son.

Right from the start I learned some bad stuff & picked up some bad vibes thru my body that got trapped there & became the foundation for my emotional & physical life into adulthood. I'm still dealing with it.

"Sexual abuse frequently begins before a child has the mental and muscular skills needed to speak. At this age we primarily relate to the world through our bodies – touch is the principal mode of communication, talk is secondary. A child's reaction to abuse at this age has a definite bodily component. Unable to defend itself verbally or physically, the child's body absorbs the physical and emotional insult of abuse." (Van der Kolk P 19)

My SA began when I was at least 2 or 3, well before having those mental & muscular skills. Touch, my "principal mode of communication," was already getting all the wrong signals. Along with SA, there was physical abuse; I was often severely
shaken till my head would snap back and my back would bend--probably the source of much of my chronic back & neck pain.

Unable to defend myself or flee, my body simply absorbed & stored all the physical & emotional pain. And the abuse went on until I was 11 years old.

“Once the amygdala is programmed to remember certain sounds, smells and bodily sensations as dangerous, a person is always likely to respond to those stimuli as a trigger for flight or fight reactions. (Ford, p 6)

"This…seems to cause trauma imprints to be stored as fragmented sensory and emotional traces, rather than being organized into a narrative by the higher brain's autobiographical self. As far as we know, trauma is the only thing that gets stored in this way, except perhaps for mental imprints in very small infants." (Ford, p 6)

Yeah that pretty well describes what's happened to me & what I'm working thru. And with me the trauma & the mental imprints I had as a very small infant are very much the same things.

Thus I still can respond very much in an infantile
manner, in exaggerated fight, flight or freeze responses, to seemingly minor stimuli reminescent of when I was abused. Thus the pain that's been storing in me since in the womb thru the umbilical
cord increases in stock.

“Confronted with an experience that includes elements of their original trauma, people with PTSD may react as if they are going through it again. Specifically, when enough of their sensations (such as being touched in a certain way, being exposed to certain smells, or seeing images that remind them of the earlier event) match imprints from the original trauma, these people activate biological systems that make them react as if they were being traumatized anew. In short, they have conditioned psychphysiological and neuroendicrine responses to reminders of the trauma.” (Ford, p 5)

Exactly, and much of it I experience all over again as an infant, even a fetus still connected to my mother's damned umbilical cord! Sometimes I feel like the damned things strangling me!

“A prime characteristic of both children and adults with PTSD is that in the face of a threat they cannot inhibit emotional states that originate in physical sensations.” (Ford, p 7)

Right and that's why my inner child/infant/fetus as well as my wounded traumatized adult needs to have more good body work.

“Practical anxiety management skills may include training in deep muscle relaxation, control of breathing, role playing, and yoga. (Ford, p 8)

These are some of the things I hope can help. If anyone has any other thots, ideas, experiences etc to share I'd appreciate.

So would Little Vic.

We'd like to get this damned cord cut and get on with our lives!!! \:\(

Victor

Van der Kolk: http://www.traumacenter.org/van_der_Kolk_2002_In_Terror\'s_Grip.pdf .

Ford: Title: Compassionate Touch
Author: Dr Clyde W Ford
Published: North Atlantic Books, (C) 1993,1999

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#11409 - 04/28/03 12:42 AM Re: Cutting the Umbilical Cord?
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
I read an article a while ago that was talking about things like this, and how abuse (not just sexual) and neglect physically affects the developing child's brain... I believe this is the link:

http://www.calib.com/nccanch/pubs/focus/earlybrain.cfm

A lot of the things in that article and the excerpts you have posted here ring true with me. For the first three years of my life I was offered basically NO touch from my mother unless it was to beat me or to pick me up in order to put me somewhere that was out of the way. I never made that "bond" that mothers and their children are supposed to have. I spent the first three months of my life in the hospital (I was born premature and drug-addicted) so I didn't really form that connection with anyone, and sometimes I wonder if some of my problems are due to that and not my abuse. I did form a pretty close bond with my father who took over the caretaker role, but it could never be as close as a child would get to someone who actually carried him inside of them.

Once my mother did start touching me it was the worst kind of touch. I was sexually abused. I was thrown down stairs, beaten with cutting boards, brooms, whatever she had in hand, burnt, locked in closets, shut into the dryer overnight (it wasn't turned on), made to stand in the freezing cold shower... all of this went on before I even reached school age. I learned right away all about that bad sort of touch.

Incidentally, I don't think I spoke a word besides "yes," "no," and "sorry" until I was old enough for kindergarten and had to talk. I am not sure if this was due to my abuse or if I was just slow.

_________________________
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see


Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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#11410 - 04/28/03 01:02 AM Re: Cutting the Umbilical Cord?
RickL Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 84
Loc: Oregon
Victor, thanks for bringing this thread up. I've been giving this subject more thought recently. My abuse was early, and the worst of it was over by the time I was 7. But the deeper I go into recovery, the more it keeps coming to me that the trauma I experienced very young--pre-verbal young--still haunts me, still controls me. And I'm sick and tired of that. I'm ready to progress to a new level of functionality.

Just today something is coming into focus. My alcoholic dad, who was emotionally, verbally, physically and sexually abusive toward me, was the frightening "king of the castle". I was the only other "male" in the house. My pre-verbal self learned very wll that I would always have to submit to his terror, or else! So I became passive. As a boy in school, I was not good in sports. In fact, I felt like I didn't really "own" or had dominion over my body the way the other boys seemed to. And just today, I made a stunning connection.

I shunned competitive sports, not just because I was less physically inclined, not just because I didn't "own" my body as well, not just because I didn't care for sports. Somewhere the little guy inside made the connection between my dad and all the boys in school. That "pre-verbal" self protective physche, in essence told me, "bow out of competition. Submit to defeat. Don't fight. Because if you do, the "male" will kill you."

We're talking about a very young, pre-verbal message, but I believe I transferred the terror I experienced at the hands of my dad to fear of other boys--especially when there was any "macho" competition called for.

I can remember getting this horrible pit in my stomach when the gym teacher would chide me when I did not "hustle" or "compete" enough on the ball field. It went directly against the self-protective instinctive model of behavior I used to protect myself.

This, I believe is one reason I grew up sexually confused. I do not believe I was born gay. I have been married, with hetereosexual responses. But I've had lots of confusion issues.

Also, as an adult, especially in the last 5 or 6 years, I am more "connected" to my body than ever before. I work out at the gym. In fact, I'm better fit and better at sports now, as a middle aged man, than I was as a child.

This all grieves me. But I'm grateful for the epiphaney. Recovery is hard work sometimes--that is, hard to make that next "level". But I'm determined.

Sexual abuse, in my case, was only one part of the abuses perpetrated by my dad, and didn't even feel like the major one compared to the other abuses. But I'm seeing how the power/ dominance trauma has deeply affected me. And that is a form of mental sexual abuse, to be sure.

This is very personal stuff, but it helps me to articulate it. I'm interested to hear if this resonates with any of you. Thanks.

Rick


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#11411 - 04/28/03 04:45 PM Re: Cutting the Umbilical Cord?
Chey-Wy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/01/02
Posts: 241
Loc: Cheyenne, WY
Victor,

You said something that reminded me of a thought I had several months ago.

Quote:


My own abuse, a sense of being hated, unwanted, & made an object of vengeance, began with me in the womb, while still attached to my unwed mothers' umbilical cord, thru which I could feel the malice against all men that my mother held & would take out on my her "bastard" firstborn son.
I was adopted when I was 3 months old. I never knew my birth mother. I have always wondered what the circumstances were that caused my adoption. I've wondered if I might have been the product of a rape and abortion was out of the question. I could have been the product of a teen pregnancy. Oh I have thought about doing a search for her .... but more for medical reasons.

As for my adoptive mother. While she never sexually adused me she physically and emotionally abused me. I was born with one leg shorter than the other. I wore leg braces until I was old enough to take them off by myself. I also liked "girls toys and playing dress up in mom's cloths. I remember my mother telling me one time that "if she and dad had wanted another girl they would have adopted another girl." I remember thinking that they might tack me back and trade me in for the "perfect model" of a little boy that they wanted me to be.

I have never been perfect in my mothers eyes. No matter how hard I try to be perfect I have failed. I still try to please mom. ...... and in the process make myself miserable.


I have been reading the book "TOXIC PARENTS" by Susan Forward Ph. D. It has helped me to realize that I will never change my mother. I am hoping that my T and I can start working on helping me to realize I am a worthwhile person just as I am.

Thanks for starting this thread. I too need to cut the umbilical cord. My adoptive mother still tries to control me.

Thanks,

John

_________________________
From the Song MOUNTAINS by Lonestar.

Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains,
So we could learn how to climb

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#11413 - 04/28/03 08:12 PM Re: Cutting the Umbilical Cord?
Tom S. Offline
Member

Registered: 04/15/03
Posts: 161
Loc: Nashville, Tn
All this reinforces my thoughts that the reason I can only relate to my wife is because of trauma from my mother. I don't want anyone but my wife and kids, until I found this site.
Tom S.

_________________________
' None are so enslaved as those falsely led to believe they are actually free '

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#11414 - 04/28/03 10:39 PM Re: Cutting the Umbilical Cord?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
SP:

Thanks for sharing the article (which also has a good bibliography for references), and out of your own experience.

Quote:
I never made that "bond" that mothers and their children are supposed to have. I spent the first three months of my life in the hospital (I was born premature and drug-addicted) so I didn't really form that connection with anyone, and sometimes I wonder if some of my problems are due to that and not my abuse. I did form a pretty close bond with my father who took over the caretaker role, but it could never be as close as a child would get to someone who actually carried him inside of them.
I guess you could say I was "over-bonded", the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, with her constant physically & sexually abusive touching & overexposing herself.

As to forming a bond with my father, he was the one that shook me so severely, and also incested me on at least one occassion before he left at age 4. I had to be the father to my younger brother as well as my mother's surrogate husband.
\:\( \:o

SP, I'm sorry for your pain, for having to stay in the hospital so long as your life began, for the way your mother sexually abused you & hurt you
Touch must be tough for you.

Quote:
Incidentally, I don't think I spoke a word besides "yes," "no," and "sorry" until I was old enough for kindergarten and had to talk. I am not sure if this was due to my abuse or if I was just slow.
The abuse sure as hell didn't help. If you were
"slow" it's becuz the abuse slowed you--not becuz there was anything wrong with you as a person.

Oddly enuf, I was an "early bloomer". Walking, talking, all that stuff seemed to come early & pretty easy for me. Survival adaptation I guess. Also becuz from like age 4 on I had to be very literally the man of the house, and I think it started even earlier than that, tho more covertly becuz my father was still there.

Now emotionally, I got stunted & stuck very young.
That damned umbilical cord choked all the feeling out of me.

Yet slowly but surely I'm un-numbing, getting my feelings back.

Thanks for sharing SP. Take care.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#11415 - 04/28/03 10:56 PM Re: Cutting the Umbilical Cord?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
I shunned competitive sports, not just because I was less physically inclined, not just because I didn't "own" my body as well, not just because I didn't care for sports. Somewhere the little guy inside made the connection between my dad and all the boys in school. That "pre-verbal" self protective physche, in essence told me, "bow out of competition. Submit to defeat. Don't fight. Because if you do, the "male" will kill you."
Rick, I also didn't get into competitive sports, at least not the school teams. But I did try to be competitive during P.E. classes, neighborhood games, etc. However I was not particularly physically agile, not having had a father or male role model for doing things like sports. So I kept trying to "prove my manhood" and I kept
"failing." At least that's how it felt then. I knew I couldn't compete but felt like I had to. What a vicious cycle!

[/QB][/QUOTE]This, I believe is one reason I grew up sexually confused. I do not believe I was born gay. I have been married, with hetereosexual responses. But I've had lots of confusion issues.[/QB][/QUOTE]

My sexual confusion was of a different kind--of constantly feeling I had to prove my manhood, trying to do so, yet failing becuz I had no model for or concept of what true manhood/masuclinity was. Only briefly after being raped by a gay couple at age 11 did I struggle with thots I might
be gay. But I was way too heterosexual, tho in a very unhealthy way, for such struggles to last. The confusion about manhood tho, goes on.

[/QB][/QUOTE]Sexual abuse, in my case, was only one part of the abuses perpetrated by my dad, and didn't even feel like the major one compared to the other abuses. But I'm seeing how the power/ dominance trauma has deeply affected me. And that is a form of mental sexual abuse, to be sure.
[/QB][/QUOTE]

"Mental sexual abuse"--that's what I think I was going thru probably from conception: the hatred of men, the desire to make me her little man & control me & thus all men, directed inward at me thru the umbilical cord.

This was definitely a powerful emotional incest that perhaps has affected me even worse than the sexual abuse, tho they're hard to distinguish at times.

[/QB][/QUOTE]This is very personal stuff, but it helps me to articulate it. I'm interested to hear if this resonates with any of you. Thanks.

Rick [/QB][/QUOTE]

Yeah it resonates brother. Thanks for sharing your ESH (Experience Strength Hope).

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#11416 - 04/28/03 11:06 PM Re: Cutting the Umbilical Cord?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
I also liked "girls toys and playing dress up in mom's cloths. I remember my mother telling me one time that "if she and dad had wanted another girl they would have adopted another girl." I remember thinking that they might tack me back and trade me in for the "perfect model" of a little boy that they wanted me to be.
John, you could say that what your adoptive mother did was in a sense a form of SA, if somewhat indirect or covert.

I empathize with you, as I worked hard at pleasing
my narcisstic mother.

Bro, I am sorry for your pain.

If your adoptive mother is still trying to control you, by all means cut the damned cord. But do it carefully, my friend: I understand that when an umbilical cord is cut, it actually hurts the child connected to it.

Maybe that's why it can be so hard to cut loose.

But like you I'm well ready to!

TC & TTYL Brother.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#11417 - 04/28/03 11:13 PM Re: Cutting the Umbilical Cord?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Jake:

I very much relate to all of what you're sharing of your experience. I've had to completely break all contact with my family of origin, especially my mother; even contact with distant relatives is still uncomfortable.

I hope you can find your voice, fellow survivor.


Tom:

This I very much relate to. I hated women becuz of my narcisstic incestuous mother. I hated men becuz of my briefly abusive & then absent father.
Only now am I beginning to form close male bonds.
Only in my marriage & family have I done this with women, my wife & daughters. It's still hard.
This site has helped me a lot too.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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