A direct, symbiotic relationship with nature is a fundamental human right.
As some of you know through my stories, when I was an infant my mother dehumanized me. Instead of maintaining fairly consistent physical and/or visual contact with me, she dissociated from me by routinely leaving me in my crib in another room of our basement apartment for hours on end, following an extreme interpretation of the cry-it-out method* that entered our culture as a result of my maternal great-grandmother’s PTSD during a plague in Sicily. (More on this in “Rose the Jew”.) As a general rule, my mother tended to me only if it was time for my bottle (Breast feeding is for sissies.) or if I needed a change of diapers. Instead of hugging me to ease my distress, she used the television or radio to drown out my cries for her, smoking cigarettes to relieve her own anxiety. When I managed to escape my crib and crawl across two rooms to be with my mother, she promptly returned me to my crib, eventually confining me in it with a carriage strap. As a result, my default mode became code red: a state of existential dread for extended periods, separated from my lifeline, confined in an unnatural environment, alone and helpless. As far as I knew I’d been left for dead.
Needless to say, I was deeply damaged by this treatment. For starters, my relationship with my mother was fubar, make that FUBAR. Without my mother physically and emotionally bonding with me or perceiving me as a lovable, valuable, investible fully-human extension of herself, I was little more than a burden and annoyance to her, especially in a patriarchal culture that valued boys over girls. (I touch on my mother’s lack of empathy in Pee & Circumstance.) By the age of five I had been subjected to emotional, spiritual and physical abuse. Not only would my mother condone my emotional and physical abuse by males, and then double-victimize me for tribal males’ inability to control their aggression and rage in an evolved manner, on more than one occasion she actually aided in the abuse, e.g. helping to lock me out of the house and then mocking me as I tried to get back in, triggering my crib trauma by separating herself from me in my state of distress. The abuse would continue throughout my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, when I would endure sexual assault from outside of the tribe. I had been conditioned to condone abusive behavior and disrespect of boundaries from males in positions of power, even when it made me uncomfortable and I knew it was wrong.
My mother’s early rejection of me and subsequent maltreatment of me left me believing that I was inherently repulsive. I carried a sense of self-loathing that was compounded by sociopathic humans close to me in my formative years and beyond who found that my negative self-perception served them well, especially when they behaved abusively and were unwilling/unable to look inward. I harbored intense anger toward my mother, that I spewed onto her in my teen years especially, and to a lesser degree onto certain other females well into my adulthood.
Burdened with a deep-rooted sense of futility and neediness, I was an easy target for abuse by anyone who held power over me, especially males. The repeated teachings that a rage-prone, über-manly-man entity, is omnipresent, omnipotent, and righteously above criticism, conditioned me for easy exploitation by manipulative, callous men driven by an insatiable need to dominate. I tended to shrink around forceful, negative energy, especially in enclosed environments such as offices, which often lack protective, nurturing energy. Attempting to obtain resources while removed from nature triggered both the distressed mindset of a helpless infant in a basement apartment, and the submissive position I held in my tribe’s house of worship, in which decorated adult males and boys would run the show from an elevated platform while the rest of us sat or knelt down below, repeating what we are told and vocalizing only in agreement until we were rewarded for our submissiveness with a taste of food and drink, and permission to leave. In my desperate, reparative quest for mother’s love, I was even more responsive to herd mentality than the average child. Disagreeing with my tribe’s book of fairy tales would’ve left me socially ostracized. Already considered lowly because of my gender and birth order, I equated challenging the status quo with expulsion and food insecurity like Eve expelled from Eden, only with no Adam beside me.
Despite being an excellent student with an IQ in the top two percentile, I struggled to initiate and complete even relatively simple tasks in non-academic environments, due to debilitating performance anxiety that started with crib trauma. My first experience initiating and successfully completing the single most critical task of my life: connecting with and obtaining resources from mother, had left me confined and alone with no food or nature in sight. I deeply and subconsciously associated giving my all, especially under pressure, with courting death (crib escape attempts) or physical assault, due to decades of living in close proximity with volatile males prone to outbursts of rage from their own performance anxiety plus PTSD. I had debilitating focus issues in confined, unnatural environments, coupled with a hyperactive response to stimuli, and difficulty discerning what stimuli around me was necessary and what could be ignored, aka sensory disinhibition.
As I grew, my mother viewed me as competition. Instead of being proud of my abilities and achievements, she seemed threatened by them. Likewise by my independent nature and critical thinking. It’s as though she could only tolerate me if I were perfectly aligned with her worldview and unable to leave. When I relocated across the country for post-graduate studies, she boycotted the family send-off from the airport and spoke derisively about the top university I would be attending. This was her emotionally-stunted way of saying she didn’t want me to leave. That’s the most heart wrenching thing about damaged people in our lives, isn’t it? They are incapable of treating us well even though they desperately want us to stick around.
It wasn’t until I enlisted the gentle guidance of a licensed psychotherapist that I was able to begin the healing process. It has taken over a decade of regular sessions just to be here now, writing about my mother’s maltreatment and how it affected me. I needed to clearly, fully, and deeply understand that it was unnatural and wrong, and that my attempt to connect with my mother should’ve resulted in the reward of comfort and security, as nature intended, instead of the solitary confinement treatment that she punished me with instead.
I needed to explore the vast array of emotional issues and cultural forces that drove my mother to suppress her maternal instinct toward her own daughter who, of all of her children, physically resembled her the most. My mother was very much a product of her environment, severely compromised by pathological mental-illness that was exacerbated by a toxic, patriarchal culture idolizing male aggression. After three generations of damaged mothers, the vital nurturing component of our culture had been all but decimated. (More on this in Rose the Jew.) Enter capitalistic influences. Droves of humans near and far, alive and long dead, influencing her behavior on a daily basis as they reduced her to worshipper, or consumer, or viewer. Yet not one was incentivized to guide her back to her maternal instinct. The tobacco farmer in Kentucky, for example, was too busy providing for his own family the only way he knew how. I can’t begrudge him for that. It was the paradigm of modern resource procurement that failed my mother and the cannibalistic nature of unrestrained capitalism. My mother had been blinded to the fact that she could make a long-lasting positive impact on the precious little girl that she had already invested in for nine months. All she had to do was pull herself away from frivolous distractions and be present for her infant, an act that didn’t even require pure altruism. Physical contact between a mother and child provides a natural high for both of them. It would’ve been a much healthier choice than cigarettes or watching actors play out scripted lives on a screen.
Only through taking a deep dive into such influencing factors was I able to forgive my mother for her neglect and cruelty. Through dehumanizing me, my mother dehumanized herself. She dissociated from the most beautiful, precious part of herself: the phenomenal power of a mother’s love for her child, and the power of nurturing energy in general, including its capacity to heal the broken inner-child of her own psyche.
Forgiveness has made space for a wider perspective and gratitude. The problem that my mother and I faced is timeless and universal. Had I been born in China when it was a one-child nation, for example, there’s a good chance my mother would’ve completely abandoned me like so many desperate, disenfranchised Chinese mothers did with their infant daughters when they felt that their own survival hinged on raising a son. Had I been born in a region where female genital mutilation is still practiced… Let’s just say I’m lucky to be alive with my entire vagina intact. I’m grateful that I possessed the tenacity and whatever else it took to survive such a precarious infancy, childhood and adolescence with nature’s intended nurturer and protector dissociated from me and incapacitated. That is no small feat, especially in NYC during one of its most dangerous eras.
The bond between mother and her children, between Gaia and us humans, is a sacred one that should be treated as such. Unnatural interference from killer-leaning dominators is driving humans to dehumanize one another, which is slowly dehumanizing the entire human species in the process. We need as many people as possible to be raised in a healthy way. Those who have been damaged owe it to themselves and their fellow humans to do the work involved in healing from past trauma, getting back in touch with their empathy, and reconnecting to Nature. The future of humanity and the Planet depends on it.
*Jean Liedloff making the case for Attachment Parenting.
Pasty little girl needed some sunshine. Bottom photo in Nice, France during a semester abroad.
It’s not easy summing up what it’s like to come around to mental wellness and independent adulting after decades of debilitating anxiety. In a nutshell I have fixed a bunch of glitches in my brain. I’m hoping that my blogs might be helpful in some way to any of you who’ve ever felt trapped or lost in your own life, as I felt in mine up until recently. Or maybe you’re just here to gawk. That’s fine too. Either way feel free to reach out with a quick message through that blue button at the bottom right of your screen. Donations appreciated too, of course.
On top of the crib abandonment and trauma that I describe above, my brain had been hacked by my tribe’s sexist cult, the manipulative doctrine of which was written thousands of years ago by unevolved, misogynistic males with a very specific, limited agenda for MY LIFE, based on my body’s ability to procreate, and their inflated sense of entitlement to tribal resources, the female bodies of future generations included. If only they could get my pesky little brain out of the way, which unfortunately for me they managed to do by getting to me young, as my already damaged sense-of-self from crib trauma was still developing. They did it through brainwashing my entire tribe, who perhaps somewhat unwittingly betrayed my trust to guide me into successful adulting. Even females in my tribe were mentally-enslaved collaborators in a sort of emotional daughter-slaughter. All of us had been inundated with sexist fairy tales from a psychologically manipulative playbook on how to condition females to remain child-like even as they grow physically so they’ll propagate more brainwashed cult members, yet remain dependent on males for survival, hence being too desperate to push back on aggro, controlling behavior. The mental-wellness of followers and the progress of humanity be damned. With countless self-limiting, self-sabotaging bad lessons being fed to me by my cult/tribe on a regular basis throughout my formative years, my intelligence and keen social instincts actually worked against me.
By the time I hit puberty, I had a woefully atrophied sense of agency over my very being. I’d been groomed to be attractive to aggro males who would bring home the bacon and conform easily to my tribe. Male tribal members felt entitled to judge and approve my potential suitors based on whether he shared their “values”. Each family gathering was an unofficial confirmation hearing of whoever I was dating at the time. If my selection did not meet the males’ approval, they had plenty of passive/aggressive ways to let us know. Death by a thousand micro-aggressions. To entitled males in my tribe, the goal of my coupling up had little to do with my emotional well-being and everything to do with me propagating the cult and its sexist teachings.
Two things saved me from my tribe’s oppressive master plan for me: childhood summers in a natural environment, and attending public school in an extraordinarily diverse neighborhood, where kids who looked nothing like me were part of my tribe as we regularly spent time together in a pleasant, collaborative space. We were like kittens in a mixed litter. We did things together. We grew together as a group. I learned about different religious beliefs as well as evolution and science. Each year I’d come home with a class picture, and each year my mother would sit with me and ask me to name every one of my fellow students so she could write it down in the space provided in the photo envelope sleeve. Through this simple exercise, my mother taught me that humans, in all varieties of skin tones and hair textures, are unique and important. As mentally-ill as she was, mom was emotionally evolved in this way.
Being mentored at a young age by teachers who fed my hungry, growing brain with facts was a bright spot in my childhood. These positive female role-models led our classes with confidence, kindness, and discipline. Unlike ancient scribes and their archaic notions on what I should do with my life based solely on my reproductive equipment, my teachers saw me as a unique individual, and encouraged me to express myself. Imagine that. What I had to say mattered. I thrived in a nurturing environment where it was clear that those in charge had my best interest in mind, and where aggressive behavior was not tolerated. In contrast to the volatility I experienced at home, school was a safe environment. I rewarded my teachers’ investment in me with good grades and enthusiastic class participation.
In my mid-twenties I narrowly and clumsily escaped the first phase of my tribe’s master plan for me of marriage to a suitor of their liking, causing regrettable collateral damage in the process. A couple of years later I flew the coop solo to make my way to a more natural environment. My biggest challenge lay ahead: freeing *my mind* from the cult brainwashing and debilitating anxiety that drove my self-limiting and self-sabotaging behavior. As I write above in Rough Start, nature’s intended protector for me, my mother, had failed to bond with and invest in me due to a toxic combo of pathological mental illness, old-world patriarchy, and new-world capitalism, the latter two exploiting her emotional issues for profit and other selfish gains, rather than helping her heal and grow into the caring mother that would’ve greatly improved both of our lives.
As for me, instead of making babies I focused on healing the damaged child within. It took about twelve years of psychotherapy— and a lot of painful lessons— to learn how to be self-sufficient. Once a safe distance from my oppressive cult/tribe, I had to relearn the very act of doing, parsing it apart from the deep-rooted dysfunctional fear of my own power that had been enmeshed with it starting in the crib, and reinforced by sexist fairy-tales. I had to rewrite the false narrative that only when I erred were my powers suddenly and miraculously supernatural, causing exponentially more harm than even the most egregious mistakes of my male counterparts. I had to learn to stay present even and especially as I struggle. I had to change how I perceive myself as existing in my environment. I had to change how I navigate through my environment, how I register stimuli, and how I react to it. I had to recalibrate the amount of energy I needed to engage with people and objects around me. I had to get comfortable letting the energy of others in, but only the right others. I had to create healthy boundaries between myself and aggros, or damaged friends who could be great fun and even come through for me in my hour of need, yet due to their own unresolved issues around feminine power would become abrasive whenever my most competent and confident self emerged. (Sometimes the creation of boundaries sounds like Bye.) I had to spend time being fully present in nature almost every day: to smell dirt, to listen to birds chirping, to feel breeze on my skin. I had to quit chemical stimulants such as caffeine and pseudoephedrine. I had to stop being mistaken for a speed freak. I had to find healthy energy boosts, like a song and dance break to let loose uninhibited. (Added healing bonus as I had been strongly discouraged from self-expression.) I had to teach myself to crave real food. I had to retrain myself to sleep soundly, indulging myself with extra sleep by reducing evening screen time and going to bed earlier. I had to find creative ways to motivate myself to do things that were unpleasant. I had to do things that scare me. I had to learn how to wait, and to just be sometimes. For me, the passing of time had been skewed when my mother separated from me way too soon and for far too long, with an added layer of anxiety from being raised in a tight, doorless space with a male whose PTSD would cause him to rage out if we didn’t respond to his demands immediately. The mere mention of a task for which I’d be judged would switch my brain into panic mode, causing me to dissociate and make mistakes, starting the tailspin into other, potentially bigger, mistakes.
I had to cut back on distractions and enjoy the natural high of being productive. I had to pause to acknowledge the positive results from projects that I initiate and complete. I had to get comfortable owning such accomplishments and sharing them without guilt and fear of showing up the males in my tribe. I had to prove to myself over and over that I am perfectly capable of obtaining resources and utilizing them wisely with my own Gaia-given sound judgement.
It saddens me that males in my tribe, like the ancient scribes who normalized female oppression, view feminine capabilities as an existential threat to be controlled with an iron fist. It’s too late for those ancient scribes, although I’d really like to bring ’em back to life just to let them know that they wrote one helluva sexist chapter book series that would enable the most depraved and destructive world leaders to rise to power, as many a manipulative male would selfishly exploit the false notion held by millions that an über-aggro manly-man is entitled to reign over Earth and all of Her resources with impunity, including precious human resources.
Generation after generation of females being conditioned to idolize male aggression and shield males from accountability for their outbursts of barbaric behavior has thwarted all of our emotional growth and deprived us of a nurturing, emotionally safe environment needed for optimal functioning and human progress.
Seeing them as flawed humans, and myself as their equal, asking for nothing more than the same basic respect and civility that I extend to them, has them playing another familiar role in our cult: the role of martyr. I must be Judas in Lilith’s clothing. No one but an evil betrayer would ever see that our saviors are flawed, nevermind actually speak their flaws aloud.
The major life lesson that unevolved males who troll progressive females have not learned is that through forgiving females from their past who have damaged them, especially their mothers who damaged them at their most vulnerable and desperate, they can free up that space for the type of healthy self-love that allows a positive and more appropriate response to their fierce and fabulous sisters who refuse to enable their sociopathic behavior. Humanity needs damaged males to do the unpleasant but necessary work of looking inward, to go through the process of healing so that they can focus their energy and strengths on more productive endeavors than attacking misperceived threats, like a dog barking incessantly at the mailperson day in and day out, never comprehending that these workers are only coming up the driveway to do their job and leave. Like us females, they deserve to earn a living without being attacked by a territorial animal.
The dysfunctional shielding I describe above is partly due to cult teachings, and partly due to something more primal: each tribe needs its physically strongest and most aggressive to protect resources and the tribe itself from annihilation by “outside” aggressors. However, the civilized world can no longer afford to allow the most unevolved parts of humans: tribalism, lack of empathy, selfishness, greed, aggression, as well as a dysfunctional, insatiable need to dominate any and all resources, including human resources, hold us all back and destroy the Planet at the same time. This is why we need as many females as possible emancipating themselves from a child-like state of emotional and financial dependency on males so that they can live as independent adults with their own resources, and help leverage the type of positive change that feminine, nurturing sensibilities foster.
Since I started blogging I’ve received quite a bit of positive feedback from readers. I’ve even inspired a high-school buddy to craft her own stories. That’s what keeps me going. We who have transcended trauma not hating the world but sharing our journey with others are part of the nurturing movement that the world needs right now in full force.
Your support will help me spread my insights on how we can live more like humans again.