Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Michael Jackson: The Power of Early Trauma

In Childhood on June 28, 2009 at 10:56 pm

What is tragic about Michael Jackson’s death, by whatever physical cause is ultimately determined by the Coroner, is how it was the perhaps inevitable outcome of a perfect recapitulation of his traumatic childhood. He said that he never had a childhood, and was “terrified” of his father. He said that he felt safe onstage, where he could shine and feel loved by thousands of people at a time, and unsafe just about everywhere else. Behind the scenes, he faced a father who was abusive and experienced tremendous pressure to perform perfectly. He spent a lifetime trying to make himself over to please those he loved, and those who he believed loved him, and clearly found himself flawed.

At the end of his life, looking less than robust and possibly continuing a long-standing addiction to narcotics, once again he was under tremendous pressure to perform—in 50 concerts, for heaven’s sake! And again, by powerful, intimidating father figures in the form of his financial backers who expected him to sing and dance his way out of monstrous debt while making them a handsome profit. Whether these individuals were truly intimidating or not doesn’t matter: Michael would have experienced them that way—that’s part of the recapitulation. Terror induces trauma and similar situations may trigger trauma memories on a physiological level. The expectation was essentially to equal or surpass his performances at his prime—and make no mistake, Michael Jackson at 50 was no Mick Jagger at 64—the robust Jagger’s life story is a very different one. While he clearly longed to be back on stage and adored, and was working hard to prepare for it, perhaps Michael knew there was no way he could meet those expectations and struggled with the anxiety of attempting to do so, or perhaps he just “lost heart” for such a crazy endeavor and felt as trapped and helpless as the little boy he was when all this began. What fascinates me is how he managed to manifest such a sadly similar experience at the end of his life as he had experienced as a child. What a brilliant, shining star he was, and what a truly tragic life he lived! I really hope he is at peace now.

Here is a link to a related article describing Jackson’s life: http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/06/26/michael.jackson.spotlight/index.html

Baby Daddies: In memory of my father, Samuel Winstone, who passed away March 1977.

In Parenting on June 21, 2009 at 10:11 pm
Claire and her daddy

Claire and her daddy

This is for all the baby daddies who aren’t at home for their children to celebrate; for all the daddies who sowed the seed but were not around to water the plant and support it to grow straight and strong into flower.

This is for all the baby daddies whose boys are lost and angry because no-one has shown them how to grow up to be men; who seek fathering from their peers, from gang-bangers and drug-dealers bedecked in bling. Who endlessly question what they did, or what was wrong with them, that made those daddies go away and not return, who medicate the pain of loss with booze, with speed, with weed, and grow up to walk out on their own babies because they have no other blueprint.

 This is for all the baby daddies whose daughters have never heard from a trustworthy male that they are wonderful, beautiful, and brilliant, that their sexuality is awesome and precious, and not to be toyed with frivolously. Who never learn how to be in a healthy intimate relationship because no-one has shown them, who trade sex to try to get the love they missed, and who make babies with new baby daddies who leave them loveless and with child.   

 This is for all the baby daddies whose children were harmed because they were not there to protect them, who went hungry because they were not there to work for food to put on the table.

 This is for all the baby daddies who were hurt, neglected or abandoned by their own fathers and have never confronted the pain of their losses, but unthinkingly followed in those tracks . . . and those whose anguish has led them to be behind bars.

 This is for all the baby daddies whose children have no-one there to celebrate on this day . . .

 Today is your day too.  It could be the day you decide to break the cycle, to be the generation in your lineage who found the courage to go home, to ask forgiveness, and find a place with your children. Today could be the first of many on which your children will have reason to celebrate—and so will you . . .

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More on absent fathers:

In Parenting on June 21, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Here is a link to a terrific spoken word piece:


Hello world!

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm


On this Father’s Day I’m happy to announce the birth of a blog: about gestation and birth and babies and children from the perspective of prenatal and perinatal psychology and/or infant mental health and other possibly related things that wander into my mind in the course of a busy day that are longer and deeper than a tweet. 

I aspire to write with at least a fraction of the wisdom in this newborn’s eyes!

Do stop by every once in a while and see if I’ve been inspired.