Posts Tagged ‘emotional abuse’

Neurons to Networks–An Excellent Video

In baby, Birth, birth,baby,perinatal,oxytocin,pitocin,mother,infant,newborn, brain development, breastfeeding, Childhood, infant, maternity, mother, Parenting, perinatal, prenatal, Prenatal Experience on November 25, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Twelve years ago it was the book “From Neurons to Neighborhoods” and a wonderful conference in Los Angeles that brought together people who understood the importance of the links between healthy brain development and safe, supportive neighborhoods for families.

Now even more research supports the concept that safe, loving early relationships have phenomenal power over the trajectory of childhood brain development. Such research also serves to underline some of the reasons for the high aggression and poor learning ability (among other symptoms) shown by many of the young children I see in therapy–the powerful effects of early childhood trauma: abuse and neglect (sometimes even before birth–such as exposure to street drugs or alcohol).

There are regrettably few individuals around the world who know how to restructure brain development gone awry, and they can only do so much and only up to a certain point. We need to be able to get it right the first time, and to help people understand why this is so important, and what it will take to make it possible for more babies and their parents.

Anyway, this was meant to be a brief introduction to the video: which the makers are willing to tailor to the needs of individual organizations that wish to use it. Please enjoy it (it lasts under 11 minutes) and feel free to share it wherever it might be useful.

My personal hope is that it will help us to provide what is necessary to give infants and young children a better start in life–with safer, more loving families, more time with the folks who care for them, paid parental leave, and simpler births more supportive of mothers’ and babies’ mutual dance of love.

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