Control - Embodied.
In the day to day life of any child living in a situation which is not safe, ‘control’ is a most central concern.
The child learns very quickly to control their own behaviour and expression of feelings in an attempt to prevent episodes of danger, fear and pain that they perceive their own behaviour as triggering.
The human infant is born as if ‘pre-programmed’ to do anything in his or her extremely limited power, with his or her very limited resources, to attract the carer. Without the goodwill and attention of a carer, a human infant will die. So, sub-consciously and automatically, anything is worthwhile if it appears to be necessary to maintain the proximity and good will of the particular carer any infant may have. Even the total subjugation of the infant’s own growing emotional feelings and needs, if it appears that the expression of these is upsetting to the carer and likely to elicit episodes of abuse.
So – how may this ‘controlled’ infant, child, person appear on the outside? An infinite number of ways. Just as for any other human being. The whole purpose of ‘dissociation’ is to hide both from the experiences too painful to manage, and also from the world, that anything ‘out of the ordinary’ may be occurring.
But even though hidden, real life has, and does still occur and the body is the part of the self that cannot escape so, it retains the feelings that it has experienced in real life.
In time, it may become more difficult for the mind to ‘hide’ from these feelings. They may begin to show themselves, as if insisting on recognition for what truly has been, in many varied ways. It is always a possibility (amongst many other possibilities) that experiences such as depression, hearing voices or various forms of anxiety attacks, symptoms such as agoraphobia may, in time, be traced back to experiences the mind has flown away from a long, long time ago.
But, the long road to finding a possible origin for any symptoms is a very, very difficult one to travel indeed. And there are many varied and often painful and apparently destructive ways that those travelling this road may find help them manage the pain they experience on this path.