The Vagus Nerve: Mirror of your Soul, the Lock on your Trauma and the Key to Happiness

The central nervous system (CNS) or Vagus nerve is key to our well being in life. The CNS is a bit like an elastic band, if it’s stretched beyond it’s normal capacity or continually overworked it won’t return to it’s original condition. It’s especially sensitive in the developmental stage in the first few years of life, as the baby feels-out its new environment, if it has prolonged exposure to stressors such as feelings of being unsafe, unseen, ignored, uncared for, emotionally abandoned or have absent caregivers, emotionally disconnected or physically abandoned especially from adoption or institutionalised care for longer than it can cope, this seemingly mild trauma can over-extend or stretch the CNS causing it to recalibrate and set what normally would be danger or life threatening in the majority of people as the new normal for the traumatised baby.

As the child grows this new normal, which is continually in the danger zone, this sense of danger over exerts the CNS and locks on the Sympathetic systems which would normally kick in when a person is in a specific dangerous or life threatening situation. This has significant debilitating health effects for that indivual, e.g IBS, diabetes, endocrine system exhaustion, ME, MS and other auto-immune type diseases.

There’s another component to the vagus nerve that Dr Stephen Porges has researched and popularised called the Polyvagal Theory. Unlike most mammals that just have the two branches of the vagus nerve, in humans there’s a third branch its function is somewhat metaphysical, it’s the part that gives us our human connection, the family connection, it’s sometimes called the social nerve, it gives us our sense of being, our sense of Self, our acceptance in this material world, it’s like a mirror to our eternal non-material Soul, it’s the nerve that lets you to “Be your Self”

Apart from the physical aliments and diseases developmental trauma causes, there’s also the hard to measure and describe, hidden effects that severely hinder the individual from becoming a fully rounded adult that has acceptable social skills, confidence of Self, participation in society, willingness to get out from under their parents wings etc. If their own sense of being is not respected it will effect their personal boundaries, make them clingy, cause unhealthy dependency and/or attachments to people including child sexual predators who rely on the child going into the “Freeze” state along with the dissociation, shut-down, and/or hopelessness responses.

If the baby’s sense of self-embodiment is disrupted or it’s original connection to this material world is severed (abandoned) and is not sufficiently reconnected or worse still the new caregivers do not acknowledge the true Self in the baby and impose/project their image of what they want the child to be for them, then the social aspect of the nerve will continually struggle and be in conflict with it’s normal original natural state versus the overexerted survival response and the need to adapt to the role the overbearing parents place on the child.

For example your individual vagus nerve (especially the social engagement part) is tuned into picking up your individual sense of Self, your sense of being, as it is ‘broadcast’ from the source of all things (yes its getting a bit more metaphysical) like a TV or radio is tuned to picking up a specific station from the many signals swirling around the sky. The birth-mother helps the baby tune into this signal, they have literally grown together as one body then they have an empathic mother-baby bond post birth, this is a chemical, biological and emotional bond, designed to help the baby learn/map their subjective feelings, emotions, and their physicalities, the mother correctly interprets and reflects back things like hunger, full, tired, lonely, need of love, pain, need for toilet, thoughts into actions, feelings, sad, happy etc etc.

An inattentive, emotionally absent, neglectful or adoptive mother who didn’t/couldn’t make a mother-baby bond will project onto the baby their own misguided interpretations of what the baby is subjectively feeling perhaps always feeding if the baby cries for love, attention or connection.

In the particular cases of adoptee parents there’s often a underlying reason why they adopted, be it to fix a broken marriage, fill a unsatisfied hole they carry from their inattentive, absent parents, their lack of Self and using a baby to complete their image of a happy family. The psyche is deep and unresolved personal issues that they hope a baby will resolve will be projected onto the baby, as it adapts to please and be accepted in this new environment after the soul shattering sense of abandonment it felt when removed from it’s true mother-baby bond. The baby’s own individual true Self signal will be drowned out and this new dysfunctional one will be taken on as their own self, it will be a pseudo-self, a mask of persona that covers their true inner being that is compartmentalised deep inside. It is a built in primitive survival mechanism that goes all the way back into the reptilian, r-complex of the triune brain.

It was assumed that babies will not remember any life events and would not be effected by anything that happened or was done to them before 15 or so months old, the most horrendous and cruel example of this was up until 1986 in the USA babies under 15 months old were routinely operated on including major surgery without any form or anaesthetic. We now know trauma suffered in the preverbal stage is stored in the muscles as somatic memory, a felt memory without logic or reason or word to describe it, that can cause life long reflexive responses to who or what caused the trauma.

Secret psychological experiments were carried out on adoptees in the 60s and 70s to see how parenting styles would effect the psychology of a child (nature vs nurture) in the documentary Three Identical Strangers, triplets were adopted into different families, one warm and loving, one middle of the road, and one a cold indifferent career busy family. Like lab rats the children were observed and tested. I recommend the video below for a great summary of the film. Spoiler:- the child of the cold indifferent family committed suicide.

Watch to the end for the spoilers

Recently the pernicious nature of this type of trauma has been brought further into general awareness. Below are two extracts from recent interviews which describe the deep dehumanising psychological effects.

Erosion of another’s confidence in Self is, as Jordan Peterson states, is a sophisticated form of abuse. the transcript is below and it starts at 10:45

“if you know that you’re a monster and that will manifest itself in your life consciously or unconsciously, if it’s unconsciously it’s not good, then you become better at disciplining children and the reason for that is that you don’t want to expose them to your dark side. and so if they behave and don’t provoke you which means they’ll also behave for other people then your monstrous part can stay in abeyance and then that’s great. But if you don’t understand yourself as capable of wreaking havoc and that can be the kind of havoc that unfolds over decades, because if you’re going to abuse a child it’s the primitive form of abuses is the physical abuse. The sophisticated form of abuse is the continual undermining of the child’s courage across perhaps their entire life and there’s a terribly monstrous element to that and if you’re not respected properly by the child, you will absolutely take revenge on them and that’s the whole in some sense that’s the whole Freudian psychoanalytic story”

To emphasise the depth of the trauma, in this clip Dr Stephen Porges describes this inattention to the connection that is the mother-baby bond is dehumanising, in the transcript below I have highlighted the pertinent parts. it plays from 27:35

“don’t they feel the pains of others and the answers maybe they don’t and the reason maybe they don’t is maybe they’ve had traumatized series developmental histories as well and that they’re really reenacting the trauma that has happened to them I think this is really a real tragedy in life because many of the people who are this aggressive to others hateful to others their lives have been really not they have not been lives of co-regulation and love and caring of others they’ve been lives of just trying to survive and often using the wrong metaphor the metaphor for so it’s a real issue of for me when I see this I feel that with great compassion about but there are now basically people who are I don’t even like to use word perpetrators I see this and I look at that and I say this is so sad their lives are so sad but then I go to the other one which is much more pragmatic I can have the compassion for them but I can’t justify the amount of people the number of people that they’re hurting the impact on the lives of others and that really bothers me a lot so you can say I can understand that I have compassion for you for you’re doing or why you’re doing it but I have a lot of trouble because you’re hurting people and how can you hurt people and I think I hope more and more people will have an understanding of this I think the power of those who do that who marginalize who bully who isolate people to whom leave them treat them poorly to gain power over them I just hope that more more people understand that literally the vulnerability of those people and why they’re doing that and not so in politics we were talking a lot of this there’s always this pragmatic I can live with that if I get what I want and I think people have to just get beyond that they have to say I’ll never get enough of you there I’ll never get what I need in a culture it’s not ok with me if you’re hurting people it’s just not right so we have to have some different levels of what Michael absolutes so we started off our dialogue about the biological imperative to survive was to connect with others and polarization is a violation of that biological imperative and we have to literally draw a line in that line in the ground is if you start doing things that hurt people it by it violates the imperative of what we came what we evolve to be on this planet we are connected species and if we don’t appreciate that we are in a sense injuring the species and we have to take on a responsibility the bottom line is I think there are gonna be more and more people having this understanding because now you have with polyvagal theory and neurobiology that supports the philosophical and for many people even a spiritual religious view so you have a convergence of different orientations all ending up in the same point and this is polarizing people treating them as if they’re not human marginalizing them isolating and bullying them is not how humans need or have to our cessation it’s not really need or should if they keep doing that they can’t be humans it’s almost like you violate what it is to be a human so do you say it as an existential threat no I know I don’t see it as an existential threat because I see it as something that will dissipate because I don’t think it’s sustainable the main point of this of the argument that it’s a violation of of our biological imperative is that it’s transitory and can’t be sustained because being human is very powerful and this work comes originally from trauma understanding of trauma why does it apply more widely is it because we’re all in a state of sort of low-level trauma or is it well what’s interesting is my work didn’t started try I’m one of the few people in the trunk world of trauma the world of trauma therapy or trauma theory that didn’t come from initially from trauma I came from my laboratory science and my laboratory science led me into a model and that model was polyvagal theory is a model of the evolution of the autonomic nervous system but it was also a model that showed that under challenges the autonomic nervous system shifted States to more primitive and primitive states of survival and so that is how it got picked up by the trauma world because people experienced severe trauma or locked in these more defensive states and then polyvagal theory started to provide insights now you can move people out of those states and it says rehabilitate them to a more typical neural regulation and ith that more typical social and emotional behavior so because it was a general model of how the million autonomic nervous system works under challenge it has great generalizability so it has a generalizability not merely in the world of trauma but has a generalized ability in the world of education the world of medicine and what I like to see moving into is actually a world of social politics or social justice is really what we’re talking about because it’s providing a different type of manual of what it is to be a human being so it’s not a manual that’s based upon you know certain principles of that our moral principles it’s on principles of what our body needs based upon our evolutionary history and when those principles kind of line up with moral principles it’s a beautiful story it says our bodies need to correctly we need to feel safe with others we need to be safe in the arms of selective people not everyone we need time together where we feel safe and we can and this will help us grow and digest and will help us learn it will help us solve problems and be creative it will help us people and will enable us to be curious and what are the key things that you think people need to know about that your work sheds a light on I think the the major point they need to know is that when you shift physiological state it shifts your bias of how you see the world so if you move into a physiological state that is more defensive you see the world much more negatively and if you see the if you shift into a physiological state as well coagulate with other people you see the world in a much more positive optimistic perspective I think as people understand that they’ll start understanding the relative import the relative way we see the world s so physiologically dependent that we’ll go back to that statement better living through neurobiology we would want a life in which we saw the world in a more positive way and then we had a more positive view of our purpose in life a more positive view of learning and curiosity and a greater acceptance of other of witnessing others and enabling people to be different than whom we are.

This dehumanising, neurotic and narcissistic type trauma is so damaging as it removes or replaces the normal levels “will” (will-to succeed, will-to-life, will-to-please, will-to-power) with the will of the parental force imposed upon them, what remains in the child as their own will is the will-to-survive this is necessary in the first stages of life where survival is needed, but as the child grows and does not have its own “will” or self determination, always bending to the will of another, maybe through shame or guilt, the will-to-survive turns into primitive aggression, which can be turned outward to destructive, aggressive words actions and behaviours to others or inwards to self-destruction, self-harm, drug & alcohol addictions, or destructive relationships. Even though the child or young adult can reason and use logic to see their behaviours are not good for them, the primitive drive is so strong it will constantly try to dominate until that trauma can be resolved.

It is unfortunate some people continue to blame the victim in their adult years claiming things like, “you shouldn’t let your past effect you now” “you were to young to remember – how would you know what actually happened” “forget about it” and other ignorant remarks. It is victim blaming and does cause subliminal re-traumatisation. I personally would go into a freeze state unable to cobble together a cogent response, but recently I have asked the ‘victim blamer’, could they “forget about” speaking their own native tongue and only speak in a completely different language from now on? They always answers NO. Language is one of the first things we learn but the pre-verbal trauma described above is a few levels deeper than learnt language, ask them to “forget about” how to digest food, how to focus their eyes, how to breathe the way they do, as that’s what they are casually asking us to do.

People who have suffered this early pre-verbal trauma often look very well ‘put-together’ have a job, do OK in life, can deal with later traumas that would send a normal person to suicide, as they have their entire life to adapt and cope and develop dissociative strategies that can see them through a stressful situation. But they have internalised all that stress into their autonomic systems, which are likely to breakdown early into auto-immune diseases if the addictions don’t get them before.

I will cover healing recovery, recalibrating and other rehabilitations methods and mechanisms in the next post.


My Personal Truth of Adoption Trauma

Part 1 described the toxic effects on a child from a mother who had lost or never fully received the love affect/connection from her father and/or husband. Then used a baby to replace that lost connection, manipulating the child to “never leave” them and keep them in a trauma-bond to the mother.

In western countries we have a noble lie, one which is deeply egregious to the people  affected, that lie is adoption does no harm to the baby. It conjures images of benevolent parents wanting to give the unwanted child the loving, safe “better” environment for them to grow and thrive. It’s that general story that was re-enforced often and repeatedly and then reluctantly accepted after many harsh words and stern reminders for me to stop questioning it.

The Noble Lie

The birth mother didn’t want the baby or couldn’t take care of it and had willingly given it away to be adopted to a couple who were willing and able to take on the huge responsibility of bringing up a baby and give it a better life and better opportunities than the actual  birth mother couldn’t or wouldn’t. The adoptive parents do their very best and the whole process causes no harm or ill effects. Any and all personal issues, diseases, addictions, and mental health issues are not linked to the severing of the mother-baby bond and are of  the child’s own making as it grows or are due biological and chemical imbalances inherent.

A more accurate description I’ve told people is:-

My mother was very young and wanted to keep me but her parents were ashamed of the situation and insisted she give me away. After only a few weeks of being connected with her the goverment agents took me away and gave me to a government approved family who wanted a baby and paid them to cover the costs of  food, clothes etc.

My Personal Experience

From the few documents I can get hold of and researching the what the societal attitudes were like in the early 70s I have developed a picture of my personal truth, it resonates as true and does not twist me up inside even though it is sad. The details may not be perfect but in general it’s a much more accurate picture than the wholesale lie that my adoptive parents forced upon me.

My birth mother was a 17 year old unwed girl, barely out of school. She was sent away from her home to live out the last few months of the pregnancy with family that was many miles away, about 4 hours using modern public transport and in those days it would have felt like half a world away.

In the north of England in those days it was a deeply shameful thing that a young girl could be pregnant and unwed, abortions had only just been made legal a couple of years earlier, and were still frowned up as immoral also it could have been too late into the pregnancy for this to be an option.

The shame and guilt was probably being loaded up onto my mother as soon as it was discovered. Agreements and arrangements were made without her knowledge and forced upon her “for her best interests”   A sense of helplessness, sadness, anger at the lack of control over her own body and destiny were added to the shame and guilt.

While I was swishing around in amniotic fluid that was now full of stress chemicals, a inner knowing and subconscious link told me something was wrong, I was not acceptable, I was no wanted, was being imprinted into my nervous system even before  I was born.

I was born in spring time, in Yorkshire – Gods own country! a small blessing perhaps. For a few weeks after I arrived into this world I was welcomed, accepted, loved, and cherished by my birth mother, a normal strong mother-baby bond was created. While in that bond I would have picked up the subconscious of my mother and knew this life/bond might not last long, there were plans to separate us. I willed with all my baby might for this not to happen. My mother registered my birth and gave me a name two weeks after my birth,  this is not a normal thing to do by a mother who never wanted a  baby and wanted to give it away. Then wham!! I was relinquished, taken away, no more loving connection, my soul connection had been severed, gone. I was not reflected in the eyes of my mother any more, I was no longer welcome and lost in this world, the warm cocoon of my mothers love was replaced by cold lonely isolation.

For how long did my soul had fall from my body and this world, I don’t know, where did it go? what did it learn in that place?

I met the people that were to become my adoptive parents. They were a childless couple about 8-9 years into their now loveless marriage, they had already adopted another male child a couple of years earlier, whatever love was in the father had gone to this first child, but still the wife was not getting her missing love satisfied. another baby was what she needed for her and her alone to be the source of her missing connection, to fix the broken marriage. I had a job to do right from the moment I met them. I’ve noticed I’ve retained a “fix-it /make it better” attitude ever since, it became the core of my career path.

The adoption was registered three months after the birth, I don’t know, how long I stayed with my mother, how long I was in goverment institutions before getting to the place I was brought up in.

It’s a hopeful desire that my new parents consciously at first gave attention, affection and acceptance, and probably love in their own way -to think otherwise is a deep dark place.

But as my True Self cried out to be seen, to be reflected in the eyes of the Self in the  mother, to be assured my Self was incarnated and recognised in this material world, that I belonged here and not “there”, to be accepted, soothed and loved, cry as I might it was not forthcoming.

The “father”

He was the second and younger son, born at the start of the second world war. His mother was a strong matriarch figure she ruled the roost and I recall his personality changed to somewhat of the obedient child when she used to visit, he picked up and kept the traditional roles portrayed by his family and peers. He was a neglectfully absent father – well the husband of his wife, he was no father.  I don’t recall any fatherly interest or events, no birthdays, no soccer, but that could easily have been due to my dissociation and blank memories. He did tell me a few times that “he never wanted me” and “you don’t deserve a mother/parents like us” a horrendous thing to say to any child let alone one that’s been left out in the cold and adopted. I can see now how week willed he was, his narcissistic wife had him subjugated, he was unable to say no to her demands for another baby.  One of the first recall memories I have of interacting with him at a young age was, in the mornings his wake up routine would be to pull my curtains, open the window in my room, and tell me to get up,  there was no heating in the room, it was cold to get out of bed and one morning i said something like, please don’t open the window its cold and it does not encourage me to get up in a cold room, I will open the window once I’m up and dressed. I must have been 4-6 years old,  there was a look of shock or surprise on his face, not sure why, maybe because I put forward a reasonable argument with solution to the problem, he never opened the window again. I was now aware i had something he didn’t not sure what to label it but it was something important. A couple of years later,  I recall I used to like sleeping in my parents bed after a nightmare or that was my excuse for a few years up until the father started with Multiple Sclerosis, I was told that i couldn’t sleep in the bed any more because the father now has MS – as most young children do, I heard – you caused the MS, that’s why you can’t sleep in the bed. I probably felt guilty for this as well. The MS killed of what little spirit he had left, after some reading i have found that disease is linked to narcissists constant erosion of the Self, and the image just gives up leaving a body and a man who will never leave the narcissistic mother. I’ll expand on this in another post

The “mother”

As I now know my new “mother” does not have her own sense of Self, she is emotionally immature and is living in her Pseudo-self image that her parents and society had projected on to her. Just like narcissus she loved the image more than the real.

She was the second daughter in a strict Christadelphians Christian family, born right at the start of the second world war, her family was quite affluent but she would have had almost 20 years growing up with rationing, and goverment propaganda of duty & obligation, good citizenship etc.  There was also her parents projections of strict Christian values, roles and responsibilities etc. In all likelihood her father didn’t “see” her true Self either, he probably wanted a son as a second child but it was another daughter. With little or no connection to her real Self she remained in the Self Image, there was little to no chance she was capable of repairing a true mother-baby bond that had been broken. let alone establishing a decent enough one to substitute it.

With a lack of Self she could not give of  her Self, the love affect needed by a baby. Love was taken from me, and conditionally given back only after I had done what was required, whether that was  finishing the bottle of food I didn’t want, stopped crying to be seen or comforted, suppressed my honest emotions for a true connection, or made myself emotionally available to her giving the response to feeling she wanted. She was projecting narcissistic erotic/eros type of love a female puts out when she is looking for a suitable mate or other half, and to a baby this is torment, I had to fulfil her missing inner child, her anima, her soul, even though I had not yet developed my own ego or sense of self.   Another analogy that crossed my mind was,  she was like a girl with her doll, she loved the doll, dressed it, fed it, played games with etc but would rage if the doll did not respond, the narcissistic injury.


Writing my experience has taken some time and there’s been lots of inner resistance, lots of attempted starts that weren’t finished, it’s a cathartic process and helps me solidify and stand in my personal truth. It removes the very foundations the projected pseudo-self stands on, allowing the true being of Self to start manifesting and building new foundations.

Effects and Affects

This emotional abuse and neglect during the developmental stages leads to basic autonomic functions being severely disrupted. In the past 6 months I’ve to teach myself what it feels like to be full, hungry, empty plus how to eat normally rather than the induced rushed, must finish it as quickly as possible, way I was taught as a baby – I was fed, over fed, forced to finish a bottle pretty much each time I cried for attention, for connection, for some love. – I still haven’t got it sorted but I’m getting there.  I’ve had to focus through meditation on relaxing the digestive system so it is no longer in “danger survive” mode and thus inflamed, slow and inefficient. I have had to consciously change my breathing from swirling stress into the head and chest which produces cortisol and once that hits a certain level I will dissociate into the self image projection, to a breathing that is slow and into the lower lungs, I still breath stressfully at night and often wake up feeling stressed. The so called human connection the shared feeling of being human, belonging in this time and place, both on general and intimate levels is my next big challenge.

My place in the world has been severely distorted I first felt abandoned after my first connection to the divine, the world, to other humans was severed. I was then further abandoned by the adoptive mother, my emotions and feelings and need for connection was inconvenient and uncomfortable for her so they were shut down, shamed and ignored. this had led to a deep mistrust in humans, I don’t feel like I belong, I’m not welcome, I’m a burden, unlovable, broken, something missing, I’m not nice, once you get to know the real me you’ll leave,  my subconscious attitude to relationships is that the other person is better off without me, I will only disappoint you, even with my young nephews I avoided seeing them for a few years as I felt I was a bad influence and they were better off not getting attached to me. All these are picked up from the subconscious of those around me especially the father, he had a seething buttoned down resentment to me. He was casting his own shadow of his resentment to his own weak willed self that bent fully to his wife’s will.

I do acknowledge all the good things that were done, the sacrifices made, to provide a stable and comfortable home, the general lack of chaos that plagues so many other families. In hindsight and with this new knowledge it was more about maintaining the “image” of family than providing the real or allowing the Self to manifest. But with that same hindsight there is some potentially very dark devious manipulations to crush those moments of Self expression, self improvement activities, relying on my own Self and any thing that might chip away at the carefully crafted parental pseudo-self image projected onto me.

Narcissistic Mothers – The Trauma-Bond & Emotional Incest of their Sons.

Yes, I have narcissistic behaviour traits, it is learnt behaviour and I do not like it, it is not true to my True Self but part of the pseudo-self, the survival-self that responds to the inner twisted feeling I get when in the presence of a female narcissistic energy like my adoptive mother, it’s a autonomic survival mechanism, like holding your breath when you go under water, hard to forget, hard to unlearn, a challenge and healing it is part of my hero’s journey.

I’m beginning to wonder if the spirit that has helped me along on my hero’s journey is somehow using YouTube to guide me to what I need, when I need it. Much like the Sinister Forces Peter Lavenda talks about and the mysterious invisible guiding hand that guided him to the exact out of print book that he needed to finish his project, or as in Laird Scranton case it that much needed book was amongst a box that got randomly donated and dropped on his door step.

It is a mystery and it’s a mystery how it operates, but it touched my life again, last night and once again last week. Even though I was “doing” things to improve my Self,  I had lost the drive and the “want” to be effective, I was “doing” half heartedly, semi distracted and without focus. I felt I’d been stagnating, treading water, on hold, just surviving and not thriving in my progress. I whispered out loud for help to get out of the sticky treacle that had become my day to day. It was sincere and with intention, I then went for my lie down and meditation session, I usually listen to a selection of binaural beats, chants and guided meditation sessions found on YouTube (where else?) A new type popped up in my feed, so I gave it a try after drifting off and back again, it felt much more effective, it had uncoiled some sort of energetic twist inside me, it felt like it should never have been there, not natural to me as a whole being.   It opens up a whole new topic of what was it? (archon, ancestral, chakra spin) how could it interrupt and prevent good meditation from accessing the Self state, but that another mystery, another blog.

Then last night after another unsatisfactory, dissociative, psuedo-self encounter that lacked a that certain connection with a pretty woman (a mother). I dejectedly again asked for clarity as to the source of this dysfunction, was it this, was it that, , which one of the numerous reasons I’d been juggling could it be. YouTube delivered again – I did do a search on what was  my primary suspicion and the results listed a few unrelated stuff and way down the list I found the video below.

The video is a great summary of what I have experienced and it goes that one step further than most and outlines the “mothers” wound and her subconscious motivations towards the child that is used to replace the lost love in her own life. There’s a heavy Christian slant and terminology in the video, but put that to one side,  I have pulled the transcript, edited out the ums ahs and voice ticks, and added in non-Christian terminology where appropriate.

From the Video dessication – a fairly good summary

The missing link in many men that suffer from narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is the Birth Bonding between Mother and Son. In both the embryonic and symbiotic stage development of a male child it tied to correct bonding with his mother. When this does not occur, insecure attachment will start at the very beginning of life but the realization of being unloved will unfold over time. Many sons have been tramatized by their mothers and take on the Norman Bates (Psycho) personality whereby they love and hate their mother at the same time. Many of these wounded men anesthetize themselves by creating a pseudo personality that looks to control, dominate, manipulate and intimidate women and their wife.

The first 5 minutes is a summary of attachment trauma, how people look for in a partner what they lacked from parents. 6 minutes onwards he describes the mother-baby bonding and how critical it is. 10 mins onwards describes what happens if the the bond is dysfunctional or is broken (through adoption). It’s where I pick up the transcript below.



Transcript – including – (my additional comments)

If the mother did not give the child, the son the bonding that he’s deserving of, in need of and as he grows she is a controlling mother, she manipulates him and the reason she’s doing that is because she operates (subconsciously) from a level of dysfunction because her father or her mother but specifically her father and then the man that she either slept with or she married is not loving her by giving himself to her (pouring his Self into her) to love and protect her and to nurture her.

So now what she does, because she didn’t get it from Dad she didn’t get it or stopped getting it from her husband, that affirmation, that attention, that support, that love, that nurturing that she should get (as a feminine from the masculine, two parts of a whole being – a higher whole being)


What she does is subconsciously she looks to the son as her husband (enmeshment or sometimes called emotional or covert incest) so now she actually becomes mostly attached to her son (as a provider of the missing love affect) because of the hurt, because the anger, because the rejection, in pain perhaps of abuse or whatever the trauma may have been to her,  she now redirects that and she now begins to manipulate and control her son and she will say things such as :-

“don’t ever leave me” – “everybody’s left me” – “you will always love your mummy” – “I need you” – “what will I do without you” – “only your mummy loves you”

When that happens to the young son (if he is adopted it has significantly more impact – as he already feels rejected from his primary mother-baby bond by the birth mother) the son never gets a healthy mother-baby bond, they never received the affirmation, attention and loving support and bonding from his mother, (the Mother is projecting erotic/érōs type love and not the unconditional love storgē for a child by the parent) but now he’s being controlled and manipulated by his mother to where there’s a demonic soul tie (trauma-bond) with his mother, he wants to do everything to please her but he cannot truly please her, but at the same time he also dislikes her, he can’t trust her, she is the problem she did not give him what he wanted, what he needed (he was robbed of his birth right – and subconsciously he knows this)

It’s this jekyll-hyde type thing he’ll end up serving his mother even when he gets older but yet not liking her. (coerced duty and obligation)

If you ever saw the movie psycho, you have Norman Bates who loved his mother but he also abused his mother to the point where she was dead, she was there as a corpse and he would talk to his mother because it was always still about pleasing his mother although he hated his mother.


Narcissistic men (have learnt this behaviour from their Narcisstic mothers) they typically have arrested development but they typically look for somebody that’s like their mother (attachment trauma) to try to pull from them and they’ll never get from their wife

What he ends up doing is becoming very aggressive, very controlling, very manipulative, domineering, very intimidating and in many cases fairly abusive (if he does not get what he is missing from his wife)

When this boy who didn’t get all this stuff, when he enters into adolescent years his development of his emotions have become arrested he did not know how to handle certain things because the parents failed in this area. So now he goes into the world and his view of women is very much different than what it should have been had he have gotten that which he should have gotten from his mother. (the unconditional love of a mother is not in him, he is unable to respond satisfactorily to love shown to him from a potential girlfriend) (the girl does not get the right feeling from him and is therefore cautious or dismissive)

He goes in to life and many times will look to anesthetize his pain (sex, drugs, alcohol) bad relationships with women where he can be the controller the abuser the dominator and the intimidator (or he will attach to a similar energetic spirit and relent to another controlling domineering and manipulative woman).  the Jezebel spirit and the narcissistic personality disorder which started when he was young is now being developed so that ultimately when he enters adulthood it develops into major problems so what he ends up doing actually is creating a pseudo identity (the projected image from the mother) or a false fake phony alter identity in order to mask the pain and anesthetize it as now perhaps married adult he still looks to please his mother.


He’s angry at his mother he’s bitter, he’s tired of being controlled by his mother, but he’s still caught in that web of self-destruction (caused by the narcissistic mothers constant removal of his Self and re-enforcing of her projected pseudo-self image) he needs to be healed from that early childhood trauma and that wound but because he doesn’t know about the wound or know how to heal from it he looks to please his mother (survival mechanism) but attack his wife.

He’s angry, he doesn’t like his mother but he listens to her does what she says at the expense of loving his wife and doing what his wife would have him do. So mummy ends up coming first, you’ll find men that will talk evil about their mother they’ll be angry and bitter at their mother.

But you can’t say anything about this , I’ve seen where men will be in a room and you start talking to them and when you start to bring up their mother they will become very agitated very angry, they would manifest – don’t talk about my mother because they’re still angry in many cases the mother may be dead and gone and they still have this soul tie to their mother in the grave where they’re still pulling from the grave still trying to get what they did not get when they were in the third trimester of the womb as well as in the first eight years of their development.

He continues about this narcissism in marriage, but that’s outside of the scope of this blog


The narcissistic controlling , domineering and manipulative mother effects many men, most don’t realise. I have also seen in the many of the women I have dated (like some sort of magnetic pull trauma-bond)  or the woman turns into this controlling and manipulative mode because I do not “pour my loving soul” into her – at this stage my sou is so deeply wounded it’s hidden I don’t know where it is, plus I have been so used and emotionally abused the Self holds back and does not give first as every time is I gave my love out it was not returned and it led to shaming and emotional abuse.

I will cover my personal experience in the next post.

Guy Ritchie Nails it – Be the Master of Your Own Kingdom

From one link to another I find another gem, another mirror to my own journey, the universe waves it magic wand and provides what the student needs to learn – or be reminded of.

In the clip below there’s so much layered information and even what he doesn’t say speaks volumes about the world we live in, the hierarchy of control mechanisms, who we are, who we’re told to be, the eternal struggle of Self identity and ancient old teachings we should be taking more seriously.

Guy uses his own words to summarize and describe psychological & philosophical concepts such as the super-ego, false self, true self, individuation, shadow work, Self-remembering, as well as the Hero’s Journey and the Path of the Fool.

Quotes are in bold, surrounded by how I grok it.

First Joe -the host talks about you must really want to do what you are doing” be authentic in what you say and do – and with that opening line we’re deep down the rabbit hole of – who are “you” and are you doing what you WANT or what others want for you, that’s some deep philosophical and psychological opening statement.

Lets get unpacking

Guy Ritchie, it seems, first starts off by checking if Joe has possession of his own Self :- “You must be the master of your own kingdom.” with a pause and a look to get the simpatico confirmation that Joe has the same inner affect – I feel you there you go, a meeting of minds, they’re on the same subliminal level, Joe and Guy are masters over their own kingdom.

“You have to take possession of your Life” – What is not said but implied is that until you do, someone or something else possesses your thoughts/intellect/emotions. (This is linked back to my previous blog about how people identify with the super-ego self-image (pseudo-self) and how this is a reflection of what’s projected onto you/it by society, parents, family etc. (a tax payer, a voter. a bit of a lad, A good boy for mummy who’ll get a good job and marry someone just like her!)

If we take this to the extreme we could say that the energetic forces (powers and principalities) that affect the world systems (the game as GR calls it) can use this gap in your wholeness of Self as a door to project onto your pseudo-self & access your thoughts, emotions and actions.  (Negative thoughts such as – I’m not good enough – I don’t belong – I’m not allowed- I shouldn’t do – I’m not a nice person:- are all examples of this)

A great emphasis is put on having a daily method to re-affirm your own sovereignty, as it is “easy to drift on this point” by using whatever method you want to “self-remember” that there’s a world out there trying to tell you who you are and a world in you trying to tell you who you are. (I’m not feeling myself today). Where do you want to put your eggs?

The external worlds of entertainment, music, fashion, advertising, inster-babe life styles, sport, & technology etc etc. Are all very tempting, noisy, full of glitz & glamour but they only succeed in their sales pitch by making you think you are missing out or you’re not enough, your less than, it’s designed to make you feel bad about yourself so you will that thing to temporarily fill the hole in your soul that is the Self,  – – Implied is, those “worlds” are constructed & designed to prey on those who predominately identify with a pseudo-self that’s projected subconsciously by those “worlds.”

GR then says he doesn’t resent the system or the game, accept the game, love the game, move into the rules. From one level this could be a good prisoner telling the other inmates to be like him a good prisoner. He probably profits more off the game by keeping others in it than helping them climb the ladder to his level.

It’s a ongoing struggle – the eternal battle of the two worlds of energy, your inner world and the external world, the real and the false – and we have to give ourselves enough confidence and reassurance that we are enough and we don’t need to be told who we are by the latest shampoo commercial.


“The essence of narrative is only about this dynamic, there is nothing else in a story other than this dynamic”.  That’s a bold statement! He gives us a few examples the Prodigal Son from the bible and the King Arthur legend. In the middle he drops “Every man in himself is aristocratic, he’s his own king.” This knowledge is one of the things that separates them from us, look back on how the aristocratic would tell the commoners who they were, to stay in their place, not to rise above their station, the son fills the fathers shoes and it got harder and harder for people to step against their family, society, and the system, into their own power, Self, divinity. You no longer look for a sense of self outside your Self. (I’ve been so guilty of this and I didn’t even know it) It’s also the thing that is passed down and taught to their own to help keep the class divides.

Again what is not said is impactful. Extrapolate this out, there is only one story, mix in the esoteric teaching, as above so below, & that the universe is fractal then this story applies to the growth of our solar system, the planet, human development (yuga cycles) and to us personally and individually, our aim at a soul and material level is to “be our Self” to individuate, to know we have a inner world and then be the master of it.

Then comes another interesting bit – After you gain your own power you have to face the demons you’ve created in your history (karma!) be nice to other as you climb the ladder. How do these demons manifest? Have you noticed at all, that after you’ve changed jobs a few times or changed partners you keep meeting the same type of person that eventually annoys you? It’s likely what your pseudo-self is projecting outwards that’s reflected back at you (integration of shadow is needed more than moving to a new job or partner.)

Take away your crutches, stand as the man you are and you’re liberated from the whole thing (system!?) This has a strong connection to Jung’s shadow projection and shadow work – you project onto other your own “demons” but by integrating them, you no longer see them in others.  You accept them the way they are, to the same level you accept your Self as the way you are. The world will be the same but your world could be very different. (smile and the world smiles back at you)

He describes his King Arthur movie as it follows the same story arc in the Hero’s Journey, Whatever level of the ladder you’re on is the level of the movie you can glean, if your ready to glean. When the student is ready the teacher appears. Are you entertained or do you learn more about your own hero’s journey.

Religion has literalised these stories & rubbished the spiritual significance of them,  they have turned a instrument of personal salvation and growth into a method of control and suppression of the individual Self. In our literal mind we see the narrative for what we believe it to be, your not interested in the movies soul your interested in it’s body” Implying that literalised religion is false & of the external world, but the symbolic deeper meaning in ancient stories that resonant with your inner world are what’s important.

When I first started my latest hero’s journey – I had no idea how it would turnout, my conscious mind had all sorts of idea and details of how it should be, as the path unfolded it took me places I had didn’t know existed but I had to “own them.” I had to go through the grief process as I killed the polystyrene pillars of truth I had held up and defended.


It wasn’t just a belief or a thought that I had to “simply let go and relax” (as advised by so many) it was also physiological, the super-ego changes the muscularity system, it physically twists and re-shapes the body to cope with the extra “weight of the world” projected onto it. (a pull i muscle is changed to a push out muscle) I took on these projections as part of the survival mechanism to the stressful, toxic, inauthentic environment I found myself in after my relinquishment to a new family.

A year or so ago I could feel my body tense & armour it’s self in response to a person or situations energy, words or pseudo-self projections (what they wanted me to be) I didn’t like it it troubled me and I needed to solve it or I would just keep encountering it and reflexively responding to the deepest of wounds.

For most adoptees (me) and children of neglectful parents the feeling of NOT “being enough” is very deeply rooted. The first time the newborn offers it’s true-self, it’s inner world to the universe via the conduit (mother) at first it might be accepted and bath in the warm glow of the divine but for a host of reasons that bond is severed and the newborn feels rejected and therefore faulty, broken, unlovable. This deep rooted affect is internalised before the newborn learns basic body functions such as hunger, tired, sad, happy, and before any ego or sense of self identity is formed, the notion of being accepted and enough had very little time, if any to manifest and the internal conflict and pain is at a level similar to the automatic body processes such as digestion and breathing.

The universe does have a mechanism to save the divinity/soul of the newborn and it is to split the psyche, hiding the true self in the archetypal world of spirit until it is safe for it to return to the body all the while the baby adapts to survive by becoming the projected self-image of the caregivers. (Its the ugly duckling story)


Adapting to the self-image while trying to maintain their own inner world can cause major rifts in families, especially where the parents are not master over their own inner world, how can they help grow the child’s inner world of true self, if it is a alien concept to them and they are fully immersed in the external world telling them who they should be.

I liked this quote about external truth vs inner truth, or lack of it.

When we lack an internal sense of truth, meaning, or value, we will seek after external models to live by. Once we have found models that suit us, we then impose them upon our own expression and behaviors. After that, we “naturally” seek to impose them on others as well–for “their own good” of course, but really for our own safety and comfort and to ensure that those adopted values–our crucial fictions–are never questioned. To silence all voices of dissent, both inner and outer, and avoid all “contrapuntal conflict.”  J. Horsley

My Crucial fiction was that believed I was pseudo-self curated by family, friends and society, while holding the notion that I’m not enough, I’m a burden, I don’t belong.

What I’ve learnt has mainly been confirmation of my conflicted inner knowing, having the back up references give me push back, allowing a release and a change in posture and body shape.

And onward to slay my next demon.



Fear the Self?


A good actor can change his physiology to reflect the character he is playing, old man, child, superhero, monster, adapting the body shape, posture, gait, and face to fit what he wants to project.

In a similar but more subtle way people who have suffered developmental trauma, or have a domineering, overbearing, narcissistic parent will unconsciously change their physiology usually through the stress burden to become the projected image from that parent. These changes can be so ingrained, so deep and so early in development that to let go of this conditioning, to release the false-self and become the True-Self will feel like it is suicidal the mind made persona, ego, self, has such a grip on the reality of the body for it to NOT be in complete control will means it’s death.

The past year or so I’ve had a number of somatic memory events where an external influence has triggered my muscles to shake, tremble almost spasm and not in a good way. I had little idea why and I needed to find out – it was part of my hero’s journey.

After the first major set of tremors!? I felt my body posture returning and adapting muscularly to how I had been years before – like the heavy stress monkeys on my back had returned. Reading, research and inner work on the adoption trauma and narcissistic parenting (see the previous blogs) pretty much released them.

But I had another bout similar, not as intense in the body but took over my breathing very short and shallow in breath, like a panic attack. This time it prolonged into a body posture with contraction of certain muscles and I regressed into the survival pseudo-self of years gone by.  Like before the universe provided an answer and presented me with a couple of podcasts that gave me some, maybe all the answers I needed at the time.

I didn’t realise how much the stress contraction affected me, in my mind (idealized pseudo-self) I was doing just fine, day to day living was OK, I was exercising, meditating, writing my journal, but not nearly as much as before I had developed the “stress body.” It was subtly sabotaging my True-Self from developing, unfolding, incarnating.  A internal struggle like Harry Halle in Steppenwolf. It was like the stressed out pseudo-self set of muscles were twisted counter-clockwise, but when allowed to relax and be natural they would be twisted clockwise, my breathing muscles were pushing the breath out rather than just relaxed out breath from the diaphragm.

There were two significant things that showed me I was holding to much stress, it gave danger, warning, not safe signals to the True-Self  so it would not, could not incarnate into the “stress body.” First was meditation, I could only get so far with my daily practice of visualizing clouds or flames filling my body as I breathed in and emptying with the toxins as I breathed out. It was the hypnosis type relaxation guided meditation apps that got me to a level deeper and got the subtle tension in my muscles to let go. The second was weed, cannabis, ganga, I hadn’t smoked any in a couple of years and after just a little, Wham! the muscles let go of the cortisol bath it was etched into, my digestion relaxed the food moved, muscles that were rock hard in my legs from exercise became soft and supple, and my emotional body of feelings and emotions returned to be in my body rather than the detached, dissociated external sense i had been with for too long. I was inside looking out rather than outside looking in.


But I also needed the Why’s and How’s to heal or I’d be picking at the scab like the self destructive saboteur my pseudo-self was, and the universe provide, again.  I came across the video below from the Unslaved series, it gave answers. (the video has been put behind a pay wall now)

I pulled the subtitles from YouTube, highlighted the pertinent points for me,  and bullet pointed them into this blog. Copy of the transcript highlights are at the end

The underlying cause of psychological disturbance is our fear of self-knowledge “ M. Tsarion.

  • The bio-energy of life and it’s flow in and through the body at both a conscious and unconscious level, can be over ridden, supplanted, by the super-ego’s projected self image. – Your pseudo-self, but the idealised you – projected by your family and society.
  • The super-ego filters the energy of thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions, suppressing, redirecting and bottling up all the ones that do not fit it’s self-image.
  • The method used by the super-ego is musculature. Muscles affected will be chronically contracted and hidden from conscious awareness. Preventing impulses from flowing from core to body surface, removing the muscles from conscious control and perception.
  • This “armoring” of the muscles is when a muscular system across the whole body is tense in a “always on” fight or flight type response. Like a boxer ready to take a punch, that tenseness will sink all the way down to ligaments and core muscles.
  • The armoring can also effect basic bodily functions such as digestion, breathing, libidinal, eye focus. As well as distorting the levels of cortisol, serotonin and inflammatory chemicals which can lead to chronic debilitating diseases as the unconscious system such as endocrine and  digestive are working significantly below normal range.
  • The chronic stress and underdevelopment will cause physiological/ biological problems, chemical in-balances, which in adult life leads to alcohol and drug use as a self-soothing mechanism to cope with the internal conflict.
  • The Idealized self if nurtured through love and compassion in a “normal” parent-child upbringing can be positive “go-getter – can do” type outlook. But will become a negative “not allowed – Can’t do” pseudo-self if the child has emotional or physical trauma, even prolonged negative signals and messaging. The deeper and more prolonged the trauma the more prominent & dominant is the pseudo self.
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  • Trauma/stress can start in the womb, if the mother is stressed, alcoholic, even thinking about termination – the baby begins armoring and muscular stress.
  • Once born the baby is on high alert for what it perceives as danger, like a certain tone of voice or “look” of disapproval from the caregivers.
  • Narcissistic parenting is a form of emotional trauma for the child. the child is likely to emulate the narcissistic behaviors as part of the pseudo-self.
  • Narcissists (pseudo self) not only show a lack of concern for others but also for their own true-Self often with self destructive behavior, born out of this internal conflict.
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  • The pseudo-self submits to and is controlled by the subtle disapproval messages given by dysfunctional parents and a society of conformity to an idealized self image. This creates an internal conflict feedback loop where obeying the pseudo causes more stress and further contraction of the unconscious musculature system binding them into a continual struggle.

  • All Narcissistic behaviors stem from dysfunctional parenting, often with an unhealthy special relationship with one parent. – Mother uses the child’s love-affect to replace the missing love-affect from a distant husband, for example

  • To a dominate Super-ego the narcissistic pseudo-self image is more important than the True-Self. Appearance is more important than honoring the feelings of the True-Self. Like Narcissus they identify with and love the pseudo-self image of the super-ego over their suppressed True-Self, true feelings, true emotions and dreams.

And that’s where the podcast ends – but what can be done?

Firstly I am hoping that by publishing this it becomes a cathartic healing feedback loop and a fire wall to stop my empathic mind from picking up the negative super-ego projections of strangers around me, from others in my life and even those of my distant narcissistic mother, I recall one email at Xmas last that said – “are you sure your enjoying life in Thailand?” – hmm… critical of my life path, she knows better, shame, projection of her idealized “son.” she is lonely and wants me to return, :- is what I read between the lines.

As an empath I have to ensure anything that causes alarm to my nervous system doesn’t progress into a prolonged chronic resistance, it’s at that stage the body posture slowly & subtly adapts to the stress-body posture which brings with it the somatic responses to further alarms, Basically – chill the fuck out and allow the True-Self in, and stop the usurping pseudo- self to dominate. easier said than done!?

This video series is excellent

Continue reading

The Guardian Angel that turns into your Diabolical Prison Guard

“When innocence has been deprived of its entitlement, it becomes a diabolical spirit.”

Humans have an in-built automatic mechanism that will split the psyche of an infant if there is unbearable traumatic experience/s, especially where the mother-baby transpersonal bond is broken in the pre-verbal years before a coherent ego is formed.

One part of the psyche splits off the essence of the infant (the true self- the soul) a “spore-self” which falls into the archetypal world (numinous-fantasy-dreams) for safe keeping by a “guardian angel”, whose job is to ensure the spore-self will NEVER suffer the life threatening, disintegrating  trauma ever again.

Another part of the split psyche progresses a false self/survival self to cope with the harsh outer world, quickly adapting to ensure the physical survival of the body in it’s new strange and potentially life threatening environment.  This is intended to be a temporary measure until the traumatized infant has found safety, stability and “good enough” caregivers that can provide the space and nurturing to enable reintegration and become whole again.

If the growing child is subject to continual emotional neglect, physical abuse, or it’s just not safe for reintegration, the guardian angel turns into a diabolical caretaker who will screen all experiences with the outside world to ensure there is no further unbearable trauma. This defense mechanism becomes a self sabotaging prison, the child survives but cannot live creatively.  In adulthood the diabolical caretaker’s job is to soothe the false self with drugs, alcohol or other means. Ultimately if reintegration is impossible it will set about killing the host body (suicide). Possibly as it has knowledge that the spore-self will be released back into the Universal self for reincarnation?


The progressed survival self develops emphatic abilities to scan for and avoid potentially further emotional or physical abuse that will cause a reliving of the original catastrophic traumatic event. The body will be pumped full of adrenaline and cortisol and the child will develop ‘always-on’ radar like hyper-vigilance and is primed and ready to react to perceived threats. Psychic skills, mental telepathy, clairvoyance and/or heightened awareness, the ability to read the subtle subtext, body language and emotions of the abusive caregivers however benign, so that their behavior can be adjusted to either avoid or disconnect from verbal or physical threats. Increase adrenaline and cortisol will lead to sleep disorders, constant anxiety, eating disorders and digestions problems exhaustion. Disassociation becomes normal, it is easy for them to flip flop between states of the psyches, large chunks of memory where there is vague or no recall of events is common.

Breaking of the mother-baby transpersonal bond will lead to abandonment, attachment and co dependency issues, the desperate need to bond will lead the false self to attach to people even if this is against their best interests. Then if the diabolical caretaker assumes the attachment may lead to another traumatic abandonment it will push back the new partner, resulting in broken, unfulfilling, stressful relationships, isolation, social anxieties and loneliness.

It can also leave them vulnerable to sexual abuse – abusers are able to identify needy, willing to please children and if they can easily disassociate, not being able to recall the actual sexual abuse but rather a “screen memory” of it, all the better for the abuser.   

This split psyche and split persona starts before the infant has developed any words to describe their experience and any coherent sense of ego, the child and grown adult knows nothing else, it’s always been this way – they blame the only thing that could be wrong – themselves and grow with an ingrained sense of “I’m unlovable, I’m not worthy, there’s something wrong with me, you’re better off without me, I’m broken” etc. Even with good environments, loving families and supportive friends a child will unconsciously listen to the diabolical caretaker that tells them, “it’s all a joke, they are only tolerating you, they will just abandon you as soon as you let down your guard, just like before…” They can deny the rational obvious evidence in front of them living lives completely unaware of this secret saboteur living within holding on tight to the true essence of their self, while they live out their life believing the outer broken, unlovable false self is their true being.

The diabolical caretaker is absolute, it developed as part of the primitive responses of the ID, the automatic mechanism of living, (like breathing) it can’t be reasoned with, it doesn’t learn. It will becomes a self sabotaging godlike diabolical prison guard, undermining attempts of the outer false self to improve its situation, it sees integration and wholeness as it’s own death and will do anything to prevent this.


If the outer false self can experience and tolerate more events that previously triggered the diabolical caretaker to take over (dissociate) the closer the diabolical caretaker can come to integrating the trauma that originally broke the transpersonal bond. At a certain point the conflicting personas can both enter the same transpersonal space, begrudgingly acknowledge each other and the wonderful job each has done for the other then agree terms of the prisoner exchange!

As capacity grows on each side, the energies can be turned over to integration. “Nobody leaves this dyad without a fight with a truly demonic spirit,” there will be failures and setbacks along the way, if after each unsuccessful attempt the survival self returns to find itself further along the path and in a better place  the closer integration will be. This path must be walked alone, mentoring and coaching allowed, but no one can carry you over the finish line. To give up is to hand back the keys to the diabolical jailer and a life of self-destructing evil.


This is my summary of Donald Kalshed’s Inner World of Trauma and other interviews I have found online. His work is aimed at other professionals using terms not in everyday parlance. My intention is to provide a more accessible summary to help people who have suffered pre-verbal trauma and have not found easy to digest material.

Adoption Always Results in Trauma

Addiction counselor Paul Sunderland noticed adoptee’s are significantly overrepresented in addiction counseling for substance misuse and abuse.

His findings are remarkable. Many adoptees and people with pre-verbal trauma will identify with the symptoms and traits he describes, many have found answers and reasons to lifelong nagging issues in the following presentation.

The main points I noted and have meaning for me are:

  • Adoption always results trauma.
  • Relinquishment is a more accurate term and relinquishment brings drama.
  • The trauma for the infant feels life threatening & catastrophic.
  • The trauma is pre-verbal – therefore they have no words to recall and describe it.
  • Pre-verbal trauma happens before any other developed sense I, ego, or Self, therefore the infant knows no other way of being.
    • The psyche splits into a progressive survival self that’s able to skillfully adapt & cope under high levels of stress and depression into adult life.
    • The regressed self is self blaming & sees it’s self as unworthy, unlovable, at fault/broken, the first time it was it’s Self it was rejected and there was a catastrophic splitting event.
    • There is a slow loss of the individual Self as the infant adapts & attaches to become what the new parents want in fear of repeating the catastrophic event.
    • The original mother-baby bond is broken and if the new parents cannot repair it – it will create a trauma bond.
  • The trauma is remembered in the somatic memory of the physical and emotional body, it is rarely recalled or able to be described
  • Breaking the mother-baby bond plays havoc with the bonding chemistry in infants.
    • Physiological effects include raised level of cortisol and adrenaline leads to hyper-vigilance, constant anxiety, sleep disorders & eating disorders.
    • Reduced serotonin – the soothing chemical, is replaced with substitutes such as prolonged thumb sucking to sugar and in later life alcohol and drugs are used to self-sooth.
    • There are large chunks of missing memories or selective memories, easy dissociation or daydreaming.
  • Trauma is stored in the limbic system – Which activates the self defensive (self sabotaging – never again) mechanism before the rational mind can respond – Reflexive vrs responsive.
  • There’s enormous attachment issues, people often go against their best interest to bond & adapt to become what the partners want of them, not be themselves.
  • Unexpected events or new situations usually cause deep anxiety and catastrophic thinking.
  • There are many overlaps with D. Kalsched’s – Inner World of Trauma. How the psyche is split by pre-verbal trauma and the affect on the growing child. Summary of his work

A more detailed summary of his main points – from here

Adoption is a word that does not describe what has happened to a child that results in them coming into services at a very high rate. It is a word that works to cover up, or deny the wound of relinquishment, a wound that is a developmental Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There cannot be relinquishment and adoption without trauma. The word adoption also hides another aspect of the trauma of relinquishment. Adoption usually only happens once, whereas there may be many relinquishments for the separated child.

Adoptees are massively over-represented in therapy. Adoptees are situated within a duality. They have divided attention with two sets of families. They are conflicted over wanting to belong yet fearing belonging.


Adoption is the enormous grief of a child who has been waiting nine months to meet someone they are not going to meet; the enormous grief of a mother who cannot live without her child, and the enormous grief of the adoptive mother who is not able to have a child.

The normal biology of pregnancy has the baby set up for bonding with its mother, and the mother who relinquishes her baby goes against her biology. The child experiences life-threatening abandonment. The ‘chosen child’ is the story of a child entering a family that does not genetically fit them, with an impossible job description to be someone they can never be – to fix a wound of infertility. Infertility is a failure of expectations and contract within a marriage that sex will result in family. There is enormous grief for everyone, but for the child this stuff is pre-verbal and can’t be recalled but it is remembered.

The human brain starts working before it is fully built. Experience is the architect of the brain. Experience is the cue for connections and hook-ups of the billions of neurons formed before birth. In other words, neurons that fire together, wire together. If life begins with a trauma of separation and abandonment, that feels life-threatening, that is how the neurons will fire and wire. The human brain is a reflective organ, reflecting on past experiences, so it would be normal for abandonment issues to always be there in relationships.

For the adoptee there is real fear in relationships. There is a great desire or hunger to attach, causing you to sometimes behave against your best interests, but with the conflicting feelings that this is not safe. The feelings are held in the limbic system which will always override the frontal cortex, but it is the thinking brain – the frontal cortex which takes people into therapy.

So for these adults who have a very early trauma, which cannot be recalled, there is no pre-trauma personality as a reference point. They believe the post trauma personality is part of them. So it is referred to as Developmental trauma, rather than PTSD.

Bowlby was the first person to describe attachment theory and the internal system of a child that means the child is born ready to meet its mother. We now know human infants can detect smells within 24 hours of birth, and they show a preference for their own mother’s milk. Mothers who read aloud to their child before birth had babies who showed preferences for their mother’s voice and the story she read. The preferences are shown by head turning and changes in physiology such as respiration.

Mary Maine asked the question about how an adult will be as a parent after difficult life experiences. People say they try to do the opposite of their parents. But doing the opposite is not necessarily a healthy option either. Maine showed that the emotional stability of the human child is 75% dependent on the parent being able to know herself – to tell an emotionally coherent story about herself. Then the child has a good chance of being emotionally stable. How does this work for an adult who believes their post trauma personality is part of them?

Sunderland sees many adoptees in his addiction clinics. He says people come into therapy in a small window between one relationship and another. They have other addictions as well, but he calls them love addicts, and says he gets incidental disclosures of adoption. He describes love addiction as the need to regulate mood by having the positive regard of a significant other; its about anxiety and shame, and using the positive regard to regulate these. Addiction is genetically proposed and environmentally disposed.

The adopted people he sees often appear very well put together. They rarely talk about being adopted – it’s just by the way. When he does a bank of psychometric tests, he finds these people score very extremely high on the measure of depression, but you can’t actually see it. Sunderland began to question what this was about and found there is an awful lot these people have in common.

It used to be said that; ‘You can’t remember, you were only a baby’, but that is such a nonsense. It is remembered, it just can’t be recalled. Looking at traumatology research it is no surprise that adoptees are over represented in addictions. The break in the mother infant bonding has an enormous impact on brain chemicals and neurotransmitters. Cortisol and adrenaline are raised in trauma, and there are reduced levels of serotonin. These things happen from very early on, and may be repeated with multiple relinquishments, which result in new and unrecognised environments. ‘Where am I’ is the constant question.

trauma brain

Concentration and focus are affected by cortisol and adrenaline levels. Increased concentrations result in the person living on red alert. It is not surprising that Nancy Verrier found 90% of adoptees are diagnosed with ADHD. ‘What do I have to do to get on around here?’ There is a slow loss of self. The child fears they cannot be themselves because the first time they did it was pretty disastrous. ‘I’m going to have to be hypervigilant.’ Being on red alert affects sleep regulation, gastrointestinal disorders and mood difficulties. 

Serotonin levels are decreased in the early trauma, and serotonin is the chemical of soothing. These children can be so hard to soothe, and are often reported as crying, or screaming a lot as babies. Addiction is about self-soothing. Attempts are made at self-soothing with, for example sugar, or early masturbation, sex and love addiction, and drugs. A low level of serotonin means the person will not feel OK. Serotonin helps you manage shame. They will feel ‘I’m not OK’. We know that failed mother child bonding creates this. People become addicted to adrenaline, and return to dangerous situations repeatedly to keep the adrenaline high. They try to create stress to manage mood, and develop rashes, nervous disorders, gastro problems and sleep disturbances.

Because the trauma can’t be recalled, many other life events can’t be recalled either. These clients will often record counselling sessions, because they can’t recall the sessions once they’ve gone. This is due to the link with the preverbal condition – there is some link to not being able to recall the session. (easy dissociation)

There are clients who ‘give up on themselves’. They start out with good intentions on any new project, and manage well at the start, but then just give up. When you listen to their words, you hear what they are saying about themselves. In early life, they were given up on. It is no wonder they then give up on themselves repeatedly.

There is so much evidence for a trauma of relinquishment. They exhibit enormous amounts of hyper vigilance, anxiety and catastrophic thinking – because the wound was a life-threatening one. They develop shame and anxiety, afraid to show who they really are. And they develop self-reliance – ‘if you want to get something done, do it yourself’.

Shame and Anxiety are the underpinnings of addictions. Anxiety is played out in the script – the world is not a safe place; they’ll kick you when you’re down; better not be vulnerable; don’t show who you are. Shame is the ‘bad baby’ script – there’s something wrong with me; I’d better not tell anybody; how do I need to be to be accepted because being me in not acceptable, I’m unlovable’. People who were adopted have this in bucketloads.

Addictions are places to put the shame and anxiety and make it acceptable. And when addicts try to reform, and get near their goal, they often self-sabotage, because the reform does not have anywhere to put the shame and anxiety. There is a need to create a new catastrophy as a creative attempt to contain the anxiety.

This is why 12 step programs are successful – because they are mood altering, and shame and anxiety management programs. And all addictions are about shame and anxiety and how to manage insecurity. Compulsive behaviour is another way to manage. ‘As long as I keep busy I can focus all my attention on what I have to do.’ Compulsive debtors think it will be OK when the debt is paid off, but when they get near their goal they get really anxious again – because the money was just a stage for anxiety.

Shame for adoptees – If my mother gave me up, I don’t have value – I’m a bad baby. It’s an attempt by the infant to explain the unacceptable by saying it is their fault; to organise it by taking responsibility – to make it manageable. Freud talks about “his majesty the baby’ – the frontal cortex is not fully there even at age 20. The child up until the age of 10-12 sees itself as responsible for everything bad that happens – self-centredness of a human child. Bad baby hypothesis plus, taking all the responsibility for everything bad that happens. So for a child with no pre-trauma personality – this will be the way they resolve their insecurity.

Bowlby – divided up secure and insecure attachments. We now know, it’s not what happens to you in life that throws you, but how secure your beginnings are. Looking at the storm analogy – the trees that blow down in a storm are the ones whose roots are not strong enough to hold them up; it is not because the wind is strong – it is the poor attachment to the ground. For children with a secure base, they have more resilience when the wind comes along. These early experiences make an enormous difference.

One of the functions of trauma is that the part of the brain that regulates time is missing. (selective memories and dissociation). The child’s brain has to adapt like a tree that has to grow around a rock.

What we are talking about is not adoption, but adaption, due to relinquishment. Not talking about adoption may be because of the insecurity of the adoptive family who may have infertility problems.

The original trauma, remembered but not recalled, results in a compulsion to repeat itself later in life, which is played out with anxiety and fear and catastrophic thinking, such as with sex and love addiction. There is an enormous hunger for attachment which often has people acting against their own best interests; a desperate need to bond and the need is so great that partners can’t possibly provide because of the enormous need for attachment.

Catastrophic thinking has the person saying ‘what does it matter, I’m on the streets now; everyone knows it’s my fault’.

The person believes the person they have become is who they are, and that is not the case. But they have no reference point of a pre-trauma personality.

baby is adoption trauma.png

Addiction and adoption/adaption will often go together. Sunderland sees them as having co-occurring disorders of addiction and PTSD, due to developmental trauma from relinquishment. The developmental PTSD is stored in the limbic system, where the fight, flight or freeze response is initiated. And the limbic system deals with trauma and kicks in straight away before there is a chance to experience the feeling of rejection. These people often feel schizophrenic – living with a duality, and have an ambivalence in decision making because making decisions feels life-threatening. Never give advice to a person with developmental trauma.

In couples work – If you have an attachment wound you have not managed to become a separate person – you spend your time trying to work out what you have to do to be accepted here. The challenge in a relationship is to be ‘myself’ and everything in the limbic system says ‘DON’T!’ Relationships can’t work when one person is trying to please the other, rather than be themselves.

A transcript pulled from the YouTube subtitles  edited to remove some of the verbiage  Paul Sunderland Remembered not Recalled

Another blog on the same lecture Shining a light on adoption