The Nadir in US history as an Exploration of Traumaby Danielle DeBray on 06/19/18
Children were seen slamming their fist into cement floors as they laying sobbing. More hunderds of children stand crying or become mute because they are shocked into silence as they wait. They are packed into cages made of metal and wire with nets over the top so that they can’t crawl out and no one but a few staff members can get into. Other children are reported to be throwing things and screaming as well as scratching themselves in an attempt at self-harm. Younger-than-a year babies are being separated from their mothers reducing their chance of survival. Teenagers are teaching others how to change diapers of these babies in the holding cages.
This is only the beginning.
What we are witnessing in the caged immigration camps, where children have been separated from their parents who have attempted to immigrate to the US, is attachment rupture. Currently, 70 children a day are being torn from their families. Unfortunately, with the new Zero Tolerance Policy, these holding tanks are taking in hundreds more children than previously have ever been handled.
This means newborns, 1, 2, 3 years and older children are being asked to handle being separated from their caregivers with no adequate emotional preparation called normalizing. This is where the caregiver normalizes or explains what is happening to the child/children so they can begin to process events. It’s like a computer receiving directions of what to do next. If the child doesn’t receive those instructions from the known caregiver/s, the motherboard, then the child begins to corrupt internally.
Apparently, because so many of the children are not being given information of what’s happening or even being given misinformation such as the “parents are gone," the children are in trauma, they are in deep grief and they are being emotionally abandoned when they have no ability to process this information themselves. This creates a whole volley of emotional responses because children do not have the benefit of fully formed neural pathways. These do not develop fully until humans are in their early twenties.
As a result, the child will think this tragedy they are experiencing is going to go on forever or that the parents are going to be gone forever. The problem is right now, we don’t know if those children aren’t right because their parents are frequently being deported while the children remain behind. There are also no government procedures to give the children back to the parents, currently according to an article in The New Yorker by Jonathan Blitzer. He states “HHS can help” with reunification. There is no regulation to regulate or even enforce the return of the children.
In the camps, the children are sobbing, acting out emotionally, freezing, as they experience trauma. and:
There is no one to witness it, i.e., care, provide empathy or attunement.
This causes the child to think they are wrong or bad because the trauma has them feeling so horrible inside. In child-think, their neural pathways are set up to tell them that they are crazy or wrong because none of the adults are acting upset. In fact, it is reported that adults in the facility are just walking around as if everything is okay in emotionally neglecting the children. If a child doesn’t receive feedback while they are begin traumatized that what’s being done to them is wrong, thousands of neural pathways are being formed to normalize that it is okay to be treated badly and the child is wrong in expecting care. This creates a bed rock of shame to later create massive emotional dysfunction and inability to attach effectively to others.
Some of the older children and even some of the younger children in the holding cages will know that they aren’t being treated right. Further, they can then see that the abuse is being sanctioned by the groups of people in the institution. For instance, the adults who are walking around watching children cry, but not touching them as has been sanctioned by these institutions. Some children may even know that these sanctions are being perpetrated by the United States. This will then register in their minds as community-sanctioned abuse. This is so frightening because this is the genesis of neural mapping that creates psychopaths or malignant narcissists. In school shootings, it is the children who have been scapegoated by their family, friends as well as the school who frequently rage outwardly with guns.
Basically what happens when the child’s mind is traumatized is that instead of the painful circumstance being healed with a caregiver who will show that as a human you can experience awful things and be okay, the child receives a hormonal bath in the brain. This is very bad because the adrenalin from the fight or flight stress response to trauma, will groove what can be a permanent neural pathway into their young brain like an operating code. One such ‘code’ a child experiencing trauma and emotional abandonment at the same time could receive is that s/he is in danger and no one cares.
This neural pathway can be so embedded from stress and trauma that even if the child goes back to their parents and the parents do all the appropriate cooing and cuddling to provide that much needed empathy and attunement that can heal this, the child may be irreparably damaged. Evidence of this occured in Nazis Germany when children were separated from parents and never recovered.
If a child experiences community sanctioned abuse, the child learns that society rules are for others. Others enjoy a nice life. Others enjoy protection. The thinking then goes if ‘others’ don’t care about them while they were being abused, when these children become adults and have some power, then why should they care about ‘others?’ It is a logical outcome to the abuse they experienced because there is no neural pathway of self-care able to regulate what can become a violent rage at the injustice they have experienced. The parents who would have instilled the ability in the child to self-regulate got separated from them by the United States government.
So, when you or your child or your grandchild meets in about 10-20 years some antisocial rage-aholic who just engaged in some atrocious gratuitous act of violence towards you and/or your loved one that you can barely recover from, and you ask “Why would someone do such a thing!!” This is why.
I hope in sharing my perspective on a political situation from an attachment perspective, light can not only be brought to your own learning edges but that your attunement can be developed towards others as well. That is what a well functioning society does. It cares. And as a part of that society, I care. I hope this has helped deepen you’re care of yourself and/or others.