The above video has a story attached to it, of course. At first, it will not seem relevant to the title or topic; but I hope that the relevance will be clear later. Bear with me.
If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that my husband and I were forced into a short sale of our home in 2013. It was traumatic to a degree that I had never expected. We ran off to Camarillo, discovered that we were too far away from everything and everyone who mattered to us (in addition to the fact that the house was rotten with terrible energy and bad, bad spirits) and turned around and moved back to Woodland Hills in a matter of nine months. Moving is miserable, but try moving twice in less than one year.
We are back in the general area of where we lived before–probably about 2 miles or so from the old house. I wander back to my previous neighborhood on a regular basis, attempting to recover from the loss; I hope that repeated exposure and time will lessen my tendency to burst into tears when I drive past the only house that I consider my true home. It was better today. Then I ran into the neighborhood greeter-cat.
She looked terrible. Her fur was matted and she appeared to weigh ounces, not pounds. I was devastated. She cuddled with me in the street, like she always used to, but with much less energy that a few years back. I noticed that the house was for sale and no car was in the driveway. “She’s been abandoned,” I thought, and in a rush, I was overwhelmed with emotion.
Traumatized kids turn into adults who often feel abandoned at the slightest provocation. Normal behavior is seen through the lens of separation and loss. You project your abandonment mindset onto everything around you. I feel sad on ghost hunts when the house seems ignored or simply unloved. If an animal is wandering around with no companions and seems distraught, hungry, sick or confused, I become unhinged. I have to ‘save’ that creature. I used to find unhappy and tormented boyfriends and attempt to ‘save’ them, too, until I discovered that humans can and will take advantage of someone who comes along offering her soul on a platter. But I digress . . .
The cross-eyed kitty became my project. I rushed off to PetCo, spent 125 bucks on food, bedding, homeopathic skin medication for itchy felines, special water and food delivery systems and flea combs. I hurried back with my treasures, thinking that I would stop by every two days and make sure everything was fresh and kitty was happy. As I rounded the corner, I saw a white car in the driveway. “Crap,” I cried out, “now what?” I had spent too much money to walk away. I was committed. I gathered up most of the essentials–if you count homeopathic feline itch medicine as essential–and walked up to the door. I knocked, worried that someone strange would open the door, someone who might revile me for suggesting that the cat wasn’t well cared for.
A very pleasant-looking blonde woman–about my age–opened the door. I explained my worry that no one was there to take care of the kitty. She promised me that the cat was in good hands and told me all about the flea dip and the special foods that she had provided for kitty. But I knew differently. The cross-eyed cat was feeding from a crappy plastic bowl filled with fly-infested old tuna. There was no water anywhere. Not only that, the cat’s fur was matted and filthy. I also knew, however, that the house was in foreclosure and that she was enduring The Process, in which the homeowner watches helplessly as the banks bleed you dry of your savings, lie to you about how you can keep your home, and then kick you out of the place you may have lived in for decades. When she said that this ‘process’ had been going on for a year, I knew her pain. I handed over all the supplies to her. Her eyes were wet.
No matter how pathetic kitty looked, she had not been abandoned.
I had created a scenario based on abandonment that turned out to be untrue. That, however, didn’t matter, because I am obsessed–as are most paranormal investigators–with the idea of abandonment and decay and what might remain after all appears forever lost. There are studies–and I am too lazy to go dredge them up–that find a high correlation to between childhood trauma and spiritual sensitivity or psychic ability. Of course, not all investigators are sensitive or psychic; but is there a connection here to our fascination with abandoned and lost places? Trauma experienced in childhood allows for the development of a special skill: disassociation or detachment from the traumatizing act. Disassociation separates the conscious mind from the current, lived reality in order to protect itself from grave emotional or physical harm. Disassociative states serve a protective function for the child who is experiencing some form of injury to the psyche; the child learns how to float away, to ‘not be there’. This is a kind of out of body experience.
Spiritually sensitive people, mediums and psychics often have learned as children to disassociate, a skill that allows them a special connection to the spirit realm. Wherever the traumatized child “goes” during these states, it seems to be a liminal space marking a porous boundary between this world and the next. The only occasions where I have seen apparitions happened when I was ‘zoned out,’ slightly disassociated from my surroundings due to exhaustion or simple day-dreaming. My best paranormal data is collected when I am free-floating, allowing my conscious mind to drift and focus on something not in my immediate surroundings. And yes, I learned this skill in childhood, when I needed to escape the overwhelming emotions so freely expressed in my childhood. Maybe others would not be similarly affected in such circumstances, because I was told on a continual basis that I was “hyper sensitive,” “overly vulnerable,” had a “wild imagination,” “made things up” and “lived in my own reality.”
I submit that I “lived in my own reality” because things were pretty f*cked up in the reality of my home life. No, not always; but enough of the time to create a “sensitive” out of me.
Here’s the ironic part. You learn to float away and escape from upsetting situations as a coping mechanism; you are, in a sense, abandoning your reality. However, you feel that OTHERS have abandoned you, by forcing this escape in the first place. If THEY (family, usually) had not created such an unbearable life for their “sensitive” child, then there would be no need to drift out the door and into the realm of invisible things. The abandonment complex manifests itself in many paranormal investigators that I know well. We share common characteristics. We can pick up on spiritual energies and subtle variations in the environment because . . .
We were EXPERTS at picking up the energy in our own homes, growing up. We were EXPERTS at divining someone’s mood as soon as he/she walked in the door. We were EXPERTS at protecting ourselves from bad energy long before we learned how to do it in abandoned buildings. The spirit world is so familiar to us because we journeyed there as children, looking for an escape from the plate flying across the room or the bottle of booze *someone* had finished off before noon.
I think I must stop there, because I don’t want this to turn into a screed about enduring an unhappy household. I don’t blame family or friends for living out their drama in the way they did; they obviously did not know how to behave otherwise. Maybe they really DID have an overly-sensitive kid, and some other child would not have been similarly affected by that environment. The question is: are messed up kids somehow compensated later by having a closer relationship to spirit and spirituality? Can we talk to dead people because they were talking to us at age five, consoling us and protecting us from the living long before we understood that we were breaking the rules of reality?
What do you think?
—Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW