Good morning, bloggers!!
I have a very special guest today!! Please help me welcome Author Jeffrey Von Glahn, as we dive into his book, JESSICA: The Autobiography of an Infant.
Jessica had always been haunted by the fear that the unthinkable had happened when she had been “made-up.” For as far back as she could remember, she had no sense of a Self. Her mother thought of her as the “perfect infant” because “she never wanted anything and she never needed anything.” As a child, just thinking of saying “I need” or “I want” left her feeling like an empty shell and that her mind was about to spin out of control. Terrified of who––or what––she was, she lived in constant dread over being found guilty of impersonating a human being.
Jeffrey Von Glahn, Ph.D., an experienced therapist with an unshakable belief in the healing powers of the human spirit, and Jessica, blaze a trail into this unexplored territory. As if she has, in fact, become an infant again, Jessica remembers in extraordinary detail events from the earliest days of her life––events that threatened to twist her embryonic humanness from its natural course of development. Her recollections are like listening to an infant who could talk describe every psychologically dramatic moment of its life as it was happening.
When Dr. Von Glahn met Jessica, she was 23. Everyone regarded her as a responsible, caring person – except that she never drove and she stayed at her mother’s when her husband worked nights.
For many months, Jessica’s therapy was stuck in an impasse. Dr. Von Glahn had absolutely no idea that she was so terrified over simply talking about herself. In hopes of breakthrough, she boldly asked for four hours of therapy a day, for three days a week, for six weeks. The mystery that was Jessica cracked open in dramatic fashion, and in a way that Dr. Von Glahn could never have imagined. Then she asked for four days a week – and for however long it took. In the following months, her electrifying journey into her mystifying past brought her ever closer to a final confrontation with the events that had threatened to forever strip her of her basic humanness.
This excerpt is from about the three month point in Jessica’s therapy. At that time, whenever Jessica was upset with her mother all she could say was, “My mom’s just doing the best she can!”
At this point, there was only one obvious question to ask, one I had not yet felt gun-shy about asking. “And how did you feel about having to do all that?”
Jessica first shrugged her shoulders before exclaiming, “My mom’s just doing the best she can!”
I waited patiently to see if she was going to say more. I wanted to know if she was finally aware that, by making excuses for her mother, she was avoiding a very upsetting feeling of her own. For the next thirty seconds, she just stared over my shoulder. Then little pools of water started forming at the bottom of her eyes. I watched them grow bigger. A few tears spilled over each eyelid and trickled down her cheeks. She sat perfectly still the entire time with her hands folded in her lap. A few more tears then trickled out. They ran down her face, merged with the first ones at the bottom of her chin, and moved in little rivulets down her neck. She continued staring over my shoulder, hoping her tears would magically disappear if she simply ignored them.
“What are you upset about?” I softly asked.
With a perfectly blank expression, and continuing to stare over my shoulder, she said, “I’m not upset.”
I could not believe what I had just heard. I wanted to shout, “What do you mean you’re not upset? What’s that stuff running down your face?” However, I managed to keep quiet and waited for my surge of impatience to diminish. When it did, I realized my question had not been specific enough. There was undeniable evidence. In my most sympathetic voice, I asked, “What’s making you cry?”
“I’m not crying!” she shot back even more quickly than she had in her previous assertion that she wasn’t upset. At the same, she somehow managed to regain her composure, even though a few more tears surged up and trickled down her face. She sat immobile, and the box of tissues on the small table next to her remained untouched.