Author Topic: Bump, Bump, Bump  (Read 12261 times)

Dr. Richard Grossman

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Bump, Bump, Bump
« on: November 18, 2003, 09:39:43 AM »
Bump, Bump, Bump

“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.  It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming down-stairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.”  
You may remember the first lines of Winnie the Pooh.  I read the book to my first grade teacher, Miss Wooley, a heavy set, matronly woman in her 60’s, who at the time seemed ancient to me.    That summer she sent a postcard reminding me how much she loved Winnie the Pooh—or as I secretly understood it, how much she loved me.  Although it disappeared sometime after I left for college, this postcard, along with Ricky’s Marble Bag, sewn for me by Mrs. Brush, my favorite babysitter, are my two early childhood treasures.
Miss Wooley listened to me.  I mattered to her.  I felt special in a way that I never had before.
Often I wonder why this is—why Miss Wooley was the first person who listened.  But “why” questions are exceptionally difficult, and we often get swayed by our own answers, forgetting that human beings and the world in general are terrifically complicated.
Still, the answer lies partially in bump, bump, bump.  Not the beginning of Edward Bear’s story, but the start of my mother’s:   her parents took long car rides over railroad ties when she was in utero, trying to induce a spontaneous abortion.  They were unhappy about having a third child.  Once my mother was born, my grandparents like all decent folk, tried to hide their feelings of being burdened.  But these feelings are inevitably communicated and my mother was not fooled.  She perceived she had no value, so she spent the rest of her life making something of herself, something of worth.  People have asked me how she found out about the abortion attempts.  I don’t know.   But I’m glad she did, because it helps me make better sense of her life story—and mine as well.
For thirty years later history repeated itself.  Not wanting children and having met the quota of two under the terms of her marriage agreement with my father, my mother suddenly found herself pregnant again.  No bump, bump, bump this time; car suspensions had improved—and still no chance of a legal abortion.  Out I came and no one, not my mother, not my father, not my sister, and especially not my brother who arrived only 18 months ahead of me, wanted me there.  Rather than waiting for my delivery in the hospital, my father went out and bought a brand spanking new 1955 Ford Fairlane.  An automatic.  Light blue, both inside and out.  
I learned quickly.  I asked for nothing, affected nobody, and evoked as little wrath as I could.  Making noise seemed dangerous: for a couple years I literally walked on my toes.  I made myself invisible and voiceless.
Then, suddenly, just before I turned six, Miss Wooley asked me to read out loud Edward Bear’s awkward entry into Christopher Robin’s parlor: “bump, bump, bump.”
She listened to every word, and, for a short time, I found a place in the world.

seeker

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Bump, Bump, Bump
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2003, 12:22:08 PM »
Dear Dr. Grossman and everybody,

I just wanted to pick up the theme of family history I read in Dr. G's post: I am/was interested in this hobby just for entertainment's sake, but it was really valuable also because it explained so much about who my parents are and why they have the attitudes they do.  Many genealogists do what they do to find out "who they are" in a general historical sense, but it also can help in a psychological sense too.  

I was brainwashed into thinking we had the "perfect" well-adjusted family.  There were not a lot of happy stories of childhood passed on by either parent, although they both have a great sense of humor.  There was this "don't ask, don't tell" policy.  But knowing about the cultures they both grew up (one was military), helped me understand that they didn't exactly have great models for emotional nurturing.  They had to focus on their own emotional survival.  (And isn't emotional survival the reason we adapted our behavior into voicelessness?)

The real stand-out detail that I figured out for myself was the real relationship between my dad and his mother (vs. the press release).  My grandmother was as emotionally unavailable to my dad as he is to his children.  In addition, finding out what a weirdo my great-grandfather was explained BUCKETS about my family, having mostly to do with how the women felt persecuted by the men and the men resenting the hell out of women.  I am the only girl in my family, so no wonder I felt so devalued no matter what I achieved.  

I feel this post might be more helpful if I was more specific, but I'm feeling a little shy today  8) Hope this helps anyway, Cheers, S.
P.S. I have also found a dream journal to be an extremely helpful technique in sorting out my feelings and experiences.  I have had many revelations that I would not have had otherwise about my childhood and about adjusting to a new perspective.  Take care.

Acappella

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Bump, Bump, Bump
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2003, 06:48:35 PM »
Wow, RG, I get a sense of the warmth and reverence you feel for listening and noticing.

Thank goodness for those who notice & listen and for the peace of mind (&/or heart) with which they are able to do so.  

"why Miss Wooley was the first person who listened"  

First for you, and part of something infinite.  Her listening and noticing was/is part of some invisble never ending link which you now perpetuate in a way through this board.  I was thinking it is like a circle without begining or end, (at least that I can see).  Yet listening and noticing one another feels to me like it raises, moves everyone connected and grows with each connection like a spiral, moving forward.

"if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it"  The Winnie image sets me to giggling (which by the way i am getting to feel is a good way to start to pause the bumping along in life that is easy to do.)

"If only he could" .... "think of it."  Or feel it? Stillness instead of perpetual movement?  Calm, equinimity. Listening and being listened to even in mid stair.  :shock: :D

Reading about how you felt, I am reminded and inspired to notice when I first felt heard and how I felt and to remember that feeling and pass along the connection by listening and noticing others.  Thank you.  

Echo (I am ready to graduate to a new name now though)



[/u]

annabelle

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bump, bump, bump
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2003, 01:36:33 PM »
Hi Dr. Grossman,

I've been on this wonderful website for some time now, but this was the first time I read your post.  Is this a true story about you?  If so, thank you so much for sharing - I was so touched by what you wrote (though saddened, and then inspired, as you've used it to help so many people).  If not, thank you for writing it - it's helpful either way.

Annabelle

Dr. Richard Grossman

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Thanks
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2003, 01:46:26 PM »
Thanks for your thoughtful and sensitive replies Seeker, Acappella, and Annabelle.  It is, Annabelle, my story.  I wrote the short essay for an invited talk, and I’ll post it on my essay page as a tribute to my teachers when I have the time.   I am very grateful to a few of my teachers who found some value lurking in an essentially silent kid.  You’re right, Acapella, this web site is, in part, a result of the extraordinary attention that I received.

Richard

p.s.  Seeker, I agree a family emotional/psychological genealogy is very important—voicelessness can be traced back from generation to generation.  And to not pass it on—wow, is that satisfying!  (My daughter [the “Wookah” in the essay “What is a Wookah?”] is a freshman at N.Y.U. in musical theatre…)

OnlyMe

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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2004, 11:08:46 AM »
Dear Dr. Grossman,

Quote
She listened to every word, and, for a short time, I found a place in the world.


I happened upon this thread today, and was very touched.  So many feelings from way down inside me began to bubble to the surface as I read your words, and my eyes began to puddle.
This sentence has just triggered a huge personal revelation for me : I have been struggling with why I become weepy when someone is kind to me, for it isn't very becoming for a woman 'of a certain age' :oops: !  I seem to have been 'stuck' at this stage in my healing journey of coping with, accepting, and moving on past the diagnosis of 'severe childhood trauma and abuse' at the hands of my NParents (one still alive).  Your sentence explains it so clearly -- when someone is kind to me, I know that they see me and hear me, and that they just might have noticed the Good in me ... "and for a short time, I have found a place in the world".

"Thank you" seems so flimsy, but I sincerely and gratefully am saying "Thank You" for helping me, today.  
It's time for me to stop Bumping!
~ OnlyMe

Dr. Richard Grossman

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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2004, 05:24:54 PM »
Hi, Only Me—

Thanks for responding.  Miss Wooley, my first grade teacher was wonderful.  And though she’s long gone, I’m glad she had an effect on you as well, so many years later.

Best wishes,

Richard

les

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Bump, Bump, Bump
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2004, 05:06:36 PM »
Dear Dr. Grossman

Like you, I was the third born. My mother told me at some point in my childhood that my father had wanted me aborted and that I wouldn't be alive if it hadn't been for her.  I understand now why she did this.

The dear dear Miss Wooleys of the world. They breathe life into us. My Miss Wooley was the school nurse. I had an "accident" in grade one (oh those little puddles under the desks)  The nurse cleaned me up so gently and sat me on a soft towel on the radiator - I felt warm and safe and for some reason this made me cry.  

Thanks again for all that you have given us here - a place, your  understanding and an opportunity to learn about you and hear your stories.

Les

Dr. Richard Grossman

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Bump, Bump, Bump
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2004, 11:45:32 PM »
Hi, Les--

Thanks for your response.  I very much appreciated the story of your school nurse.  It's not easy being third and unwanted--colors one's whole life.

Best,

Richard

Anna

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3rd child
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2005, 07:11:49 AM »
Hi all,

I too was that third child... and in therapy, I came to realize how wrong and sad it was for a 6? year old to have to tell herself how LUCKY she was to be here since her mom and dad could have stopped since they had one girl and one boy -- obviously I was "in the way".  Had they told me something in words?  I don't remember the words per se but are words necessary when you're invisible?  It's just wrong for a child to have to try and convince herself that she matters.

Peace,
Anna
As you think, so shall you be

worseTHAN3rdandUNWANTED?

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Bump, Bump, Bump
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2005, 03:40:08 PM »
HMMM
what is this about 3rd
child

but worse that 3rd and unwanted
might be 3rd and as if very much wanted

as if to fix all that had deteriorated
when a narcisstic mom's husband
is marked as not being able any more
to fulfill her narcisstic needs as the level
she thought she should of course get...

and the only son ,a third child,
shall then provide her for what
her husband failed to....

and when he fails to
..it depends on what type of
narcissistic mom and other things...
in npa personality theory
i theorize genetically
she was an N
dad was an NP
and i was an NPA-
later an NPA=

WELL MY TIMES IS ABOUT UP
ON LIBRARY COMPUTER.....
HASTA LA VISTA BABY :)

XtranscendentBUMPteddy?

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Bump, Bump, Bump
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2005, 01:03:31 PM »
i cant quite figure out
this bump bump bump
string
in regards to the forum listing
when i clicked on the last post in forum to it,
it shows the start of bump.....
as nov 18 2003
and i thought ...ah but maybe not
the first post of a string remained also
on the forum list for HELP
back on nov 18 2003...
but then again i could be mistaken
uh
NEVERMIND :)

amethyst

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Re: Bump, Bump, Bump
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2005, 11:36:27 PM »
Dear Dr. Grossman,

I found this essay last night and am extremely moved. I especially loved this sentence..."That summer she sent a postcard reminding me how much she loved Winnie the Pooh—or as I secretly understood it, how much she loved me." What a wise and resilient little boy you were to understand Miss Wooley's code.

I have heard the expression "cookie people" for the nurturing and loving souls we've meet on our childhood journey...the people that love us for who we are. I am sure that all of us here have met some "cookie people" along the way, or we might not have survived our childhoods.

I had a wonderful high school teacher who became my substitute dad, whose home was mine when I needed shelter, who held me in his arms when I needed to cry, whose office door was always open. He saw something in a shy, silent, homely and awkward girl and he helped me to become as much of a real person as I was capable of being at the time. He gave me the gift of music, art and literature; the humanities. He taught me to think and to express myself. He also was totally honest, called me on my bs when I needed it (quite frequently as a teenager :)), and pulled me back from more than a few slippery slopes. If he thought I was being selfish, superficial or disingenuous, he was there to confront me...and confront me he did. Surprisingly, I never minded his confrontations; he was always spot on. He also pushed me into into doing things I could never have envisioned, like mastering a musical instrument and becoming a public speaker. I know that he totally understood how wounded I was, but he never let me use that as an excuse for bad behavior. Without him, I would have had very little foundation for adulthood.

I was not the only kid he helped. Far from it. A couple of my former high school classmates started a Yahoo group for our graduating class. It is a lovely group. To go back and talk to people that knew us when we were young, without the teenage facades and games, forty years later, is great gift. So many of my former classmates remember his help and how he taught them to be sensitive, insightful, open and honest. Anyway, all of us who came in contact with this outstanding teacher feel the same....our contact with him brought out the best in us. As one of my classmates said,"He taught us to appreciate and nurture the beautiful and the good in others and in ourselves." What a mensch!

So here is to the "Cookie People" of the world...may we pass it on and pay it forward.

Dr. Richard Grossman

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Re: Bump, Bump, Bump
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2005, 10:30:51 PM »
Hi Amethyst,

Thanks for your wonderful reply/remembrance.  We were both lucky, weren't we! 

Best,

Richard

dogbit

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Re: Bump, Bump, Bump
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2005, 01:50:00 AM »
I have to check this section of the board more often.  In such a few words, the Bump, Bump, Bump message told so much.  When I was nine, we moved to a very rural village.  The neighbors saw and knew more than I was able to see or know since I lived in the middle of my family's chaos.  Because it was such a small village, one had to be quite diplomatic unless they be perceived as not minding their own business.  One particular incident occurred when a dance was going to happen at my school.  My neighbor miraculously made a dress that didn't fit either of her daughters but did fit me.  And when she showed me the dress and asked me if I wanted it, she said you know...I think I have a pair of my old high heels that might match this dress.  So we went into the armoire and there in a box was a pair of three inch high heels that exactly matched the dress.  And they were in my size.  She gave them to me.  Even though she said they were old, they were obviously brand new.  I knew at the time what she was doing.  I first felt ashamed having to "accept the kindness of strangers".  But in that one act, I not only got to go to the dance but I experienced the relief of knowing that someone else saw what my family was all about and in their way, told me I was worth a new dress.  I think that's when I started to protect and eventually regain my spirit.  And yes,  I know this sounds like a Cinderella story but it really happened and almost 50 years later, I am still best friends with the daughters who didn't fit the dress meant for me!  Thanks, Doc, for relating your experience.