Dissociation And Md - Surviving Childhood Abuse

Warning, sexual content (not graphic or descriptive).

For me it was a bit like the movie Tideland, I had abuse as a child. My parents weren't drug addicts like the girl in the movie, I had a mother who secretly gave me huge abuse, and I survived it in various ways. I dissociated into different girls; the girls that were given the abuse were walled off to protect the me who had to live day to day with my abuser, and was able to survive with the traumatised feelings walled of and a fantasy of a "fortunate life" and a "good mother".

Fantasizing also helped me escape the bad feelings that crept up on me from behind the wall. I read a lot more than people my age, and was reading books before I started school. I had an imaginary friend at age 4. I was always commended for my high ability in creative writing through out school. I was academically advanced but socially behind.

My teacher at school (years one and two) victimised me for being late to school every day, not listening, and being a daydreamer. The kids in my class picked it up from the teacher and teased me for being a daydreamer. My friends were the other abused kids and the ethnic kids who were outcast for being different. I never even felt secure with those friends, and often spent my playtime all alone.

My games were very imaginative. My best friend and I played "mermaids" and discussed what we would do when we grew up. We planned to travel to Egypt (her homeland) and France (because I liked cheese) and to own a farm and we talked about all the animals we'd have on the farm. I had a boyfriend who was a naughty boy, often late to school and also always in trouble with the teacher. He was going to marry my friend and I and live with us. This side of my daydreaming was daydreaming about the future, a way to escape the unbearable present.

I was also obsessed with learning to fly. I dreamed about flying all the time. I was convinced if I practised hard enough I would learn to do it. Even when I was older and no longer believed this, I still dreamed and daydreamed about flying. I'd daydream how amazed everyone would be when I did it. As a teen when I was obsessively in love with the book series the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, I fantasised about being abducted by aliens. The flying/abduction fantasies were about escape from where I was. I also tried to run away from home and so did my brother.

I also had darker fantasies. Because of my abuse I had fantasies that were highly inappropriate for my age. One of the earliest I remember was at around 4 a fantasy of captured and tied up by the evil professor in Felix the Cat. Felix came to rescue me but I didn't want him to. I had fantasies of boys giving me sexual kisses when I was only in infants school, in my mother's bed. These may have been during my abuse but I blocked that part out and only remembered the fantasy.

As a teen in high school I had a lot of abduction fantasies and some masochistic ones too, all sexual in nature. I spent a great deal of time in fantasy in my head. My best friend and I at my prompting began amusing ourselves writing pornographic stories for each other involving us and our favourite band members.

However I was shy of boys, and didn't have my first sexual experience until 17, with the boy who I am still with to this day, my husband. Everything dark always stayed in my head. Throughout my married life I had to fantasise to reach ******. I also couldn't have ****** during intercourse, as my inside sex feelings were dissociated along with my abuse memories. I was ashamed of my dark fantasies to get to ****** and didn't even tell my husband or my psychologists their details or extent. The fantasies I had to arouse myself were masochistic in nature, or involved abduction and rape, with myself as victim. But when I needed to get to ****** my fantasies changed to sadistic or selfish and highly disturbing, and I was usually a man, never myself, rarely a woman. I had absolutely NO wish to live out any of my fantasies in real life.

In my thirties my maladaptive daydreaming reached a crisis point, I was daydreaming through most of my daily life. Whatever else I did, hanging out washing or gardening, I would be up in my head frantically composing a new scenario or extending and adding details to an existing one.

Another thing I did related to being stuck in a tendency to soothe my bad feelings welling up by fantasizing about the future. This often took the form of elaborate obsessive planning of new ventures, most of which I never followed through on, but spent huge amounts of time, and sometimes purcheses, in planning for. I'd decide I was going to buy a dog, research all the different breeds, contact breeders and ask them questions, then scrap the idea and get a cat.

I spent months planning a new garden, researching plants, scouring plant catalogues, making lists for all different categories (hight, flowering time, colour, scent, deciduous or evergreen etc), then colour code and highlight the lists, then make lists to buy and change them a dozen times. Measure and draw up a map of the area, then make various diagrams of planting plans within it. Instead of relaxing with my family, my head would be stuck in a gardening book or catalogue.

But also during this time I became aware of my fantasizing as a problem. I knew it soothed me like meditation or relaxation does for some people. I had gone to the Questacon Science Museum and tried wearing sensors on my head that recorded my brain waves and put them up on a screen. The exercise was to try and produce the shallow gentle brain waves of relaxation. I tried fantasizing and produced the correct waves immediately.

I went through a very bad time, kind of a crisis of depression culminating in acting out, and an identity crisis, and my marraige was in jeopardy. I saw psychologists who helped validate that I was abused and that my choice at this point to cut myself off from my mother was in my particular case a good thing.

After starting to stabilise in my life again, I determined to stop maladaptive daydreaming. I have now stopped my sexual fantasies at all times except when I decide to reach ******. I minimise this as it is linked to bad feelings from my abuse, but it is important to do sometimes as my husband feels more wanted and accepted if sex isn't entirely about him.

Other types of daydreaming have stopped too, however the planning the future has not yet, this one I still have to tackle. I have been getting memories of my abuse back, so it is hard to cope without some form of coping mechanism. Obsessive use of EP is one of my ways of coping. I get my feelings out by writing stories here, reading stories and commenting and feeling less isolated by my problems. I find support and validation from other people with similar experiences. I also use ipod patience or minesweeper and getting out into my garden.

My hopes are that once I get enough of my memories back to have a sense of certainty about myself and my childhood, I can move towards dealing with the feelings arising from it, and gradually become more centred in the present moment and cure my living in the future, so I don't miss my whole life by not actually being "present" during it.
Handed Handed
41-45, F
14 Responses Aug 23, 2012

Thanks for sharing. I too have always had confidence issues even questioning who is the real me. I think your articulated those feelings well, and I hadn't really considered how this could be related to MD.

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I am sorry for your experiences I hope things work out for you.

After reading this post and the comments after it I can't help but be in a kind of confusion. I was never molested by a parent as a child. I was never beaten or purposely exposed to contaminants that would make me ill. I was however emotionally and psychologically abused. I don't understand the dissociation you're speaking of but I do understand the daydreaming. I was actually shocked to read that you daydreamed in a similar way I did, all the time. In school, at home, while going to sleep, when waking up, while taking a shower. It never stops. I catch myself doing it all the time. My Psychological profile is so complex that the docs don't even really know what to think. Many of my problems come from ADHD/aspergers, just as many come form the psychological and emotional abuse I endured. With me, no one helped. In the 70's and 80's people had this mentality about family privacy and you just kept to your own business, even in the face of abuse. At least that was my experience. I was a very obedient but withdrawn child, no friends, bullied, ostracized, confused, and hurting to the deepest parts of myself. I never fit in no matter how many times our family moved or how hard I tried. I was always different and always will be. Now I know that some of my differences are because of the abuse and some because of the neurological defects. But the results of both are so similar that the lines that we would think should divide them seem to be perfectly blended so that you can not tell what is from what, Like sugar and water. Once dissolved they cannot be seperated, but you know they are both there.
I use to cry any time I thought about or talked about this stuff. Now it only happens sometimes. I think partly because I've come to realize that what everyone else now sees as abuse (in my case) was the very neurological disability that I live with. My father I believe has Aspergers syndrome as well as traumatic brain injuries from Vietnam that were never treated. Did he abuse me? Yes he did. Was he responsible or capable of controlling it? I don't believe so. While there is not much of a relationship between my father and I, I do love him. I'm just afraid of him, of how he can tear everything about me down in a matter of seconds and reduce me to a pool of unthinkable tears in a dark well filled with nothing but violent emotions. I know that he loves me and I also know (now, after all these years) that it's not really him. When confronted with these issues you can see the confusion on his face. He has no idea what I'm talking about.
I think I may not be making much sense of something I've been trying to make sense of. My point is that my sufferings were different but also similar to yours and many others. It was amazing to see in another what I thought was only in me, despite the many different reasons.
I'm still in the process of learning who I am. I'm also still in the process of learning that in order to heal, I must forgive. It was when I forgave my father that a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders and I was able to see that the struggles I live with (Severe ADHD, Aspergers, and Traumatic Brain Injury) are also some of the same my father lives with. My greatest fear is harming my children the way I was harmed. I try so hard not to hurt them. I don't always succeed. I've always been honest with them. They know what's wrong with me (2 of them also have adhd and or aspergers as well, while the others do not). They know that when I'm having a meltdown it's not about them. I'm trying so hard to help them have what I did not. It's not easy to teach them what I can't do. But I try anyway. There is whole lot of honesty in my household. There is also a whole lot of humor and laughter. It's the only way I know to balance our lives.

The things that still haunt me at times, I doubt they will ever go away, the same for you and many others who have suffered any king of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. But I hope and I pray that there will be healing, understanding, and the ability to forgive for us all.


Thanks, I too worry about my kids. I have hurt them but I've tried to make amends as best as I can. They know I love and support them. You sound like you are a kind parent. My daughter used to go out with a boy with an abusive Aspergers father, emotionally abusive Mother and Aspergers older brother. Her fiance's Father may have Aspergers. I guess I must have a lot of traits for her to identify with these boys.

We all may have had different details, but we suffered trauma in childhood and had to survive it which gives us all common ground.

LOL, I don't think my kids would always agree that I'm a kind parent. I try to be but I'm a very quirky and cranky person when I'm busy and someone interrupts whatever it is I'm concentrating on. So it's kind of like this... Say I'm busy, like right now, typing out a message. My son will come in and say "hey mom" and me, instead of saying "yes" or "what", I say "WWHHAATT!!!" I try to be calm, I really do, but I don't succeed as much as I'd like to. My kids know and I often feel the need to remind them that my crankiness is not because of them or anything they have done.

After my wife and i prayed together, i was able to find an excellent psychologist who deals primarily with dissociation. A GREAT help to me. I believe my mother was badly abused herself. I have tried several times to get help for her, but she cannot face it. What she did was very, very bad. But many people have prayed for me. I have been able by God's grace to forgive my mom, love her, pray for her. BUT...I keep my rare contacts with her VERY short and safe!

i have a collega a mother also who psychiatric asileum she not abuse them but beat her from her 3 till 19 years she manipuled psychiatric she always lie

Hi Handed. Great to read this. I also was late, dreamy, many fantasies, ESP of flying and always so in dreams. May God walk you through this whole process. SO glad to hear that you, apparently same as me, have a loving, understanding spouse! What a gift! The various sexual fantasies, which also started very early for me, are really un-nerving and hard to share...thank you for sharing as much as you have. Much Grace to you and yours Down Under

she not go prison or psychiatric asileum your are from usa i think good law in europa also

I am in Australia. She was scheduled to a psychiatric hospital recently but not because of me. She was there for three weeks before I heard about it. Hoever they decided to release her. At one time I would have wanted to see her punished, but now I would rather see her get some of her dissociated guilt back. But I think she's too damaged to help, she doesn't choose to live in reality. She is not hurting anyone now, she lives alone and everyone avoids her.

but she not abuse you sex or beat you she is too much possessive

She gave me sexual abuse and torture with the intent for her own fun to hurt, she gave me physical abuse, injury, illnesses, emotional abuse, psychological cruelty, and neglect. She caused me to go to hospital with severe infection in my tonsils, adenoids and ear, I had an abcess burst in my ear and had to have it drained. Returned to hospital to intensive care for weeks because of severe post-operative infections. I was given recurrent cystitis, kidney infection and kidney damage. Pneumonia twice. Xposed to every infectious illness she could expose me to: german measles, mumps, chicken pox. More than this, but this is enough for you to see that yes, mothers can give as bad abuse as men can.

excuse my bad english your mom abuse you she have psychological problems

She has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I believe she must have had abuse herself.

i understand but the dirty man no sentence

It was my mother, not a man. No, she has gotten away with it.

she may think she has but my Mother taught me that God never sleeps and her day is comming.

in this time did you reportsocial service or police now did you see psychologist

Recovered memories of child abuse are not accepted as evidence very readily, so any action against an abuser is difficult. I felt it would not assist my healing to make reports to social services or police. If there was a time for that it was when still under age living with my abuser, but because of my dissociation I didn't tell anyone.

As for a psychologist, I have seen four different ones in my adult years, but since I started getting my recovered memories only one, and only once. I did find her helpful for validation, but she had no experience of dealing with dissociation or complex trauma. She was very cautious for fear of the issue of false memories (many psychologists have been blamed for leading questions that supposedly cause false memories to occur). I may go to see someone when I find someone with the right experience.

hi I'm sixteen and I've had maladaptive daydreaming as long as I could remember. . The age of six was when I first started daydreaming. I would listen to a song I liked, pace around, hold a hair band and act like I'm some rock star. My child hood wasn't that great. I was an introvert so I would definitely have a hard time expressing my thoughts and desires. I was a quiet kid, fat, and a slow learner. I got bullied for being fat, my mom used to compare me to other people as a little girl, and nobody thought I was as cute as the other kids. In grade 4, things changed up a bit for me. I met a girl who was big like me, we had similar taste in music and things were great. My parents had a problem with it because they thought that she was a bad influence. So ever since then, I had serious fights with my parents. Then, at the age of eleven, I got molested. I was really traumatized for some time but eventually I did get over it. My daydreams were still there. I would pace to music all the time. And at night, I would get sexual dreams. Some were of being loved, others were of being raped or of being sexually influenced by a good looking man. Then the years in middle school weren't that great. Me and my bestfriends stopped being friends and I did get bullied a lot that year by a whole bunch of girls that once were my friends. Eventually I made up with one of the girls and I made peace with the rest of the girls but no matter how much they reached out to me to be a friend to me(one of them even apologized to me), I could never open up to them and to some level I even feared them. It's like my subconcious mind keeps telling me to stay away or to not talk to them. That was the year that I also stopped talking to everyone that I once talked to. I distanced myself from everyone and I became the awkwardly quiet girl that sat at the back of the classroom. After that, when I was thirteen, I did find two girls that I became good friends with. They were outcasts like me and they had supernatural beliefs and they would always claim to see things. That was a very wierd but fun year for me because that was definitely where some of my maladaptive daydreaming came from. In grade 8 though, one of the girls joined the "popular group" and the other girl and I drifted apart and I would get bullied and once again, I was an out cast. I would be bullied of being lost and fat. I would zone out a lot by the way. I couldn't pay attention at all in school and I was known as the lost girl. All through out middle school, I would also have fights with my parents and it was almost on a regular basis. I would sometimes get hit by my dad. And because I resented my parents so much I would constantly release my anger and frustration on them and that would just add fuel to the fire. My daydreams were still quite maladaptive. I had sexual fantasies. Some of them were sorta sadistic and some of them were just about a man making love to me especially since grade 8 was the year that I was introduced to ****(although **** does not satisfy me at all now). When I wasn't going to bed, I would pace around to music and daydream about all sorts of things. Things like being a character on one of my favourite tv shows or and idealized version of myself. It would be like a movie in my head. In some of my daydreams, I expressed my feelings and thoughts(something I have an extremely hard time doing). Some of them were also sadistic. For example after watching the movie, Jennifer's body, I would daydream about getting kidnapped for some devilish ritual and some guys would inflict pain on me like cut my wrists or abuse me. Then some how I would escape and that would make me feel some sort of empowerment. Anyways, in grade 9, the girl who drifted apart from me in grade 8 apologized and we became bestfriends. It would always be the two of us. She always made me laugh and I loved how childish she was. It was like she brought out the inner child within myself. Yes she had her flaws, but I always forgave her for whatever she did and because she had her flaws and I was also very insecure at that time so I dealt with whatever drama that she caused. She made me feel in a way that was indescripable actually. She'd give me all the attention that I would often crave and she would provide me with unconditional love, and acceptance. Anyways, grade 9 went off pretty great. But that was also the year that my dad passed away and he actually passed away a day after we got into a fight. I remember ignoring him for the entire day, that day. It was suddenly, he actually had a heart attack. He wasn't a heart patient, nor did he have any record of any illnesses. After that, I did blame myself and felt immense guilt but my daydreaming would be a major coping mechanism for me. It would relax me and it would make me feel safe. This was a year and half ago. This year went along smoothly. I did lose my bestfriend though but it wasn't that much of a heart ache for me as much as I imagined. She ended up lying and trying to create a fight with two of my other friends. I had enough of the drama so I left her. Anyways grade 10 did went smoothly but maladaptive daydreaming still seems to be a huge problem. I still have my sexual fantasies along with the ones I have while pacing around in my room. I have fantasy worlds of my own, some of them are of tv shows, others just plots that I have made on my own. Just like you, I wish they were real. At times, I feel as if I don't feel any emotion. Like while writing this, I didn't cry one tear at all. I don't know what disorder I have or even if I have one. I have searched for everything from avoidant personality disorder, schrizophrenia, dissociative personality disorder, narcistic personality disorder to fantasy prone personality. I have no idea what's wrong with me. I have some social anxiety and at the moment, I would say that I only have two friends. The rest are just acquantances that are nice to me. I don't get bullied and I am no longer an out cast but sometimes the daydreaming does get in between my relationships like today one of my friends said that she feels like I am distancing myself away from her and that our "freindship is ******." Then I felt really upset and I went looking up blogs that I could relate to. So thanks for sharing your story. Mine is pretty long I know but I just felt like sharing my story and letting it all out.

Thankyou for sharing your truths, you're welcome to write as long as you need to. You have had some things happen to you that need a way to deal with them. Daydreaming as a child can be quite a good way of escaping from bad feelings. It is really not maladaptive until it stops you living your life. It can even be a good thing, giving you imagination for creative writing, song/music writing or art.

People who have suffered from sexual abuse as children can feel really different and wonder what is wrong with them. You are not different, you have just been hurt and your differences are just your ways of surviving the bad feelings from being hurt. Problems trusting people are because your trust was broken as a child. You haven't described anything to hint you have a personality disorder or psychosis. Avoidant personality traits are often coping mechanisms for abused people, relating to the lack of trust. I have some avoidant traits, but don't have APD since I function fine in the real world. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is quite a severe condition that is hard to self diagnose. However you don't sound as though you have it, I'm very familiar with NPD since my abusing mother has it. Dissociation is not a personality disorder. In my opinion it is not even a disorder (it is called Dissociative Identity Disorder). It is a life saver. It is how young children subjected to repeated ongoing traumatising abuse from a caregiver are able to survive with being totally traumatised from day to day. At some point the person will get their dissociated parts back, but not till they are ready to cope with it. If you have parts, you don't need to do anything until you start to get that happening, then there are people who can help with it.

But for now, you can get help from support groups, and some organisations have set up workshops and free counselling for survivors of sexual abuse. There you may learn new ways to help to soothe yourself and deal with bad feelings.

Best wishes to you.

Thanks for the advice. I guess my sexual abuse wasn't that bad but it did scar me for quite a few days but I guess I got over it. Although, during that year, I hated being in the same room as grown men. As for my darker fantasies, I don't really know where they come from. It's retarded. I do have some pretty good fantasies that aren't dark and I think some of my sadistic fantasies were pretty long time ago but I really don't know where they come from. I do still get frequent sexual fantasies and just by daydreaming, I could satisfy myself llike my heart beat will quicken just by thinking about a certain fantasy of mine. I have read your post about your abuse. I'm really sorry for whatever you've been through. I really hope you the best wishes in life.

Hi daydreamingmadness, please do not think that your sexual abuse wasn't that bad. Your trust was betrayed. It doesn't matter if it was a little something or rape every day....your trust was betrayed! You were a child and someone took advantage. I'm sorry for what you went through. Please know that your pain is as important as anyone else's. Sending you love and light.