Dissociation And Md - Surviving Childhood AbuseWarning, sexual content (not graphic or desc
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 41-45, F 12 Responses 8 Aug 23, 2012