Posted by: Marie | March 4, 2009

(23) Was I abused but don’t remember?

Post #23
[Journal entry written to my therapist on Thursday, April 10, 2008]

Hi, Mark –

In our last session, we briefly spoke about how early childhood masturbation (like mine at age 5 or 6) can be a sign of sexual abuse – I mentioned that I have no memory of anything like that and that my ignorance of the mechanics of sex supports the absence of abuse.  However, I did some research this week on how normal it is for a female to start masturbating that early . . .

I didn’t really find an answer to that, but I did come across all kinds of info on early childhood sexual abuse and how amnesia for the event(s) is pretty common if it happened before age six.  This is bringing up red flags all over the place for me.  How real is the possibility I was abused and just don’t remember it?

Is this something I should be concerned about, or should we just let it go and trust that my lack of memory reflects reality?  I mean, if there is something to this, is there value in looking into it more?  It would explain a bunch of what is going on with me . . . I guess I don’t want to get worked up over nothing, but if there is something there, I think it would be better to know and to heal it . . . what is your inclination?  Is there even a way to ever really know the truth about what did or didn’t happen?

In thinking through this, I have been going back into my childhood memories, trying to remember when I first “woke up” sexually . . there are a few things that have come to my attention.  Again, I don’t want to make a big deal out of nothing, but it seems worthwhile to pass along this stuff to you and let you determine their relative importance to this matter . . .

There have been a number of men in our church and in my extended family who “gave me the creeps” when I was a kid . . . I felt that I needed to be wary of them even though I didn’t know what might happen if I let my guard down.  Now, as an adult, I know that is the feeling I get when I am around men who have had issues with molesting children.

There is some stuff having to do with my dad . . . while my dad never said anything about it, not even to my mom, we (mom & all four siblings) believe my dad was sexually abused as a kid.  He never liked to be touched (except by immediate family) – even holding hands for prayer at church freaked him out enough to cause him to change churches.  Also, he was extremely homophobic.

My dad was always very careful about touching us – he would hug/hold us as young kids, but as soon as we girls were about 9 or 10, he stopped holding us (he would pat us on the shoulder or give us a quick hug) and stopped spanking us.

–––––––––––––––––––––

You asked me to think about the characteristics associated with the man in my masturbation fantasies.  When I try to look at that, I only see a faceless man – other than the fact that he is larger and significantly older than me (I am always young in my fantasies), he basically has no character.  There is no communication, no interaction verbally or emotionally, between us in my fantasy – I am as faceless to him as he is to me – he uses me and then leaves.

So, when I think about your idea that my rape fantasy could be about my wanting to be so desirable that a man cannot help but “consume” me, that concept seems to fit on some level, but it doesn’t align fully.  It seems the concept would be associated with a “quality guy”, not a faceless stranger, and that it would be associated with emotional intimacy, to some extent.  (Or, is that not necessarily accurate?)  Instead, my fantasies involve violence, physical pain and anonymity.

I would like for your concept to fit – it sounds like a healthy way of functioning – but I think my fantasies may be coming from a darker place.  (Maybe not, though, I keep going back and forth on this – I’m confused – this all increases the number of red flags I’m seeing on this whole deal.)

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A couple of weeks ago, you said that you thought my experience of feeling like a victim went back further than the stuff with Jesse – I agree with you.  I remember feeling like I was powerless to move or to help myself when my dad was whipping me with the belt – he made me stand with my hands on the nightstand (so I wouldn’t put my hands on my butt) and he made me keep my legs straight (so they wouldn’t buckle and cause me to drop to my knees).  I had to stand there and just take it.

There was a period of time where, when he would get ready to hit me with the belt, I would be so scared I would pee my pants.  He solved that problem by making me go to the bathroom beforehand – but it didn’t stop him from doing the thing that scared the pee out of me.

Is it possible that this type of (abuse?) could cause what I have been and am experiencing – as opposed to sexual abuse?

– Marie


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