Posted by: Marie | March 27, 2009

(37) Allowing the memories to come

Post #37
[Journal entry written to my therapist on Tuesday, May 27, 2008]

Hi, Mark –

Well, I have been slowly shifting my thoughts and energy back to my own personal journey in the last 24 hours – it does feel weird, almost selfish to move back into a “normal” mode after the tornadic destruction we have seen this week.

Before all the excitement, I emailed you a question about the role-playing – I have some major concerns about it.  However, before I get too freaked out about it, I thought I might first find out what is involved – it might not be as bad as I’m imagining.

Our last session brought a lot of “stuff” to the surface – I’m back into the cycle of crying every time I have a quiet moment.  As a result, I’m becoming aware of the intensity of the associated emotion and am very concerned about how that might show up in a role-playing scenario (at least the scenario I am picturing).

I can identify two situations that I absolutely would not allow:

1) You push me to the “exploding point” and I get physically violent (cause bodily harm to you, damage to your property and/or collateral harm to myself): I’m concerned that you could push me to that point without knowing until it was too late – I’m well practiced at keeping control up to a certain point by either stifling the anger or by leaving the immediate area – but after that point, I’m unsure of my ability to resist becoming violent – and, I know from experience that, when I am violent, I’m capable of doing more than you are capable of stopping.

2) Anything that encroaches on my physical space: Obviously, you would never allow a re-enactment of something like sexual abuse, but I’m wondering if you might want to re-enact something like physical intimidation or the “whippings” – or if you might want to teach me about positive non-sexual touch – that all feels unsafe to me in the context of role-playing – which brings us back to my need to maintain control of who comes close to me or touches me, and the manner in which that contact occurs.

Then, I have a “fuzzy” fear that probably needs to be dealt with – it just scares me to think about dealing with it . . . As a kid, the only place I could allow myself to feel (and cry about, and talk to myself about) strong emotions was in my bed, under the covers – I always slept with my head under the covers so I could maintain that safe cocoon.

So, the thought of being in an open space (like your office), in the presence of another person (you) and dramatically expressing my feelings feels like more than I can handle . . . or maybe I just don’t have a clue how to begin . . . ??


During the night before the tornado, I had a dream in which I was visiting the town in which I grew up, and my car broke down.  I had no money with which to get it repaired – for whatever reason, it was disproportionately disastrous for me and I was very scared about what would happen as a result.  I walked into the town’s only restaurant and found a group of people I had known as a kid.  They offered to help me and promised that they would take care of everything and that I had nothing to worry about.  I woke up with a sense of peace on Thursday, knowing that, whatever happened, it would be okay because I had community support.

Then, of course, the tornado hit Thursday noon.  During the next several days, I ran non-stop, pulling together community resources that had not yet been accessed by the Red Cross and the Disaster Command Center to address urgent needs of some special-needs folks – and I experienced incredible community support over and over again (true to my dream).

I finally got some downtime on Monday.  When I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes, I discovered I was quite horny (due to stress? time of the month?) and in the mood for a gentle, loving fantasy (because I was still basking in the generous community support), so I went with it.  I imagined relaxing back into the arms of someone who really cares for and loves me, feeling his breath in my ear, letting him touch me all over.  As I was imagining this, I suddenly remembered doing that same thing with “him” when I was really young – I suddenly remembered the gentle, enjoyable part of my molestation.

I instinctively knew that, if I allowed myself to continue remembering, I would have access to more of the memory.  However, it would require remembering (and re-experiencing) the pleasure – that I would have to allow that historical pleasure and my current disgust to co-exist in a singular experience.  It would require walking that fine line between pleasure and disgust – the line that defines the dichotomy that has created such a struggle for me.

The following is a record of that remembering – the memory feels like it is actually a compilation of multiple experiences that occurred when I was four, and maybe even during the months before my fourth birthday – I’m guessing this is what “usually” happened.


I always wore my Sunday clothes and I always had my play clothes with me in the Safeway paper grocery bag – I would ride in the back seat of their big, fancy car, the paper bag on the seat next to me – cream colored seats – smooth and slick – I slid side-to-side when we went around corners.  He had to ignore me and talk with his wife on the drive to their house – I hated that he paid attention to her.  I couldn’t see where we were going – I was too short to see out the windows – the ride always made me a bit sick to my stomach because the car felt like it was floating, not bumpy like our VW Fastback.

At the house, she would set the table for dinner.  He talked to her some more, or sometimes he disappeared and I was left with her.  She would ask me a few polite questions, but I could tell that she didn’t really want to be bothered with me.  That was fine with me – my purpose for being there had nothing to do with her, anyway.

I would walk around their living room and look at the books and the knick-knacks on the shelves.  Their living room was all neutral colors – cream, tan and brown.  I remember running my fingers over the dark brown leather of the big recliner – I could stand behind it and peek – watch the two of them.  It was a pretty house, but not much color.  Everything was so pretty that I felt I couldn’t touch anything – besides, everything was well out of my reach – so high.

I wanted lunch to be over quickly so I didn’t have to talk to her anymore.  I wanted him for myself – he was mine, not hers.  She was always nice, but her niceness was fake – she was always trying to pretend that she didn’t have a headache.  I was always glad when dinner was finished and she went to take a nap – she always did.

[From this point of the story and beyond, I don’t have clear memories, just a sense that this is what happened – it feels like a movie I saw a long time ago and am now having trouble remember all the details, but I can remember most of it and I can fill in the gaps from “gut feel”.  Even though the memories are in “first person” (they are happening to me), I’m emotionally detached from it, like it happened to someone else.]

After lunch, he would take me into a bedroom. He would stand me up on the bed so I was near the edge of the bed, facing away from him.  He would stand behind me and wrap his arms around me.  He would put his face into my hair and whisper that I was his special girl – that someday we would get married.

He would touch me – all over – his hands were gentle and moved slowly – his hands were warm.  He would be whispering loving words in my ear – how I was special and pretty.  He would eventually reach under my dress . . . I would start feeling that warm tingling feeling . . . I would lay my head back into the crook of his neck and close my eyes . . .

I didn’t like what came after that, but I knew it was the part that made him feel good – it was only fair that he got to feel good, too.  I would sing “Jesus Loves Me” in my head – I could think about other things and then I didn’t have to hurt so much – and, it didn’t last very long.  I did it because I loved him.

I didn’t like afterwards – he wouldn’t pay much attention to me then.  He would hand me my play clothes and tell me to get dressed – he always seemed irritated with me then.  I would play by myself, maybe “read” a book – it was a long time before we could leave to go back to church for the evening service.  When we got to church, in the time before the service, he would let me sit next to him on the piano bench while he practiced, or sometimes he would play a song so I could stand on the stage and sing it – I liked that part because I was his special girl again – everyone at church could see that I was his special girlfriend.  I was going to marry him.

– Marie

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