Posted by: Marie | November 16, 2010

(445) More puzzle pieces

Post #445
[Private journal entry written on Friday, May 14, 2010]

I have been thinking about what Edward said about how the influence of my childhood church’s teachings could have made it plausible for someone to teach me that “sex” and “having babies” were one and the same – and how that might be why my earlier sexual fantasies were more about having babies and less about intercourse. My gut feeling is his suggestion is accurate. But, I logically didn’t know how it could be accurate. So, I’ve been pondering . . .

I have long believed I took the beautiful, natural idea of sexual intercourse between two people in love – an idea introduced to me by my mother during a healthy conversation about “the facts of life” when I was nine years old – and turned that idea into violent, perverted fantasies for the satisfaction of my deviant sexual desires because I am an organically bad human being.

Photo by Martin Chen

It has only been in the last two years that I have started recovering memories of being molested at about age four and that I have started to consider the possibility the violent fantasies existed because of that molestation. If I knew for sure I had been molested, it would make that possibility a little easier to swallow. Because I don’t know for sure if I was molested or not, I still have doubts about the origin of the violent fantasies.

One reason I have trouble believing the violent fantasies are a result of being molested is because I started using the fantasies when I was nine years old – shortly after my mom gave me “the talk”. If I were molested at age four, why did the fantasies, and the attempts at “telling” my story with the Barbies and charts, not start until age nine?

I understand I wouldn’t have had the clinical terminology or a clear understanding of the biology and the physiological mechanics at age four or five, but I would have had violent pictures of some kind attached to my masturbation even then. I remember masturbating as young as four or five, but I don’t remember having violent images or sensations attached to that masturbating.

Why not? Why didn’t the violence get added to my fantasies until after “the talk” with my mom at age nine? The answer that has always seemed the most logical to me is that I am wired perversely, and that the perversion – as demonstrated with the Barbies and the wall charts – kicked in as soon as I was introduced to the biological aspects of sex.

I have very clear memories of the violent rape fantasies associated with the wall charts. But, my memories around my playing with the Barbies is not nearly as clear. After this last session with Edward, I began questioning the content and the timing of my playing with the Barbies. I allowed myself to go back in time and relive the thoughts and emotions and bodily sensations I experienced during that playing.

I was shocked to realize the Barbie doll fantasies involved only having babies and didn’t involve any sexual acts. It still involved forced submission and pain . . . but pain only within the context of having babies, not having sex. Furthermore, I was shocked to remember playing with my Barbies in this way when we lived at a different house – a house we lived in before I had “the talk” with my mom.

That means I was associating forced submission and pain to sex (and/or to having babies) long before my mom taught me the biological facts. That blows away my long-held belief my fantasies came from my own organic perversion.

It makes sense my fantasies would have been about having babies if someone defined sex for me as “having babies”. It makes sense my fantasies would have shifted from having babies to having sex once my mom gave me the biological facts.

The only reason I can think of that sex/having babies would have become associated with violence and pain for me would be if I were molested. We didn’t have a TV and our home environment was very puritan. We were protected from “evil” influences. Sex was talked about only in hushed tones and only in tightly controlled conversations.

If I were molested, the molester would have needed a way of explaining and justifying it to me that fit in well with my Christian upbringing so I would see our behavior as normal and so I wouldn’t raise any alarms. It makes sense he would have told me we were working towards having babies together – what more honorable goal could a little girl have in a puritan environment?

“X” made a big deal about me being his girlfriend. He often bought me little gifts like jewelry. I told everyone in the church I was going to marry him. I hated his wife for being in the way. If I thought he and I were going to get married and have babies together . . . if I thought we were already doing things that would allow us to have babies some day . . . well, it all fits.

It would make sense my fantasies would shift from the Barbies to the wall charts at age nine. The Barbies were about having babies but did not involve sex. The wall charts were about both sex and having babies. Shortly after that, the “having babies” part totally dropped out of my fantasies and they became about forced submission to painful intercourse.

Furthermore, the reason my mom sat down with me for “the talk” was because I couldn’t figure out how women’s bodies knew to not have babies until the women were married. I remember being very worried I was going to have a baby before I was married which would bring great shame to our family. (I don’t specifically remember why I was worried about that – but I can guess.)

At first, my mom answered that girls’ bodies couldn’t have babies until they grew into women. But, I then asked about the women who didn’t get married as soon as they grew into women – how did their bodies know to wait until they did get married? That is when she sat me down for “the talk”.

Anyway . . I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else. But, for me, it feels like a bunch of pieces of the puzzle fell into place. It makes the possibility I was molested more plausible.


Responses

  1. Amazing work, Marie. How wonderful to start to realize that no, you are not a bad and flawed person. I completely agree with Edward’s suggestion that you were trying to tell the adults in your life what was going on (with the dolls and charts), in the only way you knew how. This very tendency is the reason why therapists use play therapy with children … because the way children interact with playthings often speaks volumes about their inner lives.

    • Hey, David –

      It seems like it should be such an easy thing . . . to realize I’m not a bad and flawed person and to shift my beliefs. Logically I know, but it is really a challenge to shift my core beliefs about myself. I guess it takes time and persistance.

      Thanks for the supportive words!

      – Marie

  2. Hi Marie, this all makes sense to me. It does seem like the pieces are fitting together for you.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      – Marie

  3. Hi, sorry I haven’t written for a long time, but I have been following when I’ve been able. I just wanted to say, I have had similar discussions with my T about this, for me this “play” started at around 8. I too, always thought this was the mark that I was evil and bad. If my memories are right, the major stuff that happened to me was between 3 and 7. So I too didn’t understand why I would act this out so much later.

    But in discussion with my T we came up with a few hypothesis, which now that I am doing my own study in Child Development, I would agree with even more. She said that a child over 7 processes things very differently from a younger child. They have more understanding of the world, and need to attempt to fit their experience into that – even if they have “forgotten” about the incidents. So as you get older you have to find ways of managing it. At 8+ play acting it out would be one way.

    Like you said, because of the bad stuff that happened, your sexual awareness is turned on earlier, and one of the aspects of it that brings such shame etc is that even a 4 year old’s body is designed to respond physically. And so after being introduced to that feeling very young, if the bad stuff happens, so too does that “good” feeling. And so some children recreate things in an attempt to repeat that nice bit of the feeling, except what also still stays attached is the shame.

    And finally, as successfully as we have managed to “forget” about the bad stuff, it is obviously still there. And sometimes events – like your mother sitting down to give you the talk about the facts of life, or for me it was something different, can trigger those horrible memories to start to come to the surface. Either in an attempt to understand them one one level, or in order to suppress them again, such fantasies or games make sense. So for me playing the game, was about ME being the one who did the hurting, who did the controlling. It wasn’t happening TO me but BY me. So this changed the images etc in my head away from what had actually happened.

    Anyway I hope that makes sense, and I’m really glad that you have finally got a safe space to work through some of this.

    • Hi, Beautiful Stones –

      The process children use to handle trauma is really amazing . . . I found all of your information and insight very useful and valuable.

      It helps make the possibility my memories are real more believable when there is a logical explanation for my historical and present behavior. I feel sometimes that I have no control over this stuff. It helps when I can go back in time and see where it started.

      Thank you for sharing so much with us!

      – Marie


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