Daydreaming & Dissociating to Survive Childhood Incest

Victims of child sexual abuse often survive through daydreaming and dissociating. The second chapter of Confessions of a Trauma Therapist is titled “My Life Goes On Without Me.”

It starts like this:

“I daydreamed my way through grade two, the year my father came home from war for good. Most of the time I imagined being the queen of the fairies. The plots varied, but had one prevailing theme. I was the beautiful, dearly loved queen who had the power to find answers to everyone’s pain. (Does that sound like the origins of a psychotherapist?)

At home I played a game over and over. I lined up my huge collection of dolls and stuffed animals. They became my pupils. I was the teacher, scolding and punishing them for being so stupid. I yelled at them and shook them as hard as I could. Nobody clued into my rage, although my mother did find my behaviour puzzling since I was never strapped or yelled at in school.

………………

‘Mary Kay’s always daydreaming,’ my mother often mused. It was just something I did – part of my personality – and it wasn’t a good character trait. It was something I needed to change. But I couldn’t.

I had no idea why my head fogged over and my body went numb every time I needed to think. I just knew I couldn’t shake my head clear to focus on long division or memorizing verses from the Bible.”

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