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#453239 - 11/11/13 01:09 PM Imagination
toddop Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 214
Loc: California
As with all survivors on this site, I have really been going through a lot of struggles and challenges lately. I have been recovering a lot of memories of the abuse that I suffered from my biological father. Nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks…you name it. It has been going off the rails.

In the face of this I find myself retreating a bit into my own world. When I get too overwhelmed, I will often pick up a book, or lose myself in writing stories of my own. My tastes run wide and varied, but I often find myself drawn to books of speculative fiction. Stories that reach out a bit from reality and incorporate a fantastical element, whether mysteries, science fiction, fantasy or just some element that takes it to a more surreal place. I think a lot of this stems from the need to escape the real world as a child who was being abused so badly.

The seeds of this were first sown when my mother read C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a bedtime story to me when I was a little boy. After that we read the entire series. And then I was hooked. I always imagined what my life would have looked like and how much better it may have been if I had found that wardrobe that spirited me off to another world. Then, I realized that I effectively did go to another world when I was reading or writing. From there, I read comic books, adventure stories, mysteries and anything that could whet my appetite for something “not of this world” that would take me away from the harsh reality of my own.

I was talking to my mother recently about my biological father and how different he became after she married him. They met in college and he seemed like a great guy who was very charismatic and caring. One of the first signs she said that she realized something was wrong was that he became adamant that she not read us fairy tales. She told me she would have understood that on some level if he was concerned about the violence in them, that they might cause nightmares, or something along those lines. But, it wasn’t that. He said he didn’t want us to read fairy tales because he didn’t want us to develop an imagination.

My biological father abused me sexually from sometime in very early childhood until I was 5. At that point he terminated parental rights and abandoned us. I struggle with a host of contradictory feelings around him leaving our lives. I have to say that hearing my mother say that about him made me just think that I really dodged a bullet. Not in terms of being free from the sexual abuse, which in itself was a blessing to be released from. But, in terms of what it would have meant for me as a creative and imaginative soul.

It is some form of poetic justice that not even knowing that about my biological father, I built a lifelong appreciation for imagination and creativity. It really brings me a tremendous sense of satisfaction to know that my imagination has been strong and active throughout my life, and in many instances was the saving grace that allowed me to escape the reality of his abuse, and further abuse from later perpetrators in my life.

Whether my mother actively cultivated this in me or not, I still feel it is mine and something I can own. I feel like it is a big middle finger to my biological father and all that he did to me. He surely would have taken even this from me if he had stayed in my life. I have no doubt he would have tried his best to extinguish and crush it. But he didn’t. It is something about myself that I feel I was able to retain. My imagination is the one area he could not touch or take away from me. It is quite simply, the seat of my power. And I am grateful to have retained that.

I have referred to the CSA that was perpetrated on me like a dark and inky dye that has been poured into the fabric of my being, staining everything. But, it seems I found a wide swath that was not hit by it. I wonder if there are other things that remain unscathed in myself and other survivors? Or things that we can reclaim from our perpetrators?
_________________________
Todd

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
-Albert Einstein

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#453257 - 11/11/13 04:28 PM Re: Imagination [Re: toddop]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1286
...


Edited by Chase Eric (11/21/13 11:11 AM)
_________________________



Click my pic to see why I'm here

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#453325 - 11/12/13 08:26 AM Re: Imagination [Re: toddop]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 596
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi toddop and Chase Eric,

I am so grateful to you toddop for posting this topic and to you Chase Eric for your response. I'm 64, sexually abused and physically abused and tortured by an internally raging and depraved mother, and sexually and physically abused by a raging bull father from ages 0-3 1/2. Mom had two more kids by that time so didn't need me as a sex toy any more and my father went to korea as a marine. My father most likely raped me at age 8--still completely blocked.

These early experiences plus being blessed with my parents' presence until I went away to college left me a very damaged person. I did not begin to remember paternal sexual abuse until age 53 and maternal abuse until age 63.

I have been unable for this whole lifetime to successfully manifest any of my personal and powerful creativity. HOWEVER, IT'S ALL STILL HERE AND IT IS ALL STILL ALIVE AND WELL. I did not know that until after I began to remember my abuse. Music--singing and playing piano--is a close second to breathing in terms of how important it is to me. The wonder, the awe, the passion, the independent ownership of music as a personal creative expression is as intact as it was the moment I sprang from the womb. It is a part of me that can never be separate from me. I am not able to express myself musically (or any other way really except right here, right now) in ways that work for me at this time. However, I know just as you both know that your personal creativity cannot be taken from you. It can be squelched for a time, even a long time in my case, but it cannot be destroyed.

I find it sad to think that some feel that being an adult and being responsible means losing the freshness and vibrancy of youth. Wonder and awe are not incompatible with increased age. I have deleted responsibility from my vocabulary and replace it with responsiveness. I pray that I am always responsive to my true nature. Yes, my true nature is still a challenge to access, but I feel it and I know it is alive and well. It does not die. Every time I walk THROUGH another one of my challenges I create a tiny bit more space for my authentic self. I do not feel this process is on a particular schedule. It is my nature to find MYSELF, and I move naturally in that direction as I am able.

Thank you both for the gift of this revelation to myself.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#453358 - 11/12/13 01:38 PM Re: Imagination [Re: toddop]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 315
Loc: Iowa, USA
Todd

Your post is so inspirational. It's very reassuring to see the changes in your messages over the past few months. You focus on your strengths and your resiliency and how they are helping you and defining you.

After reading your post, I recalled some things about my childhood that I hadn't thought about in decades. In elementary school, my teachers used to comment on the amount of time I would spend daydreaming in class. I remember just thinking about a lot of things - my life, what I wanted to be when I grew up, what it would have been like to live in a different time and place, traveling to outer space - things that required a lot of imagination.

When the priest abused me, it destroyed that part of me - my imagination and creativity. I withdrew from people and dropped out of a lot of activities. I stopped daydreaming. I just lost the ability to transport myself to a different place. In its place was nothing, just darkness and blankness. Art class used to be one of my favorite classes, but after 6th grade, I never took another art class again. I just missed that part of me, but didn't know how to get it back. The darkness, and shame kept me from dreaming and imagining. I was just a different kid, and maybe it made the teachers happy that I wasn't wasting time, but I wasn't the same, and I stayed that way for decades.

It wasn't until I released my secrets that the imagination returned. It wasn't conscious on my part, it just started to appear, little by little. I just happened to realize one day that I was dreaming about my future. It's a shame that the abuse effects were so profound. I'm so happy for you that you kept your imagination and that you were able to foster it. It is one of your greatest strengths and it helps define you. This is a great story. Keep writing about your progress Todd. It makes for great reading.

Dave

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#453548 - 11/13/13 08:33 PM Re: Imagination [Re: DavoSwim]
toddop Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 214
Loc: California
Wow, thanks guys for the excellent responses to my post. You have all certainly given me a lot to think about in relation to my original post on imagination.

Eirik
Thanks for sharing your personal recollections of the moment you said, "No more, I won’t be like them." That really touched me. I don’t know if I can narrow my reliance on imagination or fantasy to specific moments like that, but rather think it was a slow fade into another world as my mind struggled to deal with what was happening in reality.

Originally Posted By: Chase Eric
I looked at my left knee and made a pact with myself I never went back on.

Maybe that's been a curse. Maybe a strength.

I feel too I have been torn between viewing this as a curse or a gift. I am leaning toward gift. But, I am still struck with uncertainty of what to do with the boy parts I am uncovering, or boylike manners and behaviors I still cling to. Is the answer to teach them up as it is called? Or is it to let them run with carefree abandon? Or a little of both at the right time and place? I still feel like I am sorting that out, but I am running on fumes in terms of judgment around who I should be and what I should act like. I for one vote for you not to lose all of your fluffy bunnies. I think they really are a key to your heart. (P.S. I was just listening to Disarm the other day!)


Don
Thanks for sharing about your past abuse and family issues and how they impacted how you felt about yourself. Your response has been a revelation to me as well. I am heartened to hear that even if you have not acted on your creativity, you still have access to where it resides inside you. I think it will be key to unraveling and subsequently surviving as you work toward uncovering what happened to you. I was a late bloomer too in terms of getting memories, mine have finally been fleshing out in the past year.

Originally Posted By: don64
Wonder and awe are not incompatible with increased age. I have deleted responsibility from my vocabulary and replace it with responsiveness. I pray that I am always responsive to my true nature.

This meant so much for me to hear. I have often thought that my sense of wonder remained intact, despite the abuse and some harrowing lows off and on throughout the years. I really like how you have let go of responsibility and instead strive for responsiveness. There is such a hopeful aspect to that. Walking on through the recovery of abuse feels like walking into fire sometimes, but perhaps that is the only way to burn off the husk that we had to plaster around ourselves in order to survive, and finally reveal our inner selves and the authenticity that comes with it. I have full faith you will find and eventually come to love yourself, including the inner song and creativity that exists inside you.


Dave
Thanks for your response. Your kindness always lays across your words like a warm blanket. I too was a daydreamer. I had a killer memory and deep inquisitiveness, but lacked any sustained attention span to really capitalize on them. My heart breaks to hear you talk of how your dreaming and imagining were stolen from you by the abuse. The cuts of the CSA run deep indeed.

Originally Posted By: DavoSwim
It wasn't until I released my secrets that the imagination returned. It wasn't conscious on my part, it just started to appear, little by little. I just happened to realize one day that I was dreaming about my future.

With this statement, I feel you are on your way to mending the wounds to your imagination. You are seeing more doors of possibility around you now. Soon, I hope you will cautiously start to open them and see what lies on the other side. Then, you will pick one and you likely not recognize who you left on the other side of that doorway. You will become who you were meant to be.

Thanks again for the very thoughtful responses. You have given me much to think about and consider here.
_________________________
Todd

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
-Albert Einstein

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