I've been holding this thin veil of denial of how extreme my home environment was as well as how extreme my symptoms were/are. I have always been embarrassed and ashamed about the way that I played with my stuffed animals and dolls. But, I started writing and talking about it in therapy last week. I know what the implications of how I played are and don't want that reality to sink in, but like with my "new" diagnosis, I really can't look at it in any other way.
In play projection is used, operating unconsciously, in which what is emotionally unacceptable in the self is unconsciously rejected and attributed (projected) to others or to toys like stuffed animals and dolls in children to be integrated later. For children they are given the opportunity to play out his accumulated feelings of tension, frustration, insecurity, aggression, fear, bewilderment, confusion or to reenact what was done to them.
I know this; yet, I am ashamed and embarrassed to reveal it to you for fear that you will think I was a disturbed child. Well, the truth, is that I was a disturbed child and what child wouldn't be growing up how I did. I also know that if I saw a child playing like this that I would wonder how are we going to remove the kid as soon as possible from the home. I'm going to close my eyes now, so I can't see how bad it was. (Doesn't work, just flashbacks...well, it was worth a try. It seems to work for kids, but I'm not anymore. I am an adult still trying to deal with the world with my child defenses.)
The following is a Wordle that I did on how I played with my stuffed animals. I shared the information with my therapist. One of the disturbing things, is that there were stuffed animals that I was afraid of due to their violent nature toward each other and me or the suicidal ones or the homicidal ones. This is not what children growing up in a healthy environment project onto their stuffed animals. Most children only project comforting things which is why they are soft and cuddly. Most of the words on it is what I did, my projections or some type of reenactments of what was done to me. And, some are just feelings I had about them or my home such as being angry, frustrated, scared of some of them, thinking something was wrong with me, bad and ashamed.
(Click on the picture for a larger view)
Further adding to the tearing down of my denial and my shame is how I played with my Ken and Barbie dolls. I also had two others that were much smaller, so I made them the children. I made huge house extensions using my children’s encyclopedias. One of the smaller dolls was the child the other one was usually a friend. Barbie used to yell, hit and slap the child. I also would hit her or put her in a corner or throw her across the room. Ken would undress her and use his belt or a kitchen utensil to hit her all over, but usually laying face down on the bed. Sometimes, she would be on her back with her legs up and hit. Sometimes, clothing or string would be used to tie her down. Sometimes, they would have sex together. Sometimes, I would put her in the corner of my closet and close the door for days because I couldn't stand to see her.
Shows a lot of reenactment and projection especially of feeling bad and needing to be punished and self-hatred. I don't want to know that I played that way, but it isn't a repressed memory. I have always known that I played this way and just never wanted to see the implications even though I knew. Now, it works to verify what really happened and I don't want to look at it. I was a disturbed child for good reasons. I feel a little sadness, pain and compassion as I remember playing that way. It would be disturbing for me now to watch a child play in that manner. I would want to know, "what the hell happened to this kid!"