Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)

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footprint

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Years ago, there was a book called "The Blind Spot."  One of the things mentioned in there was how we can have memories of thing, repressed memories I suppose, and then one day they pop into our heads in a new way---it's as if we always knew the memory, but we never really thought about it until a certain point in time.

In any case, I woke up this morning and looked at my 6 year old daughter, and a very vivid memory popped into my head.  This is a memory that I was totally aware of and had remembered it over the years, but had never really thought about it, if that makes sense.

I'm writing about it here because I do not know what to make of it.  Like many of my memories, I know it reflects the dysfunction in my family, but there is something related to how my body was treated when I was 6 in it, and it makes me very uncomfortable.  I don't want to make anyone else here uncomfortable, but for those who read it, I want to know what you make of it.

Here's the memory.  When I was 6, we moved to a new town.  My father was a professor at the university there, and my parents (both uNPD) quickly became friends with a couple who lived across the street because the husband was in the same department as my father.  The couple had one child who was my age, a daughter.  In short time, it became clear that the girl was weird and a bit mean.  One day, she was walking alone down the block with a big stick in her hand, hitting an old man walking in front of her.  The man was cringing from her and trying to scuttle along as fast as he could but he was very old.  She kept whacking him with the stick.  We were in the house and my mom said not to do anything, so none of us did.   

It was the general consensus in our house that the girl was mean, and she had been mean to me too, but NPD parents still wanted me to be friends with her because she was the daughter of one of NPDF's colleagues.  NPDM used to send me over to their house to play with her.  As an easygoing kid, I would play with her, or really any kid.  One day, she wanted me to go down to a basement playroom she had.  We went there and she had this big tent that was like a rocket ship.  I thought it was very cool and went into it, so we were playing in that.  So then the girl said that she wants us to play without our clothes on, and of course I don't remember all of the details, but we're playing in the rocket ship with no clothes on.  I have two kids now, and I know kids do things in the nude sometimes and also like to explore with each other, so I'm not that concerned about that bit of the story. 

But what happened next was beyond normal, at least that's what I'm thinking now.  I was lying down and the girl punched me as hard as she could in the vagina.  It was very painful and I started to cry.  I got dressed and when I looked later, I had blood in my underpants.  The girl never said sorry, and I don't remember much else of being at the girl's house that day.  However, I do remember going home, and this is what I think is most important with the memory.  When I got home, I immediately told my mother what the girl had done.  I showed her the blood in my underpants.  NPDM immediately got mad and told me that I "shouldn't be playing like that."  She was really angry at me for playing in the nude, something that I remember at the time I hadn't thought was such a big deal...what I thought was a big deal was that the girl had punched me in the private parts. NPDM never did anything about it except to make me feel bad, and I felt incredibly ashamed and guilty, as if I had been very bad. Then NPDM never said anything about it again and acted like it had never happened.  My parents had me play with the girl many more times---there are other things to say about the girl, but that's all I want to say for now.

I realized today that I have felt incredibly guilty about this my whole life.  But in looking at my daughter this morning, I suddenly realized that a 6 year old could not be guilty of this, and I'm feeling as if this is some weird case of physical/sexual abuse, even though the other child was my age.  If my daughter had come to me and told me what I told my mother, I would have been absolutely enraged at the other girl, and at the girl's parents.  I never would have let my daughter play with her again.   I would also have been deeply concerned that such a violent act against my daughter's body might do some sort of permanent damage to her, physically and psychologically.  Knowing me, I think that I probably would have called our daughter's pediatrician if I'd seen blood in my daughter's underwear and heard she'd been punched there.  Perhaps this is overreacting, I do not know. This is the memory.  What happened to me?

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blues_cruise

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 10:18:48 AM »
Firstly, :hug: :hug: :hug: My immediate reaction reading your story was pure horror at how your parents completely failed to protect you and I'm so sorry you didn't get the security and safety you deserved.

I realized today that I have felt incredibly guilty about this my whole life.  But in looking at my daughter this morning, I suddenly realized that a 6 year old could not be guilty of this, and I'm feeling as if this is some weird case of physical/sexual abuse, even though the other child was my age.  If my daughter had come to me and told me what I told my mother, I would have been absolutely enraged at the other girl, and at the girl's parents.  I never would have let my daughter play with her again.   I would also have been deeply concerned that such a violent act against my daughter's body might do some sort of permanent damage to her, physically and psychologically.  Knowing me, I think that I probably would have called our daughter's pediatrician if I'd seen blood in my daughter's underwear and heard she'd been punched there.  Perhaps this is overreacting, I do not know. This is the memory.  What happened to me?

I think you're right, it was physical and sexual abuse, even if the girl didn't realize it. I think the really disturbing thing was that no-one explained to that mean child how wrong it was so she would have been none the wiser about the severity of what she did. It's the same with her hitting that poor old man with a stick. How could people watch that and not do anything? I don't have children but I do have maternal instinct: I just can't imagine being told by your daughter that she was badly hurt like this and attacking her for it rather than protecting her.  :sadno: You're absolutely not overreacting, you have every right to feel upset and angry about what happened to you. :hug:

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footprint

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 02:46:51 PM »
Thank you very much for your reply, blues_cruise. Yes, one of the big reactions I have to my own memory is that my mother did not protect me at all. I've made many realizations about my own childhood after becoming a parent.  Things that I normalized over the course of my life now seem so abnormal and abusive since I have kids of my own and understand what children need and deserve.  It is sad to me that I basically assumed things were always my fault when I was growing up, and that I felt ashamed about so much at such a young age.  I have been feeling a renewed sense of anger at my mother for not protecting me with this particular situation, and very sad when I look at my daughter and think that I was so young not only when that happened, but that I had to feel the way that I did.  I cannot imagine my daughter carrying these burdens on her shoulders, and yet those are the burdens that I carried when I was her age.

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all4peace

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 02:52:48 PM »
My instinct is identical to bluescruise. You should have been heard, seen and protected! That story is disturbing on so many levels! That girl had some serious problems, and I'm sorry that you were forced to play with her. It sounds like your M was more concerned about the family's beneficial??? relationship with that family than you being seriously hurt! I'm so sorry for little-girl you and glad for your D that you are a good mom. Six is so very young, and while I agree with you that playing in the nude is normal at that age, what that other girl did to you isn't normal whatsoever but terribly traumatic. Your mom should have comforted you, had you checked physically by a doctor (if that weren't further traumatizing), and checked in with you over the years to be sure you were ok psychologically with processing that event, and should definitely have considered talking to the other girl's mom or at least never making you play with her again.

With PD parents, it is amazing what memories come back to us when we're ready for them, or our kids are certain ages...

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PDinStereo

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 11:58:33 PM »
I think you are absolutely right to call what you experienced at the hands of that girl physical and sexual abuse. (FWIW, WebMD says "Sexual abuse is very different from normal sexual play between children who have not reached puberty. Normal sexual play between children of similar ages is usually touching and looking. No force is used."), and I'd call what your mother did neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. IMO, shaming a child for being a victim of sexual abuse is absolutely sexual abuse - no different than if she'd been actually been there and done nothing and shamed you. Absolutely she should have been seriously concerned, and should have taken you to your pediatrician - and a child psychologist too.

The other thing I thought of reading your story is that the other girl displayed clear signs of being a victim of physical and sexual abuse, and adults are ethically obligated to report those signs to the appropriate authorities in order to get that child the protection and help that she evidently needed as well - and to prevent other children like you from becoming secondary victims of whoever was physically and/or sexually abusing the other girl - your mother could probably have alerted CPS without even outing herself as the reporting person.

I'm so sorry that happened to you. I know what you mean about technically remembering something but sort of not remembering it. You did a better job describing it than I've ever been able to, and now I understand it a little better myself - thank you for that. I have a fair number of events similar to what you describe here - I find them very confusing and hard to categorize and process and don't think I could narrate any of them as clearly as you did. Wishing you strength and courage as you work through this memory. Be sure to do something nice for yourself!

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footprint

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 11:59:01 AM »
Thank you very much for your replies, all4peace and PDinStereo.  The more I think about it, the more I realize how complicit NPDM was in this trauma on my body and psyche. Now for the kicker, NPDM got her BA in education and MA in counseling.  She worked for years as an elementary school guidance counselor and then as a middle school guidance counselor.  After years of employment in this, she was finally asked to resign following a "scandal" involving a 14 year old girl.  That girl went to my mother, her counselor, and told her that she'd had sex with three older boys the weekend before.  If the girl was going specifically to the school guidance counselor to tell the counselor about the incident, clearly there was a problem.  I have no clue what the girl told my mother since NPDM just rehashed everything to say that the girl was clearly having fun with boys.  At work, NPDM just didn't say anything to anyone and acted like the incident the girl had told her about had never happened.  Eventually, the parents found out about it and also found out that the girl had told my mother. 

It is the counselor's DUTY to notify parents and authorities when I minor comes with such information. Since NPDM hadn't done this, they had clear reasons to fire her but let her resign instead.  NPDM was infuriated at the girl and would call her, "that little whore" in our home when talking about what happened.  So yes, this is my mother, the counselor, the educator, the abuser.


The other thing I thought of reading your story is that the other girl displayed clear signs of being a victim of physical and sexual abuse, and adults are ethically obligated to report those signs to the appropriate authorities in order to get that child the protection and help that she evidently needed as well - and to prevent other children like you from becoming secondary victims of whoever was physically and/or sexually abusing the other girl - your mother could probably have alerted CPS without even outing herself as the reporting person.

TOTALLY!  The girl who violated me had most likely been abused herself.  Most people know this, and with an MA in counseling children, my NPDM clearly should have known this, I am certain that NPDM did know it, but she did nothing.

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SaltwareS

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 12:16:33 PM »
PD parents are so strange, and that little girl sounds horrid. Sorry you had to deal with that.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 12:35:37 PM by SaltwareS »

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PDinStereo

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 06:58:30 PM »
Now for the kicker, NPDM got her BA in education and MA in counseling.  She worked for years as an elementary school guidance counselor and then as a middle school guidance counselor.

No way!

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After years of employment in this, she was finally asked to resign following a "scandal" involving a 14 year old girl.  That girl went to my mother, her counselor, and told her that she'd had sex with three older boys the weekend before.  If the girl was going specifically to the school guidance counselor to tell the counselor about the incident, clearly there was a problem.  I have no clue what the girl told my mother since NPDM just rehashed everything to say that the girl was clearly having fun with boys.  At work, NPDM just didn't say anything to anyone and acted like the incident the girl had told her about had never happened.  Eventually, the parents found out about it and also found out that the girl had told my mother. 

It is the counselor's DUTY to notify parents and authorities when I minor comes with such information. Since NPDM hadn't done this, they had clear reasons to fire her but let her resign instead.  NPDM was infuriated at the girl and would call her, "that little whore" in our home when talking about what happened.  So yes, this is my mother, the counselor, the educator, the abuser.

Just! No! Way! That's a pretty compelling story. 

You know, as a society, we really need to put some additional safeguards in place in the counseling profession. The old school rules requiring more professional supervision and individual counseling by a supervising mentoring counselor were not just good ideas, but probably wholly necessary to keep malignantly manipulative people out of a profession they'd naturally be drawn to that by definition serves a vulnerable population. It's not like this board lacks for stories of unhealthy "mental health" professionals. 

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carrots

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 08:30:52 PM »
So sorry this happened to you and to Little You back then. Totally agree with blues_cruise and all4peace. Nothing more to add.

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footprint

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 11:33:01 PM »
You know, as a society, we really need to put some additional safeguards in place in the counseling profession. The old school rules requiring more professional supervision and individual counseling by a supervising mentoring counselor were not just good ideas, but probably wholly necessary to keep malignantly manipulative people out of a profession they'd naturally be drawn to that by definition serves a vulnerable population. It's not like this board lacks for stories of unhealthy "mental health" professionals.

Again, yes, TOTALLY, PDinStereo. I am frightened to see some of the people who are making it into counseling with MAs and what not these days. My mother is a hateful women who is envious of people, especially young women and girls.  She told me once that she feared for my brothers because "those girls are out to get them and can just lie about being raped."  She's just a nasty, nasty person.  Of course, since she's a fantastic NPD, there are plenty out there who see her as some sweet little lady.  But she's a horrible person beneath the mask.

She also beat me on occasion, never touched either of my brothers.  But I've gotten bloody noses from her.  None of this was known by the outside community.  When I was a kid, she would get her briefcase every morning and head off to school to "counsel" children in need.  I have a vivid memory of being 10 years old and she dropped me off for school one day, leaned over to push the passenger side door open and said, "goodbye, you bitch."  Then ,off to work she went.

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PDinStereo

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 01:56:14 AM »
Again, yes, TOTALLY, PDinStereo. I am frightened to see some of the people who are making it into counseling with MAs and what not these days. My mother is a hateful women who is envious of people, especially young women and girls.  She told me once that she feared for my brothers because "those girls are out to get them and can just lie about being raped."  She's just a nasty, nasty person.  Of course, since she's a fantastic NPD, there are plenty out there who see her as some sweet little lady.  But she's a horrible person beneath the mask.

My mother had a sort of a psychiatric Munchausen by Proxy thing with me growing up, so I've been seeing psychiatrists and psychologists on and off since I was about 6 years old, and yeah. There are a significant number of therapists who abusively use their patients to meet their own psychological needs in the same way that our PD parents used us. I'm going to guess somewhere between 5-10%. Just in the last few years, I've had two noteworthy experiences. Once I made the mistake of picking a therapist primarily on the basis of physical proximity to my house, and during my fourth session with her she just flipped out over something that I said about my attention deficit disorder diagnosis (which, unlike many others I have received in the past, is actually accurate). She jumped up out of her chair and started going on about how her daughter was diagnosed ADD and I was all wrong, her daughter was nothing like me, etc. She literally marched over to me and just stood there, looming, less than a foot away, blocking me from standing up, and blocking the door, while she axed me as a patient for being too "difficult," told me I evidently had very, very serious repressed trauma that she was not qualified to help me with, and would not move until I produced cash payment for a session that she was supposed to bill to my insurance. Several months after that, after I'd been seeing my the therapist who I am forever grateful to for helping me make meaningful and life-altering changes to myself and my approach to life and happiness for several months, I was fielding some introductory emails and phone calls from this counselor that my parents wanted to conduct joint family therapy sessions for us a couple of years back. I asked her if she had any experience working with people with personality disorders she wrote me this crazy email where she said I was "clearly very high-functioning, but too hostile and in need of serious mental health intervention" for her to feel comfortable working with me since I lived out of state and was not available for the kind of regular in-person sessions I truly needed. She said she sincerely hoped I was able to find appropriate help for my issues, though! :stars: I'm so, so glad I had my not-evil therapist around to talk to about it - his opinion was also that there are a significant number of people in the field who have not even come close to working through their own issues enough to be able to responsibly help - and not harm - any person they come into contact with that triggers some unexplored issue that they have.

If I were shopping for a therapist again, I think the first thing I'd ask them about is their views on counter-transference, and if they thought that was some kind of fairly tale concept or had never heard of it, I'd be out of there.

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She also beat me on occasion, never touched either of my brothers.  But I've gotten bloody noses from her.  None of this was known by the outside community.  When I was a kid, she would get her briefcase every morning and head off to school to "counsel" children in need.  I have a vivid memory of being 10 years old and she dropped me off for school one day, leaned over to push the passenger side door open and said, "goodbye, you bitch."  Then ,off to work she went.

I've heard that my husband's grandmother was like that to his aunt, her only daughter. Everyone in that family (except that aunt's 2 adult sons, who told me about it) worships the memory of that grandmother as the matriarch standard-bearer of all that was good about the family, but while she was being a mother to her sons she was also physically abusing my husband's aunt, calling her a "whore" whenever any boy showed any innocent interest in her (and not as a teenager, more like kid/"ew, you have cooties" stuff when she was 11 years old or younger), saddling her with the responsibility for any of the foibles of her brothers, and constantly letting her know that she just didn't measure up to what her mother thought any self-respecting woman should be. All of which is just crazy. My husband's aunt has her fleas, but she is an incredibly giving person and a powerful personality in her own right - it's like you could guess what her mother said about her just by taking whatever the best things about her are and saying the opposite. 

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footprint

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 11:18:30 PM »
I'm so sorry that happened to you. I know what you mean about technically remembering something but sort of not remembering it. You did a better job describing it than I've ever been able to, and now I understand it a little better myself - thank you for that. I have a fair number of events similar to what you describe here - I find them very confusing and hard to categorize and process and don't think I could narrate any of them as clearly as you did. Wishing you strength and courage as you work through this memory. Be sure to do something nice for yourself!

I'm sorry that you're also going through this processing of the past, PDinStereo, since the memories are attached to abuse.  I will say that there is something cathartic that happens when I go through this.  In the past, I have not had such vivid recollection which relates to sexual abuse, but I've had other equally important memories and realizations that I awaken to, and they've changed my path and understanding of the past. 

In 2013, I had a very vivid realization that my mother had never loved me.  It was something that I always knew, but I had never thought about, had repressed, and had affixed an assumption over these repressed thoughts to convince myself that my mother did love me. But then it hit me like a truck in 2013, she'd never loved me.  I suddenly realized in an almost creepy way that I had absolutely no memories, none at all, of her caressing me, consoling me, etc. when I was young.  Instead, I had many memories of her belittling me, angry at me, hitting me, etc.  My very first memory of life is in fact of her very angry at me because I'd fallen on the street and scraped my knee badly.  We were living in an Asian country at the time and I was very alone, probably around the age of 2.75 or 3, and I remember the look of the street and the fact that my knee was all covered in blood and I was in pain.  And all she did was scream at me, telling me that I needed to stop crying.  The feeling when I remembered that and really thought about it, as well as realizing that she'd never cuddled me or cared for me, was similar to the feeling I have now in realizing this instance of abuse when I was 6 years old: she was and is an abusive person who never loved me and couldn't love me, and although I assumed guilt for all of these situations when I was a kid, the fault was hers and not mine.

My mother had a sort of a psychiatric Munchausen by Proxy thing with me growing up, so I've been seeing psychiatrists and psychologists on and off since I was about 6 years old, and yeah. There are a significant number of therapists who abusively use their patients to meet their own psychological needs in the same way that our PD parents used us. I'm going to guess somewhere between 5-10%. Just in the last few years, I've had two noteworthy experiences. Once I made the mistake of picking a therapist primarily on the basis of physical proximity to my house, and during my fourth session with her she just flipped out over something that I said about my attention deficit disorder diagnosis (which, unlike many others I have received in the past, is actually accurate). She jumped up out of her chair and started going on about how her daughter was diagnosed ADD and I was all wrong, her daughter was nothing like me, etc. She literally marched over to me and just stood there, looming, less than a foot away, blocking me from standing up, and blocking the door, while she axed me as a patient for being too "difficult," told me I evidently had very, very serious repressed trauma that she was not qualified to help me with, and would not move until I produced cash payment for a session that she was supposed to bill to my insurance. Several months after that, after I'd been seeing my the therapist who I am forever grateful to for helping me make meaningful and life-altering changes to myself and my approach to life and happiness for several months, I was fielding some introductory emails and phone calls from this counselor that my parents wanted to conduct joint family therapy sessions for us a couple of years back. I asked her if she had any experience working with people with personality disorders she wrote me this crazy email where she said I was "clearly very high-functioning, but too hostile and in need of serious mental health intervention" for her to feel comfortable working with me since I lived out of state and was not available for the kind of regular in-person sessions I truly needed. She said she sincerely hoped I was able to find appropriate help for my issues, though! :stars: I'm so, so glad I had my not-evil therapist around to talk to about it - his opinion was also that there are a significant number of people in the field who have not even come close to working through their own issues enough to be able to responsibly help - and not harm - any person they come into contact with that triggers some unexplored issue that they have.

Wow, PDinStereo, I'm so sorry you had to go through with these experiences, which really sound as if your mother was projecting her own illnesses onto you and forcing you into various diagnoses.   Yes, it's a minefield out there with therapists.  Getting someone good is so important for the healing process, and yet we often have to encounter unqualified people along the way.  I'm glad that you found a good person who can also help you make since of the crazies!


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She also beat me on occasion, never touched either of my brothers.  But I've gotten bloody noses from her.  None of this was known by the outside community.  When I was a kid, she would get her briefcase every morning and head off to school to "counsel" children in need.  I have a vivid memory of being 10 years old and she dropped me off for school one day, leaned over to push the passenger side door open and said, "goodbye, you bitch."  Then ,off to work she went.

I've heard that my husband's grandmother was like that to his aunt, her only daughter. Everyone in that family (except that aunt's 2 adult sons, who told me about it) worships the memory of that grandmother as the matriarch standard-bearer of all that was good about the family, but while she was being a mother to her sons she was also physically abusing my husband's aunt, calling her a "whore" whenever any boy showed any innocent interest in her (and not as a teenager, more like kid/"ew, you have cooties" stuff when she was 11 years old or younger), saddling her with the responsibility for any of the foibles of her brothers, and constantly letting her know that she just didn't measure up to what her mother thought any self-respecting woman should be. All of which is just crazy. My husband's aunt has her fleas, but she is an incredibly giving person and a powerful personality in her own right - it's like you could guess what her mother said about her just by taking whatever the best things about her are and saying the opposite. 

This is incredibly encouraging to hear, PDinStereo, although sad too. What you describe in how she was treated sounds uncannily similar to what I've lived.  My husband has said that my mother depicts me 180 degrees away from who I am, smearing me even before I do anything.  I realize it's hard to defend myself since I'm me, writing about myself.  But to give you an example of me: we live in a small apartment in a major city. I have a very small dresser drawer with my belongings and sleep on a pullout couch.  I haven't received any money or anything from my parents since my early 20s and am now almost 43, while they have been paying all sorts of bills, down payments, giving cars, etc. for my brothers, both of whom own homes and live rather lavishly compared to my standards.  Last time I checked though (and it has been a while because I have been fully NC for a year and only had minimal contact for a few years before that) NPDM depicts me as a "spoiled princess."  How is your husband's aunt doing, overall?  You said she has fleas, but I hope she realized that she is not the person they depict her as.

Wishing you well in this journey,
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Just Jay

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2017, 09:23:41 PM »
Late to the conversation here, but I agree that it's both very normal for 6 year olds to play naked, and alarming that a 6 year old would punch another in the vagina so hard it bleeds. Especially after your mother saw her hitting an old man with a stick. Clearly, that little girl had a problem.

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footprint

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Re: Not sure what to make of this blind spot memory (trigger warning)
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2017, 11:16:53 PM »
Hi Just Jay, thank you for your thoughts on this. As I've remembered this incident anew, I've thought a lot about the way that NPDM did not protect me, blamed me, and therefore in a way participated in the abuse. I've thought about the girl's actions and realize how screwed up they were, and it seems most likely that she was abused. But what really affects me when I think back to it, is the way that NPDM treated the whole situation. I find her actions to be appalling, especially in light of the fact that she was not only an adult, but a trained social worker with an MA in counseling and specific education on "helping" children!!

I really appreciate your validation.
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