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The role of fantasy for abused children

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I read this article in Psychology Today about the role of fantasy in the lives of children brought up with emotional neglect or abuse.



Speaking as someone who lived totally in a fantasy world from as early as I can remember, to when I left home, I certainly agree with most of it, except maybe the bit in the final few paragraphs. It is suggested that magical thinking about turning into a different person whom the mother can love - keeps the core conflict going. The core conflict is the tug-of-war between the daughter’s growing understanding of how she’s been wounded by her mother’s treatment, on the one hand, and her ongoing need for her mother’s love.


Speaking personally, I don't ever remember thinking about, or wishing my mother would pay more attention to me, although I did so regarding my father. I think I gave up on my mother at an extremely young age - maybe around 10 or even before.

I remember from the age of about 12 onwards, every single thing my mother said, grated on me.

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Interesting article. For me, it was never about becoming a different person that my parents could love. My fantasies involved a different set of parents. I have always been far more forgiving to my father because he was an old man, and he did turn me onto monster movies and the Twilight Zone, along with wrestling. He was in a bad situation, too.


As a child, I don't think that I ever sought my the love of my parents. My sister was their favored child, and I learned early on that crying about it was pretty useless. However, my aunt (adopted one) and grandmother were both prolific letter writers, and always made sure to include hand drawings, photos or little notes that I could read as I would always pour over those letters. They also sent packages with hand sewn items and candy. I knew there was an option out there. I just didn't know where they were.


As expected, I dropped the fantasy life after going to Japan.

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