Wk 3: Stage 1, Step 2, Activity 3 "Draw your parents, family, & yourself"

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C.

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3.   If you enjoy art, draw a picture of your parents and family members.  Draw a picture of yourself as a child.  Include as much detail as you can recall.  If the words to describe the abuse episodes are still escaping you, try drawing pictures of whatever memory fragments you have of the abuse.  More details of the visual images will probably come to you as you continue to sketch out what happened, and eventually the descriptive words will follow.

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C.

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I like this idea, but I don't think I'm ready yet.

If I do this at all, it would be something abstract, nothing specific or recognizable.

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C.

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I hadn't thought about abstract as an option.  I like that idea.  I'm drawn to curvy/geometric designs.  Maybe even collage style.  Collages tap in to the intuitive-subconscious for me because I just pick what I "like" for me or about someone else.  I think I will pull out some old magazines! :)

Thanks, glad to hear that you find it helpful.

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bee

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I've done some art therapy that includes drawing myself.
Self portrait. Stick figure sitting with knees up encircled by arms, head down, in the corner of a pitch black room without windows or doors.
Self portrait. Dark, roiling stormy sky over a desert plain. Lightening striking all around a lone stick figure, same posture as above.
One of my mother and I. Two figures walking facing forward. The adult looms much taller than the child. They are holding hands, the child's arm stretches upward, forcing her to nearly walk on tip toe. The adult wears an expression of grim determination. The child's head is bent forward and her hair covers her face, hers is a posture of shame and dejection.
(This is the walk of shame when I was four. I had been playing at my friends house down the street. My mother came to take me home. I had to use the restroom, but didn't want to at her house. I tried to hold it as we were walking, but failed. I was embarrassed and scared, and started crying. My mother accused me of doing it on purpose to embarrass her. She threatened to give me something to cry about if I didn't stop my blubbering. She hissed through clenched teeth, "You will walk normally, and pretend that you did not just poop your pants. You will walk straight into the bathroom, and clean yourself up, do not expect me to help you."

I've done one of my mother's face as I see it in my mind during a rage. That one is scary.

I find that drawing things helps me get in touch with memories that are vague.
But, this is not something that can be done in a week. These were done spaced out by months. I've also done abstract things and found that they show just as much. Also, my art therapy stuff always looks like kids drawings. I minored in art in college but, I puposely keep these as simple as possible. If you plan on drawing stuff, don't expect it to be "pretty".

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Kizzie

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I am not much of an artist so I imagined what I would draw if I could and it was this family of four with everyone smiling, but both children have very small children inside, knees to chest, hands over their ears, just hiding, always hiding. 

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C.

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I pulled out my box of markers and did some drawing today.  I was reminded of how my mom continues to give me pastels (last year!) when I’ve always preferred markers.  As a child she gave me color pencils, crayons and pastels.  I like to draw with markers.  That says so much all by itself.  Come to think of it, my brother's art was framed.  Mine was thrown away.  I was categorized as the "musical" one...and all this covered up with many, many "parent-effectiveness" training words by my mom saying how she loves us both, how important it is to save children's art, put it on the fridge, give children a voice, I'm good at drawing, blah blah blah...

The images that helped with my awareness were that I felt like I needed to draw myself with big eyes, big ears, and a closed mouth.  Then I drew my parents talking (“to” me) and looking away or at a mirror that I held up.  Next I drew my skin crawling, my tummy hurting, and my heart small.  I realized that I’d just drawn an EF.  The presence of my parents with their constant monologues from about 5 years old on and the experience that creates for me.  No wonder I cannot be around them now.

The abstract of my parent's relationship was the contrast of hearts & love combined with jagged edges & anger.  In that case the children (brother & I) were together in a room, covering our ears and sitting next to each other.  I think my parents had daily conflicts.  I remember one day where they were loving towards each other, but it was after an argument.

The pic I made of my brother shows him facing them, trying to please, to be heard, but it never works.  He copies most of their hobbies and belief systems.

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Kizzie

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Wow C your descriptions really resonated with me - it's just shocking when you get those visuals going in your head isn't it?  Jagged edges - yes indeed.

In recovery I've tried to feel my way back to when I was a child, but seeing it in more visual terms is really powerful. (And maybe that's why I can't yet look at photos.)  For example, I could never really explain what an EF felt like, but when I read your post I saw a drawing of me with this dark whirling vortex around my head, my hands over my ears, eyes and mouth tightly shut.  I am curled up in a ball and inside there is a small terrified child also curled up tight. My stomach and heart are just clenched and knotted and I am just rocking back and forth.  Jesus that's awful   :'(   

Group :hug:     

Group hug right back.  :hug: 

I gave this a shot - simply just imagining what I'd draw. It feels safer than doing a drawing. My imagined drawing featured a very tense family playing at normality, and the room they're in is full of ghosts.

...well, at least we can all have nightmarish childhoods together. That's something. I'm glad I'm not having to do this on my own.

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C.

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Yes, hugs all around.  This is difficult stuff, and finding the right pace for healing isn't easy.  Support is necessary.  Thank you  :hug:

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Annegirl

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Omg!! who thought this one up!! I would find this very strange. I might give it a go just because I had such a strong reaction to this activity.