In Reply to: Re: smiling kids & abuse posted by CB on March 07, 2008 at 16:31:55:
"I don't know how much this applies to people in TF where public relations and impression management is a major survival skill, but very often when you look at photo collections from abusive families, you will see 'blanks' in the historic record. For example, if Jane was being molested between the ages of 7 and 9, you might find very few, if any, pictures of Jane during this period of her life."
That is so amazingly accurate. There are hardly any photos of the years in my life I was severely abused. It was like I wasn't even there. In some periods of slightly less abuse, when I was made to perform in public a lot and they couldn't afford to have bruised on my face, I had a few pictures taken of me holding different musical instruments. All the ones with the hangdog look were never shown to the public, but the ones where I smiled and looked reasonably happy were. Anyone looking at my childhood pictures could get the mistaken impression I was a happy child with so much opportunity and facilities for development. The truth is my education was suffering, I was being used as slave labor, groomed to fulfill my parents' dreams.
The sad thing about lack of documentation is I have no picture diary of my childhood, and there are huge holes in my memory, chunks of years missing, because I had few conversations with anyone during that time. Psychologists will tell you that talking about your day, your life, is what commits things to your memory. I think Natalie Portman mentioned she had a similar problem: no conversation equals no memory and she has amnesic gaps too.
Looking back, I am so happy I pulled my own children out in the nick of time and didn't let them live that abusive life in TF for too long. With my abusive background, I could could easily have gravitated towards the same life I grew up with, like some kind of sick comfort zone.