Ability to repress childhood trauma and later recall
Through reading other posts, I've seen a few members saying that they don't believe in recovered memories.
I'm curous to know what someone mat mean by that..
Is it that you don't believe that children suffering a traumatic event have the ability to block it out or is it that you just don't believe they can be recalled from that amnesialike state?
I'm just curious since everyone that I've seen as a client has thought I've blocked out childhood trauma but that it's still not completely buried as I have vivid nighterrors they now diagnosed as flashbacks and PTSD. On one level I've always known but was so afraid of what happened and who could have traumatized me that I spent even more time in the past 5 years denying it and trying to bury it.
I remember nothing past the age of 6-7 and the two memories I do have I couldn't say if they really were at age 7 instead of 9.
So that's why I'm interested to know what people believe about blocked trauma, amnesia or supressed memories and how they feel about whether someone can recall memories to some*(any)extent or whether someone believes that if you can't recall the actual memories than more than likely nothing happende dto begin with.
I certainly agree that children can repress memories of horror.
Recovering those memories, accurately, is very difficult. It's very difficult to get a child who has repressed trauma to recover the memories that match other people who DO remember what happened.
The problem with all this is recovered memories seem VERY, very real to the person who feels they have recovered a memory. It feels just as strong as a true memory, so it's terribly difficult to assess which recovered memories are accurate.
I would be surprised to hear that your therapists say it's rare to not have memories before the age of 6. I say that because although I have crystal clear memories - even beginning at 2 years - and my 3 boys can remember things very clearly before that age. But I do know a lot of people who can't. They literally have no working memory of kindergarten - no memory at all - so I really don't think it's that rare.
You certainly seem like you're having a very rough time. I understand the pain of nightmares - I have horrific ones, although not as frequently as you do. I wake up and for the first couple hours of the day I'm a little off balance recovering from the horrors of the night when I have them - I do understand how nightmares can be disruptive.
There are sleep therapies for people who have recurrent nightmares - the techniques teach you to recognize nightmares while you're still in them, and take control of them or wake yourself up.
Have your therapists suggested that? Having known children who become so traumatized from continuous nightmares that they can no longer sleep in the dark, sleep alone, sleep in their bed, etc., I know that they can cause trauma. It seems possible that a lifetime of continuous nightmares may actually be what's traumatizing you.
Best wishes. Does the Ambien work for you when you take it?
And AnnaE, nightmares do generally have meaning, you're right. They generally express the feelings of the dreamer.
For example, one of the most common dreams, the "college dream" where the dreamer can't find their class and they realize the final is coming up, they've never attended the class, and are in a panic. That dream represents being overwhelmed and unsure, and has no bearing whatsoever on whether the dreamer experienced this or not - careful students are as likely to experience this dream as very lazy ones who actually never attended classes. It's a dream about being overwhelmed. Another classic dream is the "Naked Dream", where the dreamer imagines themselves naked in public and is trying to slip out without being noticed. This dream represents feeling inadequate and unworthy, and usually ends in the dreamer slipping out of the public eye with the possibility that their nakedness is undiscovered - they find a towel, or some other cover and are able to sneak out without being discovered.
Nightmares do have meaning, but they don't mean always that the person has been naked in public or has not attended a class. Dreams are usually symbolic, unless you think that dreamers who dream they are flying actually have wings.
So if I'm not accepted here I have nowhere else to go. This is what I cam here for and worked myself up to it ny talking about my health problems first and my sisters suicide because it all felt alot safer than this. This is something that has been happening for a very long time. After two therapists, two psychiatrists and a hospital full of professionals all have been trying to get me to deal with this. It's not like I had a bad dream one night that invoved sex and everyone decided that ment I was abused as a child and blocked it out. There are so many things I'm not ready to say and my need to appear well adjusted and grounded gets in my way. That's the reason I went into psychology so I could appear well adjusted. I'm so afraid of people thinking I'm crazy that to even come here and talk about this is so unbelievably hard. Even on a message board where noone knows me.
I'm appriciative of any opinions or thoughts as long as they don't involve making me feel like I'm doing something wrong. It's taken me a long time to work the strength up enough to even say these things. I think with my psychoatrists and therapists have been looking at everything paired together. it's the combination of everything. Not just that I can't remember a childhood or have nighterrors or am embarassed by sex so much that my husband can't put his arms around me. . It's all of it together including some stuff that I don't want to talk about yet for fear of sounding crazy or people thinking I am. Regardless of what people allow me to ask here it's not going to change things for me. Regardless of whether I post here or not I'm still going to be going through this. I only wish that leaving here would mean that I could leave all of this here too. These words may look black and white on a computer screen but I'm a real person going through something very hard that I don't want to go through. All these words mean something to me and they weren't easy to write, as much as I want to right now I can't erase them or take them back. But the last thing I need to feel is even more alienated from people.
I also am not interested in recovering any memories if said trauma did happen before the age of 4.
I was just wondering what other people thought of repressed memories.
I wouldn't trust memories that occur in adulthood of childhood trauma because children don't have the same cognative ability as adults to understand things so things are remembered by emotions more than fact.
Especially in my case of having no memories whatsoever. How could I ever trust any memories I would sudenly remember after not having any for 20 years.
I'm not interested in remembering abuse or trauma. I don't want to know who, what, where and why. I just want to live a good life. I want to learn how to have an intimate relationship with my husband..I've never had a health intimate relationship with anyone. I want to sleep through the nigh and be able to sleep in the same bed with my husband without waking him up 5 times a night screaming bloddy murder if he accidently touches me.
I believe children can repress memories but I don't believe they can be recalled factually. I was just interested in other peoples opinions. I would never go by ny nightterrors as true memories. I never have. And no one has ever tried to get me to remember any incidents. They've only tried to get me to admit what I've always known.
Because while I believe in repressed memories I also believe that those who do truely repress the memories deep down know that something happened or something isn't right but things have been denied and repressed for so long they can no longer understand completely even in adulthood.
I agree with what you say. I no longer try to remember everything, because who would wnat to remember it? I also agree that it is hard to remember things from early on. I have had body memories that seem to have happened when I was very young, but I am not sure. I do not seethe surroundings. I only feel the experiences.
Amp-Computer problems. Can make only short posts. You are very much accepted here.
I have nightmares with repeated scenes, people, and elements. I have had them for years. I also talk and walk (used to) in my sleep. I talk about the abuse. The significant memories that have always been there are immeasureably helpful in solvong the puzzle and accounting for the feelings.
Amp--I have flashbacks and PTSD. Many people here do. My flashbacks recently are reliving recent events but expereincing for the first time, the intense feelings that go with them. I agree with your experiences. Maybe other survivors will answer you also. I think that would be helpful for you. Let us know.
Thanks everyone, I feel a little better right now. I'm so oversensative and I'm not used to feeling so raw. I guess I'm not dealing with it very well.
I had a good talk with my cousin yesterday who's trained in abuse and childhood trauma. Famously I guess you could say. So I reallly trust her knowlege. Unfortunitly I found out that my parents wouldn't let her get close enough to me to find out what was going on. No one would tell her anything.
I always felt really close to her and through talking with her yesterday remebered as a child always wanting her to take me aside so I could tell her something. I would never let anyone touch me as a child but I remember just wanting her to hold me and take me away. What that something was and why I only felt comfortable with her touching me, I have no clue. But at least I'm starting to remember little things.
She said that my fear of what will happen if I do remember is keeping me from moving past my memory laps. But that it's not a block exactly. More like a drawer I've closed and hidden deep within myself. And that drawer can't stay closed forever in most people.
Of course she didn't have any answers for me. With her training she's said she can't discount anyone or any thing. Even the people whom I love more than life itself and would think could NEVER do anything to hurt me.
But she told me that this nurse practitioner is not certified enough to help me through this. So I guess I'm going to have to find an actual therapist.
Ugh, I dred that.
My pain is getting worse. But with the ambien I'm not having ANY nightmares(or at least not remembering them)!!! It's so nice. I actually felt really strange this morning when I woke up because there was no nightmare to shake off. I forgot how great this stuff was for me. They don't want to give me klonopin with the pain meds and the ambien. That's more than fine with me. I hated that stuff. I would never take enough to be theraputic anyway.
So I just wanted to thank everyone for being there for me despite my freak out. I'm hoping things will get better from here with support. But I do know that it's only the beginning of my finally dealing with this and there may be times it gets worse before it gets better. I feel like the memories are at the tip of my mind. Like not being able to find the right word but knowing it's on the tip of your tounge.
It's anxiety provoking to say the least.
Anyway, thanxs everyone. This is helping me alot.
Your all really knowlegable.
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