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Re: Suppressed Memory

Subject: Suppressed Memory

Forum: The Mental Health Forum

I have had several spinal problems neck and lumbar.  I already had surgery on my cervical area.  My sister resently told me that my dad used to knock me around and pullk me by the hair and drag me around.  I do not remember any of this!  I also do not remember most of my childhood and teen years.  Could this be supressed do to the nature of the occurances.  I do not know if I want to remember.  Would it be good to remember or just keep the memories suppressed?  I have trouble with being able to stand up to tough sistuations in every day life and if someone approaches me like at work with a personal question and if I have to tell my manager something personal I always cry.  I get my feelings hurt real easy/  I am a supervisor and am able to handle all other stressful situations with ease and people can yell and get nasty with me over situations and this does not bother me.  Why when I have to indulge in my personal self do I start crying???  Help  Thank YOU      

Dear Sandra,
People handle painful situations in different ways.  Some people repress or block out painful memories, which may be what you are describing.  There is no correct answer as to whether remembering these painful situations will be of help to you.  Many people theorize that repressed memories affect us unconsciously on a daily basis, and may interfere with relationships and aspirations.  These theorists suggest that once the memories are recalled, they can be discussed and resolved, and therefore no longer have a negative impact on ones life.  
You said that you feel upset and cry when it comes to revealing any personal information to others.  Perhaps this relates to repressed memories, the burden of having some inner issues that have not been resolved, or possibly you are suffering from depression.  Since you obviously are suffering, I recommend setting up an appointment with a psychiatrist to start the process of feeling better.  When you go for a consultation, the psychiatrist can recommend psychotherapy and perhaps medication to get you on the road to recovery.  You can also call us here at Henry Ford Behavioral Services at (313) 874-6680 to set up a consultation.  Good Luck.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only & should not be considered medical advice or consultation.  Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
Keywords: back pain, suppressed memories

     I assume by now that you have admitted to yourself that you were abused with this dragging around, etc. The reason you can take such abuse at work is, quite frankly, because you are used to it, and have a higher "abuse threshold" than someone who has not been treated that way. You most likey will sometimes find yourself working for a boss who others find abusive, and who you may not like, but are willing to work for when others would quit and go elsewhere.  You may take it simply because you are used to it.  The emotional reaction when you have to tell someone something personal is a defense reaction.  Personal information is an area of vulnerability for people who have been abused, and providing personal information to someone involves the possibility of that person using it "against" you in some fashion. I would suggest at least getting a couple of books on victims of child abuse for a bit of insight into your situation.  Regarding recovering repressed memories, recent research into psychological "trauma" has indicated that often being flooded with recovered memories can be hurtful if not harmful, like it was all happening all over again.  However, having said this, I think that it would do you some good, simply to know why you feel the way you do, to try to uncover some memories yourself.  Sometimes your memory will react to a particular odor or smell, sometimes to music.  Sometimes you can just tell yourself "I want to remember" over and over, for a number of days, and then memories may begin to surface, either as conscious memories, or in dreams. Talk to others who knew your family when you were a child to find out what they observed.  Visit places you visited when you were a child.  I feel these (naturally recurring) memories are better than those you may have hypnosis for to ferret out.  This way, you can remember just what your subconscious allows is safe for you to remember. Once you have a general idea of what happened to you, then deal with it and try to get past it.  Believe it or not, one thing that works is simply to forgive the person who harmed you.  That doesn't mean you have to like them or what they did to you (or approve it), but it releases YOU from their power over you, but gradually. As long as you are angry at them, they still have a type of power over you, or at least the situation they caused does. Trust me, this really does work, although many people struggle with the concept. Usually people will try this only after everything else they have tried hasn't worked, and then they are amazed at seeing their other problems stemming from the abuse begin to gradually diminish.  I wish you the best!   --G.B.

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