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Switch to Forum Live View has anyone remembered abuse later?
6 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2009 - 10:03PM #1
blueberryangel
Posts: 137
Hello, I don't feel like explaining my whole story.  so I'm just gonna ask a question.  Has anyone ever started suspecting they were abused when they were young, as they got older?  Has anyone here had at one point had absolutely no idea or thought that they ever might have been abused and no memory and thought their childhood was just completely normal, but then started having nightmares involving sexual abuse later on in life?

I've heard of dissociation, and I'd also like to know especially about people who were abused when they were very young up till just about 6 or 7, or younger, and then it stopped, for whatever reason...even if you do remember some of the abuse, do you realize later (maybe through flashbacks or nightmares) that a lot more went on than you realized because you may have dissociated from most of it and also because you were very young, and of course most people have "child amnesia".

Has anyone "recovered memories" and later found out through someone's confession or from some kind of evidence that it actually could be proven true?  Even if it couldn't be proven true beyond a shadow of a doubt (as is usually the case with this kind of thing, I've read), I'd like to hear experiences, cause Im not hear to judge anybody.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2009 - 10:49PM #2
Sunniesmiles
Posts: 1

I have experienced abuse for many years by multiple parties.  I can't remember every situation and everything because it happened that much.  But I will say that as I began to deal with the abuse, I began to remember situations and people that I had completely forgotten.  So I believe your situation is possible.  I believe going to therapy helps you talk things out and deal with those memories.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 15, 2009 - 8:02PM #3
Wmdkitty
Posts: 2,174

"Recovered" memories are a proven hoax, folks.

"The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post "Thou shalt not steal", Thou shalt not commit adultery" and "Thou shalt not lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment." -- George Carlin
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 20, 2009 - 10:38PM #4
blueberryangel
Posts: 137

uh no, I heard the shaky science is on the side of the "false memory theory".  but you're gonna hear different stories from different sides of course.  bottom line is it's kinda like God, you can't prove it or disprove the way you can with other science (but that doesn't mean there is not a science to it),  although a lot of people who have recovered memories have later been validated by physical evidence or other people who witnessed the abuse and remember it but never came forward, or a confession by the perpretrator.  It makes sense to me though that considering most people go through "childhood amnesia" where they can't remember much before 5 or 6 years old, that if a child was abused before then they would not remember.  I also think children abuse a few years after that may also "block out" memories, just as there has been evidence of soldiers and other kinds of trauma victims having amnesia for a period of time and not recalling what happened to them at all.  There IS actual evidence of these things happening when other people can confirm that the person went through something traumatic.  It's really ridiculous actually to think something so horrendous especially when it happened to a child would be remembered completely, considering most of us don't remember our whole childhoods...And considering that sexual abuse is often such a secret and doesn't leave a lot of evidence behind, especially years later, obviously it's hard to prove, but that does not mean that it did not happen.


Maybe you should try researching the science behind both sides of the controversy instead of only reading about one side.  Anyway this board is for abuse survivors, so if you are going around trying to spread the false memory theory and discount peoples' experiences, that is not helpful, and you have no reason to be here.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 21, 2009 - 6:11PM #5
Wmdkitty
Posts: 2,174

Mar 20, 2009 -- 10:38PM, blueberryangel wrote:


uh no, I heard the shaky science is on the side of the "false memory theory".  but you're gonna hear different stories from different sides of course.  bottom line is it's kinda like God, you can't prove it or disprove the way you can with other science (but that doesn't mean there is not a science to it),  although a lot of people who have recovered memories have later been validated by physical evidence or other people who witnessed the abuse and remember it but never came forward, or a confession by the perpretrator.  It makes sense to me though that considering most people go through "childhood amnesia" where they can't remember much before 5 or 6 years old, that if a child was abused before then they would not remember.  I also think children abuse a few years after that may also "block out" memories, just as there has been evidence of soldiers and other kinds of trauma victims having amnesia for a period of time and not recalling what happened to them at all.  There IS actual evidence of these things happening when other people can confirm that the person went through something traumatic.  It's really ridiculous actually to think something so horrendous especially when it happened to a child would be remembered completely, considering most of us don't remember our whole childhoods...And considering that sexual abuse is often such a secret and doesn't leave a lot of evidence behind, especially years later, obviously it's hard to prove, but that does not mean that it did not happen.


Maybe you should try researching the science behind both sides of the controversy instead of only reading about one side.  Anyway this board is for abuse survivors, so if you are going around trying to spread the false memory theory and discount peoples' experiences, that is not helpful, and you have no reason to be here.




I AM A SURVIVOR!

"The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post "Thou shalt not steal", Thou shalt not commit adultery" and "Thou shalt not lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment." -- George Carlin
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 22, 2009 - 12:15AM #6
blueberryangel
Posts: 137

well I'm sorry then kitty, you do have a reason to be here. I read the post on the thread you started about your husband or boyfriend (can't remember) that abused you, and I am so so sorry you went through that.   I wonder though if you have something against me personally, because it seems like I may remember a while ago you coming down on me before about something.


 Anyway, I am dealing with a quite possible reality that my dad did something horrible to me when I was a little girl, and as I've explained in the above post, even though I do not have conscious memories, it does not mean it's actually that far fetched an idea.  Believe me I do not WANT it to be true, I would give anything if it wasn't, I don't care if it may explain a lot of my problems in life, to be frank, I am at the same time very hard on myself and very easy on myself....meaning sometimes I feel like I am just a horrible lazy person and beat myself up about it, but many other times I just let myself off the hook anyway for my failures in life and attribute it to chemicals in the brain, circumstances I've been in, and God's will (you can have your own judgement of me, I don't care either way)....so I don't really NEED to blame it on my dad, and all I want in the world is for this not to be true.  I can't imagine why I'd make this up.  I am not the type to look for drama where there isn't any, and I always like to believe the best of people....to be more clear, I don't have any "recovered memories"...because I don't have ANY memories of this happening.  I have had horrible nightmares for years (either of men coming to kill me or of my dad molesting children, and once my sister, and once myself) and strange behavior from my dad in real life, extremely strange things he's said about this subject that I cannot explain away even though the rest of my family is trying to.  


 


I also have a lot of signs that they list of adult survivors of sexual abuse that have dissociated.  And my sister has signs too, although a completely different set of them, but we each have several of the symptoms...like she has a digestive disease, I have severe anxiety, she has extremely low self esteem and is a perfectionist and is always trying to please authority at all costs (and has been very vulnerable to emotional abuse by men she's been in love with because of the low self esteem).  She was always the "teacher's pet" as a kid cause she was smart and organized and she was the most perfectly behaved child in class inevitably.  Which sounds like a good thing, and it was/is, but it goes too far sometimes in how it affects her, and even though now she is an adult and she doesn't have to deal with authority as much or in the same way, it hasn't really gone away completely, she has such a sad desperate need to be perfect in others eyes. ...while I am just plain terrified of authority of all types to the point I still feel like a little kid who is afraid to ask the teacher too many questions and I have to psyche myself up EVERY time I need to ask or tell something to someone who is an authority to me in any way. I am clumsy (constantly dropping things and stumbling-even though there is nothing physically wrong with me) and I overeat and I used to wear sweaters in the heat of the central Texas summer cause I just felt safer somehow when I was a teenager. I didn't know why I did it, I just did.  It was the 90's everything was baggy and casual but even fellow texans who were used to the heat would look at me weird when it was 99 degrees and I was wearing a sweater, but I thought nothing of it at the time.  sometimes people would question me about it and I just said I needed for when and after I was inside in the air conditioning.  but that wasn't the only reason, I just felt better covered.  Now I just hide under the fat.  My sister cannot seem to make decisions either.  She lives a normal active functioning life compared to me, but she is constantly changing her mind about important life decisions, so much that she often kind of cancels out any progress she's made in her life.  Like she looks everywhere for something but she doesn't even know what she is looking for, so of course she never finds it.  We both have the teeth grinding thing at night, especially me, and come to think of it, so does my dad.


....I just...I know that something is wrong, and always has been.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 22, 2009 - 12:42AM #7
blueberryangel
Posts: 137

and....


I should really not have to explain myself with such a long personal post just because you can't believe in anything that can't be proven beyond a scientific doubt.  This particular crime is one of the easiest in the world to keep secret, and everybody reacts to things differently.  One survivor may remember everything in horrible detail while another forgets it completely....depending on the survivor and the circumstances of the abuse (age, length and severity of abuse, etc.).  I do believe that occasionally memories may be false, and accusations may be mistaken, but not nearly as often as many people will have you believe.  There is in our culture an unhealthy desire to "sweep things under the rug", especially things as upsetting and taboo as childhood sexual abuse, but we can't make it better unless we deal with it.  Bottom line is it's so very hard to prove that unlike other crimes like murder which innocent people occasionally get sent to death row for, it is so extremely unlikely that an innocent person will get sent to jail for it.  So essentially there is nothing for an accused person to worry about if they are really innocent.  Lord knows people try speak up all the time even children it just happened to, and adults that have always had memories, and even people who have proof, and often they are STILL not listened to.  I know a lot of people are worried about the sex offender lists, and sometimes people get put on it that really don't deserve it, and even real and dangerous pedophiles deserve to live in peace if they do not harm children anymore and have served their time.  And there are problems on that side, but for the most part our society has a tendency to "hush up" the victims if anything.  I do not want to advocate accusing people of this casually without a LOT of serious thought.  But believe me, I've had a LOT of serious thought.


As for dissociation and not having proof...People used to think the world was flat because they could not see it's roundness with their own eyes, but they eventually figured that out. If something happened it happened, and if it did not it did not.  You can't erase it simply because I don't have scientific proof of it.  It is one way or the other. I believe it happened, and my life would be a hell of a lot easier if it didn't, and I still love my dad, so I have NO reason to be pursuing this thought other than I am sincerely concerned about it and I want to help my family, even my dad, and I have an obligation to make sure he never does it to another child.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 22, 2009 - 1:02AM #8
timmy0292
Posts: 22

I can't believe some of what I am reading? Of course you could have been abused and not remembered all of it, some of it, none of it. It doesn't mean it didn't happen like a few people I believe were trying to elude to. It is called PTSD when some people have had such a traumatic situation happen in their life. You could be walking down a street and smell something that will set you off and not know why. I base this knowledge on working with hundreds of survivors, and also being an abused victim myself.


What urkes me the most is people who think they have something to say that have no clue, because they have never been through it. If you believed it happened then that is all that matters. I spent too much of my life caring what others thought, and it really doesn't matter, I am the one who has to be comfortable in my own skin!


Always try to remember, those who matter don't judge, those who judge don't matter!

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 22, 2009 - 1:28PM #9
kwrites59
Posts: 5

 I didn't consciously remember possible abuse that happened to me when I was four years old until I was about 27 years old.  Up until that point I questioned the flashes of memory I was having because they were so non-specific and unbelievable.  I thought I either had a sick imagination or a mental illness.  At the time, a series of sensationalized cases of recovered memories of sexual abuse was in the news, including the much-publicized murder trial of George Franklin, whose daughter accused her father of raping and murdering her young friend twenty years earlier.  The rash of remembered cases of abuse became so pervasive around the country, that a group of accused parents formed the False Memory Syndrome Foundation.  In the midst of all the hoopla, I was certainly not going to tell anyone what I was experiencing.  I suffered with my thoughts in silence.


Even though I went for counseling and was placed on medication, my psychological well-being became so severely compromised that in desperation I shared what I was remembering to a family member.  She immediately corroborated some of the details of my story, and revealed she too had been abused by the same man.  And while she could not tell me if the specifics of what happened were real, what I found out is that the circumstances made it very likely that I had been traumatized in the way I was remembering.


Since that time I have done a great deal of research into the new science of memory and brain function that has exploded with new data in the last decade.  Science now knows a great deal more about what happens in the brain when trauma occurs.  The stage of childhood development, the circumstances of the incident and the personal makeup of the individual experiencing the interaction play important roles in how something is remembered.  The mind does amazing things to protect us from what it believes will harm us--even our own thoughts.   It's neither impossible nor unlikely that memories of trauma are buried and recovered later. What may not be real are the details of the event when and if we remember it.  Based on the science of memory, we should handle the details of most of what we remember about ANYTHING with skepticism.  That being said, trusting our instincts and intuitions can be a valuable way to handle recovered memories of sexual abuse.  In nearly two decades since remembering mine, I have learned that uncovering the fact that trauma occurred and healing the damage done is more important than remembering the details.      


Because the abuse I experienced happened at such a young age, the damage caused to my developing brain was significant enough to cause a lifetime of physical and mental issues.  The incident occurred before I had adequate language development, and was stored in my body in ways I am just beginning to discover.  But the good news is that the damage isn't irreversible.  Even brains that have been affected by childhood trauma can heal.  By bringing the existence of trauma into consciousness and learning ways to rewire the survival responses gone awry as a result, it is possible to recover from even the most deeply buried memories of abuse.   


 

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 23, 2009 - 6:12PM #10
Wmdkitty
Posts: 2,174

I never said "It didn't happen."


What I'm saying is, be careful, because false memories *do* feel just as real as "real" memories.


(The whole "Satanic Panic" of the 80's started because of "recovered memories", and while I don't doubt some of the victims *were* abused by *someone*, the accusations of "ritual abuse in the name of Satan" were proven false.)


If your gut is telling you something is wrong, if something just doesn't feel "right", you'd do best to trust that instinct.

"The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post "Thou shalt not steal", Thou shalt not commit adultery" and "Thou shalt not lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment." -- George Carlin
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