To remember or not remember, to repress or not to repress

Quite often people tell me that I am lucky to not remember a lot of the abuse… But I’m not sure…

I do remember most of the abuse when I was a teenager, I remember the rapes and the beatings… But before the age of 14 is mainly blank, and as most multiples split before the age of 8… well put 2 and 2 together I guess…

I remember bits,it comes to me in flashes… not like flashbacks (I get them of my teenage years) but literally split second images in my head, or overwhelming emotions for no reason, or even sounds and smells… but I don’t know what any of these relate to…

My earliest memory it went I was very young, living with my grandparents. I only really remember being in the garden jumping from rock to rock over the flower beds before trying to climb across a pipe over a river lol. After that I remember being locked outside at about the age of 4, but I don’t know why… And I remember cold water being poured on me when I cried…

I don’t remember my mum and step-dad getting married when I was 5, nor my brother being born when I was 6. But I do remember my mum  attempting suicide not long after my brothers birth… I remember her laying on the floor in her own blood… apparently I called for an ambulance and went with her to the hospital, but I don’t remember this…

I have a scar on my stomach, it’s always been there and I’ve always wondered why, all I knew is when I looked at it I got a sharp burning sensation theere and felt intense fear… but then a few months ago I put my hand over it and *FALSH* I was 10 years old, in my parents kitchen, and my mum was coming at me with a knife… she stabed me… next thing I knew I was laying in our shower 22 years old with the water running again crying… but at least now I know where it came from.

I used to keep a dream diary, in the hope that it would uncover some of these memories, but no such luck… there are other things like that scar, things that I feel pain or fear when exposed to, but I don’t know why… I guess the main point its that it’s hard to recover when you have no idea what you are recovering from… that and thanks to the false memory people noone believes the memories anyway, so then you start to doubt them yourself… and then because you doubt the “recovered” memories you start to doubt ALL of your memories… I don’t know what is and isn”t real, I have no way to be sure… I’m not even sure that I am real, I mean meybe I have no memories because I am not the core/host as I thought, but an alter created to replace the host when they were 14?

this book is  a fantastic one about repressed memories, it’s one of the only things that has helped me regain any degree of confidence in who I am and what I remember.

The alternative of course is to remember everything, and to be haunted by it… I do remember my abusicve relationship between ages 16 and 19 fairly well, there are a few months and weeks missing here and there but it’s almost in tact. From this I get flashbacks and nightmares often…

The problem is I can never be 100% on which symptoms/effects are from what I do remember and which are from what I do not… Makes a comparison kind of difficult… That and I am so so so scared of the false memory syndrome people coming and telling me I’ve made it all up, etc. and belittling me…

In conclusion I guess…the options are both ****, I think it’s a bit like comparing apples and oragnes… there are good and bad points to each, or maybe it depends on the person, maybe some people cope better with knowing and some with repressing…

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6 Responses to “To remember or not remember, to repress or not to repress”

  1. sexualselfinjury Says:

    I think sometimes not knowing is more painful than remembering. But when the memories surface, I then wish I’d never remembered. We’re caught between a rock and a hard spot.

  2. meredith Says:

    The hard part is that we always remember, on some level–that’s what causes the edginess. Somehow, some way, I think our spirits always seek wholeness, and so the memories come in flashes, a little at a time. When they become raw for me, I wrap up in my down comforter and care for myself the way I should have been cared for long ago.

  3. Lisa Michels Says:

    Another good book is “The Courage to Heal” and the Authors have a workbook so you can work through your memories or lack thereof. There is also “Allies in Healing” which is for your significant other to understand what you are experiencing. My husband found it to be very helpful.

    My memories came gushing out about my first abuse (age 3) once I spoke the words out loud about my second abuse (age 16). I was always conscious of the second abuse but never spoke the words.

    There is no need to fear the “False Memory Syndrome Foundation” or stop your healing process because of them. There have been cases of false allegations over the years. There is evidence on both sides of the debate. But as survivors of repressed memories the healing process comes first. It’s important to identify and address why we are feeling the level of pain which is common to survivors of sexual abuse. We can’t continue to push away the reality of our past. It affects us, our relationships, every area of our life, not to mention the cost to society.

    Be gentle with yourself. The healing process takes time and a commitment to oneself.

  4. Maureen Huggins Says:

    I have trouble with memory before age 8, and gaps in memory for most of my life since then. I feear the whole false emeory thing because no one really believes me about anything I do remember. I find poems and stories written by my alters saved to my computer and I don’t know who wrote them or when. Many of my friends think I am making this up, as they believe I have made up those things I do remember, and exaggerated my depressions and suicidal ideations. I have been accused of saying I am DID for attention. The thing is I have little or no boundaries, so I forget it isn’t always prudent to be completely honest even with my friends. One friend says she knows the signs and symptoms of DID and I don’t have them, but she barely knows me really. She has only seen the parts of me I am willing to show publically. Even my ex partner doesn’t get it. I say to her, “Remember the wild moods swings, the days I couldn’t stop doing things that bugged you, the times I stuttered? Those were all alters, but she doesn’t get it. To her credit, she does believe that I believe and she listens to me and loves me anyway.

    • darcamani Says:

      I am so happy I found this site! A book I found helpful and stiill use explaining me to my partner and kids is; GroWing Beyond Survivor, published with Sidran press. It is more current than A Courage to Heal, although that is a very good place to start.
      I have been healing and living with DID under therapeutic care for 15 years. (not hopitilized or medicated now. My first 37 bio years I have been gently, very gently, reconstucting.
      This is my first week “OUT” as I have only shared my lives and living with mental health profs. and docs.


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