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questions about blocking out memories
June 28, 2007
12:07 pm
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red blonde
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I have been writing down my memories - recovered memories - from my past - of my being abused. Can we also block out good memories that have nothing to do with abuse at all? Alot of trauma happened to me in one night and the weeks following the trauma - which I remember almost all of it now - and I was sent out the the USA to another country to stay with a really wonderful family - I can remember alot about the father and the two sons - including their names - but the wife and the daughter - I can remember extremely little - and these should NOT be anything but GOOD memories of love, caring, etc. This is really disturbing me. Has anyone else blocked out GOOD memories as well as memories of abuse?

June 28, 2007
12:11 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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I have blank spots in my memory in general...both good and bad.

I wonder if these women represented something to you that you wanted to block it out.

Like maybe they weren't abused, you were...maybe you were resentful that they could have a happy life, while you were abused?

I really don't know the answer, but wonder if maybe the memory isn't as wonderful as you think it should be and that's why it's blocked?

or maybe they just didn't make that much of an impact on you that they were worth remembering?

mabye someone else knows more?

June 28, 2007
12:22 pm
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red blonde
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Rising ~

The memories of the daughter, probably good, but don't believe I saw her that much, she was married and not living at home. But the mother - I know I admired her greatly and I believe we grew very close - perhaps mother/daughter like - and I really should remember her the most - but I don't. I wonder
if it was because we did get so close - and then I was abruptly moved back to the States. I remember that it was a very tearful goodbye. I was more or less abandoned by my mother, she never showed me any affection or nurturing. She was my abuser - in fact, the only time I can ever remember her kissing me and hugging me was when my dad died. And that was quickly done and I forced her to do that.

June 28, 2007
1:29 pm
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the only thing I remember about my childhood are the bad memories. I cant think of a single good thing. Until I was 14

June 28, 2007
2:05 pm
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red blonde
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(((((((Random)))))))))

I know how that goes as well. I was 20 years old when I was sent out of the country. I vaguely remember being picked up at the airport by the youngest son, who was a couple years older than me. I attended the university with him...but the first couple of months I was in a fog and terrified. I didn't remember anything that happened before that. I guess at the time it was like waking up from a coma that one didn't realize one had been in. That is the only I can describe it at the time that it happened...I have recovered most of my memories but not all yet...and maybe I will never recover ALL of them.

June 29, 2007
9:27 am
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risingfromtheashes
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maybe because you were ripped away from her, you block it out because you don't want to remember how good it was? that it would painful to know you had something good, but it was taken away from you?

June 29, 2007
9:42 am
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red blonde
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Rising ~

You could be right. I didn't think we did that - block out GOOD events - but now I am going to try an recover some memories about her and the time there. Not sure how I am going to do that, because the abuse and trauma came back in flashbacks and nightmares. I am going to bring that up with my counselor/therapist.

June 29, 2007
10:18 am
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risingfromtheashes
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the abuse/trauma may be so overwhelming that it's ALL you can remember when you try.

Are there things that you know of that could trigger good memories? perhaps you know what perfume she wore...or if she wore her hair a certain away, or dressed a certain way...try to remember something personal or pleasant...like how it felt when you hugged her, or how she smelled, or pet names she may have called you...or certain things she did to make you feel good...did you guys do things like bake cookies together or make crafts or something that made you feel good and loved? maybe she tucked you in at night.

If you keep going back to the bad stuff, yeah, don't struggle to get to the good memories...work thru the bad stuff first...the good stuff will come..it's there, somewhere.

June 29, 2007
11:23 am
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truthBtold
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I agree with rising.......it's there, somewhere.

Having to had to shut down and split off so many times in order to survive (I've been diagnosed with Depersonalization and Disassociative Identity Disorder)the title of your thread spoke clear and dear and directly to my heart.

The thing that I discovered (actually quite recently - within the last few months) - after years of agonizing and focusing 100% on what I DIDN'T remember and let that become almost a daily obsession - was to shift that and focus on that which I DID remember. I continue to do that to this day.

I just get myself in a very quiet, open and curious place without an agenda and just allow myself to drift back and recollect that which I DO remember...and then one thing leads to another which leads to another etc.....and little by little my memories start to surface and become known.

I say to myself that it's OK to remember everything - the good, the bad and the ugly and try not to censor anything which presents itself.

It's still a work in progress.

June 29, 2007
11:53 am
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red blonde
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(((((((Rising~TBT)))))))

You have no idea how much I appreciate your being here for me and understanding.

When I first started to write in a journal, all my thoughts and feelings became jumbled and everything became overwhelming to where I would not - COULD not - write anything down with out sobbing my heart out. I guess I was trying to write everything down at one time - and it wasn't going to well for me. I think you are right about getting the bad stuff out first and that the good will have room to come back into my memories. If that makes any sense at all. Because I am trying to make sense of it all myself.

I decided to write it down - from the time that I originally came out of my 'coma' because that is how it seems to me right now. As I said in my first post, so much trauma had happened to me in one night and in the weeks(?) following that night, that I blocked everything out. The next 'conscious' memory was being in another country and being terrified. I did not KNOW why I was there, what happened before then. I guess the best analogy would be someone having been in a coma from injuries sustained and coming out of the coma, not realizing that they had been in a coma, or in a hospital, and not knowing what caused them to be there. I think that it would be just as frightening for that person as it had been for me.

Does that analogy make any sense to you, Rising - TBT?

June 29, 2007
11:57 am
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red blonde
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Then the rest of my life, it has been like piecing together a giant zigsaw puzzle and not really knowing where the bits and pieces fit for there isn't a 'picture' for reference, so that I could say: 'that piece goes here! that piece goes there!' My memories came back through nightmares and flashbacks over the decades, but they are still, at best, fractured.

June 29, 2007
12:16 pm
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truthBtold
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((((( Red Blonde))))))

There isn't a complete, whole "picture" of reference...nor will there ever probably be for quite some time (maybe never 100%) - and that's OK. That's actually quite natural given the traumatic circumstances.

But I DO think that we can finally get to a place where it is "good enough" you know?

This is not a logical process we are talking about here. It is non-linear and damn messy. But - that's OK. That's how it all shakes out.

I don't mean to be negative here - just a little practical - hopefully - so that it can take some of the "edge" out of us trying to make all of the pieces fit nicely together like in a jig-saw puzzle.

Just pace yourself. Journaling and writing can be extremely helpful - but you need to know that when it becomes too much...just back off for awhile - allow those raw open wounds a chance of developing a scab of sorts by just letting the air get to it for awhile.

Maybe treat yourself to a celebratory massage for uncovering those things that have surfaced...and above all - just be gentle with yourself....it'll all come together - enough - where it isn't a constant, daily plague.

June 29, 2007
12:29 pm
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red blonde
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((((TBT)))))

Thank you!

It has been a long journey for me. That 'night' happened in 1968, don't remember the month or day, probably will never remember. Flashbacks and nightmares seem to have come back in a 'series' almost like in 10 year cycles since then - starting with the physical abuse, then the sexual abuse, and then, after my mother died, memories of that 'night'. I kind of get mad at people when they say 'forgive and forget' - they don't realize how flashbacks make those memories and the pain associated with them HERE and NOW like they happened only yesterday.

June 29, 2007
12:36 pm
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red blonde
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TBT ~

I just now read your thread! Would it be all right to post to that one and drop this one....since it is covering all that I am going through as well? I had been so wrapped up in my 'recovery' that I hadn't read many of the threads....just a few.

Red

June 29, 2007
12:42 pm
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red blonde
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I think one of the things I have to learn is to not constantly be asking someone's permission to just be me.

June 29, 2007
12:44 pm
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truthBtold
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Red,

Of Course! Just know that I am pacing myself as well and an immediate reply does not mean I am ignoring yours nor anyone else's post.....just means that I am going at my own pace since these are such gut-wrenching HONEST matters we are addressing here.....OK?

June 29, 2007
1:50 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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red - your coma analogy DOES make sense to me.

It's like you KNOW something happened, after all, you weren't REALLY in a coma...and it's damn frustrating to now know what happened.

Deal with the pain at your own pace, in your own way. If it's overwhelming, back off...it will come.

And that whole "forgive and forget" stuff...it's not healthy...well, healthy to forgive, yes, but sweeping it under the rug and forgetting is not...nor do I think you COULD forget.

keep posting here..I find it helps.

June 29, 2007
2:30 pm
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red blonde
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Okay, Rising, I will keep this thread going.

I need all the input and information and help I can get right now.

June 29, 2007
3:13 pm
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red blonde
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This is my story - (and I am sticking to it! LOL! I haven't lost my sense of humor yet!)

The traumas, that I experience in that one 'night' that caused me to block almost everything out, were the following (but first I will have to explain something that pertains to that night and these memories I have only recovered since mid 1998.)

My first love (2 years older) and I had gone together since the middle of my freshman year to my second year of college (5 years). This gets complicated...When I came home for the summer, after 2nd yr. of college, I saw him briefly, he was in the naval reserves, and he had only a week to see me, returning for a longer time later that summer. I had missed my next period. We had always used protection and I don't know how I became pregnant. I had been afraid to talk to him over the phone or tell him in a letter, so I decided to wait til I saw him and tell him which should have been within a month or two. While waiting, I ran into an old guy friend that I had known since 7th grade, he was 3 yrs older and there had been nothing ever between us except talk. Hadn't seen him for 2 yrs, though his father's catering business was used by my mother in her political career (he worked with his dad) ever since I went into high school. So she knew him well. Now he owned his own deli and was an auxilliary police officer. "Running into" was he recognized my dad's car and me driving it and pulled me over with lights flashing. He said he was curious as to what I had been doing etc. and asked me to go out to dinner and a movie and then we could talk over old times. I accepted. And here is where everything gets fuzzy and I cannot remember all of it. He picked me up, he beat me up, threatened my life, and then raped me.

June 29, 2007
3:22 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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wow...that is scary.

can I ask...why did you accept a date if you had a BF already? Not that it's relevant, just trying to figure out what kind of relationship you still had with your BF.

June 29, 2007
3:41 pm
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red blonde ~ I didn't read all the posts here, but to answer your original question - yes it is possible to block both bad and good memories. I did that in regards with my ex-husband. After I left him, once he was talking about the years we spent together - or rather I spent entrapped - and he asked: do you remember this? or that? Remember we had fun then or at this or that time? ....I remember.... absolutely nothing. For each year of the relationship I have as many memories as it was a day... plus a few really bad episodes.

I heart someone saying, that usually after time passes by we tend to remember only the best from a relationship, unless it was really bad and then we remember only the worst. Certainly this is my experience. I don't think I want to remember anything, either.

June 29, 2007
4:57 pm
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red blonde
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Rising ~

I was very naive back then. I didn't have any friends in grade school, they teased me and called me names, I think that they thought that all the bruises and welts were a 'disease' or something. And I not allowed out of my yard, nor were kids allowed in my yard...to play with anyone..so I never really was sure of 'friends' when I went into junior high. And then I went to jr. high with all the kids from my grade school along with new kids...so it was very hard for me to make friends.
I had always been very shy and stand offish.

Matteo ~ I think she was the kind of mother that I wished I had growing up and I think that when I was again abruptly taken away from her and her family was just another trauma to me. Not sure. Like it was something I wanted but could never have? Who knows. I have to get over the BAD stuff first, hopefully.

June 29, 2007
5:09 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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red -

I wasn't physically abused, but had similar restrictions. My dad feared someone would get hurt and sue him, so nobody was allowed over. I couldn't go over anyone's home because he feared we would sneak out and do something bad or they would "corrupt" me in some way.

I couldn't date or attend social functions til I was 16, a junior in high school...and by then, all cliques had formed and I had no social skills to join any. So, I waited until college to date really.

It was HARD learning from scratch at that age...I was nearly date raped...and got out by skin of my teeth...and it was naivety that really got me in the situation. He didn't believe I was a virgin and because I tended to act like a tease (not knowing what it really meant or what effect my behaviour had) he pushed, insisting I really wanted it and knew what I was doing.

Anyway, I know of the isolation you speak of...and being naive.

June 29, 2007
5:15 pm
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red blonde
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Rising ~ I accepted the 'date' just because he and I had talked alot from my 7th grade up until I had left for college. I was never afraid of him, we just would talk, I guess I trusted him as a 'friend'. To me, I didn't really regard it as a 'bf/gf' kind of date, I had gone out to dinner and movies with friends before in college though it was always a group of people and some were 'couples'. I just thought nothing of it. Naive and too trusting I guess. I never thought of him as a BF. He never made advances to me before that, so I didn't see any harm.

June 29, 2007
5:16 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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gotcha...makes sense...I probably would have felt the same given the situation.

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