No memory of child abuse


No memory of child abuse


your avatar   Zoe (18 year-old woman)

I began masturbating at around 5 years old. I would fantasize about being a stripper at this young age. I lost my virginity at 15 and have had about 20 sexual partners since then. I would think of men as conquests. I have never been able to orgasm from intercourse, only masturbation. I often feel awkward around my father when seeing a movie with him containing a sex scene or some other situation like that. I have read a lot of material concerning sexually molested girls and I seem to have all the symptoms, yet have no memory of this ever occurring.

Could I have been molested by my father and have blocked it out? If so, how do I go about dealing with it?


    Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, LPC, LISAC, DCC

Dear Zoe,

It is entirely possible for someone to have been molested and not remember either part or all of it. Any abuse is horrendous, but sexual abuse is particularly damaging to someone's spirit, self-esteem, trust, and sense of identity. The damage is heightened the younger the person is when the abuse occurred and to the degree the abuser is related to the victim.

It is a natural reaction for anyone who has been hurt in this way to go into shock. This is natures' way to protect us from pain. If the pain and hurt is overwhelming this shock can remain unresolved and cause dissociation and post-traumatic-stress-disorder. Dissociation is a split between the three brains, which consists of the logical human brain, the mammalian emotional brain, and the Reptilian brain, which is mostly subconscious and instinctual. Dissociation can become so severe that the memory remains outside of conscious awareness until either internal or external cues uncover the memory. This can happen in a piecemeal form where the victim has a body memory without any verbal or visual memory. Gradually the memory tends to broaden out and become more complete. However, it is also entirely possible for the memory to spontaneously pop up in its entirety.

In PTSD old terror is re-experienced at inappropriate times. The central nervous system is activated in a fight or flight response that is often overdone. This tends to freeze an individual and makes them feel as if they're not in control of themselves. They often suffer from general anxiety, sleeplessness, vivid dreaming, hyper- vigilance, appetite disturbance, irritability, panic, and at times flashbacks. These feelings are uncomfortable but what the mind/body is trying to do is get the old memories back into the conscious so they can be grieved out. This is essential for true healing. Although, there is no way I can know at this distance whether your father abused you or not, it is conceivable that your uncomfortable feelings when around him are a symptom of PTSD.

All of the worries that you have related such as early masturbation, fantasizing about being a stripper at a young age, predator sex, and only able to orgasm when you are in control and alone are certainly consistent with early sexual abuse. To have that combination of symptoms is very unusual without some form of abuse happening in the past. However, a number of the symptoms you have listed are possible without any abusive having occurred. Early periodic masturbation and feeling odd watching a sexual scene with ones parents is not terribly odd. The best way to find out for sure is by forming a trusting relationship with a professional and gradually the memories, if present and accurate, will surface.

It is always difficult to share with a stranger, but dealing with this problem is one that requires professional face-to-face contact. I would recommend someone who is proficient in EMDR and Neuro Emotional Techniques, which are based on Acupressure. The first technique is an effective and quick way to deal with trauma and is widely practiced. It is a relatively new therapy that is fast and relatively painless. The other technique was originally practiced by chiropractors and only later taught to psychotherapists. It will be very difficult to find someone proficient in this technique however because it is so new. TFT, which is based on this discipline, is another quick and painless therapy and more clinicians practice this art.

Good luck,

Jef Gazley

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit:


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