Hidden memories from childhood

Hidden memories from childhood

QUESTION:

your avatar   Jessica, 19-year-old woman

So here's the long and short of it. I've been through a lot in the last 5 years. Like 20+ different sexual assaultsÖI am not joking. I've been through counseling and have come to terms with it. My mother was loveless. She was verbally abusive as well. I can't remember much before the age of 15. I have maybe 5 to 10 short visual memories in that full 15 years and almost all of them are school memories.

My question to you is, why can't I remember anything from home? It seems so strange that no matter how much I try I can't think of anything. On top of that, when I read certain things about childhood sexual abuse it feels like I can relate, like a memory is right there ready to say hello but as soon as I get distracted it's gone. Is it possible there is more to surface? I need to know if there's anything else. I feel very strongly that something is hidden in my mind but have no "evidence". I just need to know to move on. I'll never fully be able to move forward until I remember at least a little bit of my childhood. There will always be that "what if" thought.

ANSWER:

    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Jessica,

I think your intuition is right. You have hidden years of your life from yourself because they were filled with terrible events that at some level you can't bear to face. Even though in your conscious mind you want to know, early on you developed a skill of hiding these things from yourself.

What's more, although the memories are hidden, they have still influenced how you think, act, and the way other people react to you. All those more recent sexual assaults happened because predators zero in on people who are vulnerable: those who have been hurt in the past. You are also right that the way to heal, to get strong and gain peace in your heart is to recover those hidden years, to face up to the horror and deal with it.

You have had counseling for the recent crimes against you, so you know how it is done. Go back for help. There are several ways to recover hidden memories. Find a psychologist who has expertise in one of them. They all depend on "exposure therapy." I imagine that's what you have already done. I use hypnosis for such work, but the same can be done without.

When you have recovered and processed those memories, you will feel your life change for the better. It takes courage, but is well worth it.

Bob

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com

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