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unable to remember trauma

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ProbableIceCream posted 4/6/2014 20:39 PM

(this may belong in off topic.. i don't know.)

My sister just told me about something that happened when I was.. somewhere in the range of 8-12. It sounds like it must have been very traumatic for me. However I don't remember it. It is very shocking for me to hear about and it makes me wonder what else I don't remember. I don't understand why she remembers and I don't--it should have affected her equally since it wasn't specific to me (me and both my sisters and my mom were present--it was something awful my dad did).

When I try to picture it I sort of get a very brief flash of recognition like I'm remembering a bad dream that happened a long time ago, but it doesn't seem like real recognition--it seems like something behind the curtain of a dream.

I want to say what it was but I just can't bring myself to yet. I have this irrational fear that something really bad will happen if I actually describe it.

Caretaker1 posted 4/6/2014 20:44 PM

What about hypnotism ?

SBB posted 4/6/2014 20:55 PM

My IC suggested I start writing in a stream of consciousness way. It felt weird and I avoided it for a long time as it felt silly.

I finally decided to give it a go. A few pages into it a long suppressed memory came out. Others have come out since.

I have many such buried memories. The burying was necessary for my survival as a child but toxic to me as an adult. Interestingly there were things in my M that I buried in exactly the same way. These memories come back when I read and post here.

It is a very common reaction to trauma. Appropriate in the moment as your brain can only take so much stress at once - but IMO these buried memories need to brought out of the box otherwise they fester in our subconscious.

My burden is so much lighter. I don't do it perhaps as often as I should but I need the time in between to process it all.

Bluebird26 posted 4/6/2014 20:57 PM

I have this irrational fear that something really bad will happen if I actually describe it.

I think you have hit the nail on the head with this, your subconscious does remember it however your mind is protecting you by blocking it out.

It's kind of like childbirth we all know its painful but our mind makes us forget the intensity of that pain during that time that's why most of us will go back and have another child if medically able too.

I think you will only remember all the details when you are ready to remember.

My ex rediscovered some traumatic things about his childhood some 20 years later, it wasn't until he was ready for the truth that he remembered what happened.

Please see a counsellor or something similar to help you remember and how do deal with the feelings it brings. It pretty much destroyed my ex and he never was the same again but he refused to get the help he needed or still needs. It has affected his whole adult life and his relationship with me and his children. It was probably the true catalyst for all his infidelity during our marriage as he was trying to run from the truth.

((PIC)) hope you are ok.

ProbableIceCream posted 4/6/2014 21:09 PM

Well.. I am actively doing EMDR on things I can remember and it has helped me a lot. I will talk to the therapist I'm working with about the subject of stuff that I can't remember. I'm willing to keep fishing stuff out and processing it as long as I can find stuff because it seems to really help me.

So what happened is that my dad and my mom and my two sisters were at the breakfast table. I don't know what the context was other than that. Obviously some sort of heated conversation had occurred or maybe my dad just got upset at something. I don't know. Anyway, he ends up putting a gun on the table and asking my mom to shoot him. I suspect he didn't mean it seriously, he just meant it to be dramatic. Don't know. Either way it's really messed up.

I feel very sorry for my past self, but it's hard to feel directly affected by it because I can't remember it. I do feel very disturbed by remembering the general climate of my childhood though. I was terrified of my dad a lot of the time and I don't think it was because of violence. Mostly that he was very intense and emotionally abusive and paranoid and not entirely sane and extremely intelligent. He used that intelligence in very bad ways.

I have already done another target involving a gun and my dad and that one has made a huge difference in me being able to stand up for myself. Basically I was around 17 and I was attempting to stand up for myself verbally, and at the time he carried a gun around all the time (supposedly for self defense). As it progressed he just got more and more upset and something inside me suddenly saw the gun as a huge threat (gee I wonder why now...) and I backed off really quickly. I was so scared that he was going to shoot me that I was in tears. Anyway, we did three sessions on that one and it's helped me a huge amount. I just have trouble remembering many specific things.

I did at least one or two or three targets on my dad when we were working on my depression about seven years ago. (I had severe depression after I left for college and was in college for about a year, and it didn't go away, no matter what meds I used, until I started doing EMDR.) Strangely enough I don't remember what the targets were now.

[This message edited by ProbableIceCream at 9:31 PM, April 6th (Sunday)]

Amazonia posted 4/7/2014 06:36 AM

The human mind is a remarkable thing. When a traumatic event is too much for a person to handle, the mind allows us to compartmentalize things in order to survive. It sounds like your mind has shut out this particular memory to protect you - maybe because of everything else that happened in your childhood?

It's hard to say why your sister would not have been similarly affected; disposition, age, exposure (or lack thereof) to other stressful environmental factors at the time, etc. might play a role in your differing reactions.

It's encouraging to me to see someone (you) so willing to attack this stuff head on in therapy. Too many people in our world just want to stuff it down and not deal with it. And while, yes, our minds may protect us, it still affects you on a deeper level. I think being so proactive will be very healthy for you in the long run.

ProbableIceCream posted 4/11/2014 14:20 PM

I described the event to my EMDR therapist and she said we can work on it. EMDR works to retrieve memories also.

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