Thursday, February 2, 2012

Memories, Disbelief And Self-Doubt

So many survivors have to deal with the disbelief of others when they recover new memories of abuse. I have plenty of memories of being sexually abused from the age of 11-17. I never lost those memories. I have always remembered.

When I recovered the memory of calling myself an adulteress at age 3, I wondered why I don't have the memories to support that one clue? Then I realized that a 3 year old may have trouble holding on to memories that they don't have the tools to deal with and still survive the horror of the abuse.

Survivors often share the doubts of others as to whether their memories are true. That self-doubt doesn't mean the abuse didn't happen. It just means that the abuse is sometimes easier to forget than to deal with the horror of remembering.  Our brain allows us to remember when it is safe to look at those memories.

This post is from an edited comment that I left on the post of an online friend on his blog article "The Wounded Warrior: Witness To My Shame." Here is the link for that blog post if you would like to read it:

Thank you Jan for sharing your story so that other survivors can read your story and be inspired to do their own healing.


Jan WordWizard said...

Thank you Patricia, for being there for so many, and for your wisdom.

This journey is slow, but I am getting there!



Patricia Singleton said...

Jan, you are so very welcome. I had help from others along the way too. It doesn't matter how slow or how quick we are on our journey as long as we are moving forward and you are. It is helpful having companions along the way.

Pam said...

Hi Patricia,

There were so many memories that I was afraid to share and didn't share for decades. Now that I have shared them, I'm shocked to find how much I don't remember. I think deep down, I too ashamed to even share them with myself.


Patricia Singleton said...

Pam, remember that the shame belongs to the abuser, not to the child that you were. Whatever you remember is okay. Whatever you don't remember is okay. Neither was your fault. I have 6 years of memories and still have memories from around age 2-3 that I don't remember. We can heal with or without the memories. That is what is important.

Pam said...

Pat, Thanks for telling me that. I think I've been feeling pressure about what I don't remember, thinking that it isn't over yet. I want it to be over.


Patricia Singleton said...

Pam, you are very welcome. I know the feeling of wanting it to be over. I wish the wanting was enough. It takes awhile to work through what we do remember without pressuring ourselves about what we don't remember. If and when your brain thinks you can deal with the memories, they will come. If it doesn't, there is nothing you can do to "make" yourself remember.

Suvarna Manjari Dasi said...

thank you Patricia for these words of wisdom. it's jut what I need to hear.

Patricia Singleton said...

Suvarna, You are very welcome.