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How to recall repressed memories of sexual abuse.
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I'm new to this site and was just wondering if there are people out there who feel that something might have happened (sexual abuse) to them when they were children, but as adults they have no actual memories of abuse. I have been feeling this way, like something terrible happened, for some years now but haven't been able to find any answers. I've talked to some therapists about it but they just blow it all back on my face by saying that some people have accused family members who turned out to be innocent, that the human mind can't be trusted with its ability to properly record experiences. So, therapists haven't given me much hope, and I still feel like "something happened". Is there anyone out there who had a similar experience? If so, I would like to hear your story and if and what you did to recall your memories.
Posted on 05/26/07, 08:06 pm
19 Replies | Most Recent Add Your Advice
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Reply #1 - 05/26/07  9:35pm
" have you ever tried journaling? when i journal so much comes out. at first it was difficult, then everything was comming out. sometimes it was too much for me to say because it hurt SO bad and i did not want to believe it. "
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Reply #2 - 05/26/07  11:47pm
" There is a book called "Dear Sister once abused" by Victoria Lynn; I highly recommend it. She was 3 when the abuse took place and didn't remember it until later in life. I've just started it so I don't know if it goes into how she got herself to start remembering, but it does talk about some of the symptoms of childhood sexual abuse. If you have some of those symptoms, it would mean that it is very likely you have been abused.

"Persons with a history of childhood sexual abuse commonly have two disorders:
*Addiction- Included were addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, painful abusive relationships and eating disorders.
*Somatic illness- Somatic illness is a disorder characterized by recurrent multiple physical complaints and symptoms for which there is no organic cause. The symptoms are not under voluntary control and, as we are realizing, they can contribute to actual disease. The symptoms have a so-called, hysterical element, and the suffering person often seeks the advice of many doctors."

Before you try to remember what happened, you should probably do some research on symptoms. This will help you to know if there is something to remember. Try not to FORCE yourself to remember, or you mind may invent things. Kind of like, sometimes being hypnotized isn't an accurate way of remembering because if your mind can't really remember, it fills in the blanks with whatever. False memories if you will.

If you're having the feeling that something terrible happened, it is possible that it was something besides sexual abuse.

Good luck with your quest to find the truth! "
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Reply #3 - 05/27/07  9:49am
" Sloanes... I'm kind of in the boat. I found "The Courage to heal" really helpful it talks about how not everyone has memories about the abuse. And it is really inclusive of people who feel like that. I remember my Father's physical abuse... I also rememeber my Father inserting his finger in me which once I shared with my therapist, she named "sexual abuse". To me this wasn;t sexual abuse but it was to her. And perhaps by talking it with other people, like us you can figure out what is and isn't sexual abuse. Perhaps things you don;t regard as abusive were... and that's something that I'm learning. Also in talking with friends about your upbringing or your experiences they might spot the wierd incidents/events which you didn't recognise as strange. I don;t know if that helps... I'm happy to talk to you about it if you want to find out more.
X "
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Reply #4 - 05/27/07  11:55am
" I have an 'I remember' list. Every time I remember something about my childhood - good or bad - I write it on the list. Sometimes I sit down and work on my list for half an hour or so, actively trying to remember things but not any partcular subject, if that makes sense. For me, remembering one thing can often lead into remembering something else. Don't know if that helps but I hope so. "
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Reply #5 - 05/27/07  4:18pm
" For years all I remembered was him closing the door and a feeling of intense wrongness. i knew something had happened to me, but I didn't know what. I didn't even know who. I knew I had been abused, but couldn't remember. Eventually the memories came back to me. It really did happen. I now remember every awful detail. Trust in yourself. Don't stress about it, and the memories will come. Some days you may hate remembering. Goddess knows sometimes all I want to do is forget again. But it is real, it did happen. And those years of feeling like "something happened" were real. Something DID happen. "
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Reply #6 - 06/09/07  9:32pm
" It can't be forced. Your mind is protecting you for a reason. When your mind finally feels safe and knows that you are strong enough to deal with the memories, then they will come forward.

I was molested from ages 2-6, never remembered anything until a month or two ago, and I am 27. I am now experience post traumatic stress disorder because of the intensity of my symptoms in response to the memories. I couldn't truly heal until I started to remember, but this experience is so intense and horrific I would not wish it on anyone, except maybe my abuser! "
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Reply #7 - 05/23/10  12:01pm
" When I was in my early 20's I had a feeling that something might have happened to I me. If you responsed back to me, I will tell you my experience.

My advice to you is not to look for something that might not be there. "
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Reply #8 - 05/23/10  12:36pm
" I was sexually abused by a boy my age when I was younger for a few years. I remember nothing before the age of 7, and anything from 7-10 is really fuzzy. Save for the abuse. I remember all that very clearly. But, I also think that something may have happened before 7 that I'm trying to block out. Not only have I been told that I knew the boy since before that age, but my mother had always dated guys who sexually or physically abused her. So, I just feel like I'm missing something that could have happened.

I find that looking at photographs helps me recall some things. Nothing major, just certain houses I've lived in, or toys I had. Just a suggestion.

I hope you find what you're looking for, dear. "
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Reply #9 - 06/16/11  1:37pm
" Heyy,
I had the same problem when I was 13. I had a feeling something bad happened to me but couldn't remember. I questioned my mom about it but she didn't have any answers. I asked about it online, like yourself, and someone said that I should "Shut up" and that if I didnt remember it, it didnt happen. I just figured they were bitter ;] but then, it happened to me again when I was fourteen. And again when I was sixteen. I started recalling sexual abuse in my life and it turns out it had been happening all my life. So, it could have happened. Just try to relax, maybe it'll come back. But then again, you might not want it to.. "
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Reply #10 - 06/16/11  2:50pm
" It is massively frustrating and I can relate. I wish I had an answer for you. I remember a handful of incidents....abuse by both genders but even those aren't complete just mental images. I so wish I could remember in a way that would allow me to sequentially go through what happened like so many can... ...but I'm stuck with still pictures and flashes....enough to know they're real but not the whole event. What drives me crazy is I "know" with every fiber of my being that so much more went on but all I have are huge blank gaps covering huge periods of childhood. It frustrates the hell out of me that I can't remember what went on during so much of my childhood....just emotional memories. I can't image the frustration I'd experience if I had no memories at all just all the signs, symptoms, feelings and emotions that are consistent with sexual abuse. Your therapists response about people being falsely accused has happened but to just leave it at that is absurd. I have an uncle where I would bet money abused me but I absolutely cannot remember despite lots of circumstantial evidence and a completely irrational anger toward him. But I can't say for sure so I don't count it and have never accused him but deep down on some level..that little 7 yr old boy inside me knows. Keep trying...use the suggestions offered here, find the right will surface when it does. In the meantime, just treat the symptoms. I dk what your issues are but as one who went through sexual, physical and emotional's sometimes hard to know what caused what...perhaps the issues your struggling with are caused by other forms of abuse? Good luck "

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