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Advice:
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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Advice:
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Reply #11 - 06/16/11  4:25pm
" When I started doing yoga and writing stories a lot of memories suddenly turned up that I had repressed or that had been very vague...but I also went into therapy for a couple of years. "
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Reply #12 - 06/16/11  7:08pm
" For me, I was abused when I was very very small (starting when I was 4, and ending when I was 8-9). All my life, I felt like something was wrong but it was completely repressed. I would feel extra sad, angsty, or upset for no reason, or inappropriately so over certain things. One night, I was so worked up that all I could say (both to my best friend who was sleeping over, and in my mind) was "something's wrong, something's wrong".
By college, I had a strong urge to journal. Through this, I began to have memories come back in the form of strong senses of just knowing what had happened, as well as images, emotions, and body memories. Sometimes these would occur in dreams or just kind of "come up" while I was journaling or even doing something unrelated to abuse.

My thought for you - if you have a deep, gut feeling that you can't shake that something bad happened, allow yourself to explore that feeling with a good, supportive therapist. The good ones (usually more experienced), will recognize your feelings and help you sort them out without steering you towards any conclusions.

Basically, love yourself and find somebody to support you as you explore this feeling. "
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Reply #13 - 08/05/11  12:57pm
" You have an inner knowing and I already know that you know what happened to you. You know on an "inner" knowing level but not quite fully on the "outer" knowing level. The unconscious recalls every blade grass you have ever seen. You are not making it up. If you know or have a sense that something did happen deep down, honor that and trust yourself. Memories will surface in different ways...sometimes your body tells you or you receive it in a dream fro example but I am sure it can manifest in different ways. That was my experience. I just recalled being anally molested when i was 3 yrs old last week. I had anal itch for the past several months that i was not telling anyone about even doctors...which is a sign i did not want to face it yet. then it came in a dream...it was as if my higher self and a guide told me what happened. I woke up flailing and upset and then i allowed myself to recall what was said in the dream. So I wish you love, healing, and light. You will heal and so will I :-). It will come up when you are ready to handle it. Be patient because sometimes even though you think you might be ready, it might not be the best time. But on the other hand it is good to honor your will to know and recall also. So you are where you need to be. Trust yourself....going inside and know. "
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Reply #14 - 08/05/11  1:36pm
" My personal theory on this is that the younger you were, the less structured your brain was at the time. Whole sections of it hadn't even fully turned on yet. So memories from this period are extremely hard to invoke and recall with clarity. It's almost like a much more primitive system was in control then and the new, adult, you has a hard time understanding what the simpler young you is remembering.

One thing I'm cautious of is trying too hard to remember. If you think of this as two people who don't speak the same language except for a few words trying to communicate, it's really easy to misinterpret what is being said. You get a flash here, a few words, there, and your newer more advanced brain can be very creative trying to fill in gaps. I think this is where false memories come from.

What I've concluded is not to try and force this but to look around the edges of it for clues. For example, in my case, I knew a lot about sex, pubic hair, and women's sexual organs when I was five. I can't dredge up very much of that but it's obvious I didn't just dream all this up. So something happened to expose this to me, but I may never remember exactly what it was. If I keep digging at it, I might construct something that seems very believable but is not really what happened. "
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Reply #15 - 08/05/11  4:59pm
" IDK about anyone else but smells for me, bring back floods of memory..not necessarily bads ones , mind you...but memory in general. things i hadn't thought about in years and completely put out of my mind come back with just one whiff. This, probably for me is the thing that helps me most remember anything "
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Reply #16 - 08/05/11  5:13pm
" I completely agree with Jeanna. Your body protects you until you are ready to deal with it, IF you are ready to deal with it IMO. I was sexually abused by a live in nanny from 7-14. I always had memories of the abuse, maybe it helped because it was very simple, a backrub followed by her jerking me off. That was it, somestimes 2-3 times a week sometimes 7 times a week depending if my parents were home. It ended when she wanted me to have intercourse and I said no. I was shut out after that, but that is a whole different story.

So my adult years had traumatic events occur, the longest a 5 year lawsuit my mother filed against me. When it was finally over there was peace in my life, for the first time in say 15 years. Shortly following the trial, and during this new period of peace, I had the same memory one day, and for the first time my body/brain/psychi led me for the first time to put my age and a time frame to it. It was easy. We had moved to a new home, my brother was born in conjunction with the new nanny moving in, and my brother was born 7 yrs after me. An event made it easy to pinpoint being 14 when it ended. Then I understood that she was an adult. It was that moment when I realized I was sexually abused. Then I was able to remember other things that she wanted and had me do to her.

Alice Millers book The Drama of the Gifted Child caused me to seek much needed therapy to process all that happened and how it shaped me in many ways, then allowed me to start working on correcting some of the effects of that abuse.

I theorized just what Jeanna said. There was no way I could have dealt with that during the lawsuit, being married with two children and a full time job. My thought is that my body and brain knew that I was then strong enough to take on yet another traumatic event to deal with.

I also agree with journaling, so much more will come out of you when you do. My therapy was centered around my dreams during therapy. I would wake up and write them down. Then in the morning I was able to keep adding to the journaling of my dreams because it just works that way. The dreams showed a lot of my progress. If you can do this with your dreams you will be amazed what your brain will allow you to remember that has been filed away in the back of your mind for your own well being.

So I am not an advocate of hypnosis or forced recall of what you don't remember. False things could come up, and if real abuse is forced to the surface and your brain and body is not ready to let you deal with and process it, then IMO it could have very bad results.

Good Luck. You are getting some great ideas from your post. "
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Reply #17 - 08/06/11  11:15am
" Hi there I have to agree with the journal advice. I was sexually assaulted as a child, but I convinced myself it was really no big deal. Well it was a really big deal, as that experience has left behind a long trail of negative behaviours and missed opportunities. I have just recently found the courage to heal. "
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Reply #18 - 03/09/12  8:14am
" hi there, not so musch advice but maybe this could help me to.. ive been having somatic memories and would like to know how to unlock wht there trying to show me. i had five in 2 weeks and all vairied.. sorry to jump in on your question... "
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Reply #19 - 03/09/12  8:27pm
" This is a necro-thread, if you note the date...

Body memories...hmm, I have those show up, they may or may not be connected to any actual returning recall.

Yanno what? You want recall? try getting a deep-tissue Swedish massage. That might jar it loose.
But quite frankly the mind blocks this stuff until the memory is not going to destroy us. That's why it was blocked out in the first place. "

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