New Question of the Week: Memory

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
New Question of the Week: Memory
18
Tue, 07-08-2003 - 2:24am
Regarding your sexual abuse, did you repress the memories of it, or were you always aware that it had happened to you? I guess along those lines, if you repressed it, what triggered the memories to start surfacing? If you were always aware, was it because the abuse continued for a long period of time?

I know these are unpleasant things to talk about, but I think that we gain more personal power when we do talk about them. And I hope that everyone feels that this is a safe place to talk about their experiences.

HeidiRose

co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

Pages

Avatar for opal45
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Tue, 07-08-2003 - 12:44pm
Yes and no. I've known all my life that I was being sexually molested by these men so in that respect I would say I had my memories. And yes, it may have been b/c it was so often and it lasted for years. But as I've gone deeper into therapy I've found several new, repressed memories. It seems as though I held onto the "nice" events and repressed some very violent experiences. It's amazing how we stay sane.
**gentle hugs**

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 07-08-2003 - 10:03pm
I wish there were an emoticon for thoughtful.

I think I've always known, not so much as a memory, though. I know I was molested, I remember trying to avoid it as a preteen. I remember being confused about it. I know a biggie for me is not knowing it was wrong. I don't really remember feeling anything so much as dread. I know it did not start then. The molesting, I mean. I know that he began using me earlier, but what I remember about the earlier is being jealous of him. I remember trying to be more lively because he would talk admiringly of another young girl and I wanted him to admire me too.

Maybe I need to change my emoticon to sad, I feel like crying now.

I am still having a problem admitting that what I experienced was abuse. The man that molested me did not have intercourse with me ever. I don't think. He just kissed and fondled in a way I now know is inappropriate behavior for a grown man to have with a young child. He was the nice one. My mom does not exist in my memory of childhood. My father exists as a scary, volatile, angry tyrant. My grandmother exists as a discontent, unhappy, unpleasable witch - she was my primary caregiver, even though my mom and dad and she all lived together. I could not please her. This is what I can remember.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Wed, 07-09-2003 - 5:59pm
Memories. THOSE were some of my first memories. I was around 2. I longed for repression. i guess almost a decade would keep it stuck in your head.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Wed, 07-09-2003 - 8:33pm
This is a very pertinent question for me this week. Some of my memories were always there, although I didn't realize that it was molestation because it wasn't obvious to me. But some memories are just emerging, especially my youngest abuse memory of being about six. The feelings are sometimes overwhelming me with their force. Like the fear, like having a hard time breathing, like tears on my cheeks without recognizing that I even feel sad, like that old feeling of being alone and frightened. Staying grounded has taken work...focusing on what is in the room with me has helped a lot. Thanks to whoever suggested it on this board.

I still catch myself, often, doubting my memories as being important or real. But I know they are. Assimilating that into my body is so hard because I want to reject it so badly. Make it not have happened to my sweet little me. How do we incorporate these memories into out being and feel safe and loved and sad and frightened too? This is really hard for me. I hope someone understands this.

Avatar for opal45
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 7:59am
loud and clear

*gentle hugs*

Gail

**gentle hugs**

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 10:42am
Thanks Opal, I always feel better if I get responded to. I so appreciate your hugs and your understanding. Hope you are doing well today.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 2:33pm
Hi Gail,

Sorry I've taken awhile to respond to the posts on this thread. It sounds like you're going through the process all over again with these new memories. Have you found that you feel angrier, since these memories are more violent? I was also wondering whether these memories surfaced in therapy or on their own. I'm still having trouble with my memory, and sometimes wonder if I'm making things up.

You're right, it's amazing how we stay sane. I've felt most of my life that I was headed for the mental hospital because I thought I was crazy. At least now I know that I'm not crazy, but it sure is difficult to accept and deal with the memories that are there, especially when they are accompanied by the endless-loop negative messages that play over and over in my head. Do you know what I mean?

Heidi

HeidiRose

co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 2:44pm
I think that what you experienced with feeling jealous when your abuser spoke favorably of another girl is understandable. That is the way you were being shown love and affection, because he was tender with you. You needed that feeling of being loved and valued. Every child needs to feel special. Your parents and grandmother did not fulfill those emotional needs for you, but this man did according to what your understanding was at the time. What he did was wrong, but to you it was an expression of love and affection.

Given the fact that the emotions for you were pleasant ones, I can see why it is so difficult for you to see at times that this was abuse. Something inside must tell you so, though, or you wouldn't be addressing it now. Do you think that one reason it's hard is because that was your only source of affection at the time, and admitting that it was wrong means admitting that no one gave you the love you needed? That would lead to having to deal with a lot of painful feelings.

Hugs, Heidi

HeidiRose

co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 3:00pm
Wow, that is amazing that you can remember back that far. That is so awful that you had to deal with it from that young to almost ten years. I don't think I could have survived childhood without repressing. Did you feel the burden of secret-keeping during that time, too, or did you make attempts to cry for help?

The little girl you were must have been in so much pain. I am so sorry. I hope this question didn't open wounds further for you. Sometimes it's hard for me to think of questions to ask that are pertinent to what we are dealing with here without being too painful at the same time.

(((gentle hugs))), Heidi

HeidiRose

co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 3:13pm
julikay,

I can relate to what you mean about incorporating the memories into our being. I don't know how to do that yet and manage to feel safe in doing so. It seems that a lot of the protective measures I've used most of my life are self-defeating behaviors that I'm trying to overcome. Letting go of those means letting go of my sense of security, however false that security may be. Like eating ice cream when I'm really upset. It soothes me temporarily, but doesn't help me with needing to lose weight. But then if I let go of my extra weight, I'm letting go of another protective barrier. If I let my most painful memories surface, I won't feel safe and then I'll want to enter that self-defeating cycle again. But if I don't acknowledge the memories, they are still upsetting me on some level. Either way it just seems HARD. So I wonder WHAT ON EARTH am I supposed to do with these emotions?

I don't know if this made sense or not. I started out just wanting you to know that I understood what you were saying.

Hugs, Heidi

HeidiRose

co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

Pages