Let’s talk about memories, because that can be controversial and is a struggle for many trauma survivors.
…. I don’t know but you, but it just really hurts me when someone questions the validity of my memories or the accuracy of my memories from past traumatic trauma events.
On top of this I thought that it’s essential to know every detail of the trauma stories. So that I can talk that through in therapy, process, integrate and store those memories, for them to stop haunting me… and I can heal and move on.
When I read into the research on memory and how all this is happening… I came across a statement saying: “even if you have a very vivid and clear memory of something, this is no proof of its accuracy”.
I was fighting this statement initially, till I realised that own of my memories wasn’t all that accurate:
here’s my clear vivid memory:
… I was abused from the age of 4 – 18 by a
Well, I’ve been living in Australia for the last 35 years. I remember nothing for 37 years because I had suppressed all my trauma and it didn’t resurface until the Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse into Children held here in Australia in 2012. I had a breakdown listening to the testimony given by the witnesses. The response of the Catholic Church compounded
That was the starting point of me shifting and spending a little less time on trying so hard to figure out what happened in detail in my childhood. Up to
Do you too have lots of gaps or for some incidents it feels like two events moves/merged together?
Having complex PTSD essentially means, we had lots of trauma and often it’s very similar types of trauma multiple time over years.
This makes it really hard to distinguish exactly when, where, what and how things were accurately in detail… In fact, it’s impossible to do, so I had to stop wasting time in trying to do the impossible and shift my focus a little 😊
Personally, I try to focus on a more overall “theme” now. Like acknowledge that what happened was:
- Horrible, unjust, criminal, unfair, undeserving…
- Bad enough to affect the way my brain developed
- Bad enough for me to have complex PTSD
Regardless of whether my memories are accurate or not, I just acknowledge that:
- I didn’t do anything to deserve this
- No child or human being should be treated this way
- This was wrong and criminal
When a memory comes up, I acknowledge the unfairness of this and how this was wrong and should not happen to anyone, then bringing myself back into here & now. Tell myself that in this moment I’m actually safe and it’s safe for me to focus on my future and creating a better future for myself.
No amount of joy, happiness or success that I will have now and in the future is ever going to take away the fact that what happened to me was wrong unjust and criminal.
This is how I kind of dealt with the memory gaps that I have and the blurry memories and not so accurate ones. Most of all, I ignore people who question the accuracy of my trauma memories…
But I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on that, because our trauma memories (accurate or not) are painful and it brings up tons more unnecessary pain & hurt, when people question the validity of our trauma stories.
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