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What happened?

(30 Posts)
yellowtang Wed 12-Oct-11 20:15:34

ok just want some honist opinions please,this has been sitting there since I was little,my mum lived with her bf for 5 years,doesnt speak about him now,I neaver thought much about him but have a few memories,I couldnt remember his face at all,I was about 7 when we left,but she bought around a large box of phots of when I was little and there was a pic of him,seeing his face has scared me alot,i know im scared of him but not to sure why,sort of made me shiver to see the pic,anyway I told someone else and they think more into it,the 2 memories i have of bad stuff is one of him holding me around the kneck at the sink and hes washing my mouth out with soap,i was crying,the other is him sitting at the table eating and him making me eat dinner a day later that I lef,t for brekfast, I dont see more into it but the person I told does,he says why would you block out someones face? he asked me what I want to ? advice please

lifechanger Wed 12-Oct-11 20:32:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

buzzskeleton Wed 12-Oct-11 20:33:36

Sounds like he treated you badly as a child. Have you asked your mum about it?

yellowtang Wed 12-Oct-11 20:37:18

I dont know,I suppose thats why I posted it on here really,Im 32 and it wont go away ,it just keeps coming back up and now seeing his face after alot of years just keeps coming into my head,all I know is Im scared of him ?

yellowtang Wed 12-Oct-11 20:39:44

buzz no I havnt do you think I should,I dont want to upset her, I know their relationship wasnt good,my mum looked after his children at weekends ds x 2, he was always at the pub.

lifechanger Wed 12-Oct-11 20:40:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

izzywhizzysfritenite Wed 12-Oct-11 20:46:37

It sounds probable that, when you were a small child, your mother's bf abused you physically and emotionally and, quite possiby, verbally. If he abused you it's likely that he abused her too, or it may be that his abuse of you was the reason why she left him.

At age 7 you were enaged in 'magical thnking' and, by stopping yourself from being able to see his face, it may be that you were able to block any unpleasant memories of what you saw or experienced while you were living with him and your dm. Seeing his face in your later life may have 'unblocked', or begun to 'unblock' your memories of him.

At the moment you remember 2 quite different incidents and you may find that you recall more as time goes by. Let any related memories come to your mind naturally, but in the meantime I would suggest that you talk to your mum about the time you both spent with him.

However, don't be surprised if your mum denies that anything untoward happened as she may feel ashamed that she didn't leave him earlier or do more to protect you from him.

buzzskeleton Wed 12-Oct-11 20:46:48

I do think you should try to talk to her about it, gently. Say what you're feeling about the pictures of him, that you've had some bad memories resurrected and you need to know what went on back then.

izzywhizzysfritenite Wed 12-Oct-11 20:57:14

I would add that it's also entirely possible that he didn't physically abuse you.

It may be that he threatened to wash your mouth out with soap and make you eat the dinner you left for breakfast the following morning and, in your 'magical' mind, you may have constructed a scenario where he carried out his threats.

Out of curiousity, what did he use to wash your mouth out? Can you recall the taste of the soap and maybe even the make/brand, and can you recall what was on your plate when you ate your dinner for breakfast?

What is important for you to know is that, 25 years on, if you came face to face with him you'd likely discover that he's an unscary figure and that you have nothing to fear from him.

yellowtang Wed 12-Oct-11 21:04:03

izzy the soap thing seemed very real,white bar of soap,tasted bad etc,carnt remember what was on the plate at all, I wish I could remember more

yellowtang Wed 12-Oct-11 21:08:30

also why would she bring me the box of photos? all of them within the years she was with him?

buzzskeleton Wed 12-Oct-11 21:15:16

Ask her. Maybe she wants to talk about it.

izzywhizzysfritenite Wed 12-Oct-11 21:21:11

Don't try to force your memory to recall details or incidents.

Seeing those photos has acted as a trigger and you're best advised to let any memories of that time come into your mind unbidden, otherwise you could be setting yourself up for false memory syndrome.

Is your mum planning to move out or having a clear out? If not, as buzz says, maybe she's hoping you'll talk about that time with her.

garlicScaresVampires Wed 12-Oct-11 21:24:22

I imagine because they're your childhood photos, yellow, simple as smile

Or - and this is just a random guess, could be anything - she might have anxious feelings about how abusive he was. Perhaps, for some reason, she feels you & she could talk about it now, and perhaps she's interested in whether you recognised his face.

I agree, it's a great idea to talk to her, gently, about those times.

Was your friend suggesting the boyfriend may have sexually abused you? Such thoughts are a step too far on the evidence available just now. As a young child, the kind of excessive discipline you describe would have been extremely traumatic - remember how small a 7yo is compared to a grown man; you were powerless to stop him bullying you. You would have been terrified, certainly enough to have shaken with fear at the sight of him, and to have blocked him from your childhood mind.

Talking will help.

garlicScaresVampires Wed 12-Oct-11 21:25:13

x-posted with buzz & izzy smile

yellowtang Thu 13-Oct-11 09:06:55

My mums wasnt moving house,she just bought them round,shes cut him of all the other pictures but he was just in one of them.

The person I told,thought I might have been sexualy abused before I told him about this,ONLY because we have had a sexual relationship and sometimes I would just in the mid flow of things just stop and not want to carry on,just random but I dont know why,Im aware its not normal to do that,but I dont think I was sexualy abused at all,Im sure I would know if I was,but Im very uncomfortable with him and his face.

I can understand about only being small and a man would be scary yes.

I would like to remember more,and the thing is my friend at the time,I can remember alot about her house,toys layout of house etc but not of my house.

Could I do anything to help myself remember

mummytime Thu 13-Oct-11 11:03:44

I would suggest: a) you go to your GP and get a recommendation for a good counsellor. b) You take things very slowly with your partner, and do not let him psycho-analyses you (it is inappropriate however well trained he maybe, and I suspect he isn't well trained).

Please get some professional help.

garlicScaresVampires Thu 13-Oct-11 13:07:32

Don't force memories, sweetheart. It is very tempting to look for regression therapies and the like but, actually, you will recall as much as you need to, as and when you're ready. A counsellor can help you develop safe techniques to work through leftover stuff from your childhood - very good idea to request recommendations from your GP. You might also want the support of a counsellor before talking to your mother about it, I don't know?

I have barely any childhood memories and, for quite a while, felt as though there were chunks of 'me' missing; I was really keen to know everything that was done to me. I don't need it any more, though - I know enough to understand what to work on - some memories did come back; I'm aware of what 'emotional flashbacks' are now, and how to handle them.

The most important thing is to be very kind to yourself. This can be quite difficult for women in our culture, and especially tricky for people who were much punished as children. Another useful point is that the flashbacks (like when you feel weird during sex) are opportunities to heal a little bit. Instead of pushing them away, try going 'through' by taking some calming breaths, and remind yourself that you're now a grown-up - you are scared, you are in charge, and can keep yourself safe smile

I'm very sorry that man frightened you so much. I wish you all good luck in finding the right support and answers.

yellowtang Thu 13-Oct-11 14:11:12

Garlic,thankyou you have made alot of sence,I have neaver been to a counsellor before,do you just talk and they listen? or do they help you by talking you through stuff ?

I also feel like big chunks of me are missing? I feel like the house has been built but the foundations arnt if that makes sence

I would like to look through the photos again,I rushed through them,but hope Im not going force things by looking at them again,I dont know.

Can I ask garlic did something trigger your memories? or did they just come back to you?

garlicScaresVampires Thu 13-Oct-11 14:50:31

I feel like the house has been built but the foundations aren't

That's exactly what I used to say! Therapists talk with you, yes - in such a way as to guide you towards coming up with yourown answers. They also give you 'homework' to do, sometimes, and books to read that will further guide you.

I recalled a few things by doing therapy exercises. Another thing happened at the same time - this is quite common when you start counselling - family members spontaneously told me some of their memories, which filled in some gaps for me.

It's still mostly gaps, but the difference is I don't need to fill in any more. I've built myself on new foundations, if you like. There are some useful links near the start of the Stately Homes threads smile

yellowtang Thu 13-Oct-11 16:18:51

Ill have a look at the thread,thanks, dont know where to start to untangle things in my head, My mum left my dad when I was a week old,my mum told me that she didnt want kids and that it was that it was my dad who wanted a baby,but hes had nothing to do with me at all.It hard to deal with when you have so many children all wanting you,and your oh wanting you, but I want to sort out ME but carnt get chance to,its not easy

garlicScaresVampires Thu 13-Oct-11 16:48:23

Not easy at any time, yellow, true! It's kind of especially not easy if you're the kind of person who grew up putting themselves last - keeping quiet about abuse and confusion, maybe feeling they had to take care of their mum or not upset people around them?

All the more reason to carve out some "you" time on a very regular basis.

izzywhizzysfritenite Thu 13-Oct-11 17:35:42

Repressing a memory is a dissociative strategy; it disconnects the conscious mind from something that is too scary or painful to remember on a daily or frequent basis.

You don't need to be in therapy to recover repressed memories, and please be aware that some research indicates that unreliable recovered memories are recovered at the possible suggestion of the therapist - when this happens it can create far more problems than memories that have been repressed.

As I've said, it may be that seeing those photos has acted as a trigger and if, as a young child, you repressed unwelcome memories, it's probable that whatever blocks you put in place to stop them will now start to crumble providing you now feel that you are in a safe place and tht you now feel secure enough to know that this man cannot hurt you in any way.

I would suggest you try to find time to spend 10 minutes each day in a quiet room (you may have to get up early for this!) or in a quiet place (such as in a church or out in the countryside) reaffirming that you have nothing to fear from this man or any memories associated with him and that, in doing so, you give your young self permission to tell you about their experiences.

Do have a private chat with your mum about your early life, but don't allow your OH or anyone else to pressure you into trying to remember what may be beyond your reach at the moment, or suggest that any repressed memories you have are necessarily of scary/terrifying events - unless we have the power of total recall, many of us can be said to have 'repressed' large parts of our extremely happy childhoods.

As garlic has said, you can build new foundations for yourself and you do not have to revisit the past to create your future.

yellowtang Thu 13-Oct-11 19:10:13

ok this is making more sence now and Im understanding a few other feelings I didnt know why I felt/acted that way,I thought tonight that I didnt want to remember what his face looked like Id rarther not,so now what I do ? if I just dont want to go any further into this,he wont go away from my head? xx

izzywhizzysfritenite Fri 14-Oct-11 03:58:50

Once the genie's out of the bottle it can be hard to put the lid back on, but you don't have to take this any further if you don't want to.

At the moment you're in a situation where you unexpectedly saw a face in a photo from your childhood that made you feel scared. This feeling may be due to an experience or experiences in your childhood that you may have chosen to forget.

Alternatively, the face you saw in the photo may have reminded you of a time in your childhood when you were unhappy, and it could be that you have merely associated this face with that period in your life and that he did not cause you any harm.

Of course, since you saw the photo(s) you've thought of little else, your OH has chipped with his views and, for good measure, we've put our two pennorth into the pot too so no wonder it's right at the forefront of your mind at the moment.

However, give it a few weeks and meeting the demands of the dc, OH, etc will ensure that the photo, the face, and that time in your life, has gone onto the back burner of your mind and you'll only think about it occasionally, if ever.

If you want to speed this process up, simply replace any thoughts that come into your head about this matter with others - in other words, just refuse to think about it or let it worry you.

On the other hand, if you find that you're remembering things about that period of time and that the memories are making you feel unsettled, you might want to consider using the following exercise which you can perform as often or as little as you want:

Find a quiet place where you can sit alone for 10 minutes without interruption. Remind yourself that the owner of the face in the photo has no power over you; you are in a safe place and he cannot harm you in any way.

Visualise your 8* year old self and give her a big cuddle. Tell her that she need have no fears or worries for her future because everything is going to work out for her; tell her that she'll do x y and z (list some of the positive moments in your life) and, by time she's 30, she'll have dc of her own who will bring her enormous happiness and joy.

In this way, you are giving yourself (via your childhood self) permission to unlock any memories that you (they) repressed. After you've finished 'talking' to the child that you were, come back to the present, remind yourself again that you are in a safe place and that nothing from the past has the power to harm you, and go about your usual routine/chores/etc.

If you use this exercise I would suggest that you resist the temptation to tell others what you're doing/have done, and don't dwell on the past at other times.

I've chosen 8*years old as you were no longer living with your dm's boyfriend at that age and any unpleasant memories that you may have repressed were newly buried, so to speak, and will be easier to 'dig up'. If an image of the 7 year old you appears in your mind, talk to her and give her any comfort she needs.

I'm aware that this is a very long response but, in all conscience, I can't make it any shorter without doing you a disservice.

You mentioned 2 memories; could you clarify whether you've always had them or did they come to mind after you saw the photo?

You also mentioned recalling a friend's house in great detail. Are you still in touch with this friend? Other than your dm, are you in contact with others (relatives, neighbours, schoolfriends etc) from that time who may be able to help you shed some light on that period of your childhood?

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