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to think you would definitely remember childhood abuse?

40 replies

purple8pig · 17/10/2018 20:32

I don't even know whats making me think of this now. ill try to make it as brief as poss.

uncle (dads brother) sexually abused auntie (dads sister) when they were kids/ young teens. their parents (my grandparents) know this happened but apparently overlooked/forgave him as they still speak to him and see him.

(mentioning this just because maybe it has become an occurrence that isn't a serious as it should be within the family.)

My memories of going to these grandparents house as a young child (from age 3 ish to around age 8) are mostly happy, one of my memories is my grandfather taking me up to the attic to show me the model train set and old photos. but I feel like there was a side door within the attic and through it there were low beams and a sleeping bag. why on earth would my mind make this up, but if im right, why on earth would it be there?

i really don't remember any abuse or anything so it probably is just my overactive imagination and if it wasn't for the uncles behaviour (not at grandparents at the time) i probably would just forget about it, theres just something niggling, as to why there would be that room?

i would remember though wouldn't i ? and if not then there is really no point trying to over think it is there?? after all, surely it would cause me more damage if it was the case and i somehow remembered it?

sorry for my rambles, its just something i think of from time to time.]

not really even sure what im asking....

OP posts:
tenredthings · 17/10/2018 20:45

I have similar sketchy memories of childhood abuse. For me it's the emotional memories that help me know it happened, the feelings more than the decor. If you imagine yourself in that space try to focus down on what you feel in your body. Unfortunately childhood sexual abuse is often repressed as a coping strategy. Sometimes it's easier to believe we made something up than accept the truth of knowing something awful was done to us by those who were supposed to love and protect us.

Oliphantintheroom · 17/10/2018 20:47

I don’t know what to tell you but sometimes people block things out that are too painful or beyond comprehension. Trust your gut but maybe there’s some form of counselling that could help you explore your memories?

Pepper123123 · 17/10/2018 20:50

I didn't remember being abused until I was around 20. I have no idea what sparked those memories, but although they are vague, I now know what happened.

Forgetting what happened (not consciously) seems to be a common coping method for children who have been through trauma, so I've read.

purple8pig · 17/10/2018 20:51

I don't even think I would want to know? I really don't think anything did happen, I just sometimes get a niggling feeling. But I feel like I did enjoy going up to look up there, but then I feel a bit iffy about this second room, if it even existed at all :/

OP posts:
combatbarbie · 17/10/2018 20:53

I'm currently undergoing treatment for childhood physical abuse but when doing the family tree, history phase i mentioned a certain person made my skin crawl.

We started processing an unrelated memory and suddenly I was taken back to a sexual abuse I had no previous memory of but could describe everything as if it was yesterday, wallpaper, smells etc, the next session another memory.... and it's all linked to the person who made my skin crawl.....

many therapists believe that when something traumatic like that happens you kinda remove yourself from your body and bury it so deep....but even if the mind "forgets" your body doesn't!

KitschBitch · 17/10/2018 20:56

I also didn't remember being abused until I was in my 20's, it was so awful I suppose I just shut it out. The trauma of a car accident years later bizarrely brought it all back. Years of various counselling has helped but sexually still screwed up. Maybe we close a door to it in order to protect ourselves.

allthingsred · 17/10/2018 20:58

I was abused as a child. & most of my memories are repressed although if I'm near a certain smell (usually of stale alcohol ) they can trigger. I have vague recollections of people & places but no strong memories from before I was 12 yrs old. Which is when I went into foster care.

elesbells · 17/10/2018 21:13

My ds’s mil didn’t remember her childhood abuse until she was well into her 60’s. Her father (the abuser) was dying and she was the only one of several children that would care for him. The others couldn’t understand why she wanted to after ‘what he had done’ but she didn’t know what they meant...she had absolutely no memory of it happening to her. It was only after they told her of specific events where they had seen her being abused that she started to have flashbacks. It was truly horrific for her and she spent a long time in therapy. She really wishes now that she had never remembered. The brain must sometimes block painful memories to save the pain.

AnxiousAnnieBob · 17/10/2018 21:19

Something happened to me at the hands of a friends mum or dad (don't remember which, I think dad but don't remember). I can remember going to their house age under 5, and always feeling dirty and ashamed when leaving. I remember it being something sexual that happened there, but I cant remember what. Until I was an adult, I used to think I did stuff on purpose when I was there and was to blame. But now I have kids of my own, I know there is no way an under 5 would be doing anything sexual at a friends house without the parents knowing and being involved in some way and being responsible. I can remember remembering and wanting and trying to push he thoughts and memories out of my mind and feeling ashamed. And wishing I'd forget. Unfortunately I guess a time came when I did push the memories away as now I cant remember what happened at all - or how many times - but I know something did and I wish I could remember it and I wish I could remember the flipping parents' names (I remember the kid whose house it was. I remember her really well. I didn't like her) so I could look them up on google and see their faces. I remember their kitchen and bedroom. It's all so hazy. I hate it.

safariboot · 17/10/2018 21:52

I have virtually no memories from infant school age or younger. I've no reason to think anyone abused me (though it's plausible) but I did have a troubled childhood so it's probably better I don't remember.

MattBerrysHair · 17/10/2018 22:02

What they all said ^^ Something happened to me at age 3 or 4. I didn't remember until my early 30's and I still don't know who did it. I don't really want to remember either.

AnoukSpirit · 17/10/2018 22:02

There was research done on children who were treated in hospital after abuse - ie admitted at the time with injuries and no doubt it had definitely happened. When the follow up work was conducted on them years later, most of them had completely forgotten the entire incident, including the hospital treatment.

Traumatic memories don't work the same way as non-traumatic ones.

GiraffeObsessedBaby · 17/10/2018 22:08

A lot of my childhood is a complete blank. I have vague feelings about people and places when my mum talks about them and some of them really do creep me out. My biological dad did abuse me I know this through memories that came back when I was interviewed by social services during the custody battle and my uncle is now a registered sex offender - there is always something niggling when I try and remember a house we used to go and visit them in.

BUT I don't want to know. When I was interviewed by social services I was 11 and they offered my mum counselling to help me remember and process these thoughts and she asked me. I said no. I don't want to know. The little bits I do remember are bad and it scares me that there might be something worse. I'd rather live with the blackouts and try to ignore the niggling feelings. As shitty as that is!

tazzle22 · 17/10/2018 22:29

Memories mist definately can be repressed.... there are pros and cons to both leaving this potential issue and moving on and to exploring it to see what happens.

The memory of the room may well be true but there may be innocent reasons not connected to you at all.

You can leave it as it is and you might be happy and be of the mind that just because some people are abused and remember later that you have been . Family also happy.

You can leave it and it will niggle at you forever, might make you doubt family that may or may not be involved.

You can leave it and maybe later in life something will trigger and you have a terrible time in therapy trying to put the jigsaw together and then altering possibly relationsips within the family.

You could decide to investigate this niggle and find out that even with several methods trying to get to the memories you remember nothing else therby feeling happy all is okay...or feeling that you put yourself and maybe partner supporting you through a process that can ne traumatic for nothing.

You could investigate and uncover such traumatic memories it can drive you to depression and more as well as affecting your family for years. .... which may or may not be cathartic and healing in the long term.

The last one was me although i had no choice as it was set off by me and my child coming into contact with man that we found was a paedophile. .
A hard choice as to what to do but please think carefully before trying to open a can of worms Flowers

GunpowderGelatine · 17/10/2018 22:37

It's very common to block out memories of abuse. I know there are many gaps in my brain where memories of the sexual abuse I suffered should be (I do have some memories). It's awful 

EnthusiasmIsDisturbed · 17/10/2018 22:42

I hadn’t blocked out the abuse but certainly memories were very hazy

I know for many when they have children it can trigger memories. I found when ds was around the age the abuse started I started to have very vivid dreams and some flashbacks it was a very painful time and I hate that it not only impacted my life but even more so my life with ds

We were on holiday sitting on the balcony ds was happily playing and I was almost frozen in fear the feelings of fear I felt over a particular incident (step dad dangling me from a 11th floor balcony). I hope I hid it well but for a good 6 months I was very depressed

It never really has left me and it never will

Craftycorvid · 17/10/2018 22:57

Yes, as other people have said here, you can ‘block’ disturbing memories. There’s now a lot of research as to how our brains ‘store’ traumatic memories differently from ordinary or non-traumatic ones. Whether or not it’s therapeutic to try and recover the memories fully depends on lots of factors - and it’s not always essential. OP, your family history sounds troubling to you in itself. Counselling could be useful, especially if you are aware of the past having a direct negative impact on your life in the ‘here and now’, for example, it’s affecting your present-day relationships with others.

safariboot · 18/10/2018 00:55

On the other hand false memories can also be created and you believe they're true. That's always a concern with any effort to recover lost memories.

agnurse · 18/10/2018 01:25

Some people can and do block out abuse simply because they can't mentally handle it. In some people this goes to an extreme and they develop a condition called dissociative identity disorder (DID; formerly called multiple personality disorder). Essentially they dissociate during the abuse episode and in their mind it happens to another person. Often people with DID will have several different personalities.

Serfisafleur · 18/10/2018 01:44

This is an interesting thread. I was also a victim of CSA by a family member, and throughout my childhood I never remembered at all any time it happened. So I had no defense when it happened again iykwim I would just be lured into another "trap" with no idea what was about to happen because I didn't remember it happening before.

In my 20's the memories came back after a mental breakdown.

I know the memories are 100% real because I know how this family member made me feel. Completely disgusted with them, hating them "for no reason" they made my skin crawl and I would never smile at them.

After the memories came back I completely understood, finally, my feelings towards this man. And I felt so much better, the feelings weirdly lifted after that and I was able to look down on them as the horrid abuser they were rather than feel confused and wrong around them like, hating this person was wrong, why do I hate them? I am actually able to spend more time in this person's company now than I ever could before, knowing I will keep my children away from them and won't worry what anyone thinks.

Trust your feelings. Do you feel a particular way around a particular person "inexplicably"?

Can you find out of the room is still there?

Henrysmycat · 18/10/2018 04:56

This post needs a TRIGGERING note.

BarbarianMum · 18/10/2018 07:01

I think the thread's title makes it perfectly clear that the contents might be triggering.

DanglyBangly · 18/10/2018 07:23

Is there anyone else in the family who is familiar with the house and who might be able to say if the room was there or not?

CheekyRedhead · 18/10/2018 07:37

I have memories of being in my grandad bed but not what happened. I recall him exposing himself at my parents house. I also have a vague memory of a dr coming to the house at night cos I think I was bleeding down below. Can't recall why. I remember never wanting to be in a room with him as a teenager. I just hope nothing happened to my mum

purple8pig · 18/10/2018 07:42

Asked my sister, she is 5 years younger so memory not as good (my parents divorced when I was 12 and we didn't go round to grandparents as much, I haven't really seen them them for years and years except briefly at family party. Sister remembers the attic and going up the ladder but can't remember if there was another room.

I've always felt a little uneasy around them since I was a teen but I think that's down to finding out what happened with my auntie /uncle and that they knew

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