Repressed Memories

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    What are your opinins on repressed memories?
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Are you asking can they be legitimate? The answer is a simple yes. Sometimes something happens that is truly too hard for the mind to cope with, so it buries very deep. The memory may be triggered by another event or smell or location. A good therapist may be able to bring the memory out and help the patient work through it.

    At the same time, it is possible to convince someone that something happened that didn't. It is usually done during hypnosis but it can sometimes be done with just talk therapy. I do believe it is rare for a therapist to do this deliberately. Usually, the therapist believes that because of certain behaviors, something traumatic must have happened. If the patent denies it, then the therapist will try to "ease" the memory out. Sometimes, the patient fakes the whole thing -- it is easier to blame the actions on something that happened than admit you chose to do what you did. More often, the patient begins to believe something really did happen.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I have had repressed memories that suddenly come to the surface all on their own for reasons I cant really explain. I will just suddenly realize...Oh yeah...that happened to me too. I just remember something.

    It is usually abuse related.

    Now I also believe that a person can be coaxed into believing that something has happened to them that really hasnt happened to them. There was a huge uproar several years ago because there were therapists who were blaming all behavior problems that people had that came out as late teens or early adults on "repressed" child sexual abuse. They did everything they could to get their clients to remember this abuse and if you talk to some unstable hard enough then they will be convinced that they must have been abused. This caused huge family turmoil and some lawsuits.

    I know this wasnt my case because I knew of my abuse from an early age and never forgot it. I just had some memories that faded and I repressed because there were so many things that happened to me.
  4. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    My younger brother remembered at about 17 or 18 (still pretty young) that he was molested when he was 5 by another 5 year old. Just out of the blue.

    I not only believe that you can be coaxed into believing that something happened to you that did not, I think that if a person tells a lie enough times, they can convince themself[/] that it really happened. The brain is an amazing thing.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was about twenty five and at my mom's house. We were talking about neighbors and suddenly she said, "Do you remember what Bleep did to you when you were five?" Out of nowhere, I had an actual flash of myself with my pants down, peeing into a tinker toy box while an older boy watched. I also had a strange feeling that he had lain on top of me in his bedroom. We used to play together as little kids. Although the memory didn't traumatize me, it certainly must have been at the edge of my subconscious, and I hadn't remembered it at all until my mom brought it up.
    I do think there are therapists who exploit "repressed memories" and make some people believe they were molested when they weren't, and that's dangerous.
  6. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I think there are repressed memories as well as planted memories. It's really very difficult (impossible?) to tell the difference sometimes. Unfortunately there are some therapist who plant memories.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Even "non-traumatic" memories differ in the recounting by two or
    more people who were present. In my family I have always been known as the who doesn't remember the "specifics" but can be counted on the remember "the gist" or "the interaction" or "the
    emotion" of an experience. My remaining sister has always been
    the one who remembers the EXACT words someone said...fifty years
    ago or more. :bow: BUT this past week when I had the luncheon
    my sister shared an inconsequential story in great detail...and
    it was not accurate. It kinda stunned me as she has never been
    wrong (that I have been witness to) and I realized that she could
    and may have already passed on false memories to the next generation in our family. Not evil...just incorrect.

    I understand "repressed memories" is a different can of worms.
    on the other hand, if truthful people can confidently share "false memories"
    then I think it stands to reason that most memories have to be
    viewed with reservations. In fact, it may fall into the category
    of "eyewitness testimony" where statistics show that often what
    one believes they have not what really occurred. DDD
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    In the situation I'm asking about, the vague memories in question have never been divulged to another party til now, so "planting" really isn't an issue.
  9. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    It is a scientific fact that that the brain can and does repress memories. Usually traumatic memories. The brain is a labyrinth - and we are only beginning to understand it's mechanics.

    So much of dysfunctional behavior is related to traumatic experiences. I'm of the opinion that if memories are surfacing, it is important to allow that is a good therapeutic setting. Once the experience is acknowledged - a person can deal with it and move forward.

    in my humble opinion.
  10. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    A few years ago I was in therapy and went under hypnosis for repressed memories, because, truth be told, I had no memories of my childhood except for bad ones. Surely there must have been one time that I had just a plain old childhood joy experience. It was really a word association thing and I had to respond with the first thing that came to mind.

    I was in tears by the end and emotionally drained. I just couldn't do another session. I still cannot recall one happy time, and to me, at this late date, its just not worth rehasing the bad ones to get to it.

  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Shari...its so hard to say. Yes they can be real, yes they can come up from something someone sees on tv or reads in a book and thinks...oh gee...I "think" Im remembering something like this happened to me. It all depends on the person and how suggestible they are really. What do you think? Could this have happened?

    I mean if a child of mine suddenly decided to tell me out of the blue that they were convinced that they were abused by a babysitter in first grade, well I know that couldnt have happened because they didnt have one. I was a stay at home mom and we never had a sitter for them. Now a teacher would be a whole nother story.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I had no idea that they existed in myself until I started going to therapy and digging week by week, layer by layer all the way back to being given up for adoption. Those ghost memories even at that young of an age made me the person I was to become, the things I would come to understand weren't necessarily bad - just misunderstood.

    I did EMDR therapy and hypnosis to regress, regress and regress to the point of origin of the memory that was causing me to make poor choices in my adult life. If I had not done that I wouldn't know what makes me tick.

    It was explained to me that our minds are like digital cameras. Every second of every minute of every day we are being bombarded with pictures, sounds, smells and these are stored digitally in our brain as memories. Some we can recall without fail and some need some sensory input to remember like a smell - I smell Chanel no5 and I think of my Mom immediately. I hear the song The Lion Sleeps tonight - I think of my dad. I see a TV show about a man beating a woman - I think of myself in my marriage and it's effects towards my severe PTSD.

    When you think about the things you do in a day and the amount of data your brain stores it's not at all odd to believe you can't remember it all - it's there- it's just not RIGHT there.

  13. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    They are real, but as everyone has been saying there are also planted ones. Not deliberately in most cases, I would guess. But the child molestation cases of the 80s and 90s were an example of bringing out "repressed memories" turning into a Salem-style witch hunt. There were many innocent people whose lives were ruined. Some served years and years in prison even after everyone involved had admitted that they were innocent except for a judge or prosecutor more interested in their own political career than in justice (much like the infamous Duke Univ. case of recent memory).
  14. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I remember vividly my dad beating on my brother as a child and crying every time he got in trouble because I was afraid he was going to be hurt. My brother denies, denies, denies. He's the one now with a relationship with our father; not me. And that ticks my brother off to no end.

    At the same time, I have very few memories of my childhood before the age of 10 and every once in a while something will trigger something - a smell, a song, etc.

    To this day, I really can't sequence any of my memories. Fortunately, I moved a lot and can remember where I lived within each memory. It's the only way I have of knowing about when anything happened. As far as current memories, I'll ask my mom or someone what order things happened in and then repeat it often to myself...make myself tell the order. It's the only way I can keep things with my recent medical history it's the only way I can keep straight the order of events.

    I've been told it's are all trauma related symptoms.

    I posted an article about brain reshaping and mood disorders. This also seems to hold true for trauma situations, too. The part of the brain that makes memory and recalls memory changes making the inability to make memories and/or recall memory difficult. easy child has virtually no memory of the period of time when he was severely depressed.