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Thread: Childhood trauma/abuse and young-middle adulthood memory loss. A connection?

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    Childhood trauma/abuse and young-middle adulthood memory loss. A connection?

    I'm here to ask about childhood trauma and adult memory loss. I have read a bit about how those who have suffered from PTSD can also experience memory loss. But the scholarly articles I have found, they are often restricted to specific cases of memory loss in late adulthood, or in individuals with diagnoses of other sever mental disorders like schizophrenia. I am asking this forum if anyone has personal experience, either in yourself or with someone you are close to, related to this. Specifically, I wondered if anyone experienced (either in yourself or observed in others) childhood trauma in the form of abuse from a parent or other authoritarian figure, and also memory problems not in late adulthood but in young and middle adulthood (like in ages 20s-40s). I have been close to a few people who experienced pervasive childhood abuse at home, who explain that they have trouble remembering their childhood, as compared to others who seem to be able to recall a lot of details about their childhood. But I haven't really spoken to a ton of people about this because, obviously, it's a very personal and subjective thing to talk about.

    I have had many conversations with people about happy childhood memories, with people who never experienced trauma or abuse, and I myself can recall a lot of detail about my childhood. I have had some conversations with a couple of people who didn't have happy childhoods due to abuse at home, and it seemed that they explained that they couldn't remember their childhoods very well, even though they wanted to, and tried to. And I know that part of it could be people not wanting to talk about it, but in one particular case, I know the person I was speaking to wanted to tell me all the details he could remember, and did try to remember things, and spent time talking to other people who were around him as a child, trying to put together more memories. But he was frustrated in how little he remembered. I should specify that the abuse and trauma experienced in these people was pervasive throughout childhood, in the home life, and not a single instance of abuse, or not restricted to preschool years (an age very few people can remember, anyway).

    There's a theory that it's a sort of self-preservation mechanism, blocking out unpleasant memories. I've read about traumatic amnesia but it seemed like, and I could be wrong, that these studies focused on people who could not remember a single traumatic event, or could not remember the traumatic events themselves, but otherwise could remember the past events that were not traumatic. And a lot of these studies focused on sexual abuse but didn't seem to talk about cases of pervasive physical or verbal abuse, or neglect, and later memory loss that affected longer periods of time including positive events that were not traumatic. I'm just seeking more information from people here. Thanks.
    Last edited by Rihannon; 01-24-2020 at 12:54 PM.

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    I have a lot of memory loss due to PTSD. It is the brain protecting itself.

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    Seraphim,

    Do you have trouble remembering a lot from whole periods of time, both good and bad events, or do you think the memory loss is specific about bad things happening?

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    Originally Posted by Rihannon
    Seraphim,

    Do you have trouble remembering a lot from whole periods of time, both good and bad events, or do you think the memory loss is specific about bad things happening?
    I have a lot of trouble remembering good and bad and whole sections of time and specifics. For instance I have no memory whatsoever of my first counselling at 14. None whatsoever. Sequencing my childhood is difficult. If I get into a situation even now that sets off my PTSD I can disassociate and forget details.

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Why? Is this a survey or research? Is there a library where you get on data bases for accurate studies and research on this? What is your stake in this? Are you a therapist in training? Why do you want people to dig up old wounds as a form of chitchat?
    Originally Posted by Rihannon
    I'm just seeking more information from people here.

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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Why? Is this a survey or research? Is there a library where you get on data bases for accurate studies and research on this? What is your stake in this? Are you a therapist in training? Why do you want people to dig up old wounds as a form of chitchat?
    If someone doesn't want to share their experiences, they don't have to. Are these forums idle chitchat to you? Is that how you see them?

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Another survey question? 😉
    Originally Posted by Rihannon
    Are these forums idle chitchat to you?

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    Back when I was a kid though they didnít know a lot about PTSD and kids. I was treated by one of the best paediatric psychiatrists at UBC.

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    I suffered through many forms of abuse as a child. I can't recall any memories other than partial snippets of time. The weird thing for me, is that most of the memories that I can remember are the instances where the abuse was happening. All of the rest has just disappeared and faded away, which never really bothered me until this past June when my younger brother died. I wish I could remember any fun we had together growing up

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    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I don't have trouble remembering anything. However, my brain automatically blocks it out, hence those bad memories become more distant as years pass by which is a good thing. I don't have nightmares or anything like that, thank heavens.

    What also matters is 'a happily ever after.' If I had a miserable life from birth to death, yes, I'd ruminate and continue to be haunted from bad memories but since I've been very happily married for a long time, happiness, stability, financial security and overall contentment now preoccupy my brain.

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