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Repressed Memories of Abuse.


angelrose
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Hi, sorry not sure where to post this. I was reading some of the sexual abuse cases and thought i would put it here. This is very long sorry but theres alot of details. I have a childhood full of all kinds of abuse.

 

I was reading about repressed memories so i think this is happening to me. I'm not sure whats happening to me but I have been accepting what happened to me in the past as the truth and the lies i told myself that it never happened as false. I have been remembering things for the past year now.

Alot of terrible things happened throughout my childhood. I am in my 30s now and just remembering and accepting it.. Is that normal? Maybe its because you cant go through your whole life pretending to be normal when your not?

Also my Mother tells me I had a wonderful childhood all the time. When I tell you about my life you tell me if thats true? Did I?

 

its hard for me to explain but I'll try. My earliest memory is being hit by some bad kid on a bike. My arm was broken in 4 places..The doctors were not sure if I would heal but i did. I was about 2 years old. It was traumatic, I was in the hospital for awhile.

A month after I was born my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I think it caused alot of depression in my house that affected me without me knowing. Then at 4 years old I was molested by the supers son in my building. I never told anyone. We also had problems with some neighbours in my building. The people underneath us would threaten us with a hammer because they said we walk too much.

 

My father recovered but by the time I was 10 he was verbally abusive and he was yelling at all of us everyday. It would not stop. When I was 11, I would stay out till past midnight just to avoid him, I smoked, i drank. I would sit on the roof alone and cry. He became very scary. He would not allow my friends over and they found him to be mean and creepy.

 

So at 11, my Mom changed the locks on the door, I was in my room with the radio on when she did. I didn't even think about it or question it, it was done. I became withdrawn at school. kids would verbally abuse me everyday, sometimes hit me.

Then a year later, my father had a massive heart attack and I was told by my mother it may be the last time I saw him. I found out he living in shelters. Then he recovered and I went to talk to him, he said "what are we supposed to talk about"? in a nasty tone.

I remember feeling like crying. The same year my grandmother was put into a nursing home. She was lonely and sad, she subbcumed to being beaten 2 black eyes while she was there. Her whole family abandoned her but us.

Then from about 11-15 i did not see my father at all. I was a pretty angry and depressed kid. but at the time never knew i was or thought about it.

At 12 or 13 I was molested but i cant remember what year it was because i had blacked it out completely

At age 14 I was gang raped, (i was caught up in a bad crowd) i did not even think about it, put it out of my head. I think at the time I did not want to accept what happened. I even smiled and chatted up these guys after it happened, i think they were schoked as well..I did not tell anyone because I did not want everyone to think there was something wrong with me. I wanted to fit in. to be normal

One kid i went out would verbally abuse me all the time, tell me I'm crap, etc.

Then also at 14 I was raped by a 50 year old man who was a photographer and tricked me into taking photos. After that I became very premiscious. I used to pick up guys and have sex with them.

 

Then at 15 my father came home to live with us. he was very old and sick. I didn't want him back. I hung out at clubs in NYC all the time, met an older guy-18. We actually fell in love and i spent most of time at his parents place. But I was not allowed to live with him. When I came home I used to look at my father laying in bed and wonder if he was dead. I used to think about him dying every single day. Not that I wanted to but I felt he was so old and sick he would die soon and I was always afraid of finding him dead. I always thought about how and when he would die.

He wasnt verbally abuse anymore, just quiet and old. I was very embarrassed of him too. I used to tell people he was my grandfather.

I never discussed my feelings to anyone at the time, not even my boyfriend. I kept it all in. On my 16th birthday i had gone out with my mom, sister, boyfriend. I remember being happy for once. When we got back home my father was having a heart attack, we had to call an ambulance and we spent the night in ICU. He recovered though.

Things were calm in my life for once, but I was very quiet. It was hard for me to talk to people, I think because of being rejected in grade school and junior high.

I managed to graduate HS after attemtping to drop out many times.

At the age of 17 I got into a college i wanted to go to. I woke up one day and said to myself I can change my life, I can be normal. I wanted to change. I broke up with my boyfriend and managed to make alot of friends in college. I was full of anger and rage now but didnt know why. If someone said something nasty to me or mean,, I would explode screaming and saying "

For a long time I pretended I was from a nice family with a nice childhood. I just wanted to be normal and happy. I convinced myself so much that I even had forgotten "the truth" about who i am. I told myself "that wasnt you, that never happened" As crazy as it sounds I believed it. I was happy for awhile until

At 19 I was diagnosed with meningitis, my parents were told i had a 40% chance of making it. i felt like i would die but i recovered. had to take off a semester from school, was in the hospital for 2 months. I feel into depression again..

At 25 ot a call from my Mom thatmy dad is in the hospital and i should come down. he was hooked up to many machines and when i saw him I panicked. To make a long story short, the hospital messed up and he was basically put through agony which i had to watch for many days until they overdosed him with morphined and i watched him die.

I never imagined he would die like that, always thought he would die in the house or quickly of a heart attack. I cried for about a week straight. I had to take off the semester and i had to check myself into therapy. I was also fired from my job. I went into a great state of depression. All the anger I had inside went away and i was filled with sadness and despair.

But after a year I said its not going to bring me down. and went on a club hopping, party going binge for abour 2 years............

i did finish college only to be told my cousin whos 46 that I am a joke who has accomplished nothing and also ugly at my Graduation party. His wife joined in and told me my degree in Art History is meaningless and stupid. I cried in the bathroom but didn't show my hurt. imagine crying on your Graduation Day? I worked so hard for that degree. It was a struggle. It just killed me when they told me that. Like someone punched me.

 

Only now I am remembering and facing all these things. I did have a terrible childhood. Are these repressed memories or denial? is it normal for people to make believe their past never happened and actually believe it?

I have not told a soul about all the abuse my childhood, this was first time, maybe i should go to a therapist now.

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I suppose it's possible to just not think about things we cannot deal with... All of us do that to a certain extent. It sounds like, regardless of a problem with "repression" or not, you need to find a good counselor that has worked extensively with victims of abuse.

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You know what, I've read these forums for months and never felt compelled to register but I was so touched by your post I had to post a reply because, without going into details, a lot of what you've spoken of is very close to my heart.

 

For gods sake, exactly what is wrong with an Art History degree? Who are your cousin and his wife to "laugh at you" and tell you that "you'd achieved nothing" at your graduation? I'd love to hear what their academic credentials are seeing as they are such great experts of higher education.

Seriously, the fact that you have been through everything you have been and you still managed to get a degree speaks volumes about you. That is nothing short of amazing. That is the definition of achievement in my books, because there are plenty of people out there who would've dropped out and not had the guts and discipline to continue. You should rightly be proud of yourself.

When you're at University, doing a degree doesn't just teach you about your academic discipline, it teaches you about managing pressure. You achieved this with no support network at all - wow. I know they're your family but you don't need these people in your life hon.

 

You are an amazing, courageous and obviously intelligent person. you've got through a terrible childhood and adolescence, got through a degree course - believe me girl if you can get through all of that you can get through anything.

 

I know that I don't know you, but I'm just so proud of what you've achieved and that you’re still hanging in there despite it all - People like you inspire me.

 

All the best

Paul VG

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Thanks Paulyg. For myself Its hard to believe everything I went through. I think "wow what a crazy life" but maybe thats why I denied everything and repressed it, was too hard to handle.

I really didnt have a support system from anyone, my mother did prevent me from dropping out of high school. I wanted to very badly. So I owe that to her. My guidance counselor in HS knew nothing of my troubles but shes the one who told me I have "talent" in art and encouraged me to go to college and take it up. I did. My boyfriend at the time loved me and gave me self esteem and confidence. I also had a close childhood friend. She was a nice person who influenced me to take a good path. But she never knew of my all my troubles, just about my father.

When my cousin and his wife laughed at me at my graduation, it just shattered my world. Because they were normal and i wanted to fit in with them. I wanted my family to pe proud. To this day I'm still affected by what they said. It hurts. Yeah both of them never went to college. For me college was a struggle. It was hard to get through public speaking courses. I'm still not sure why but I would have panic attacks. I had to WD 3 times but finally made it through another time. When I was studying alot of bad thoughts would come into my head and I would have to say "shut up" "Shut up" it was just very hard.

I think I never wanted admit to myself that I had an abnormal life, that i was a victim of rape and abuse but I did. I think I'm ready to share it with people now who are my friends.

I have not managed to have any good relationships though. I usually get into arguments with guys or I'm very closed off. I never really show myself and let myself go. Alot of times I have cheated and turned some really great guys away. So i really have to work on that. Its a real problem.

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  • 3 months later...

I really new to this and I'm kinda freaking out andnot exactly surehow to go about it but.....I've been remembering some bad stuff that involved me and my brother,but just bits and pieces at a time.I will have to see him soon for the holidays and the closer it gets the more depressed and repulsed,actually. It's physically making me sick. Is my body trying to get my head to remember more? I don't think I can handle it

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I take it you're not in a therapeutic setting when these memories come back, they're just kind of appearing in your mind from out of the blue?

 

I wouldn't suggest that you see your brother. You need more gradual exposure to him, since the memories are coming back.

 

For now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to start writing down the things that you are remembering, as you remember them. Take some time to let yourself feel what you're feeling.

 

It's all okay. We all remember terrible things sometimes; for those of us who've had difficult experiences, sometimes those memories come back unannounced and they're difficult to handle, but that's all they are: Memories. When you are able to accept them, and the emotions that they bring back, you will feel better. For now, just write, and let yourself feel.

 

If you have to go see your brother, take care to make sure that you are never alone with him, that you are always in control of your situation, and that you have a means to get away from him -- bring your own car, and keep the keys with you all the time, or be able to go for a walk and get out of the house when you feel you have to. Reassure yourself that you can get away if you have to, because you can.

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I do see a therapist and she is helping.I remember more and more and I am writing.I want to just remember the whole thing and deal with it, but it's not happening that way.It explains so much,the more research I do. I do have to see him,no getting out of it. But I WILL NOT be alone.I'm not a stranger to the mental ward(for various other reasons),but I'm in no hurry to go back.I'm pretty scared.

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Well, it's unlikely that you'll end up in a psych ward again, now that you're remembering. It's the repression that messes us up; the memories and the emotions that come with them are the ticket out. The problem is, you've probably spent most of your life heavily censoring the expression of your emotions, so now the idea of just having a feeling and letting yourself feel it is probably quite frightening. The actual situation you are in is not dangerous. And I recognize that you may feel like you are going to lose it at some point because of the impact of the memories and emotions; however, if you don't push yourself, there's no reason why you can't go forward at a pace that's comfortable for you -- that doesn't overtax your ability to cope. Just don't push yourself to remember. Your sick feelings are related to the emotions, not the memories themselves. Have you done any running? It's really good physical therapy and helps alot.

 

btw, take a couple of good books and an ipod with you when visiting your brother; distract yourself when you have to.

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