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Old 06-19-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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I was speaking with my husband a few months ago in front of my mom. I mentioned that I hadn’t seen my biological father since I was 13, and added that he didn’t even know I had moved out of the country around that age. My mom looked at me, bewildered, and said “what are you talking about?”. Apparently, he not only knew, but he had over 5 visits with me in my new city all lasting at least a weekend. It wasn’t until the year after that he gave up custody. I have absolutely no recollection of these visits, as hard as I try. Nothing. I remember a lot quite vividly from childhood (down to very details), but it seems like around the age of 13, it was just wiped clean. Even some memories from high school in general are difficult to recall.

It’s really been bothering me lately. I find it very unnerving that I am just missing such a significant chunk of my life. For a very long time, I had thought that the last time I saw my bio-dad was after he and I had a big fight over who knows what, and he had sent me back home to my mom. I have absolutely no recollection of seeing him after that. These memories are from when I was 13 years old, which was 13 years ago. Not exactly that long to have it slip my mind. I had a lot going on around this time period in general, and actually fell into depression (left undiagnosed, and not recognized till I sought help by myself after moving out at around 18 years old). I was never medicated for anything regarding this.

How can I get these memories back? Do I want to? It’s really been bothering me lately. Can anyone share their experiences with repressed memories and how you went about retrieving them?
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:52 PM
 
Location: In a state of denial
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Go to a good psychotherapist. The only way to remember is to work through the pain. You'll be better off coming out the other side. Apparently, it's something trauma, bad, or too painful to remember. It's the body's way (mind) of protecting ourselves.
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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Be very careful going to anyone to try to recover memories. It is easy for things to be falsely remembered as memories that never even happened. If you have decided that you want to try to recover the memories then really do some research about the psychotherapist you choose. With anything else there are good and bad ones. Be prepared that these memories are things that your mind blocked from you because it was trying to protect you from something very painful and traumatic. These will not be warm and fuzzy memories. My MIL has completely blocked out that she found her husband in the family car after he blew his head off with a gun. She just couldn't handle it, so her mind completely blocked it out. She knows it happened, but has no memory of it.
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madeline2121 View Post
Be very careful going to anyone to try to recover memories. It is easy for things to be falsely remembered as memories that never even happened. If you have decided that you want to try to recover the memories then really do some research about the psychotherapist you choose. With anything else there are good and bad ones. Be prepared that these memories are things that your mind blocked from you because it was trying to protect you from something very painful and traumatic. These will not be warm and fuzzy memories. My MIL has completely blocked out that she found her husband in the family car after he blew his head off with a gun. She just couldn't handle it, so her mind completely blocked it out. She knows it happened, but has no memory of it.
This is my fear, at the same time it really bothers me that I could have whole chunks of time missing. I struggled for a very long time starting around that age until I finally sought help in my late teens/ early twenties. I wish, at that time, I knew I had repressed some memories-- maybe it would have help me sense things together. I almost feel like I owe it to myself to know.

But, on the other hand, things are great right now, and I worry that this will open up new wounds.

About the false memories-- how would this happen? Would I 'make up' memories to fill the gaps? This opens up a whole 'nother set of problems. If I do uncover something, then I may spend the rest of my life wondering if it really happened or I made it up.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:12 PM
 
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Please be careful with past regression, hypnotherapy. I remember it being reported on the news that it doesn't really work and your mind will fill in gaps it can't really remember. There were patients who got really messed up going into that type of therapy. Many of them destroyed their families making accuzations that turned out to not be real memeories that happened. It was all over the news years ago. Perhaps you should try looking at any pictures, if any, that may have been taken when you were with your Father during that time. It's quite possible you don't remember because of the depression not because of any trauma. Maybe start with looking through your old High School albums. Just please be careful who you go to and try to avoid hypnotherapy before trying other means of help to remember. If it were me and my life was good now I would't trade that for something that could destroy the hard work I put into getting better for off chance that I could, maybe, recover lost memories from such a young age but that's me.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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False memories can happen for a number of reasons. It most often is the fault of the therapist. If you are in a suggestible state the therapist can ask you a leading question trying to get you to remember, but instead it can plant a memory. Most therapists do this by accident, but as Loli stated there have been cases where a therapist purposely implanted memories. I really wouldn't worry about that as much as one accidentally implanting a false memory. Maybe you should talk to a therapist that just does talk therapy instead of psychotherapy or hypnotherapy first. It is possible that they can help you to remember things or to figure out why you might not remember things without the risk of uncovering information that might be false. The therapist could also help you work through your feelings about what would happen if you did happen to uncover something that you might wish that you had not remembered. Good luck!
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:47 AM
 
Location: In a state of denial
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The way i put some things together was that neighbors started telling me things after my parents were dead. Also, friends did. Pieces of the puzzle were put together. If you can get others to corroborate your memories then you know they are true. If you just "fill in the gaps" without knowing anything they might not be true. Get others to confirm things. Also, old medical or hospital or school records might help too.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:02 AM
 
508 posts, read 1,717,959 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolipopbubbles View Post
Please be careful with past regression, hypnotherapy. I remember it being reported on the news that it doesn't really work and your mind will fill in gaps it can't really remember. There were patients who got really messed up going into that type of therapy. Many of them destroyed their families making accuzations that turned out to not be real memeories that happened. It was all over the news years ago. -snip-
This worries me a lot. I have absolutely no relationship with my bio-father; I haven't seen him since that time (which I don't remember), and have no desire to. But, I did have a strained relationship with my parents (particularly my step-dad, who adopted me in my teens) for quite some time after. It took until last year to finally confront them with things I had kept bottled up and finally come to an understanding of how each of us felt during some difficult times in our lives. It concerns me that dredging up memories can set this all back. BUT, I also feel like I should know things that happened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madeline2121 View Post
False memories can happen for a number of reasons. It most often is the fault of the therapist. If you are in a suggestible state the therapist can ask you a leading question trying to get you to remember, but instead it can plant a memory. Most therapists do this by accident, but as Loli stated there have been cases where a therapist purposely implanted memories. I really wouldn't worry about that as much as one accidentally implanting a false memory. Maybe you should talk to a therapist that just does talk therapy instead of psychotherapy or hypnotherapy first. It is possible that they can help you to remember things or to figure out why you might not remember things without the risk of uncovering information that might be false. The therapist could also help you work through your feelings about what would happen if you did happen to uncover something that you might wish that you had not remembered. Good luck!
Thanks, I will look into talk therapy. I just feel like I can't ignore it and walk away. Even if I never remember it, I want to do something. I don't know what, but something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck_steak View Post
The way i put some things together was that neighbors started telling me things after my parents were dead. Also, friends did. Pieces of the puzzle were put together. If you can get others to corroborate your memories then you know they are true. If you just "fill in the gaps" without knowing anything they might not be true. Get others to confirm things. Also, old medical or hospital or school records might help too.
My husband has suggested the same thing. The main memories are from these visits with my bio-dad. Like I said above, I haven't spoken to him since, but recently I've spoken to my ex-step-mom (they are divorced now). This is another story altogether and I'm not sure how comfortable I feel asking, but I assume she was there during every visit. Maybe I can ask her... I'm not sure where else to go.


Btw, thanks everyone for your help, support, and answers! I'm glad I finally had somewhere to go with this-- reading about it online is one thing, but to get 2-way communication helps me walk through my concerns.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:08 AM
 
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I don't really see a reason for this. The real issue is why does this bother you? Even if you think you were abused and repressed this memory....what would it do if you found out you were abused? How would this information change your life? I don't see this as really healthy...going over things in the past is rarely healthy...
It is more important to focus on issues in your life currently. And yes....the pastt may affect how you deal with things now....but the issue is how to re wire your reaction and thought process to move forward to a healthier more functional life.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:24 AM
 
508 posts, read 1,717,959 times
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Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
I don't really see a reason for this. The real issue is why does this bother you? Even if you think you were abused and repressed this memory....what would it do if you found out you were abused? How would this information change your life? I don't see this as really healthy...going over things in the past is rarely healthy...
It is more important to focus on issues in your life currently. And yes....the pastt may affect how you deal with things now....but the issue is how to re wire your reaction and thought process to move forward to a healthier more functional life.
My logical side agrees with you wholeheartedly. I need to keep the past behind me and move on. I really wish I didn't know that I don't remember it. But unfortunately, another part of me feels like I owe it to myself. I have such a difficult time and feel like I was cheated out of 10 years (and that's nearly 40% of my life right now!), and I feel like if I can get some sort of indication of what happened or triggered, it would help me just comprehend everything.
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