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No childhood memories?


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#1 Cheesy_peas

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 06:04 PM

I think it's strange that I hardly have any memories from when I was little, up until about 8. I only have very short memory flashes of me and my siblings, but I don't seem to remember my parents at all. Maybe it's not all that strange since they were never there for me, they were very emotionally unavailable (and still are). It was hardly a loving household I grew up in. Just... emotionless. No love, no security, no caring, nothing. Well, the thing is, my parents got a divorce when I was around 6, and I don't remember that at all. I'm guessing it had to be some kind of trauma for me, because I'm still so very afraid of being abandoned, but it's like something has been deleted from my brain, because I just can't remember. These suppressed memories are getting rather frustrating - I want to remember so I can finally move on without the anxiety they cause. Is there any way to "unlock" suppressed memories?

#2 Neko

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 06:24 PM

It's possible that your mind isolated your bad experiences and pushed them away. I have to say that my memory of most things is somewhat foggy, especially as young child. I do, however, remember a great number of specific incidents, none of them too important, such as eating mint chocolate ice cream at a Twins game, how my mom scared me once and made me cry, how I got my first trike, falling in a parking lot and scraping my knee...none of these were particularily traumatizing.

I'm not sure how to unlock memories, but I do know sometimes they come back to me in dreams or just randomly pop into my head. It's a mystery as to how the brain works regarding memory.

#3 Rozanne

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 06:25 PM

Hypnosis can certain unlock memories you didnīt know you had. In my first hypnosis session I remembered a significant trauma from when I was about 5yrs old. But I soon lost trust in my therpist, who didnīt seem to understand me, and used a very rigid method rather than customising his techniques to the problem in hand. After that first session I never regressed again. But it was a powerful experience and I am glad I retrieved it because it gives me a glimpse into what was a very dark time in my life, whilst at the same time showing me that the unconscious definately exists! A lot gets forgetten out of sheer convenience. It is not convenient to go around consciously aware of all these awful unresolved situations. But that doesnīt mean they didnīt happen and they arenīt effecting oneīs life on some level.

#4 Matt210

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 09:14 PM

I don't think anyone really has extensive memories of their childhood before 8 years old. You've already mentioned that you have some - and i'm sure you could dig up more if you had the proper cues.

I wouldn't worry about it.

EDIT: I also wanted to say it is probably not productive to 'unlock' memories - there is no evidence that supressed memories even exist, and probing in to your past looking for memories can produce false memories. It's just not worthwhile.

#5 Cheesy_peas

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 05:41 AM

Yeah, I've thought about the risk of creating false memories, and of course I wouldn't want to do that. It's just that most people seem to remember most of their childhood from age five or so, and I have always wondered why I can't do that. I don't know, it just feels like it would be easier to cope with whatever childhood trauma(s) I had if I could only remember them. Perhaps my biggest trauma was the feeling of being abandoned by my parents, a feeling so powerful and painful that I don't want to remember it ever again... nah, I don't know, I'm just guessing because I'm curious to find out.

#6 jft

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 06:30 AM

Cheesy. I often have wondered why I too have so little memory of childhood. I too remember a few anecedotal things but nothing lasting or grounding, nothing making me nostlalgic for those wonder years. I too was raised in an emotionless home with huge fears of abandonment and rejection. I actually have not one recollection of being held or hugged by my parents. Because of this and much much more I tend to surmize that the issue of memory is not of suppressed memory but instead that there really was not alot of significance to remember. I remember being and feeling bored and scared. And then bored again. And alone. But if nothing else much was there, then why would we remember it? This is a sad picture, but it is reality for me. It is how I explain my lack of memory.

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#7 Matt210

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 09:51 AM

Yeah, I've thought about the risk of creating false memories, and of course I wouldn't want to do that. It's just that most people seem to remember most of their childhood from age five or so, and I have always wondered why I can't do that. I don't know, it just feels like it would be easier to cope with whatever childhood trauma(s) I had if I could only remember them. Perhaps my biggest trauma was the feeling of being abandoned by my parents, a feeling so powerful and painful that I don't want to remember it ever again... nah, I don't know, I'm just guessing because I'm curious to find out.


Memory is a tough thing to judge. If someone said "Remember age 6" to me - I draw a completely blank - not ONE thing comes to my mind. Same if I think "Remember what my Mom and Dad were like when I was 6" - nothing but blanks.

Memory needs cues to work from - if someone says "Remember when your grandma took you on that trip to florida when you were 6" - I can then remember it - trying to just "remember" a period of your life is nearly impossible.

#8 Rozanne

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 12:02 PM

For some reason, I have many memories aged 4-6, and 9-10, but not in between!

#9 Cheesy_peas

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 01:01 PM

jft: That makes sense, I guess that there is not much to remember for me either. But I don't remember any feelings either, and I must have had some. Not even being bored or alone. Or perhaps I didn't feel anything, who knows?

Matt210: My therapist said something similar to me a while ago, that we remember things from childhood by talking about them, that our parents or whoever keep them alive by bringing them up. Of course my parents never talked to me very much about anything, so I guess it's possible that my memories just faded. I try to give myself cues, but it doesn't work (go figure).

But it's funny, because I don't have many clear memories from when I was depressed either, so a few years of my life is just a blur. Not much to remember from then either, I guess.

Well, I was just curious to know if it's normal or if I'm some kind of freak. :-)

#10 Matt210

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 01:09 PM

For some reason, I have many memories aged 4-6, and 9-10, but not in between!


Wow - just out of curiosity I am wondering how you know this? How on earth can you distinguish exactly when a memory happened? I am assuming you have some sort of cues (ex. from 6-9 you lived in a different house - and you have no strong memories of being at that house? i'm just giving an example to show what i mean).

I don't understand how it is possible to know exactly when you have memories from - Maybe i'm the unusual one here - but my memories just are - I can usually guess when they are from when I recall them, but its not like my past is laid out behind me like a calender and i know when there are blanks.

#11 Methusala

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 07:33 PM

'Betrayal trauma' by Jennifer Freyd is a landmark science
book on how childhood trauma and memory/amnesia are related.

M

#12 jft

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 12:12 AM

There are many roads that lead to onset of dp/dr, but this thread I think speaks to maybe one road. Maybe folks like me with no memory of childhood who maybe never were traumitized in the obvious sense never needed to suppress nasty memories. But maybe the effects of less than desirable contact with life in the family context could have the same effects as trauma. Maybe the lack of what was supposed to be there but was not could be just as harming in the road to dp land. I swear this scenario could force oneself into a prediposition ripe for the taking.
jft




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