Comments for No memory of childhood: Is this common?

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 25, 2008
A coping mechanism
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Children who are sexually abused by an adult not only experience the trauma, they also experience overwhelming feelings of betrayal and abandonment. Each child copes differently. My sexual abuse victims page on this site details some of the ways sexually abused children adapt. Another page I recommend you read through is sexual abuse effects to gain a better understanding of the effects.

Bernadette, we all have varying degrees of memory recall. Some adults remember just about everything that happened to them as children, some adults remember tidbits, while others remember virtually nothing of growing up. There is research being done, but very little is known about the human brain in general, never mind it's ability to recall from the past. And there is a lot of controversy about the subject of recalling what has been deemed "repressed memories."

As for your situation, it's not at all uncommon for children to block out traumatizing events, and for those blocked memories to continue to be blocked well into adulthood. Nor is it uncommon for a person to block out periods of time that are years long. Every person is different in their ability to deal with trauma, so some memories are repressed as a coping mechanism, while others are blocked due to the general state of mind of the person.

Your traumatizing memories may or may not come back to you, just as the rest of your childhood recollections may or may not re-surface. Recalling bits and pieces over time is not at all uncommon. Current experiences or entering into different stages in your life, such as the start of an amorous relationship, can trigger more detailed memories. Much depends on the original traumatic experience, as well as the emotions that were elicited during the experience; the triggers are often a similar emotion and experience, which can have the effect of drawing out the memory.

I don't recommend trying to force memories. I believe that when the person is ready to deal with difficult memories, then the brain will unlock what has been locked away; but that is a personal opinion. If and when your memories do emerge, pay attention to the emotions that you are feeling at the time. If those emotions are too much to bear, then I recommend some form of counselling to help you deal with the residual.

And Bernadette, no, I don't think you're losing your mind. I think your mind is protecting you from events that were too painful to deal with when you were a child. But I am not a doctor of psychiatry, so if you want to delve further into this, I suggest you seek out the counsel of a psychiatric specialist.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Feb 07, 2008
A comment I think you should read...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Bernadette, you'll find the story of another person who dealt with repressed memories at the following comment page on this site comment to Elisha, titled I can relate and I was in fact sexually abused, dated Feb 6, 2008. Reading what this person did to help herself might help you.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jul 11, 2011
I understand
by: Michelle

I am 32 years old, and I have no real memories before the age of 12. I don't recall being abused. However, I do have many of the signs of abuse. It has always bothered me that I can't remember more of my childhood. I have asked my mother if she thought that I might have been abused. She said that she didn't know, but could be possible.

Aug 23, 2011
HELP!
by: Anonymous

Like you Michelle I can not remember much before I was about 12 years old when I entered my rebellious years, I am 35 now and have just started looking into my past a little more to try to understand my behaviour now which at times can be quite erratic. I can remember some events like certain holidays, playing games with my little brother/friends etc but nothing else really. I can not remember my bedroom which I spent years in, apart from dreams I had of floating above my bed looking out the window trying to escape and I also had other constant dreams of being trapped in the garden by a witch and being unable to escape (both these dreams I am hoping to have analysed). I always thought I had a happy childhood and the relationship I have with my parents is fine but my husband has asked me in the past if I was abused as I show signs of this. I would love some help or support if anyone knows of any, I need to sort out my behaviour now which is possibly due to events in my past? I really don?t know.

Sep 05, 2011
Don't know if I was abused
by: Emma

I have always had the thought at the back of my mind that I may have been abused, although I have no memory of such an event ever taking place. As a young child of about 5 or 6 I was never "protected" from watching sexual scenes on TV and I was sexually aware. As I got older and started to have boyfriends, I was afraid to have sex and the thought of being intimate with anyone made me very uncomfortable. I have had dreams off and on which suggested being in a room in my grandparents house and experiencing unpleasent feelings but nothing more. I am now married and have 2 young children and have had 2 dreams recently where I was lying next to my grandfather and he was touching me. I cannot shake off the feeling this is telling me something.

Sep 13, 2011
Abused and did not remember
by: Tom

Have you ever heard of anyone who was abused as a child and did't remember it and now later on in life start to remember bits and pieces?

Mar 11, 2012
why I forget my good childhood experiences
by: Anonymous

What if I mostly remember all the bad memories of childhood including almost everything my molester did to me, but i can only remember very few good childhood memories? Why would that be happening?

Jun 27, 2013
i cant remember...
by: Anonymous

I went into foster care when i was 4 on and off as my dad was an alcoholic and my mum suffered from depression...one night i woke up and needed a drink so i went down to the kitchen...as i turned to leave the kitchen to go back to bed i was faced by a young man of around 13...he stopped me leaving the kitchen and all i remember is looking up at him and i don't remember anything else...next thing i knew i was sent back to live with my mum...i lost alot of weight and refused to eat...time passed and at the age of 19 i developed bipolar disorder...although it turned out it was genetic i believe that whatever happened to me in that kitchen may have been a reason for me developing the bipolar?

Mar 05, 2014
remembering months before i turn 31
by: Anonymous

Strangely I started remembering my 2nd encounter with abuse. Only thing it was happening while I was asleep, and every time I awoken my bed was wet. I couldn't explain what happen, I had no words to what it was called. One night I didn't go to sleep I just laid there, that's when my cousin will sneak in crawling on the floor next to my bed and reached under my sheets and play with me. That night I had my arm between my legs and made a noise which made him leave and go back to his room. I tried telling my grandmother, I was so young like 5-6 yrs old. This has happened to me before, I felt it was wrong, but what can you do when you don't know your rights at 5. Some how that was blocked from me, which I believe now that it cause me problems with my school. Later I learned to use my intuition on things. Now my memory has come back am passed! But along my journey I learn how to forgive and move on with my life. I have two children, which I am "over protecting" I am learning to keep myself happy. I am no longer around my family, thank you God. I got away, and I am staying away. I have found family outside of blood family. I was help by different individuals to cope with my sadness. I am better now then I was before. Just sucks I can't confront my family with issues, just as long as I get them out.
The outlets I used to get my anger, frustrations, joy, anything, I write em down! Listen to happy or loving music. I will learn something new. I just picked up reading. Something I loved doing as a child. I just keep getting the high on learning for me.

Mar 13, 2014
"I'm afraid to Remember"...
by: Kathy Hobbs

I KNOW my mother sexually molested & assaulted me as a child. i don't remember telling my daughter what she did but thank you Almighty God that i did. my daughter & a friend were spending the night @ her house & i got a frantic call from her in the middle of the night. "Grandma's trying to do to me what she did to you"!!! It was like a flood engulfing me the memories & the pain, fear & abandonment almost suffocated me. i couldn't get it to stop! i've been in counseling for years addressing these issues but i have very little recollection of "ANY" of my childhood. I'm a twin & she is amazed when i cannot recall what she knows so well. YES i have abandonment issues, it's very difficult for me to get close to anyone. God & God alone sustains me or i wouldn't be 53 years old & able to post this....It's difficult to "FIGHT" to live in the World & function....i don't want to remember because it's not just the memory it's the sickening feelings of feeling dirty but most of all the feeling of KNOWING that NO ONE is going to rescue me from this, nor do they believe me to this day...My Faith grows everyday, i only starting loving myself & realizing it was okay about 2 years ago....As the saying goes, "We are OVERCOMERS", no matter how difficult it is...in Christ's love!!! kathy hobbs

Click here to add your own comments

Return to No memory of childhood: Is this common?

Return to Ask Darlene

Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge the child abuse
stories on this site are true. While I cannot guarantee
this, I do try to balance the need for the submitter to be
heard and validated with the needs of my visitors.



E-book: Victim To Victory

From Victim to Victory
a memoir

How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life

Read more...

Most Recent

  1. The reasons I've been absent

    Nov 14, 17 01:30 PM

    It's been another challenging time for me. As I actively work toward an online program for survivors of sexual abuse, I've also had to deal with issues at home. Hubby has been diagnosed with 2 types o…

    Read More

  2. I Self Medicate

    Jun 26, 17 04:40 PM

    When I was 3 we left Illinois for Arizona. The day we left my grandfather had a heart attack and died. I have one uncomfortable grainy memory of him. I

    Read More

  3. Ongoing Abuse

    Jun 06, 17 03:03 PM

    I'm 15/16. I am still getting abused physically, mentally and verbally by my family especially my mother. I don't understand what to do to overcome this.

    Read More

E-book: Victim To Victory

From Victim to Victory
a memoir

How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life

Read more...