I Can’t Trust My Memories

Upon the Sharon Armstrong post from a wee while ago where I talked about NLP and eye accessing cues that can indicate whether a person is remembering or is constructing a memory, I received an email from a reader asking whether there would be a way for her to know whether she is making up what she has been telling her therapist. I have heard over the years from so many survivors that they find it hard to believe that they have been abused.

Firstly, there is a difference whether you make statements to justify or explain the fact that you were recently caught with Cocaine or whether you talk about something that happened many decades ago in your childhood. Memories are not set in concrete like the content of a printer’s typeset drawer. They are subject to change over the years, some parts get ‘trimmed off’ and other parts get ‘added’ depending on what you do when you re-visit a memory.

Secondly, if you don’t believe that you have been abused, if you doubt your thoughts, wouldn’t it be a good idea to examine why it is important for you to know whether you have or have not been abused and to what extend? And thirdly, whatever the past trauma was, isn’t it important today to deal with the legacies of the trauma (depression, anxiety, stress, low self-confidence, poor social skills, dissociation, and overall poor self-relations) and re-build a healthy, happy, and balanced sense of self?

I think these are great questions to ask and work through with your therapist when you are not quite sure what it is that you are doing. Your therapist can give you an outside perspective that, together with your inside wonderings will hopefully form a picture that gives you peace of mind.

3 Comments

  1. Hi ., it sure sounds like a lot of thinking of all sorts is going on. The way I see it, memories are nothing but thoughts that we have about something that we believe happened in the past. And because the way we humans work, thoughts create the feelings that go with them and through the feelings we can become aware of our thoughts. I don’t believe that people are purposefully lying to themselves – actually, I don’t think it is possible to lie to ourself. However, often we have thoughts that we repeat over and over again, like a favorite record we play over and over again, because that thought is the best we can come up with at the current time. It’s the best way we can understand what’s happened.

    It’s like a child thinking “mum doesn’t like me anymore” because mum was grumpy or ignored her, yet, what really happened was that mum had a migrane and was not able to be kind and caring to the child. For the child however, it was the best way it could understand the situation.

    That goes for all our thoughts, whether they come from inside people or outside people. They are not necessarily right or reflect accurately what happened, they are our INTERPRETATION of things.

    • j

      I struggle with this, I understand it, my emotions react to it, I do understand but the tears come when I read it ?

  2. .

    well what if diiferent parts think dferent things and the ones that have to do most of the out side stuff think that they are jsut stupid or nuts and thats why things are so mesed up and that s why every ting was so bad before they dont no any thing and on the inside ;there is lying and things that arent real and it s to hard they have to always think that every thing of the inskde is not real and lying and no tto think bad things but now they cant stop the lying and if they listen to it and then it could get really bad. So thaere isnoot memoirys jsut lying and seeing bad things and doing bad things and hearing bad things an d they jsut have to keep on the out side and talking is not allowd from the inside and talking is really bad becuase bad things hapen but there is lots of trying

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