Healing Book Quotes 3

Traumatic events call into question basic human relationships.  They breach the attachments of family, friendship, love and community.  They shatter the construction of the self that is formed and sustained in relation to others.  They undermine the belief systems that give meaning to human experience.  They violate the victim’s faith in a natural or divine order and cast the victim into a state of existential crisis.

~ Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery.

Repressed Memories Part 2

There are those in the field of psychology and psychiatry who do not believe in Dissociative Identity Disorder, dissociation, and repressed memories. There are also those who do believe.

After the incident with the professor denying repressed memories, because that would mean that someone couldn’t protect themselves from future assaults, I went to the American Psychological Association’s website, looking to see what they had on there on the topic of child sexual abuse, represssed memories, dissociation, and flashbacks. The article is still posted there.

Here is what I found; “However, experienced clinical psychologists state that the phenomenon of a recovered memory is rare (e.g., one experienced practitioner reported having a recovered memory arise only once in 20 years of practice). ”

How can one practitioner discussing a repressed memory once be used as an example? Is this a scientific organization or not? How can one person’s experiences be purported in support of an unscientific statement? And so what, if this was one person’s experience?

Not exactly a clinical study, but if you are a therapist and you don’t believe in repressed memories, how many clients are going to see you or will discuss their memories with you. Clinical psychologists and their professional experiences are obviously not an accurate representative of the population. How scientific is their personal experiences in accurately representing what the occurence of repressed memories are?

They demand scientific evidence for one standard to prove repressed memories and then in the next breath state the experiences of one practitioner. Double standards in science? Who would have thunk it?

If they are not competently trained to recognize and treat clients with repressed memories and trauma, how often are they likely to have clients disclose to them out of thin air? How often are they likely to figure out something they don’t believe in, aren’t trained in, and don’t know how to give support in? It’s probably right in front of their noses, but they can’t see it.  

Many survivors never go to a therapist and when they do it often takes years before they talk about memories of child sexual abuse. Many survivors have seen several therapists over years before they discuss memories or even have a recovered memory.

I’ve never had a therapist who told me to my face that they didn’t believe in repressed memories. One told me she didn’t believe in believing in the specific memories recounted to her. I asked her to clarify, she said she didn’t believe in believing or disbelieving abuse memories. She said that wasn’t her job. She said that put her in a position of judging and that was not her job.

I objected to that. I thought that it was her job. I explained to her clients need to be believed in, as survivors of child sexual abuse, though perhaps not in each individual memory. She didn’t understand my reasoning. She was irate with me. I knew I had to find another therapist. I did.

The estimate of DID is 1% of the total population, not a rare estimate. One person out of one hundred is DID. Many more survivors of abuse have repressed memories than have DID, which is not rare, so just doing the numbers should come up with a much higher number, unless you want to be a denier and are being cagey with your words.

On repressed memories, the APA article states;“First, it’s important to state that there is a consensus among memory researchers and clinicians that most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them although they may not fully understand or disclose it.”

And here a stronger statement:

The reality is that most people who are victims of childhood sexual abuse remember all or part of what happened to them.

But they have no evidence, no empirical support for these claims, but they freely choose to make claims without evidence. Again, where is the science, where are the studies?

I have known many, many survivors who had no conscious memories of being sexually abused as a child. Odd that I have never heard of this so-called consensus. Very odd indeed.

And amazingly they admit to this:

But most leaders in the field agree that although it is a rare occurrence, a memory of early childhood abuse that has been forgotten can be remembered later.

Apparently we are all a lot more rare than the numbers of survivors suggests. I’m rare, I kind of like that. I only wish that repressed memories were indeed rare.

Finally a bite about dissociation here:

“Some clinicians theorize that children understand and respond to trauma differently from adults. Some furthermore believe that childhood trauma may lead to problems in memory storage and retrieval. These clinicians believe that dissociation is a likely explanation for a memory that was forgotten and later recalled. Dissociation means that a memory is not actually lost, but is for some time unavailable for retrieval. That is, it’s in memory storage, but cannot for some period of time actually be recalled.

Some clinicians believe that severe forms of child sexual abuse are especially conducive to negative disturbances of memory such as dissociation or delayed memory. Many clinicians who work with trauma victims believe that this dissociation is a person’s way of sheltering himself or herself from the pain of the memory. Many researchers argue, however, that there is little or no empirical support for such a theory.”

At least Freud, at one time, believed in repressed memory and child sexual abuse. Well he did deny it a few years later, but at least, at first, he supported it. Over 100 years since, and we still can’t get a statement of belief for survivors.

Apparently I am Not a Real Multiple

I was told that some time ago, but I have to admit it still stings, it still burns, it still hurts when this kind of talk comes up again. So when the topic comes up again, let me just say I get a little irate.

First let me say that not having a diagnosis of DID does not mean that you are not multiple. I went through years of therapy before my diagnosis. Neither does not having lots of doctors or therapists believe in you, know about your case, and confirm your diagnosis mean that you are or aren’t multiple.

Being multiple is as much a fact of life as the color of my hair and eyes, the current shape of my nose, and my current favorite dancer on Dancing with the Stars. I like being believed, but someone not believing in me doesn’t make me any less real or eliminate any of the childhood pain and abuse, effects, and aftermath from child sexual abuse.

Many years ago I got up enough courage to join a facilitated support group for ritual abuse survivors. All of the members were multiples. I explained to the group in one of the first sessions that I was co-conscious for the most part, though not integrated. I didn’t think to be anything but proud of that.

At that time I had only disclosed being multiple to my therapist and this group. I had gone through a few bad years accepting that I was multiple and that many factions of society did not believe in me. I will have to say it was a very sharp pain back then.

The stigma against DID was bad and even though there was more information about multiples out there in the general public and in the therapy and research fields I was acutely aware how innaccurate we were perceived by others.

A few weeks later one of the other members came up to me and said, I told my therapist about you. I told her I don’t believe you are real. You aren’t a multiple anymore if you are co-conscious.

I don’t think I said anything in response, sort of struck silent. She was a nice sort of person, really. Except for the fact that she refused to accept my reality and my multiplicity. Which I guess you can’t really divorce from her other actions and beliefs. I don’t get to divide her up into little pieces and say what I like and accept about her and keep that and throw away the rest. Her relative abusers had already done that to her. But she felt that she was entitled to do that to me.

I don’t know why she felt the need to say that to me. I just knew that this was not someone I could be friends with or trust with my heart. This was someone who would not want to be friends with me.

It didn’t stop me from being real. The wound was also real, and deep. I thought that at least there I would be accepted for who I was, a survivor, and didn’t feel a need to explain or mold my reality to suit others. Several decades later and I feel even less desire to give up me to be accepted by anyone, even someone that I love. This is it. This is me.

I don’t understand someone who is not multiple would want to pose as one for attention due to their own mental health issues. I have heard about that online, but am not sure if I have experienced that or not.

I really don’t see how a multiple could or would want to accuse another person of not being a real multiple.  I’ve read about this kind of drivel going around the blogs recently. I am sickened and appalled. I wonder at the need to judge and demean others. I wonder at how little compassion and basic human kindness someone would have to have in order to conduct themselves in this manner.

Multiples come in all shapes and sizes and are at different ages, stages, and healings in their lives. Only a professional is competent and trained to diagnose and certainly no one but them can. No one has the right to decide whether I am real or not. No one has a right to compare me to another multiple or themselves and to decide what is real and what is not, not then and not now. I am real.