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Are suppressed memories of sexual abuse possible ?

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My husband and I split up earlier this year because he was being abusive towards me. At first I only thought he had only been psychologically, mentally verbally and emtotionally abusive to me. When I first started counselling I was told to write down anything I started to remember about the times I was abused. I didn't think much of it at that very moment until later on that night. I was having a conversation with my mom and someting she said triggered memories of physical abuse that I had been suppressing. I wrote it down. Now I am having vivid memories of being sexually assaulted in my bedroom but I do not know if it was a dream or not. I can remember everyting but the persons face. Could this just be a dream or potentially the beginning of remembering another suppressed memory?


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replied June 26th, 2007
Troubled & Abusive Relationships Answer A2997
You didn’t describe how your husband was abusing you. Sexual abuse in marriage is often very difficult to prove. However, when you talk about these incomplete memories and abuse in the past it seems likely that your husband’s behavior awakened older, suppressed memories in you. Maybe your husband wasn’t as abusive as you perceived. Perhaps you were sexually abused during childhood but your mind forgot that by suppressing the memory in the subconsciousness (psychogenic amnesia).

Memory of psycho-emotional suffering can't be erased completely. Suppressed memories will find their way to be expressed by creating associations in the present or via nightmares. People that experience sexual suffering during childhood have difficulties in sustaining strong relationship with members of the opposite sex. It seems that this might be the cause of the problem. If so, you'll need expert help from a mental health professional.


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replied May 20th, 2009
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FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME
As a lawyer, not a doctor, I have investigated cases of False Memory Syndrome. Very often these kinds of 'sudden' memories are triggered by the therapist who assumes that the patient's problems are due to some suppressed trauma.

In this case, and I say this as a lawyer, not a doctor, is to try to get some form of objective verification.

Sometimes you might remember something that was actually told to you when you were very young and believe it happened to you. Sometimes you 'remember' something that didn't exactly happen that way.

What you need is the connecting thread...
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replied December 4th, 2010
I understand what you are going through. Due to a trauma in my childhood, I suppressed the majority of my childhood and although I know it is something I have had no control over, it bothers me because like you, I get flashbacks and I also have dreams where I remember bits but not all of it and its frustrating. There are some techniques that may help you like CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). It may be worth looking these up and seeing what is available in your area. It is never easy learning about things that happened in your past so please make sure you have great support around you. xx
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