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Could There Have Been Some Abuse?


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People who have been around this site for awhile may remember I deconverted early and I attribute this to the fact I was raised in a church day school as well as all day church/sunday school and I am naturally an inquisitive kind of person and just figured it out.  Saturday was my only respite from that place until I went on to the public high school.  I have hated church and religion for my entire memory.  Well, maybe not hate, but I always dreaded it and found it boring.


 


One thing I didn’t mention in my jehova witness story from a few days ago is how angry I got.  Really angry.  I was shaking while waiting for the cops.  In normal life, I am a regular person.  I am mellow, easy going, never quick to anger at all.  But the second religion is mentioned I literally get a flash of heat down my spine and my mind starts to race.  In the presence of others I simply leave the room, like if a group of actors start a prayer circle while I am prepping for the show.  But if you come to my door, watch out, I may explode.  If I don’t blow up at them, I stew over it in my mind for days.


 


This anger really confuses me because it will not leave.  I have not been to a church since my grandmothers funeral in 2001, and before that it was my grandfathers funeral in 1995.  It has probably been 1993 since my last non-funeral church service; that’s 20 years and I still get so angry I shake when they come to my door as a 36 year old independent adult.  My one friend I can talk to about this (raised a mormon and is gay, yet she has none of the anger issues I have) tells me I have to let it go, that it doesn’t matter, but I honestly don't know how to let something go that wont leave me.  I do not want to hold on to this anger.  I would love to laugh at them and shut the door.  


 


I feel like I should be completely over this.  I even think I understand where the anger comes from: I worked and fought very hard as a child to free myself from that world, and I am terrified of being dragged back into it.  Not by jehova witness at my door on saturday, but in the House and Senate, passing legislation that effectively removes our rights as autonomous citizens to make our own choices about how to live.  The jehova witness only represents that greater whole I feel threatened by, and they are a convenient release when they wake me on a Saturday morning; but it is not healthy still 20 years later.


 


But maybe that is not the true source of the anger?  Could I have been abused sexually and completely not remember it?  I have seen 2 different therapists over my anger with the church, and both of them did not think I had been sexually abused.  I don't know how they came to this, but I assume there are other markers of behavior that I do not have.  I also have issues with attracting the wrong women to me and myself not being able to woo the women that I fancy, so I am alone most of the time or I settle on someone who I know is wrong for the long term because I am lonely.  I often wonder how much of this is attributed to my introverted nature or to the church; the whole of my sex education was showing me pics of untreated STDs.  


 


Anyway, what are the odds that I could completely forget sexual abuse?  I have a pretty good long term memory.  I remember having a crush on my first baby sitter when I was 3, and I remember cutting my finger with a nail clipper by the piano when we were moving into the house, and my mother tells me I was almost 2 then; she doesn’t believe I remember that.  I don’t get this level of anger at anything else besides religion, and I can’t figure out how to truly let it all go...


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Sure there COULD HAVE BEEN some abuse.

But its unlikely.

Especially if more than one therapist told you otherwise.

On the other hand, the religion itself is a mental abuse.

 

I suggest you take a look at this link -- http://www.threeminutetherapy.com/

 

I haven't bought the book yet. But just reading over bits and pieces of the technique have helped me tremendously.

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Marty, I really feel for you. Going on what you have described it does sound like you are reacting to abuse as a child, but in my non-expert opinion it is most likely the religious stuff that has caused it, as it is simply the most likely culprit. I was abused badly as a child for many years, and I did not begin to remember it until I was 22yrs old, so I have some experience with 'repressed memory'. There are other people that can confirm at least some of my memories so I can be quite sure I am not making it up, at the least the main details (taking into account the pitfalls of memory in general).

 

What makes you think you were specifically sexually abused? Do you have memories that suggest anything in that area? It is an EXTREMELY rare occurrence, to repress memory, so be very careful or you could end up confabulating memories (making them up but believing them to be true). True or not, what you went through as a child and do recall was clearly damaging and is more than enough to cause very serious problems as an adult. Just because others seem to cope better than you (and it may only be in appearance) it does not mean you had to have gone through something else horrific to have the impact you are experiencing. Everyone is different so things affect us differently. 

 

The reactions you are experiencing I can really relate to, like being very unsettled after a JW visit. It seems psychiatrists and psychologists don't often take into account the real damage that religion can do when assessing someone's mental health. In my experience, if you were abused you will find out about it, and you will then wish you had never known. For the time being assume you were not sexually abused, unless it becomes something you simply cannot let go of, or begin to have memories of. Then it would be best to talk to a psychologist again. 

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Well, this church/school I spent most of my time at definitely mentally abused me.  They repeatedly tried to stuff me in a box and tell me I was headed for hell for things like wearing black or listening to rock and roll; typical mid 1980's paranoia.  But I was (and still am) a stubborn kid, and I didn't see how a color or a music made me evil, and they never explained it well to me.  Many of the questions I asked that got me sent to the principle or in trouble generally were honest questions, and when they gave me the stock answer, I would actually say "but that doesn't answer my question...".  

 

I simply do not understand where the anger comes from so long after I have left and moved on.  I cant think of anything that would cause such blood boiling anger other than some sort of abuse as a child.  I don't always light up like that, but like I said, if someone starts up a prayer circle, I flee immediately, I almost feel as if I have PTSD or something the way my minds starts racing and yet also locks up at the same time.  But I really feel I should be over this, especially since friends of mine have been through worse than me and laugh it all off like nothing.

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Well, Marty, frankly "trying to stuff you in a box" and so on IS abuse. Full stop.

 

Social isolation, setting up superiors who criticize inferiors for their core beliefs and thinking for themselves, no explanation for penalties and rewards... all this is abuse. I don't mean that in a touchy-feely words-can-hurt kind of way, either. There's a boatload of very famous psychological research to show that - as social animals - humans are exquisitely tuned to social needs, so shunning or other social leverage things can and will do more damage than physical harm. The Stanford Prison Experiment, is one example of how these social roles can run on autopilot and lead to abuse. The Milgram Experiment is another. (These kinds of psychological experiments are now not allowed for ethical reasons. Huge red flag, there.) Tearing down people's self-worth and trying to replace it with an irrational other is a brainwashing tactic. Literally. That social isolation and shaming is what does the damage in the case of a lot of the more horrific crimes our species is capable of.

So, in short, you're angry, and you may have very good reason to have such an intense reaction to things like that. You're not crazy at all.

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I think you have a legitimate reason to be this angry about religion, especially the Abrahamic religions. The Abrahamic religions are absolute poison and anger me as well, though not quite that much. I know that in the last year or so as a Christian, I abused myself quite a bit emotionally, telling myself I belonged in Hell, mostly because of problems I already had, which Christianity made worse.

 

I don't know what could have caused you to be this angry about religion. I suppose it is possible that you are repressing some kind of memories of abuse that could have something to do with it, but at this point, it's difficult to do anything but guess what the cause is. I hope you can find out what is causing it and how to get rid of this extreme anger (though there is nothing wrong with holding on to a little bit of anger when it comes to religions that cause lots of harm to people, because those religions are a cancer that must be fought).

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Unremembered sexual abuse is very unlikely.  People who were sexually abused generally wish they could forget.  

 

As others have pointed out you were emotionally abused.

 

I use to have a bad anger problem.  I recommend the "When Anger Hurts" series by Matthew McKay.

http://www.amazon.com/When-Anger-Hurts-Matthew-McKay/dp/1567310281

 

The upshot of it is that when we hold false beliefs and these beliefs come into conflict with reality then anger is the result.  To control the anger find and deal with the underlying belief.

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It's possible that you were abused, though maybe it just stems from the way you feel about religion.

 

I didn't read your story with the police. What happened?

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Marty

 

What you endured as a child was very real and very deep abuse. The type of abuse that tries to tell you that black is white causes you to doubt your most fundamental processes of thought and logic. I fact, this is almost causing you to doubt your sanity.

 

When they try to have another attack at you now, this is a good reason to be angry. It sounds like you have gotten to the stage that you are not too bothered by your horrible childhood - except when someone has another go at pushing this crap down your throat.

 

That is significant progress along the path to emotional freedom. I think I have gotten to this stage as well. However, there is little to bring all this crap back in to my mind. I live in a pleasantly godless environment. The only thing that pushes my buttons is my elderly mother, but she is too old (90) to remember much about religion.

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One of our family members was sexually abused at age 2 by a neighbor and remembers it. 

 

That being said, I would like to point out that you can still have legitimate abuse problems even if they are not sexual in nature. Sometimes, I think that people think if they're abuse isn't of the sexual kind then they shouldn't protest or seek help for it. It sounds like the school you attended definitely doled out some mental abuse.  

 

As for the anger, I'm not sure. Maybe you're just still frustrated with it all and how much influence it once had over your life and how you don't want it to return to that and don't like being reminded about it by these people knocking on your door. Also, it has to be really aggravating that you were basically told by police that they have a right to knock on your door since it's in the name of religion. I know if you put "no soliciting" on your door, businesses can't leave leaflets or what-not.  

 

I'm so sorry you are going through this, though. That really sucks. 

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I have the same reaction to anything to do with religion. It is not psychicially safe for me. Having been sexually abused as a child, it doesn't even register next to the abuse of my soul caused by the church. I get the full on shakes, sometimes sobbing and every single cell of my body screams run.

 

I remember the first time I read the Harry Potter books and they mentioned the dementors that suck your soul out. I'm sure that is not too different from the feeling I get when I think about religion. I am not scared of anything anymore, not dying, not bikies, not people with guns, but anyone who comes at me waving a bible can reduce my inner person to a snivelling heap in about ten seconds.

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This website, this thread are testimony to just how much damage religion can cause to the human psyche. My ADHD niece is throwing major fits over doing Catholic conformation at age 10 but the bloody private Catholic school will kick her out if she doesn't do it, and this school is providing great education and care to her and her autistic brother. Leaving the school would cause major issues in itself too. My sister is not that fussed about religion but really wants to keep them in that school to have access to the extra care they need with ADHD and Autism. It drives me wild that a school can demand that a ten year old girl signs and speaks a declaration she knows is a lie (I will be a good Catholic girl etc etc). What does that teach a child about honesty and integrity? And this is relatively minor compared with what so many here have had to endure in the name of religion. 

 

Religion is a major mindfuck, there is no nice way of putting it. It is almost cool now to say you were sexually abused as a child, the people who don't run at first mention nod sympathetically and say, 'Oh, you poor love'. Sure they don't have a clue, but at least most acknowledge you have suffered greatly. However, that is not the reaction you often get if you say you were spiritually abused. People mock you and say, 'Well, if you don't believe anymore what's your problem?' If abuse in some form is acknowledged, it is minimized. Psychologists and psychiatrists are baffled, looking for a better explanation for your PTSD like symptoms, as religion is known in scientific literature to be of benefit. At least this is what I have encountered, and I am not in the USA. Having your culture and government support your abusers and protect them from litigation must only add to the trauma. Sorry, I am ranting, but this issue really upsets me. Religion almost completely destroyed me, all the while it was promising to protect and heal me, and only two people I have met IRL actually begin to understand the devastating impact this has had on me.  

 

Marty, I hope you are doing ok and have someone sane IRL to talk to about these things. If not, there is always us. What you went through as a child/adult at the hands of religion is more than enough to screw up the strongest so it is only natural that you are struggling so many years on. Hopefully there is a better future ahead for you. Have you ever talked/journalled  at length about what you went through? Sometimes it can be helpful mentally processing things, to find a place for them before moving on.

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Repressed abuse and recovered memories have themselves been massively abused by certain sectors of the legal system.  Much (if not all) has been found to have been bullshit.  I'm not a psychologist so I don't have a clue what's really going on, but I'd be careful about making assumptions.  It may be something far more mundane, such as an emotional connection made while still in your developmental stage.

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Marty, you are not crazy! I know exactly how you feel. Have you tried googling "religious trauma syndrome"? For me, just knowing what I was going through is "real" and happens to other people was very comforting and helpful. (Although I was also angered to know that this shit happens all the time to lots of people -- when will it end?!) You were mind controlled and fucked over mentally and emotionally. It is so sick.

 

Wanderinstar's post really resonates with me. People acted like it was sort of my fault ... I had a choice to keep going back to the church that was abusing me. (I thought God wanted me to persevere, overturn their tables, and get them to change their wicked ways, but all it did was drag me further down.) I also thought those people were my friends, and I would be lost without them -- how could I leave? A couple of the people from my church who knew all the shit going on with me there were happy for me when I finally left, so I could get away from all that. I should be fine now, right? Ummmm, no.

 

What helped me was to read about abuse in other churches. I know, it sounds kind of sick. But seeing that this is common, and that I have not been singled out for being evil or whatever, was comforting (and angering!). Knowing that other people have suffered upon leaving also made me feel normal and sane, and righteously angry. I searched for all kinds of stuff about: is my church a cult, signs of an unhealthy church, narcissistic pastors, church musician burnout, battered sheep, spiritual abuse.

 

I hope you find some peace. I know it's rough.

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Repressed abuse and recovered memories have themselves been massively abused by certain sectors of the legal system.  Much (if not all) has been found to have been bullshit.  I'm not a psychologist so I don't have a clue what's really going on, but I'd be careful about making assumptions.  It may be something far more mundane, such as an emotional connection made while still in your developmental stage.

 

While I would agree that repressed and recovered memories have been used with ulterior motives in the legal system, they are certainly NOT bullshit in all cases. As I mentioned before, I had no major recollection of years of sexual abuse as a child until they were suddenly (re)downloaded into my brain. I had always known about memories that were suggestive of abuse but I never saw them as such, until more significant memories returned. There are others who can verify many of my recovered memories, and I have since found out that seven others have always known they were abused by the same man. We didn't discuss this with each other before 'coming out', and I have actually had no contact with five since I had any awareness of this horror (the other two are my cousins). 

 

You are welcome to your opinion Vigile, I just wanted to speak up for any silent readers out there. Guess I get a bee in my bonnet when people say that all repressed/recovered memories are false because I am fed up with people disbelieving me over something so serious, something that was more devastating to me than anything I have lived through. I have personally met one other person who had no knowledge of abuse until she had a daughter of her own. I saw her go through it; it was the same hell I went through, and still go through, but to a lesser degree thankfully. 

 

Saying all this I still think people should avoid guessing or assuming they have repressed memories of abuse as you cannot 'make' your memories return at will, or if you do you may have made them up entirely. From my experience, and the stories I have heard, you go from one day having no concern of repressed memories as you are confident in the memories you have, to the next day being totally flooded with memories, helpless to stop them. Having my whole history shattered this way, at age 22, was possibly more traumatic than the abuse itself. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Don't know how the brain does it, but trust me, it can do it.

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Guess I get a bee in my bonnet when people say that all repressed/recovered memories are false because I am fed up with people disbelieving me over something so serious,

 

 

I can understand that and I'm not saying you're wrong.  I'm still a bit dubious though and haven't seen a whole lot of evidence for it that hasn't been debunked.  Psychiatry is a tricky field of study as it's very difficult in many cases to prove causal relationships between behavior, perception and external events.  This leaves it open to a lot of conjecture, which finds its way into pop psych books and the like.

 

I'm aware of how powerful false memories can be.  I've seen it first hand with my young cousins when my aunt was going through a divorce.  She found porn (not child porn, just your standard vanilla stuff) on her exes computer and convinced herself that there was a connection between porn and child abuse, so she took her kids to the psychiatrist, who lo and behold, discovered repressed memories of abuse in her kids; after many months of therapy mind you and only after the psychiatrist told them they had been abused.  The only ones who believed all of this were my aunt and the psychiatrist -- apparently.  The courts and the rest of my family (including my grandparents, her parents) saw it for what it was; my aunt's craziness.

 

So, while it may be a tough pill to swallow for those who have memories, it's certainly important not to ruin people's lives with unprovable and quite likely in many cases false accusations. 

 

I have no idea what your own story is, and it's not for me to judge. 

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Guess I get a bee in my bonnet when people say that all repressed/recovered memories are false because I am fed up with people disbelieving me over something so serious,

 

 

I can understand that and I'm not saying you're wrong.  I'm still a bit dubious though and haven't seen a whole lot of evidence for it that hasn't been debunked.  Psychiatry is a tricky field of study as it's very difficult in many cases to prove causal relationships between behavior, perception and external events.  This leaves it open to a lot of conjecture, which finds its way into pop psych books and the like.

 

I'm aware of how powerful false memories can be.  I've seen it first hand with my young cousins when my aunt was going through a divorce.  She found porn (not child porn, just your standard vanilla stuff) on her exes computer and convinced herself that there was a connection between porn and child abuse, so she took her kids to the psychiatrist, who lo and behold, discovered repressed memories of abuse in her kids; after many months of therapy mind you and only after the psychiatrist told them they had been abused.  The only ones who believed all of this were my aunt and the psychiatrist -- apparently.  The courts and the rest of my family (including my grandparents, her parents) saw it for what it was; my aunt's craziness.

 

So, while it may be a tough pill to swallow for those who have memories, it's certainly important not to ruin people's lives with unprovable and quite likely in many cases false accusations. 

 

I have no idea what your own story is, and it's not for me to judge. 

 

 

I do understand your skepticism. There are fanatical groups on both ends of the research, but plenty of balanced work has been done that strongly suggests the phenomena exits. It is clearly a difficult area to empirically study too. For years I examined the evidence in  my case as although I felt sure from the get go, I also understood memory is a complex thing. One thing that is telling for me is the fact that I told three people (one, a ((useless)) counselor) that I had been sexually abused by this person before I 'remembered'. Once the memories flooded back I also recalled these conversations, and one friend has since confirmed the conversation. Secondly, I also 'repressed' a sexual assault for two days while backpacking in London. It was as if I shut down, did all the necessary things I needed to do to move to a different hostel and be 'safe', then remembered again to process. The semen was on my jeans. Sorry to be gross, but it proved my memories (to a degree, of course). Anyway, there was a huge repressed memory bandwagan in the 90's, then a big backlash; research seems to be balancing out at present, as far as I am aware (I avoided the issue the last few years). 

 

'Repression exists. Four commentaries by J. Giglio (1998), A. Piper (1998), S. Q. Lilienfeld and E. F. Loftus (1998), and M. Pendergrast (1998) deny the existence of repression. But every psychodynamic therapist regularly observes the phenomenon. Experimental as well as clinical evidence for repression clearly exists; these critics ignore or misrepresent both sources of data. More detailed case history material that shows the phenomena is readily available from current cases. The case in the authors' previous article (B. P. Karon & A. J. Widener, 1997) illustrated the hundreds of cases of WWII veterans who experienced battlefield trauma, repressed the trauma and displayed neurotic symptoms, and experienced alleviation of the symptoms when the trauma was remembered in therapy. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2012 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)'

Authors: Karon, Bertram P., Michigan State U, Dept of Psychology, East Lansing, MI, US

Widener, Anmarie Source: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Vol 29(5), Oct, 1998. pp. 482-487    

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Again, I don't want to comment or make a guess on your own personal case as it would be inappropriate and impossible for me to make any sort of judgment on something I just don't have any direct knowledge about.

 

Regarding the concept of memory repression in general, however, it appears that many professionals in the industry dispute its existence and it remains a quite controversial subject:

 

From University of Washington, for example:

 

http://faculty.washington.edu/eloftus/Articles/lof93.htm

On the other hand, the clinical anecdotes and the loose theory used to explain them remain unconvincing to some psychotherapists and to many laboratory researchers. One psychiatrist who has seen more than 200 severely dissociative patients explicity referred to such anecdotes as "empirical observations lacking in scientific underpinnings" ( Ganaway, 1992, p. 203 ). One researcher described them as "impressionistic case studies" and claimed that they could not be counted as "anything more than unconfirmed clinical speculations" ( Holmes, 1990, p. 97 ). After reviewing 60 years of research and finding no controlled laboratory support for the concept of repression, Holmes suggested, only half jokingly, that any use of the concept be preceded by a warning: "Warning. The concept of repression has not been validated with experimental research and its use may be hazardous to the accurate interpretation of clinical behavior" (p. 97).

 

And researchers from Harvard have implied that the concept didn't even appear until Freud popularized the concept (another example of this would be the fact that no one ever described an alien as a little green man until it was published 40 odd years ago; hence, most alien sightings describe versions of the original publication):

 

http://harvardmagazine.com/2008/01/repressed-memory.html

 

 What, then, accounts for “repressed memory’s” appearance in the nineteenth century and its endurance today? Pope and his colleagues hope to answer these questions in the future. “Clearly the rise of Romanticism, at the end of the Enlightenment, created fertile soil for the idea that the mind could expunge a trauma from consciousness,” Pope says. He notes that other pseudo-neurological symptoms (such as the female “swoon”) emerged during this era, but faded relatively quickly. He suspects that two major factors helped solidify “repressed memory” in the twentieth-century imagination: psychoanalysis (with its theories of the unconscious) and Hollywood. “Film is a perfect medium for the idea of repressed memory,” he says. “Think of the ‘flashback,’ in which a whole childhood trauma is suddenly recalled. It’s an ideal dramatic device.”

 

Also:

 

Research finds repressed memories don't exist

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-09-06/research-finds-repressed-memories-dont-exist/2250138

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People mock you and say, 'Well, if you don't believe anymore what's your problem?' If abuse in some form is acknowledged, it is minimized. Psychologists and psychiatrists are baffled, looking for a better explanation for your PTSD like symptoms, as religion is known in scientific literature to be of benefit. At least this is what I have encountered, and I am not in the USA. Having your culture and government support your abusers and protect them from litigation must only add to the trauma. Sorry, I am ranting, but this issue really upsets me. Religion almost completely destroyed me, all the while it was promising to protect and heal me, and only two people I have met IRL actually begin to understand the devastating impact this has had on me.  

 

This hits it pretty well.  I do feel like I am not understood, even by my friend who had a similar life and has been able to "let it go".  I am the only one I know who had to go through a religious day school too, besides my sister, but she is a follower and never had any issues with authority because she doesn't question anything.  I was punished for being inquisitive, because I was looking behind the curtain.  And I didn't stop when they told me to stop, so they treated me worse and worse.  

 

And I think the church's damage was compounded by my family's general "you're a kid and dont know shit" attitude on things, instead of encouraging us to become independent.  Others here have reassured me I am not crazy for this anger, and it surprised me because I did not mention (in these threads at least) that I do doubt my sanity, as well as my intelligence, on a daily, hourly basis.  It is as if I was conditioned from age 3 on (my earliest church memories) that any natural interest, thought, or impulse is wrong and must be corrected.  I doubt every thought that comes into my head, and I mull over decisions forever, weighing every angle or outcome, etc.  I agonize over making the "correct" decision in many different areas.  In many ways this has made me excel at my job and earn me respect and recognition.  But it has also hindered me greatly in areas of love and personal levels.  I even doubt a woman could be interested in me, and that usually leads to self fulfilling prophecy.

 

I just want to let it go though.  I think it's time.

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Vigile, wanderinstar, I'm going to have to play the peacemaker here. Cool people are arguing, and that makes me sad. Honestly, guys, I think you're both right: there are heaps of evidence and studies on both sides (note all those studies cited above - there is evidence, and, unfortunately, all of it is probably good). Psychology, as a field, seems particularly given to fads (note publication dates, from the famous Loftus study in 1977 that kicked off the repression-is-bunk-thing as a part of the wider adherence to a backlash against Freud, to the mid-90s movement in response to Loftus and co. throwing out said baby with the bathwater, and then the backlash against them in the late 1990s, after a particularly nasty round of witch-hunts). Life, and the brain, just isn't that clear-cut and easy to deal with, and doesn't always conform to what we want it to. (In case of TLDR, skip to the last paragraph.)

 

Abuse is always wrong, and far too much victim-blaming and victim-shaming goes on. Denying what people have experienced is part of what makes it traumatic, and is a big factor in secondary victimization. Let's get that right out there up front. Because, actually, that's what the real issue is, secondary victimization. In this particular instance, both sides of this "academic" debate have made victims of people. It's all fine and dandy when you're talking statistical points in a study, but, as nice and theoretical as it might seem in an academic journal, this whole debate has had very real, very damaging fallout. The whole thing, in fact, happened in conjunction with social and cultural developments - namely a moral panic. One one hand, the backlash against recovered memories as a theory was in part to protect preschool kids from being brainwashed into victimhood (see all those studies about memory plasticity). On the other hand, every denial of the possibility of repression (see all those other studies that show that repression does happen) contributes to actual rape and abuse victims' secondary victimization. Both sides of this debate are heavily biased, and both sides actually have evidence. Although there are moral motivations on all sides here, it's just not that black-and-white.

Given said evidence, both sides here are putting too much confidence in the brain (an awesome organ though it is) - on the one hand, (Loftus, et al) the ability to consciously remember with accuracy, on the other (the recovered memory side), that memories are permanent. There's mounting evidence that memories are very plastic, and can even be created whole cloth. A brand spanking new study on it, with a fairly large study pool, and specifically dealing with trauma (Lommen, Englehard, and van den Hout, 2013). Hypnosis, specifically - putting the patient in a low-inhibition state with intense emotions, and under the guidance of someone of higher social authority - sounds like a recipe for cooking up just the right conditions to change or even create memories. (Why it was used for therapy in the first place: it's powerful stuff.)

 

In short: Yes, it is possible to have undergone trauma, and then repressed it. And, Yes, it is also possible to end up in the hands of some quack who then creates traumatic memories of something that never happened. In case this isn't obvious by now, we're playing with fire, here. Be Extremely Careful. Whatever you decide, do the research thoroughly. In any case, if anything you think or feel gets in the way of living your life, find a good, solidly accredited head-shrink.

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I have the same reaction to anything to do with religion. It is not psychicially safe for me. Having been sexually abused as a child, it doesn't even register next to the abuse of my soul caused by the church. I get the full on shakes, sometimes sobbing and every single cell of my body screams run.

 

I remember the first time I read the Harry Potter books and they mentioned the dementors that suck your soul out. I'm sure that is not too different from the feeling I get when I think about religion. I am not scared of anything anymore, not dying, not bikies, not people with guns, but anyone who comes at me waving a bible can reduce my inner person to a snivelling heap in about ten seconds.

Galien, I can not even watch some episodes of sci fi because it hits too close to home.  A perfect example was the enemy towards the end of the original Stargate SG-1 series, the Ori.  They were so close to what my emotional memory felt was done to me I even skipped a few episodes and only forced myself to continue watching the series because I loved the concept so much.  Lol.  

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Cool people are arguing

 

I didn't think we were arguing, just having a discussion.  I know I wasn't mad.  I hope she wasn't either.  I hope we can have conversations about subjects, giving our opinions without it being considered an argument. smile.png

 

I agree with you that the subject isn't at all clear.  Even the link from UW I provided above showed there is a controversy from all angles. 

 

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All good excbooster! I'm not even close to the throwing furniture stage. wink.png 

 

Vigile, I am a little confused as to your position; you say you don't want to make a judgement on my situation yet you seemed to indicate that you don't believe people can and do repress memories when you said, 'Repressed abuse and recovered memories have themselves been massively abused by certain sectors of the legal system.  Much (if not all) has been found to have been bullshit.' That was all I had issue with, and forgive me if I have misread you. We do agree that people can confabulate memories, this is clearly demonstrated in literature. All I wanted to add was that I also see it to be demonstrated in both my life, and psychological research, that on rare occurrences people do repress memory only to recall it at a later date. Guessing who may be a problem in some cases, but mine is not one of them; even my abuser didn't deny it when I confronted him about it. 

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All good excbooster! I'm not even close to the throwing furniture stage. wink.png 

 

Vigile, I am a little confused as to your position; you say you don't want to make a judgement on my situation yet you seemed to indicate that you don't believe people can and do repress memories when you said, 'Repressed abuse and recovered memories have themselves been massively abused by certain sectors of the legal system.  Much (if not all) has been found to have been bullshit.' That was all I had issue with, and forgive me if I have misread you. We do agree that people can confabulate memories, this is clearly demonstrated in literature. All I wanted to add was that I also see it to be demonstrated in both my life, and psychological research, that on rare occurrences people do repress memory only to recall it at a later date. Guessing who may be a problem in some cases, but mine is not one of them; even my abuser didn't deny it when I confronted him about it. 

My position is I'm dubious of the phenomena but I don't feel I have a right nor do I wish to judge someone who clearly had something going on that I don't fully understand as I don't want to add insult to injury. Sorry, that's the best I can do to explain my position. I feel like an NSA agent talking to congress. smile.png

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