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Old 10-15-2007, 12:35 AM   #1
Juli
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Default Primary vs Secondary Trauma / Childhood Missing Memories


Short background:

- I am a 45 yo woman
- 2 years out of an abusive marriage
- suffering severe PTSD
- seeing T weekly

I am frustrated with my progress / or lack of progress. I have not always had PTSD. I think before in my life I coped in various ways by being very, very busy and managing to focus on everything/ everyone but myself. Now I am forced to take in what was abuse in my life and have focused significant time and work coming to terms on the marriage that just ended.

My frustration lately is the level of anxiety I am dealing with and how difficult it makes doing the things I feel I must do like parent my teenage son and manage a very challenging career. I have been very worried of late that my inability to concentrate would cost me my job and so we have been working on getting my meds right so that I can cope.

I would say that over the past two weeks I am beginning to feel more and more like myself and I find that I want to TAKE ACTION and get on with this and move on with my life. I am frustrated that 5 years after my marriage blow up, 4 years after our separation, 2 years after our divorce, I am still STUCK and not making progress. In fact, it seems as if I am moving backward and having MORE issues today than I had in the past.

I also recognize that I married a man very much like my father (typical, eh?) and my T assures me that I am recovering from 40+ yrs of abuse and that does not resolve itself overnight. BUT - I get very ticked off when I think that I am letting these disordered men TAKE so much of my life and I want to cut the poison out of me and LIVE!

So, I have been reading up on trauma everywhere I can and have found some consistent themes that have me wondering about how to approach my healing. Most of what I read suggests that the complex PTSD I have comes from very long term abuse and that what I am experiencing now may be reaction to secondary abuse. They go on to advise that the best approach is to resolve the issues around the primary abuse.

That makes some sense to me because I have dissected my marriage ad nauseam and I don't know what else I can learn from looking at it. So, the issue becomes childhood abuse and trauma. There is plenty there that I do remember so I think I have some things I can work with to try to uncover and resolve my core/primary issues.

However, I have known for most of my life that there is a period of time missing from my childhood. A time in years of which I have very little memory. When I check with my siblings, they have the same gap. We were all different ages but our gap covers the same period of time. I can distinctly remember 'waking up' from this time and have wondered about it for most of my life.

As I read about missing childhood memories most reading points to sexual abuse. I just don't think that is the case. For one thing, this covers 4 children of various ages and genders and I'm not sure how sexual abuse could cover all of us. Second, one of my siblings is very, very clear of losing her virginity and knows that she was not abused that way.

Do others have missing childhood memories? Do have you figured out what they are? Are missing memories always sexual abuse? How did you resolve things?

I am considering doing a background check on my parents to get information that may be missing. I have also considered hypnosis although my T has been cautious and does not want to do anything that could 'create' or 'compromise' my memories / repressed or otherwise.

Also, some of the writings I have read say that PTSD cannot be recovered from - ever. Is that true and the experience of other?

Anyone have insight or experience to share?

Juli
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Primary vs Secondary Trauma / Childhood Missing Memories

> Do others have missing childhood memories? Do have you figured out what they are? Are missing memories always sexual abuse?
> How did you resolve things?

Yes; missing most memories of childhood before early adolescence. I don't know if that is always due to sexual abuse, though I think most abuse is sexual to some extent. Things are not yet resolved, though I may be on the way, in therapy and through reading. I am beginning to remember how I sometimes felt as a child (it's pretty frightening).

> Also, some of the writings I have read say that PTSD cannot be recovered from - ever. Is that true and the experience of other?

Some writings say that. Others don't. My experience so far leads me to some hope of considerable improvement. Does that mean "cure"? Is there a cure for "life"?
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Primary vs Secondary Trauma / Childhood Missing Memories

I'm missing a large part of my childhood --and i don't know if i want to remember it all. the parts i do remember are hard enough to handle. Every now and then a piece of a memory comes in. i usually have dreams about it until the complete memory comes back. i actually had a good memory come back a couple of weeks ago. i put some pieces together and remembered being around 9yrs old-- i had set up my closet as a little play house, i would close myself in and be in my safe world.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Primary vs Secondary Trauma / Childhood Missing Memories

I am missing most parts of my childhood. I had a Grandmother who was verbally and phyically abusive. She told me if I told my parents that they would not believe me, and also she lied in stating that I was adopted. Thus in believing her lies, the faith and trust that I should have had in my parents never developed. In thinking back I can only recall a few times spent with my brother, but my years from age 2-10, are lost somewheres and I have been trying to find them. I guess the best way is through some type of counseling, and I may try that someday soon.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Primary vs Secondary Trauma / Childhood Missing Memories

Missing memories do not always mean sexual abuse. Severe physical and emotional abuse can cause the overwhelmed child to "block out" the memories or even dissociate. The result is selective amnesia.
Good luck in your search. Recovering memories can go a long way in your healing process.
A selectively amnesiac survivor of physical & emotional abuse (lol)
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