Monday, October 1, 2007

Memories - Remembering the Good with the Bad

Is it possible to remember the good times right along with the bad if you have been abused as a child? I'm not sure that I have the answer to that for all victims, I just know for myself. Then
Donna also posted a comment on Part 2 of Fitting In...........or Not

"So many things...the other day I tried to remember "normal" days from elementary and high school, and to my horror, found I could remember very, very little. I have vivid memories of bad times, but not day-to-day memories. *sigh* "

Donna's memories, or lack of them, is exactly where I find myself. I remember very little from my childhood except abuse. I don't think that means that there was only abuse in my childhood but clearly I was not a happy child. I don't remember being a happy child. I remember fear, dread, confusion, shame...the list goes on.

Life was a struggle for me. Wanting desperately to be accepted, I was constantly trying to fit in. Looking back I'm not surprised that I was never able to accomplish that goal. I can't remember ever feeling like a child or thinking like a child. It seems to me that I've been an adult most of my life.

Experts would probably agree that victimization makes children grow up more quickly. Forced to deal with situations that no child was ever meant to encounter, protecting myself became my first and foremost priority. No wonder I didn't feel like a child.

It would also seem safe to assume that if I didn't "feel" like a child it would be hard for me to relate to those who did. So I guess it would make sense that I can remember watching other children interact and being totally confused by what I seeing. I must have been a real puzzle to my piers.

With self preservation being my number one goal, it would seem logical to assume the reason I cannot remember "normal" childhood memories is directly related to my focus on survival. It sounds to me like my brain recalls what was the most important to me. That makes me wonder if this might be a phenomenon relevant to abused children.

Intertwined with this would be that need to fit in but never being able to accomplish it. Again, if I didn't feel like a child, how was I going to fit in with normal, happy, healthy children. While all of those years I thought I was somehow deficient, my victimization was really the culprit for me not fitting in with typical children.

It seems that the legacy of abuse is such a tangled web. It clearly has captured it's victims and held them long past the life of the spider that wove the web in the first place. It seems that I am always discovering one of a myriad of ways that it has affected me.


Frazzled Farm Wife said...

How sad to not have any good memories as a child and to not remember feeling like a child. My heart breaks for you and all children you have been through or are going through abuse! May God be with you and give you comfort!

Kat_womanx2 said...

You always write so beautifully. Reading you is almost like sitting and talking with you. You make everything so clear to me about how you are feeling on some days, or what you have been through. And I can relate in some way or another..this post made me think back to my alcoholic father...the physical abuse he instilled on my mother when he was drinking...the fear me and my 2 brothers had of him someday killing her...and I can remember alot of bad things and feelings..and even when I do remember something good...its usually trailed by another bad event. My whole life has not been horrible...nothing even close in comparison to yours, but I was just thinking about memories and it seems that we are able to mark and keep track of events in our lives either by really good things or really bad things...and it always seems the bad things stand out alot more...

keepers said...

in our case we had very few friends to be around, we we re kept home a lot, watching a sick nana or being drug to a bar with the parents ro stuck at school waiting for our mom a teacher to take us home or go meet dad, so not many childhood memories to came back to, not saying that is why you cannot remember any, just our circumstance.

peace and blessings