If you’ve ever had a repressed memory, you’re not alone.
Our unconscious is amazing. Skeptical? Yes, I was definitely skeptical about repressed memories when I first heard of them. I based this on what I knew at the time. I knew I remembered some pretty awful things, and thought, “If repressed memory was real, why can I remember those things?” I certainly didn’t want to. Therefore, I dismissed the whole thing as ridiculous, and didn’t really think about it for several years.
Then, much later, I started having a reoccurring dream. In about a month span, I had this ‘dream/memory’ just before I woke up in the morning, and although I didn’t know what it meant, it disturbed me.
In the dream, another child and I followed this older man into his bedroom in a house I still recognize. As soon as the door closes, my perspective changes, and I am no longer in the room, but a spirit floating outside the door staring at the closed door, unable to go in, even though I know something horrible is happening to us inside. My spirit hands can’t open the door, and can’t go through it. It’s like, in my dream, I am there as a witness, and an unwilling participator both, but of what? But the memory/dream kept coming over and over again, exactly the same.
I contacted the other ‘child,’ turned adult and asked, gently, about this. Not only did they confirm a lost memory, but their reaction was large and angry. “I can’t believe you don’t remember the stuff that guy did to me!” As they spoke, memories flooded into my head of other times and things, that I had always known, but just… somehow, unbelievably, forgot. I was able to fill in memories that the other person had even before they started talking about it, but couldn’t remember where I was, or what I was doing in these memories, just that they happened and I was there. I asked, again gently, why I had a strong visual memory of these things happening, and the only response I got was, “Well, you were there too. You were always there. They did stuff to you too.” When, with bated breath, I asked what kind of things, the person said they didn’t want to talk about it anymore. And that’s all I’ve ever gotten.
The dream memory and the confirmation of it used to haunt me because I wanted to remember what I had forgotten. It bothered me that there was something that I couldn’t remember, especially something that another person remembered so well and so angrily. I’ve tried lots of therapy, and hypnosis, and read lots of books and workbooks on repressed memories, to little avail. Although I’ve remembered small snippets, the memories just don’t want to come, and I haven’t had that dream for a long time.
The older I get, the more I realize that I don’t need to know. If my mind blocked it out as a protective measure, and continues to block out certain events during that period of time, then maybe there is a good reason for it. I may never know what happened, but I also believe now, that maybe this is ok.
Our past may make us who we are today, but it’s living in the present that really matters.