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Blocking out bad memories without realising it?


Blossom
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Hi, does anyone kinow if it is possible for a person to completely block out memories of bad things that may have happened when they were younger to the point where the person has no memory of it atall?? I'm trying to figure out why I've become such a screwed up person over the years and I can't quite put my finger on it but I feel as if there's something in the back of my mind that may have happened years ago but I have no access to this memory.. It's a weird feeling:confused: I know the bad relationship I have with my family has a lot to do with how I feel but sometimes I wonder if there's more to it than this.. -I'm not sure if this even makes sense...;)-

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Hey invisible.

I actually had this happen to me. Here's the story:

When I was small my parents took us to McDonald's. We were going thru the drive-thru. It was during the summer, hot, and our car wasn't air-conditioned so the windows were all down. (this was probably over 45 years ago; before cars were air-conditioned)

So a bee got in the car. I was in the middle of the back seat between my siblings. My parents started swatting at the bee and somebody got stung. Guess who? ME!:mad:

Well, after that every time my parents would say "go to McDonald's" I would start wailing. Not just crying, but really wailing.

This went on for years and years and years and we could never figure out WHY I hated McDonald's so bad. I mean, the food is tolerable to some people, so it's really not a horrible place, but I HATED it.

Well, when I was in high school my friends all wanted to be going there. I didn't want to, but I did. ;)

And then one day the memory came back to me - I hated McDonald's because that's where I was when I got bee-stung. And for a little kid (I was probably under 5 years old) that's a trauma.

So I guess I had supressed the memory of the bee sting, but still for some weird reason just knew that I hated McDonald's.:)

Weird, huh?

-confuzzed

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I made a quick search on Mental Help and found a Q and A with Allan concerning repressed memory that may be of interest.

This may not be the same, but I am reminded of a thought process when I was down. I took inventory and tried to explain away what went 'wrong' with me. But, that very process assumed that there was something wrong with me. This is an optics or perception paradox, if you will. By approaching myself with such an assumption, I will interpret any evidence available in that light.

Essentially I mean to say that you are not screwed up, invisible. You may feel terrible, but you are not screwed up.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Invisible,

The answer to your question is, "yes," we are capable of blocking out bad memories. In fact, we do it all the time and it is called "repression." The trouble is that it never works completely and ends up popping up just like some our members wrote about, ie, the Bee story, etc.

What is bothering you lately? In other words, what is the present situation that is happening that is making you so uncomfortable?

Allan

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Thanks everyone, I'm probably just jumping to conclusions lol! Julian, What you wrote sounds a lot like me. It feels to me as if nothing major has ever happened to make me feel the way I do and I keep thinking that there must be a different reason for it.. but maybe there's not..:confused: I think I'm just overthinking things because it's the summer holidays and I have waaaay too much free time!!! What's bothering me... hmmmm, I wish I knew! I think it's a combination of everything - Too much time being spent at home listening to my "family" tell me I'm useless, Confusion about whether I should go to college or not, lonliness because I miss all my friends and tutors from my old art course who were my real family, and I'm just tired of life..;)

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invisible -

"Too much time being spent at home listening to my "family" tell me I'm useless" - tell them to stop that, it's disrespectful to you. And MEAN it! Regardless of who is doing it they should stop - you are a human being and deserve respect.

"Confusion about whether I should go to college or not" - try it, you might like it!! And if you don't try it you'll never know how it is, if you like it, if you loathe it, etc. And there are a whole lot of new friends to be made at college!!!

"lonliness because I miss all my friends and tutors from my old art course who were my real family" - can you call some of them and just say "hi"? I'll bet they'd be thrilled to hear from you.

"and I'm just tired of life..:o" - don't give up, you have so much ahead of you - college, new friends, being on your own. It's a big world out there, and you'll never know what you'll find or learn until you try!!

You can do it, invisible!!!

-confuzzed

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I wish it was that easy...:o I've tried telling them and I really did mean it but it never works. My mother is the worst.. She comments negatively on everything I do and say. I guess you can't teach old dogs new tricks!! I just need to get through the summer and then everything will be fine.. I hope!!! You're right, I should give college a go but I'm just so scared about it:eek:

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You just have to keep at your mom, invisible. One thing that I've done with my family to really underline the fact that I don't appreciate it when they start on me is to actually walk out of the room when they are on me. I've even been known to leave a restaurant or store if they do it to me when we're out, but I got in trouble with the therapist I was going to at the time for that....:o

Look at it this way - they've been on you for a long time, it will take a long time to get them to stop. Like you said it is hard to teach an old dog a new trick. Behavior modification is tough enough for yourself much less someone else, but if you keep at it you'll find that eventually you'll have some success. It might be limited, but you will be successful.

I've even said to my mom when she does that to me "Mom, stop it. You don't have to talk to me like that all the time." You might not get the reaction you expect, but I'm SURE it will surprise her to hear that! :eek: AND you will be on your way with making it very clear that you don't appreciate the treatment you're getting and that you want and deserve respect. From everyone, including yourself. :)

And don't worry about being scared about college - I don't know ANYONE who hasn't been. It's a new thing, and we all get scared about new things. Even those folks who claim they aren't, I'll bet inside the butterflys are just going!!!!!

Hang in there, invisible. Things will be OK, you just have to keep telling yourself that and working to make it so!!!!!

And soon you'll call yourself "veryvisible". I just know it.:o

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I wish it was that easy...:o I've tried telling them and I really did mean it but it never works. My mother is the worst.. She comments negatively on everything I do and say. I guess you can't teach old dogs new tricks!! I just need to get through the summer and then everything will be fine.. I hope!!! You're right, I should give college a go but I'm just so scared about it:eek:

hi there invisible,

what a difficult summer ;( IMO, your family is bringing you down more then supporting you and helping you. Your self esteem is taking a nose dive from the comments your recieving from your mother.

Is there anyway you can get out of the house ? perhaps a summertime job? Just for a little while until your ready to start the fall semester ? or figure out what to do in the fall? It is scary, college. Maybe talking to a college counselor can ease your fears. A college counselor will help you choose your classess too. THat will be great for you then you won't be so scared.

You need to take the B.S from your family right now. It does not matter who it is, you do not deserve to be bullied like that.

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mscat is so right, you are being bullied, Invisible:mad::mad: People require respectful and loving interactions to develop properly, and they are handing you garbage. There may be bad memories you are repressing, but you don't have to look further than this, because it is that important. Being bullied is plenty enough reason for how bad you are feeling:(.

The thing about bully parents is,

1)they want all the power in the situation.

2)they escape all responsibility for their actions by rendering their subjects powerless to object.

3)they do not want to feel anything negative themselves

4)they are utterly incapable of nurturing a growing, developing being because they have never mastered emotional development themselves.

5)They mask how incompetent and dishonest and even frightened they are by being all powerful.

If this is all you experience of human relating.....it will make you CRAZY!!!!!! This I know.:mad:

I know it doesn't seem like it, but you are making gains on this by being able to talk about it here. When you first got here, it was very difficult for you to speak up about it. You've also stored the experiences you had at school with your friends and teachers when you were not being bullied.

Is there anyone anywhere in your town that you can befriend this summer?

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Hi,

I just thought I would throw in a different aspect of looking at things. Your original questions was about repressed memories and that you felt something bad might have happened. Now I do not mean this to sound calloused in any way only to bring out a perspective to think on - would it make a difference for what you do tomorrow? Is there any reason you could not still reach for your goals and dreams? You seem to be at a huge transition point right now - what is your hope and dream for the future?

I totally agree that noone should take the verbal abuse that your mother seems to be dishing out and that you should stand up. None of this is easy and I'm glad you are able to find support here.

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Guest ASchwartz

Mabear,

Your original questions was about repressed memories and that you felt something bad might have happened. Now I do not mean this to sound calloused in any way only to bring out a perspective to think on - would it make a difference for what you do tomorrow? Is there any reason you could not still reach for your goals and dreams?

You make an excellent point. :)

We cannot change what happened in the past. We will never make our childhood better than it was (and I mean, not matter how bad it was).

But, we can work on making NOW and TOMORROW better.

Allan

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Heh. "Gone bad"? You're not a rotten fruit, you're a person, and a good one, it seems to me. As long as you're here, you can change; we don't come with an expiration date, well, other than the final one.

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