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#367963 - 08/11/11 11:49 PM A Question for Non-Survivors
jls Offline


Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
Hi there. As some may have seen in the Survivor Forum on this site I am about to embark on Inner Child therapy as part of my recovery from csa. The reason I am doing so is to assist with re-connecting with childhood memories, most of which Iíve completely forgotten, or if I do remember they are more like watching a movie of someone elseís life rather than experiencing memories of my own with feelings attached. This is true for any memories that I can recall from childhood, whether they be good or bad. Anyways the question I have for non-survivors here is this:

In your experience, how much if any of what I described for myself is true for you as someone who did not experience abuse in childhood? If it is not true for you I would appreciate hearing how your experience with childhood memories differs from mine.

I suppose Iím simply seeking some contrast of my experience with childhood memories with that of non-survivors, with hopes gaining a fuller personal perspective. I ask since childhood was a long time ago for many of us and in my thinking I find myself questioning whether it is unnatural in general to forget anything from far in our pasts, especially from a time when oneís mind was not fully developed to begin with. I am not looking for analysis here, just simply to learn of your experience in relation to my question so I look forward to hearing from you on this topic. Thanks in advance:) JS


_________________________
Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And weíll change the world.


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#367964 - 08/12/11 12:35 AM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: jls]
CruxFidelis Offline


Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
As someone who was assaulted as an adult, I am not a "non-survivor" but I don't have any childhood sexual abuse.

I had a lot of health problems as a kid, and I think that can be traumatic, although it is a different level of trauma than sexual trauma. I have a lot of memories from a young age, mostly of hospitals, doctors, painful stuff but no abuse. It is hard to compare painful memories of my childhood with the abuse I suffered as an adult. There is a lot I don't remember, and I think that is normal. No childhood is completely free of suffering I think and I would still say that even when I wasn't always physically healthy I still had a healthy emotional development.

I have some particularly vivid memories of painful childhood events, but also vivid memories of happy & joyful events.

I have so many memories about being stressed about school, swim practice, the school play, a big test, etc. Little did I know how relatively care free I was back then!

_________________________
ďIf a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.Ē

- Saint John of the Cross

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#367967 - 08/12/11 12:54 AM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: CruxFidelis]
jls Offline


Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
Thanks for sharing your experience with me. It is exactly what I was seeking.

I hear you that no one's childhood is completely free of suffering, anymore than one's adulthood can be. Feeling pain is part of being human, just as being happy and joyful is like you described. Memory is a funny thing. Like you mentioned, I believe it to be normal not to be able to recall everything from childhood, no less normal than it is for me not to recall everything I did last year, or even last week for that matter. After all, the human mind is much more than just a sophisticated tape or video recorder that can be played back on demand. On that note, it is the feelings associated with memories from my childhood than I am after, which do not come easily for me. Perhaps through this therapy my memory will come back through feelings first, rather than through simply trying to force myself to remember places and things. Iíll have to wait and see.

_________________________
Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And weíll change the world.


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#367969 - 08/12/11 01:14 AM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: jls]
CruxFidelis Offline


Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
Hmm. You mention feelings.

While I would classify my emotional development as pretty normal, that is not to say that my memory hasn't been completely messed up by the sexual assault. It is almost like someone took the tidy organization system my brain had for categorizing life experiences, and then turned it upside down and things are a little out of order. So as an ASA survivor, I have all these memories, but at the same time there is this great distance between who I am now and that man I was before the assault. It is hard to identify with the way I felt about myself back then. I read stuff I wrote from before my assault--my masters' thesis, essays, old journal entries... it looks like something another man wrote. I don't understand how he looked at the world with that lethal combination of arrogance and naivete. so when it comes to feelings, it is like there is a big wall between me, and that aspect of my memory.

_________________________
ďIf a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.Ē

- Saint John of the Cross

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#367971 - 08/12/11 01:33 AM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: CruxFidelis]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1250
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/18/13 06:37 AM)
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#367973 - 08/12/11 01:42 AM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: CruxFidelis]
jls Offline


Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
I think any serious trauma can affect how our mind is organized i.e. how we view ourselves before and after the event, whether this occurs in childhood or adulthood. In fact I would say that the differential between the effects of trauma in childhood and adulthood isn't that great when we're talking about something so outside what would be categorized as normal for a human being to experience, a sexual assault being one of those things. I felt very much the same way recently where I was witness to a homicide. Witnessing the event itself had a profound effect on me, leaving me with flashbacks and bad dreams of what occurred, but whatís more is that I didnít feel and still donít feel like the same person I was before it happened, like thereís a piece of me missing after watching someone die in front of me, especially as a result of a violent act. I donít know if Iíll ever get that piece of myself back but in order to not become overwhelmed I try and keep focused on who I am today and building on that.

_________________________
Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And weíll change the world.


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#367977 - 08/12/11 02:02 AM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: lapchinj]
jls Offline


Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
Hi Jeff. Just so I'm clear, are you a survivor? From your post you said you experienced csa from aged 10 to 17 so it sounds like you are. Another question: You mentioned that you can't remember much before 10 so do you think the sexual trauma starting at that age had an effect on being able to recall memories before then? I ask since my abuse began when I was 12 and while I can't recall anything abusive prior nor can I remember childhood in general before this age. Therefore I'm wondering if abuse does more than just erase memories of the abuse but of earlier memories of childhood as well, whether they be good or bad. Sorry for all the questions. Just trying to figure things out for myself as best I can is all.

_________________________
Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And weíll change the world.


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#367979 - 08/12/11 02:43 AM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: jls]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1250
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/18/13 06:37 AM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#368233 - 08/16/11 12:19 PM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: jls]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1250
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/18/13 06:37 AM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#368888 - 08/25/11 04:56 PM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: lapchinj]
sugarbaby Offline


Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 377
Quote:
In your experience, how much if any of what I described for myself is true for you as someone who did not experience abuse in childhood?


I am so happy someone asked this question!

TONS of things my H describes are perfectly NORMAL childhood/teenage anxieties/issues/etc. I don't think he always really believes me when I say "yup - everyone is like that".

If someone jogs my memory I remember a lot (like when my H talks about something he thinks was unique for him) but...no I don't really have a lot of memories.


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#368948 - 08/26/11 02:31 PM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: sugarbaby]
Disappointed Offline


Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 540
Loc: U.S.A.
Hi guys,

I'm a non-survivor. I hardly remember anything before 6 or 7, mostly just things I've been told happened. On my own, just little bits and pieces. After that, I remember more and more, but the feelings, I would say not so much. I look at all that as though it's not someone else, just feelings that happened so long ago, I don't remember them. I remember what I saw, what I did (sort of) what other people said, but what I felt? I just felt like me. Mostly now I'd say I superimpose my feelings now over whatever I felt then, just so many feelings have transpired since then.

I do remember somethings rather vividly that I disliked then, and resented, and things I loved and was so happy about. Things like having to carry heavy books all over school, and hold them all in a LONG lunch line. And Dad making us a trailer for our go-cart, so we could pull a passenger. That was so coool!

But my siblings remember alot more than me. I'm not as sociable as they are. I don't look back much.

Hope this is informative.
D.

P.S. As an example: I didn't like kindergarten. Don't really remember what I FELT about it, just know generally didn't like it. So I asked my parents if I could drop out of kindergarten. They said they'd think about it. A few days later, they came back to me, and said I could quit, IF I understood that the next year, I had to go the WHOLE year through the first grade. I couldn't quit the first grade. So, I told them, yes, I understand, I will have to go the whole year of first grade. And they let me quit kindergarten. I remember most of this clearly. But I don't remember my feelings about kindergarten. I remember being there, I remember not liking it, but I don't FEEL that, I just remember I disliked it, not the feeling of it. And now, whenever I look back, I think kindergarten was just blah blah blah, and how impressive my parents were, to weigh it, to reason with me, and explain the consequences to me, and explain options, and let me pick. They treated me with respect. I think it was great.

But to be clear, I don't remember the day to day details of kindergarten. Just fragments of it. I don't remember all of any daily routine, until maybe starting in 5th or 6th grade. And then, not every year, just some.



Edited by Disappointed (08/26/11 02:46 PM)
Edit Reason: To give an example.
_________________________
Female.

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#368981 - 08/27/11 07:46 AM Re: A Question for Non-Survivors [Re: jls]
Pie Offline


Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 61
Dear Jls

My childhood memories are pretty clear. I have ones that are fantastic, filled with love and laughter. Memories going quiet far back that my parents have trouble recalling. I also remember traumatic occasions with amazing clarity. My Mum was an alcoholic and those years of her drinking and not been available are very vivid. I have heard of people recalling things that happened when they were about 3 years of age, this is however not the same in my case. My memories only go back to about 5 years. Enjoy the learning experiance and embrace your history. Let it help heal the present.


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