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#465157 - 05/09/14 06:39 PM Disassociated memories...
BigV Offline


Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 63
I'm not exactly sure how to go about talking about this. I find identifying my feelings, and articulating them to the point where I can describe them to others to be difficult. I've dealt with bouts of disassociation for years, now. Some episodes last twenty minutes, one bout lasted three months. I have reason to believe that this type of disassociation is not limited to my present perception of myself and others, but also to memories.

Here is how I remember something that might have been sexual abuse, but I'm never quite sure: I'm standing in the doorway of a doctors office, and a women who I assume is a doctor, and a little boy sitting naked on the examination table. The doctor is using the boys body for her own gratification (I'm not really comfortable going into detail with others). I was a witness in this memory, I don't remember it as the boy on the examination table.

I have no feelings what so ever associated with this memory. None. I'm drawing a blank. No anger, no fear, no arousal, nor disgust. Not even guilt or shame. Just a cold, matter of fact memory of a random incident. If this was real, if this actually happened to me, and I didn't simply imagine it, then shouldn't I feel something in relation to it? Shouldn't I remember it as the boy, and not a disembodied witness? If I did imagine it, I've been re-imagining this one scenario repeatedly since I was about four years old. What are the chances of that?

Most of my emotional upbringing was based on invalidation. Invalidation of feelings, thoughts, memories and general perception. My parents saw me and my emotions as a problem to be solved... I was a fix it up project for them... circumcised, tonsils and adenoids removed, almost a dozen teeth pulled, moles removed, braces, head gear, ritalin, intelligence and learning disability tests, specialists of every kind, drugs, lectures, and denial of my internal self. I never just got to be my natural self, I was a problem, and I had to be fixed.

As well as depersonalization (my primary form of disassociation), and the dissociated memories, I've also suffered from chronic sleep paralysis, where I become disembodied from myself, while half asleep/ awake, and I can't breath, or move... while surround by 'presences'. Sometimes I'll get them multiple nights in a row, and it will completely disrupt my sleep patterns.

So, disconnect is how I experience myself and the world. I don't know how to reconnect, or how to know that the memory of where it all might have began is in fact for real.


Edited by BigV (05/09/14 06:43 PM)

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#465160 - 05/09/14 07:53 PM Re: Disassociated memories... [Re: BigV]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 678
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi BigV,

From my perspective, I feel it is safe to say you have good reasons to dissociate. So, my advice is to respect that.

In general, I was completely dissociated from any ability to feel any truth about my participation in my life. I was on an autopilot that continually repeated psychologically abusive relationships in my personal life and my business life.

I had troubles with depression, suicidal thoughts and one attempt, or perhaps gesture is more accurate. I wanted to get my parents attention, so I took an overdose of pills. Years of alcoholism, compulsive anonymous sex, years of many different therapies and medications, and a therapist who told me I fit the profile of a sexually abused person never added up to anything I could understand.

At age 53 I began to remember sexual abuse from my father, and at age 63 I began to remember sexual abuse, physical abuse and torture from my mother. To say I remember is to say I began to have an intellectual awareness completely disconnected from any feelings. It took several years to begin to surface feelings about my father's abuse, and I am only recently beginning to surface feelings about my mother's abuse. I completely severed any contact with them 11 years ago.

I still do not have emotionally connected memories nor any specific connections to the abuse from either of them. I do have a non-specific and disconnected knowledge of what happened to me. There are things that happened to me I feel completely disconnected to, but feel certain happened to me.

It has become clear to me the substantial damage was done to me in infancy, and over the last 20 years I have had a number of experiences which have sensitized me to the reality of body memory and of how to decipher body memory. Recently I have worked down to the feeling level of my infant self. It is extremely challenging work, as I am actually feeling the trapped and previously blocked feelings of terror my infant self felt. To remain psychically alive, somehow my infant self was able to shut down the reality of how much terror I endured, and that has been (past tense) the perspective from which my life has been run--continuous psychologically abusive relationships in my personal and business relationships.

I am releasing these old trapped feelings from infancy, and as I release them AND avoid repeating old self-fulfilling abusive patterns, it appears my infant self is calming down and is growing without continually being re-traumatized. I notice many changes in my thinking which seem so much healthier than I have ever been able to do before now.

So, yes, I understand much of what you describe in your post. For me, the only way I have made it through all this is I've learned to be aware, and experience what I need shows up right on schedule. For me, this is a process that cannot be rushed and must be respected as moving at a pace which assures reaching the finish line. Being able to do this is developing a level of trust in me that is leading to hopefulness, something I have never experienced until very recently.

Sending you love and support.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#465262 - 05/12/14 04:30 PM Re: Disassociated memories... [Re: BigV]
BigV Offline


Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 63
Don, thank your thoughtful response. This is something I've never talked to anyone about before... I never really even considered talking to anyone about it. It's one thing to have this kind of a memory, but something all together different, never feeling like I can trust my own memories, or even my own feelings.

I feel like one of the things I am probably doing is subjecting my own feelings to expectations, kind of the reverse of emotional repression. The more I try to force them, the further away they get, because I want to get this process over with. But I'm coming to accept that the process follows it's own course, and does not follow a predictable schedule.

One of the odd aspects of being raised by invalidating parents, was that my mother was always trying to get me to show me more feelings, the one's that she wanted me to express, and for the reason's she deemed appropriate. Once, I was looking at a picture of a girl in a year book... and for whatever reason, the memory of her made me tear up, just a bit.. my mom saw this, and immediately began explaining to me that it was ok to cry, and that she understood that I had a crush on Paula... Paula was not the girl's picture I was looking at, but her photo was on the same page. I insisted it wasn't her, but she insisted "No, no! It's ok for boys to cry, just cry it out!!!" I was friends with Paula, and it turned out that she was the one with the crush on me. This is a typical scenario of how my mom tried to tell me how and what to feel... every day she'd do this. It really makes me wonder why she was so afraid of letting me feel or express my own real feelings, without having them micromanaged or "soccer mom'ed" out of existence. And now it's as if I have an internalized soccer mom, intervening with every natural process, micromanaging my every thought and feeling, trying to buffer me from reality... from the reality of these distant emotional experiences.

Now this "inner soccer mom" is trying to force me to feel all of the feelings, so her little man can become a more a modern, emotional, new age man (the kind of guy that all the feminist young ladies will go crazy for) and it's not helping. Perhaps it's time she went on a vacation.

So here's to hoping, Don. To hope, to trusting oneself, and the process, and escaping the padded cell of safety that is the dreaded inner soccer mom.


Edited by BigV (05/12/14 04:30 PM)

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#465290 - 05/13/14 08:20 AM Re: Disassociated memories... [Re: BigV]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 335
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: BigV
I feel like one of the things I am probably doing is subjecting my own feelings to expectations, kind of the reverse of emotional repression. The more I try to force them, the further away they get, because I want to get this process over with.

This is very familiar to me.

Emotions that emerge from within are the truer ones. By their nature, they have nothing to do with expectation. I think they might be responses to something or even strategies for dealing with something. Subject to expectation, they become clouded and muddied.

Originally Posted By: BigV
Now this "inner soccer mom" is trying to force me to feel all of the feelings, so her little man can become a more a modern, emotional, new age man (the kind of guy that all the feminist young ladies will go crazy for) and it's not helping.


Looking back, this was also the message I got. Looking at it again, it seems like I internalized the message as a way of being an emotional counterpart to my father.

All in all, I'm proud of being an emotional man. The problem here is that being directed to do this my one's mother only works if Mom is coming from the right place. When Mom herself is having trouble with her feelings, this message can be very, very confusing to a boy trying to make sense of reality.

Originally Posted By: BigV
So here's to hoping, Don. To hope, to trusting oneself, and the process, and escaping the padded cell of safety that is the dreaded inner soccer mom.

Speaking as a soccer Dad, I say play your heart out.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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