** Possible Triggers **Repression.
Now here is the easy part of the whole story: repression. Have you ever been a car wreck and can’t remember the most traumatic parts of the accident? Some can’t remember after because that part is more traumatic. Others can’t remember during because that part was more traumatic. Your brain is hardwired to block out things that are too traumatic. If you have a wreck that you know you have been in, but can’t remember it then you have a repressed memory and know what it is, even if you don’t remember.
Memory repression as a method of dealing with trauma is not unusual. I recently read an article that described how many scouts would deny they were abused even after the abuser disclosed whom he had abused. There were also pictures. Yet by far and large the majority denied it having happened -- How many stay quite believe the threats of their abusers? How many of them can’t remember it because of suppression? and how many of them already know the taboo of being molested in our culture and lie to avoid the taboo?Memory Recall.
Recovery of Suppressed memories is something that is quite hard to describe. Sometimes you eventually remember that traumatic car wreck, sometimes you don’t. I have dealt with repressed memories as part of the sexual abuse I encountered at age 8. Over the last 3 years I have been dealing with mental illness and have found that most of the illness is caused by repressed memories. As with recovered memories in the past, it is never a single event that brings them to surface. And part of the trouble is that once you recall a memory it can become re-suppressed. This can even happen in the matter a few seconds in something I have decided to call a flash.
There is the great myth around suppressed memories that it will come when you are ready. This is false, The fact is it won’t stay tell your ready. Digging at suppressed memories that you are not strong enough to process is about as good as picking at a scab – It just bleeds then scabs over and takes longer to heal: leaving a bigger scar. This one way some sex abuse victims later change their stories -- it becomes re-suppressed. Refreshing old memories.
The first step in recovering repressed memories is to refresh memories that occurred during the same time. Memories that are linked to the repressed memories. Some recommend looking at pictures if they are available. Sometimes refresh is accidental as is the case with someone going back in time during hypnosis and suddenly remembering abuse. Sometimes it is unplanned such as another victim confronting someone who they were abused with. Some times you can look a pictures and que a memory you didn’t know you had, one long since faded. In this case I didn’t know repressed memories existed, the refresh was purely accidental.Little brother goes to Scout Camp:
My little brother recently started working at the same scout camp my older brother and I did. My little brother wanted to staff the same camp me and my brother did. He wanted to know about what merit badges I taught, I told him about the weather merit badge and how few people took the badges I took – it was a complaint because it made camp borring. He decided to try to teach the same merit badges because few people took them – he reasoned it would give him more free time. My memory of camp had many holes and inconsistencies’ my brother talked about the round robin camp fires, I have very little recollection of these, and I don’t seem to remember the camp fire songs like my older brother does.Scout Camp Revisited.
We took a trip to the scout camp for a fireside as a family. My grandmother and grandfather even came up. That week lighting had struck and killed, it was on the news. http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=16360210
The scout troops that where involved with the accident went home. My mother had been begging to go up there. I believe that there was extra food that had already been ordered and would have went to waist, and this played into my mother being invited up.
While up there I found that a lot had changed. I remembered building the old “land ship” used for flag ceremonies. It was gone, so where the trailers, and this made me happy. We went in to the “school house” were I looked for my years paddle on the wall. My years paddle was missing. The worker who worked there had mentioned that some individual had destroyed them. There was some significance to fact that I had worked there during the years I had.
My brother danced at the fire and I drummed. I was in a panic the whole time. I hid it well, I usually do.Victim 5.
I recently started hanging out with a scout who attended when I staffed. We had no idea, or did we? We incorrectly thought we first met while working together 5 years ago. We have become closer and closer friends over the last few months. We met when we worked together 5 years ago (or at least we thought). We were now attending the same college add this to the time working together and we had started to become close friends. One day we got to talking about both being at scofield and some quick math we decided we had been there at the same summer. There was some discussion about maybe having talked about this before many years earlier at work. If we talked about it when we worked together I have no memory of it.
(He has started pushing me away. That’s the way it works people who remind you of the abuse you begin disliking them, you push them away…)
The next time we talked he had no memory of the conversation. We talked about it because I wanted to find out if he was the scout I thought he was. But he had no memory of having talked about it. I found this odd but not abnormal at first. The idea that we met during our youth – and became good friends then adds so much relevance to our friend ship now. The more I thought about it the more I realized there was something more here. How had he forgotten our conversation in such a short period.
And then I began to have some of the memories of why we bonded, - as we were caught up in the same thing. I found the panic that normally accompanies getting to close to a repressed memory. Repressed memories are something else all together. I remember driving home repeating over and over – don’t flash –Don’t flash. I remember thinking that I should perhaps write it down before bed. I decided not to because I would not forget something this important or big. I flashed as I slept that night.Monday May 14, 2012.
Victim 5 has cancer and needs chemo. We were discussing a fund raiser to raise money to pay his medical bills. We talked about using my connection to scouts to get some volunteers. Victim 5 brought up scout camp. He seemed to think we may have been there together. I asked him if he took the weather merit badge and he had. We began to calculate the number of years of difference and ages… We didn’t even finish and we both just kind of looked at each other – we have talked about this before.
We got to talking about FACE how he belittled and emotionally abused us all. The more I thought about the more I realized there were some problems with repression. I recognized that we were dealing with suppressed memories. I reflected more and then the other conversations surfaced… The more I realized – the more I realized there was something more. I headed home to try to get help with the fundraiser.Break through Event.
I was planning a fund raiser for my friend Victim 5. I returned home to find out if I could enlist the help of my mother. I needed to know how much help I could expect and what she could do to help. She explained the limits of what she could do and we began to talk about originally meeting my friend in Scofield. She talked about some of the issues so many years ago. She said “He would lay next to them and molest them while they slept” – And the flash backs began.
Over the next few weeks I would begin having flashing backs of the events that summer. Starting with less traumatic memories and moving to the most traumatic moments. The most traumatic moments were not the abuse but the realization that I had been being abused all summer. And who my most likely abuser was made it that much worse.