Hi Jasper - I know your questions are directed to Mike, but I thought I would weigh in. It was fairly recent that I got an answer that I really needed to #2 and #1 I think I might have some insight into also.
1) It seems to me that the more we talk about the things that happened, the less intense they seem to feel. The terror of the situation dissipates. It's not that the memories are becoming less real. It's that we are now able to process them as adult men, men with the ability to look at them from an adult perspective. Until now our memories have been as children, memories that have been locked inside, in the same place for so many years. Our minds have a funny way of knowing when we are ready to process such things. Our minds told us to wait, but now they know we are ready, Does that make sense?
2) Recently, while with my therapist, she asked me to try to recall one particular event during the abuse that I have not been able to recall but that has been bugging me, something I want to remeber but cannot. There is a time, also when I was nine like you were, that I remember my swim coach coming to my house to 'take me to dinner'. He came into the house, met my parents and we were off to 'dinner', at least that's what I thought. We drove to a town nearby, one I was not familiar with, where the coach rented an apartment. We went inside and into his bedroom. He told me to undress excpet for my underwear. Then I remember leaving, that's it. It's been bugging the hell out of me to know what happened in between getting there and leaving. My therapist asked me why I wanted to know so much, why is it so important? She suggested that oftentimes, survivors feel a need to recall every event of their abuse, as though recovery cannot happen util we remember it all. She also told me that kids around that age and younger have a great capacity for taking themselves 'out' of a situation that they are not able to handle. In fact I can clearly remember a few year later, while being abused by a teacher, floating up near the ceiling, watching the events take place from a safe place. It was my body but it was not me. But, she explained, kids even younger can take themselves even further away than the ceiling, as if we are not there at all while the abuse is taking place. It was our bodies, but not ourselves, not our minds, not our souls. I liked her explanation. It made sense for me. And, as she put it, that way he didn't win. He didn't get to do what he intended. He hurt my body, but not me. Because if I really did take myself out of there mentally, I was not there. And if I was not there, there was nothing to remember. I know this was long-winded, but felt it needed that to fully explain what I learned. I ws so relieved at what she toaught me that day, I cried and cried again when I told my wife and cried again when I told two close friends. It was that powerful. I hope it provides some similar relief for you Jasper. Peace - John