Losing A Parent is Childhood Trauma
The popular press has reported many stories about adults who suddenly remember having been abused as children. Some media reports have emphasized the unusual circumstances or content of such recovered memories while other reports have declared that the “recovery” of memories of abuse is false for a variety of reasons. Little in the press, however, has dealt with the science relating to memories of childhood trauma.
is working on life affecting issues arising from trauma exposure of many origins. According to their research memories can not only be false, but they can be planted by others!
Q: Are Recovered Memories Always Accurate?
Scientists believe that recovered memories – including recovered memories of childhood trauma – are not always accurate. When people remember childhood trauma and later say their memory was wrong, there is no way to know which memory was accurate – the one that claims the trauma happened or the one that claims it did not.
Q: How Might False Memories Develop?
A great deal of laboratory research involving normal people in everyday situations demonstrates that memory is not perfect. Evidence shows that memory can be influenced by other people and situations; that people can make up stories to fill in memory gaps, and that people can be persuaded to believe they heard, saw or experienced events that did not really happen. Studies also reveal that people who have inaccurate memories can strongly believe they are true.
Q: Is it Possible to Forget Childhood Trauma?
People forget names, dates, faces and even entire events all the time. But is it possible to forget terrible experiences such as being raped? Or beaten? The answer is yes – under certain circumstances. For more than a hundred years, doctors, scientists and other observers have reported the connection between trauma and forgetting. But only in the past 10 years have scientific studies demonstrated a connection between childhood trauma and amnesia.
Most scientists agree that memories from infancy and early childhood – under the age of two or three – are unlikely to be remembered. Research shows that many adults who remember being sexually abused as children experienced a period when they did not remember the abuse. Scientists also have studied child victims at the time of a documented traumatic event, such as sexual abuse, and then measured how often the victims forget these events as they become adults. They discovered that some people do forget the traumatic experiences they had in childhood, even though it was established fact that the traumatic events occurred.
Q: What Makes People Remember a Traumatic Event after Such a Long Delay?
At the time of a traumatic event, the mind makes many associations with the feelings, sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch connected with the trauma. Later, similar sensations may trigger a memory of the event. While some people first remember past traumatic events during therapy, most people begin having traumatic memories out side therapy.
A variety of experiences can trigger the recall. Reading stories about other people’s trauma, watching television programs that depict traumatic events similar to the viewer’s past ex perience, experiencing a disturbing event in the present, or sitting down with family and reminiscing about a terrible shared episode – for some people, these kinds of experiences can open the floodgates of frightful and horrible memories.