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Dealing With Recovering Memories

by Brittany Ann on March 11, 2011

For a few weeks now, after I experienced and wrote about mother nightmares, I’ve felt myself slipping into old coping mechanisms. The nightmares, one in particular not mentioned, quickly stayed me on the path of dealing with memories of Mother-Daughter sexual abuse. I will say that although I’ve never experienced the process of recovering memories, it is a sensible process if you consider what childhood abuse survivors are working with.

Many childhood abuse survivors have experienced an uncountable amount of abuse by the perpetrator given the length of time we were vulnerable. We might remember how often the abuse happened, but do we remember every single incidence in full detail? We usually do not. That is both because many were abused for years, some so young that our memories were only beginning to form, and because the brain is a spectacular thing that protects us by allowing us to dissociate from experiences.

These portions of memories that are coming to me are in my case not surprising. They are filling in blanks to something I could not previously recite. I feel familiar with my memories, because I understand a trigger that takes me back to a part of the memory. I am dealing now with wrapping my head around all of it. I am repulsed by this struggle, feeling like for nearly the past year that I am being attacked by so much from the past at such a rate, while the world is moving on around me.

When abuse survivors process memories, I know that it can be an overwhelming time and feel as if its sent us back to the beginning of the healing process. For the past few weeks, I have been slipping into old coping mechanisms to just press through this time. I am sleeping a lot but not feeling at all rested. I am finding small tasks mentally tasking. I am mostly content to stay shut away. I am depressed, feeling my worth to anyone is low. Therefore, I am quiet and reserved. I am finding my hunger very heightened and eating for the comfort, not the need or even the taste. More difficult to mention and to not be so ashamed of, I am back to thoughts of self-injury that had taken leave for about two years before this.

I am a bit messy, nose diving into flashbacks, body memories, nightmares and coping skills from every angle. My energy level is so low. This is all extremely frustrating and heightens my anger toward my parents tenfold. I find myself almost constantly asking right now: “how could they do all of this?”

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  1. Hi Brittany,

    I’m sorry that you are going through so much. I’m glad that you are able to be angry and angrier. The anger says that you know you deserved better and have worth, then and now. Good and healing thoughts to you.


  2. That sucks and it can zap our life force. I agree with Kate about the anger, too.

    Sorry about the SI urge. It’s been about four weeks since I last did that. One thing that helped was telling myself that it is not conducive to healing and moving on, and we need to learn different ways to deal with those feelings.

    Maybe for the munchie-thingie you can have foods like low-fat granola bars (s’mores, chocolate chip, chocolate & peanut butter), Lean Pockets, apples with cinnamon-sugar sprinkles, Twizzlers (very low fat), etc., around the house to grab. That’s what I’m trying here and it’s working well so far.

    Like you wrote, when you fill in those blanks it can seem overwhelming and you might feel un-healable. You are worth working on. You are worth the time and the effort. I hope you feel better soon.


  3. Hello Brittany. Just wanted to stop by and see how you are doing. I hope all is well!


    • Lisa,

      Thanks so much for asking. I appreciate the advice you gave about SI, the munchies, and saying you can relate.

      I have felt mighty quiet lately, but I am okay. I hope to write a new entry again very soon.

      Take care,

  4. heather permalink

    thank you for making this website and telling your story….I felt like i was the only one when i realized what was going on with my “mother”. You are helping alot of people heal. My prayers are with you and everyone else who has went through this it is truly the hardest thing to live with. I have recently cut all contact with my mother and it has helped me so much! I strongly urge others to do the same. our “mothers” were not mothers to us they were monsters. I still have very awful nightmares about her but i know Im doing the right thing by keeping my self and my daughter away from her….also thats another thing i wanted to say…PLEASE dont think your “mother” just did this to you it could happen to your child if you bring your child around her it sadly happened to my daughter. I should have never let her be around my child but i lived with her after my daughter was born….

    • Heather,

      Thanks so much for your support. It’s not always been easy to have this information up, but my hope is that it reaches out to just one person how others have reached out to me.

      Cutting contact with the abuser is a hard decision to make sometimes. I decided a year ago that it was the best thing for me, and it has really been so and also helped a bit with my confidence. I really feel like I’m taking back some power. I’m glad to hear that you’ve stood strong in cutting contact if that was right for you, too. It sounds like it absolutely was. I can’t believe that your mother abused your little girl, too! I’m so sorry, Heather. I’m so sorry to hear that.

      Healing thoughts to you and your little one. Be proud of yourself for being a mom that steps in and protects!


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