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Archive for November 29th, 2010

On my blog entry entitled Remembering Sexual Abuse Incidents but Not the Rapes, readers posted the following comments:

Is is possible for an abuser to forget the abuse that he or she did, or to forget the abuse that he or she enabled? I know the victim can forget – can the abuser(s)? ~ Lilo

So can an abuser have ‘forgotten’ or is he/she manipulating people in believing that (s)he is completely innocent (and we, the victims consequently crazy) and is (s)he just lying/denying all the way? ~ Chloe

This is a topic that continues to haunt me as well because I am in the same boat. I truly do not believe that my mother/abuser carries a conscious memory of the abuse that she inflicted upon my sister and me, but I know that she carries memories of it in her subconscious mind. I will get into that in tomorrow’s blog entry.

Before proceeding with this topic, let me add my therapist’s warning – He told me that I need to stay out of my abuser’s head. He said that, regardless of what was going on in her head, her actions hurt me. So, whether or not my mother/abuser consciously remembers the abuses that she inflicted does not change the damage done to me. Her mindset has no bearing on the wounds inflicted or my right to heal.

While I understand where my therapist is coming from, I think it is completely human and understandable to want to know the answer to this question. This woman turned my childhood into a living hell. Could she possibly be walking around in her day-to-day life with no memory of the damage she did for decades? If she does remember, she is a d@#$ good liar. If she doesn’t remember, then why in the h@#$ did she put me through it in the first place? What was the point? Either way, it makes no sense.

The other reason I think we child abuse survivors feel a need to know is because we question our own sanity when we recover very detailed memories of abuse that are denied. When we know that we were harmed in a very specific way with very specific details, it makes us feel “crazy” when our abusers can look us straight in the eye and flatly deny that it happened. That sets us up for an “either you are crazy or I am” dynamic, and our abusers are perfectly happy to let us believe that we are the crazy ones. I guess that is why my therapist cautions me against “going there” at all.

Today is just an introduction to the topic. Tomorrow, I will share my “evidence” that my mother/abuser has memories of committing the abuse (at least at a subconscious level). Then, I will share some of my theories in answer to this question on Wednesday.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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