A reader emailed me with concerns about false memory syndrome. This reader is in the same place that I was once and that many of you have been. When your repressed memories start pouring out through flashbacks, they seem unbelievable. You ask yourself if these horrible things could possibly be true because they seem so foreign to you. You don’t want them to be true, and you hope that they aren’t. However, they are so detailed and “warped” that you think that either they must be true or you are just plain “crazy.” At least, that’s what it was like for me.
This healing/flashback process is hard enough, but thanks to the propaganda in the 1990’s about false memory syndrome, many child abuse survivors worry that some unscrupulous person has implanted these memories into their heads. That’s even scarier than the flashbacks being true. You fear that there is something really “wrong” with you and lose the ability to trust yourself.
I am not saying that no unscrupulous therapist has ever implanted false memories into a patient. I cannot fathom why a therapist would do this, but I also cannot fathom why someone would abuse a child. I am not going to get into an unscrupulous therapist’s head. However, I do not buy into false memory syndrome being some sweeping, widespread issue as society was led to believe in the 1990’s. I believe that movement was a way to silence those of us who were recovering child abuse memories that certain members of society did not want recovered or believed.
I have had people email me accusing me of suffering from delusions implanted by a therapist. Here is my response to this ridiculous accusation:
- I did not enter into therapy until after I had already recovered numerous repressed memories, so nobody had access to my head to implant anything.
- My sister recovered many of the same memories even though we have never seen the same therapist.
- If these are all false memories, why is processing them resulting in my getting healthier emotionally instead of more unhealthy?
I also find the accusation of false memory syndrome to be insulting. I am not some weak-minded person who can be that easily manipulated by another person. I mean no offense to anyone who has fallen prey to false memory syndrome. My point is that I have a very strong will, and the thought of me allowing anyone else to implant that many memories into my head is simply ludicrous.
Photo credit: Hekatekris