Posts Tagged ‘remembering trauma in pieces’

This post is part of a series in which I am providing an overview of my healing process from child abuse. The story begins here.

Most of my most traumatizing memories did not come back all at one time. Instead, I would remember part of a particularly traumatizing incident. After I healed my emotional wounds from what I remembered, I could recover more memories about the same incident. The supplemental memories might come a couple of days later. However, for my most traumatizing memories, it might be months before I revisited that particular incident.

As an example, I am going to share details of a particularly traumatizing incident, so please skip over the triggering information noted below if you are in a bad place.

+++++++++ sexual abuse triggers ++++++++++++++

I was two years old, and my sister had been born recently. I saw the look in my mother’s eyes and knew that more abuse was coming. I fought with all that I had, but neither my father nor my grandmother saw anything but a cranky toddler having a temper tantrum. First, my mother performed oral sex on me, which she had done numerous times before. Then, she forced me to perform oral sex on her for the first time.

++++++++++++ end triggers +++++++++++++++

This memory was so traumatizing that I recovered it in pieces. The first memory involved the facts of what happened as viewed from the ceiling. It took me a long time to heal from that first memory. Later, other pieces came to me from different perspectives. One time, the focus was on the rage I felt and how hard it was to swallow that rage because I knew that it was not safe to express it. Another time, the focus was on the despair. Another time, I recovered the sense of this happening to me, not a girl who looked like me that I was viewing from the ceiling. This involved my five senses, including how terrible it smelled.

All of these memories were of the same event, but they were different perspectives of the same event. I had to heal each part in order to heal fully from that one incident. Now that I have faced and healed the memory from the various perspectives, the memory is only one memory in my head, just like any other memory.



Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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