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Looking For Information On False Memory Syndrome, Need Help

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by gizmo, Apr 15, 2012.

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  1. gizmo

    gizmo Follow a rainbow trail.
    Premium Member

    I think this happened to me. I had a experience with a therapist in private practice where I think false memories happened to me. I had memories but I have not triggers for these memories and I do not suffer PTSD symptoms with these memories. I am about to do EMDR and I am looking for any information on this subject; after it happened to me, I quit therapy. I really believed this was all real.

    I do not have nightmares about these memories. I really think it is false Memory syndrome. I do have repressed memories but they are related to childhood Abuse.

    Any information anyone has would be really appreciated alot. I just do not know what to do with this anymore. I have a hard time talking about it. It is regarding satanic ritual abuse. I really do not think this happened to me at all and I need some closure. Thanks.
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  3. shell

    shell Guest

    I do not have nightmares about a lot of my abuse, or I have nightmares of being killed or chased, and I freeze in the dreams, but not the childhood abuse. A lot of my memories are coming to back to me by me feeling them physically first, but not my childhood physical abuse. But my physical abuse has always been openly discussed in my immediate family, but they felt justified for their actions.

    There is a lot of information on the internet about this, as when I began to get back sexual abuse memories I thought that I was crazy, and researched this. The only problem with this it then made me start to doubt all the memories I ever had, even the ones I knew to be true, because I had discussed them with my brother.

    Have you tried to confirm the abuse? I would discuss this with the new therapist, because you shouldn't be keeping secrets.
    gizmo likes this.
  4. gizmo

    gizmo Follow a rainbow trail.
    Premium Member

    shell, Thanks I did'nt think about doing a search on the web. I have no way to confirm any of this. I have my drawings and I have the memories that came to me. I have been ashamed of having this happen to me. I told people when I believed this really happened to me and I had alot of bad experiences and so I learned to keep it to myself.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to me.

    I have been doing a trauma diary and it came out in there. I can tell my psychiatrist. He is the one who gave me the referral for the EMDR that I will do when I get it all sorted out with my hmo. I am still fairly new to this forum and haven't been in therapy for along time. I had 9 years of therapy and when the false memory syndrome came out it made me lose faith in my therapy process. I am struggling with this. I will do a search.

    /thank you again.
  5. Zef

    Zef Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    False Memory Syndrome was created by a social activist group in the 1990's to offer a legal defense for those accused of child sexual and ritual abuse. They have had some success introducing this concept into legal proceedings to defend accused abusers.

    There is no such recognized syndrome and the research that offers some support for it is questionable at best.

    Meanwhile, there is over 100 years of research strongly suggesting that victims of childhood trauma often do not remember their trauma in the normal way. The brain stores it differently and in such a way that fragments are remembered later in life or when triggers are present. There are also well-researched and testable theories that explain the distinct parts of the brain involved and how the brain gets wired when traumatized during its early development that explain delayed memories and the fragmentary ways they appear.

    Based on your post, your situation may be different. The brain is a pretty adaptable thing. People can be convinced of things that aren't true. Children can be convinced Santa Claus exists. People can be convinced that cutting taxes for the rich benefits society when all evidence points to the exact opposite effect. There are established mind control techniques that can add or change memories so that a person believes they really happened to them.

    I know I'm not helping you much here, but you are in a tough spot. A symptom of childhood trauma is minimizing or refusing to believe it happened, which further complicates your situation.

    I might suggest that you find a trauma psych who is not associated with your current one and, basically, get a second opinion. Or perhaps you use an EMDR therapist who is not a referral from your current one. From your post, it seems you could use some neutral, third-party professional input to get a clearer picture of what is going on.

    Also, my unprofessional opinion is that it doesn't matter so much the specifics of your trauma as is does that your supporters are giving you skills to improve your coping and functionality. That is what everyone should be focused on and memory recovery is only a part of that process.

    Please don't fall victim to the False Memory Syndrome people out there without doing your research, both for and against. I am obviously biased against the FMS'ers after doing my own research, so don't just believe me, either. :)

    Hope something here is valuable. Wishing you the best as you go through this.
  6. Nadia

    Nadia Wish I could say all the things that I should say

    I am interested in this question myself. I think that trauma is trauma and memories are memories. There are lots of ways someone can be traumatized and also lots of way's people can "experience" an event... be it a physical experience or even nonphysical. Most important is how it effects you and how you feel about it. I also heard that it is possible to release the charge of a trauma without actually every remembering it. I'm not making any claims, but can somehow agree to this. I have the impression I have only had flashbacks until recently, because I not only repressed it but totally dissociated those memories in my awareness. And there was a memory that I have no idea really happened or not...

    So who really knows...?
    gizmo and Zef like this.
  7. Zef

    Zef Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Here are some links that may be good starting places regarding False Memory Syndrome and the controversy surrounding it.

    A relatively neutral overview Criteria for Personality Disorder (Comparison of DSM-IV DSM-5 old DSM-5 new.pdf

    The experience of a reporter covering a child abuse case where False Memory Syndrome was being used as a defense

    Wikipedia entry regarding the FMS Foundation

    A list of research abstracts

    The home page of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation
    wyrd_dragon and PerfectEmpire like this.
  8. gizmo

    gizmo Follow a rainbow trail.
    Premium Member

    Hi Zef- Thank you for taking the time to help me out on this controversy. The information you shared with me is greatly appreciated. I read it and it helped me out alot. I am really struggling with this one. I really believed this happened to me, but I do not have any proof, at least I can go to them and tell themI do not know if these are real memories or not. anyway thanks for the help is not enough but it is al I have.

    Nadia, hi-

    Thank you for your input. I will take these things into my next appt with my psychiatrist and the EMDR people..The same goes for you thanks is all I have but it is not enough. This situation has really triggered me.
    Nadia and Zef like this.
  9. Nadia

    Nadia Wish I could say all the things that I should say

    Gizmo, you can see the fact that you are being triggered as a good sign. As a sign that somethings wants to come out and onto the surface....

    Whao... while writing that I suddenly got so dizzy....... geez...

    Best of Luck!
    gizmo likes this.
  10. Zef

    Zef Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Hi gizmo,
    I struggle with the same thing. I don't have any evidence except for these little pieces of stuff that are popping up decades later. How can I trust them? Eventually, I came to realize that whether they were true or not, they were still messing me up, so dealing with them is more important than how factual they are.

    Saying that, I still struggle with the 'realness' of everything, but it is much more manageable now and happens less frequently.

    Hoping you will eventually figure out what you need to figure out.
    wyrd_dragon, gizmo, Chincho and 2 others like this.
  11. Meadowsweet

    Meadowsweet I'm a VIP

    I agree that much can be lost from memory from childhood. But also, I experience false memories too.

    They're almost like the mind mixing up fragments of memories. So something everyday/non-abusive that happened and upset the child, might mix with a genuine fragment of trauma.

    I think it is important to be cautious if the apparant abuser has changed in the memory.
    gizmo likes this.
  12. Zef

    Zef Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    I think Meadowsweet's comments are valuable.

    Most of our cultures reinforce that our memories are equivalent to facts, but anyone who has to work with memories on a day-to-day basis, like police, therapists, lawyers, etc. will often tell you just how inaccurate even normal, healthy memories about normal things are.

    I'm lucky enough to have some outside corroboration regarding at least some of my sexual abuse, but in the absence of outside corroboration, I think the best thing to do is to work with what our brains are giving us, focusing on getting through the present rather than recreating a past, which is a task that may never be completed.

    Sorry if I sound like I'm on a soapbox. . .
  13. Jen93

    Jen93 I'm a VIP

    I don't like the whole "false memory" thing. For me, I kept getting flashbacks of new trauma, and it just made it easier for me to go into denial and pretend that it was nonsense, simply because I HAD heard of False Memory Syndrome, and so I pretended that some of it didn't happen.

    It's important to trust yourself though, and once I got the sensation in my left arm, my right forearm, my biceps, and my left cheek, I understood that my memories were real.
    wyrd_dragon, gizmo, Zef and 1 other person like this.
  14. Zef

    Zef Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Thanks for that Jen93. I think that is why I'm interested in this subject. My opinion is that the phenomena surrounding False Memory Syndrome creates a huge stigma for us in public, but also preys upon our normal symptoms to deny and minimize our traumas.

    It hits us from both sides AND it has been used to free abusers back into society.

    If you do not believe in the power of marketing/propaganda to influence a culture's thoughts and behaviors, here is a prime example that could make you change you mind on the subject.

    My part that wants to take out those who abuse power, really wants to take out the Foundation that created this crap.

    Guess I'm still on the soapbox. . .
    wyrd_dragon, PerfectEmpire and gizmo like this.
  15. gizmo

    gizmo Follow a rainbow trail.
    Premium Member

    Thank you so much for all of the feedback and support. I still do not know if these memories are real or not. I do not have any evidence to say that they are true.
    When I believed they were real I told people looking for some help and support and validation, but it created stigma for me, and gossip and slander was used against me.

    I was spiritually abused by the pastor and the elders in the church. I have left the church and to this day I won't try another one. My childhood was abusive enough, to have these memories of satanic ritual abuse and not to know if they are real or not has sure messed with my mind.

    At first I was too scared to talk about it. It is something I have carried around inside of me for a few years. I was tired of having to explain myself to people. I learned to keep it to myself with the questions and the unknowing and made my oeace with the fact that they were most likely false memories.

    It sure messed me up the not knowing for sure. I have to find out somehow but am at a loss. I will consult with my psychiatrist and the people who will be doing the EMDR with me. I will try to find a therapist I can trust afterwards. That is going to be so hard. I am burned and branded by this.

    I sure appreciate the feed back, it is making me feel sane concerning these things something I have not felt in a very long time. I am feeling more centered today. I sure appreciate the support on this so very much. It has been hell carrying this around inside of me all of these years.

    If they are true i will deal with them. But I would like to find out if they are true or not. I have been so badly burned by being so naive and gullible and vulnerable and so very desperately needy for vindication and validation. I sure would like to settle it one way or the other. Thanks so very much again.
    Zef likes this.
  16. Meadowsweet

    Meadowsweet I'm a VIP

    I think if we can look beyond individual feelings, and I do understand that its an emotive subject. But both amnesia of abuse and false memories do exist.

    To be objective, and offer objective advise, its important to recognise both as a reality. Its a difficult reality, but it exists.

    If its useful to accept a memory and work to overcome the feelings associated to it, then there shouldn't be any question of finding proof or not.

    But false memories are not crap. And to me personally it would be very harmful for somebody to try to convince me that my experiences of false memories are real.

    Just like for others it is harmful to convince them that their memories are not real.

    Its one of those things that from an emotional point of view is hard to carry. But I don't think there are black and white answers that fix it.
    gizmo likes this.
  17. Meadowsweet

    Meadowsweet I'm a VIP

    Gizmo, I hadn't read your last reply when I posted that reply.

    I certainly don't want to sound overly sceptical and your feelings about whether the memory feels as real other memories or not are the most trustworthy.

    I think I would find it hard now to prove me experiences to others. But in my own mind I recognise the feeling of definate memory and memories that I'm not sure about.

    But saying that, the things you're remembering are things that might be very useful to work through in therapy, because the feelings are real.
    gizmo likes this.
  18. gizmo

    gizmo Follow a rainbow trail.
    Premium Member

    Hey Meadow sweet. The fact that I got triggered over it is very complicated.
    I was in therapy at the time I had the memories.
    I was at home when I had the memories.
    My therapist believed everything I told her.

    I do not think she was a very good therapist.
    When I heard about false memory syndrome I got terrified and quit therapy.
    I decided it was time for me to learn to think for myself or I was going to be in therapy the rest of my life.

    I felt better when I quit talking about the memories. I do not know if that was denial or pretending. But it gave me a peace of mind.

    Obviously it is still bugging me. It came out in my trauma journal and it knocked me for a loop. I lost my peace of mind.

    So I am stuck not knowing for sure. It sure messed me up. It made me see psycology as a new religon. and I hate religon, even though I see myself as a spiritual person.

    More came out in my journal today so mabe there is something there that needs to be rooted out and addressed. It sure feels good to have an adult conversation about the whole thing since I have had it on the shelf for years. Time and hopefully some real decent help will help me at long last. I just want it dealt with one way or the other. Once more I so appreciate the feedback and help and support on this.
    Meadowsweet and Zef like this.
  19. kaylar

    kaylar New Member

    This is an absolutely true story. At the age of 31 P. attended a therapist who decided she had been abused as a child, and that she had tried to commit Suicide when she was 15. Up until this point, she had very good relations with her sister, the putative abuser. After that the relationship with her sister ended, she accused her parents of being enablers and or in denial.

    She tells the story of being abused 'all her life' and describes her Suicide attempt as opening the window, opening the screen, stepping out on the ledge and jumping.

    In real life; the lady on the first floor heard the screen hit the ground, then looked out and saw P. called the Police, and ran outside with a blanket. The first words P. said to the woman is "what are you doing in my bedroom.'"

    The police and ambulance were on the scene, the words P. said were told to the police by the lady and P. was taken to the hospital. The medical doctors determined that P. was either asleep or unconscious when she hit the ground which is why she didn't tense and her injuries wre not as severe as they should be.

    The psychiatrists who examined her found nothing in her answers or behaviour or that of her family to suggest she was abused in anyway.

    She was allowed home during her rehab and eventually released back to her family. There were no issues.

    Her sister married when she was 19 and she visited her sister every single Sunday for the next two years. Traveling three miles to do so.

    Her relationship with her sister continued until she was thirty one, that is when the 'abuse' was uncovered by a psychiatrist, and she now retold the story of the jumping; btw; there was no ledge on the window.

    She never explored the events surrounding this suicide attempt, not even to verify that there was no ledge on the window, much less, the actual police reports. She has continued for the past quarter of a century in this story which has destroyed her life to a great extent.

    In a virtual forced confrontation with her sister she admitted that being 'abused all my life' were three slaps, one when she was five years old, one when she was about ten, and one when she was about twelve.

    She then cut off all communication.

    Simply put, she had created this false memory which defined her. She could not live without this set of fallacies which destroyed her life.

    Be very careful when some kind of strange memory is provoked which has no 'trigger' and which is not substantiated. People who are abused show signs of it If P.had been abused, why did she travel 3 miles every Sunday to visit her sister?
    gizmo likes this.
  20. gizmo

    gizmo Follow a rainbow trail.
    Premium Member

    Thanks for posting this, I really appreciate it. It did destroy my life for a time when I believed they were real. But now I am not so sure, and I am fine with them being false memories. The mind is so fragile. I do not think it is wise to dig chasing after ghosts that do not exist. /thanks again.
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