Am I just filling in the blanks or are these new memories?

My recollection of the abuse that happened is so broken I can't tell if I'm having a real flashback or if I'm just filling in the blanks. I blacked out almost every time I was with him. I remember sitting on the bed after he would leave, I would just stare into space and replay what had just happened and erase it/bury it very deep.

Now whenever I have a new flashback it feels so real but I can't tell if I'm just making it up to fill in the lapses of time. Like everything is so hazy in my head am I just trying to make it less hazy by making things up? I hope this makes sense to someone, if so how do you differentiate what is real and what may be made up? Could these details be real and I just buried them really deep? It’ll be really small things like I'll remember that he didn't just punch my face but he punched my leg after too. Idk. I feel like this could also do with like an internalized sense of not wanting to believe myself because I was manipulated into thinking none of this actually happened? Idk things are so foggy. Could there be so much more he did that I can't remember?

When I was working with my previous therapist emdr therapy helped a lot to clear up the memories of sexual abuse at the hands of my father. But that is not really an option for me now with telehealth. Anyone got any words/advice to offer?


It might be helpful to know that flashbacks often get confused with intrusive memories. They are fairly different. Flashbacks are usually where someone relives the trauma as if it is happening again now. Intrusive memories are more like where someone is still connected to the here and now, knows the trauma isn't happening again, but recalls it, sometimes very strongly.

Memories and the accuracy of them gets really complicated. The studies on this are very mixed. That being said, it's reasonable to validate what you know. These could be intrusive memories popping up.

I personally take the approach of sticking with what I know and not chasing hints of memories. I pay attention to what comes to mind, but also balance it with trying to not try to push things. There could be more you don't currently recall, and maybe also there isn't. One doesn't have to remember to heal.

In terms of therapy, EMDR can be done by telehealth along with a number of other effective trauma therapies that work on the same goals as EMDR. It may be worthwhile to explore that option to get support for your symptoms.
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