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How do you open yourself to the possibility someone you love did something evil to you?

Nope. Other way around. Someone that your mind would replace WITH someone you love. So that you aren’t alone, but have them with you.
Meaning it’s someone else and the protection isn’t the not knowing all these years, the protection is showing me the images with a person I love instead of the actual perp.? That’s f*cked up!
The choice is yours obviously but Robert Frost had it right, "the only way out is through...."
I know this to be true. I guess it’s really at the heart of the post. As much as I want it to just go away, that’s never been my reality. The problem is the images come up and I can’t seem to let my wall down long enough to see what might be causing it. Is it just what it is…him or is it a representation of something else?
Meaning it’s someone else and the protection isn’t the not knowing all these years, the protection is showing me the images with a person I love instead of the actual perp.? That’s f*cked up!
Incredibly common, though.

The examples I gave above, with child soldiers? Their parent didn’t go on a murdering rampage, killing everyone in the village, and then kidnapping the children to turn them into soldiers. Even though that’s exactly what they kid remembers happening. Even more strongly if the kid was also were forced to kill that parent, before the soldiers went on to kill everyone else.

That’s the “teddy bear”. The worst day of their lives, totally alone, so their brain gives them someone they love in the memory, someone to protect them, to keep them safe. In the biggest/baddest/most powerful role IN that memory.
I assume everyone I meet has done something terrible.

Same. Another way of framing this, is that I just don't love people the way that most humans love others. I don't need to "reconcile" that someone I loved could have harmed me because there's nothing about that which is contradictory.

I imagine it's more difficult having that sensation of love as it seems to be, from observation, "if you really felt that emotion how could you harm me?" Whereas in my case and my experience there's nothing that can really stop people from hurting one another, certainly not what they've identified as love.

When it comes to memories, if I don't have confirmation or trust that it happened (whether this is through personal certainty or statements from others or proof) I just disregard it. The fact is when you go through trauma as a kid your memories are going to get f*cked up. And I have enough confirmed memories to unravel me for a life time, so I don't borrow pain if I can help it.

What you remember happening isn't what's going to be accurate 100% of the time because part of how we survive trauma is by literally changing what we remember about it. I have memory fragments that I trust are accurate because I have corroborating memories (like the person who did XYZ speaking about doing it later on).

And then there is stuff that is just isolated fragments out of time and context. There's nothing to tether it. It could have happened or not. I'm open to both being true because I know things did happen and either way my brain is traumatized from it.

Friday's example of the teddy bear is a good one. I went for years thinking not only did V traffic me but also participated in it, but as I got older I realized I had only ever told this to myself, I didn't have any memories of her actually doing it. I believed it. It made more sense to me that someone close to me in my family would hurt me than so many random strangers.

I would say, well it must have been her. It must have been her. I would have told anybody that she also raped me. It isn't a lie - I genuinely believed this, but it's not something I have a memory of happening. It's something I believed because I told it to myself.

This could be the case or it could be legitimate. I have another memory of my mom doing some wacky out of character shit that I trust is more accurate because it's consistent, has a start middle and end, coincides with her being psychotic, and wasn't a result of pedophilia but rather ignorance (which makes sense for her character.)

She's insisted this isn't a real memory, and I am willing to admit it might not be. I was abused by a lot of adults at the time and I may have transposed an experience into her.

She abused me in other ways at the time that she's admitted to and apologized for (and she also had a period where she denied those first, so the denial isn't meaningful) but I remember it very clearly and the memory makes sense - and I'm not willing to pretend otherwise.