Is it normal to ...? Remember deeds and forget details, like faces?

GreySouled

Learning
I remember the acts, penetrative ones. Used to think and be terrified I was pregnant at the age of seven, knowing how babies were made.
Is it possible to remember such heinous, horrendous deeds and struggle to bring the perpetrator's face into focus????
Please, if anyone can relate or has any insight, please let me know!
 
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Sideways

Moderator
Is it possible to remember such heinous, horrendous deeds and struggle to bring the perpetrator's face into focus?
Absolutely. Some of my trauma, the abuser's face is absent.

And from the perspective of the child's brain, it's protective even. Particularly if the perpetrator is someone you're in regular contact with, and are likely to stay in regular contact with.

Mod Note: I've removed the trigger warning from your title. With ptsd, anything and everything can be a possible trigger. So in a place where people come to discuss trauma and ptsd, it goes without saying that the content of any given thread may be traumatic to someone.

Check out our Community Constitution for more info.
 

MnM

Confident
100%. I had similar when I was 14 - assaulted by someone I considered a grandfather figure (I didn't have one). His face haunted me in dreams for years, but slowly faded, though the violent content of the dreams never did. Then other instances where the face was never clear, perhaps because I didn't have the same level of trust or familiarity with the person? To me this means it's not WHO did it to you that your body/mind remember, it's the violation that your body/mind remembers, and continues to hold as important. I took self defense courses and a course on human rights hoping it would have some impact on my body/mind connection/perception. Completely changed it. Suddenly I could respond to violence, and I could respond with power and autonomy. Highly recommend. Alternatively, sketching out the face or what you remember of the face, or even sketching out the act can shine a light on areas or information I couldn't see before. Just be prepared for the dreams that come after, and have a support system where you can talk about them - no poking bears by yourself.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Yep.
For me though that kind of makes sense because most of the people who did that to me were people I had only just met. But one of them: I just have a hazy blurry outline of the shape of him, and a sort of vague memory of a jumper he had on. But his face and the other's faces? Nope. Nothing there at all. It's more the feel of their body, or the height of them, or the weight of them, that I remember.

Trauma affects memory. Or we hold memories in a way that helps survive it.

Idk.
I don't want the missing parts of the memories to come back. Happy not to see their faces. I think it could be quite painful to see their faces and their facial expressions whilst they were doing what they were doing. Even just thinking about that seems very hard.
 

Friday

Moderator
Not only normal… it’s part of the diagnostic criteria.

Specifically? CriterionD.

D. Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following:
  1. Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event(s) (typically due to dissociative amnesia and not to other factors such as head injury, alcohol, or drugs).
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
I can’t remember the face of my friend’s dad. I also once drew a well detailed man’s shoe. I have no idea what’s behind that, but it disturbs me.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I remember the acts, penetrative ones. Used to think and be terrified I was pregnant at the age of seven, knowing how babies were made.
Is it possible to remember such heinous, horrendous deeds and struggle to bring the perpetrator's face into focus????
Please, if anyone can relate or has any insight, please let me know!
It took me decades before I could recall the face of anyone from my childhood. That extended, as well, to anyone else. I could describe hands and clothes and shoes and hair, but faces? Nope.

It gradually got better - now when I think of people, I can usually see their face.
 

Whirlwind

MyPTSD Pro
Please, if anyone can relate or has any insight, please let me know!
I can relate.

My memories are a mishmash of seemingly random fragments and with help from a therapist it wove into a something I could make sense of.

I had dreams and memories of such specific things that made no sense but just hung with me. The pattern and color of a shirt I wore as a kid clear as day and kept popping up, however the rest fog. Later some of those images expanded and then I understood. And then they drifted away.

I do still have gaps and some of the mishmash still fragments but I have the overall picture now and at peace with that. The flashbacks ceased and my T said not every detail needed to be unpacked and the body would let (me) know when it was "done" so to speak.

Very rarely now something arises and I recognize it and give it the space it needs. These days they relate to my current life and give me insight.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
It is for sure. Over time it continues to wipe out memory too. Not even sure if its for a reason or just to seal off the trauma.

Some memory of my childhood is returning, but very slowly. I had a bunch of memories float up while I was reprocessing and it was like a timeline. To me at times it was a bit depressing, it was like an indicator of where the reprocessing was at as they were linear and followed the timeline.

As for faces - I know names and faces don't take long to disappear. Maybe a year or less, based on my second trauma event.
 

GreySouled

Learning
I struggle with this so, so much because without knowing/confirming who did it, how can I ever be sure it's real?? Intellectually I know that the body doesn't lie, and I have had body memories galore that paint a very vivid picture, and you can't make up flashbacks, etc. BUT then I'll go through a time where the things flashed to and suddenly remembered don't stay too long and are gone like smoke. Then all that's left is doubt and crazymaking.

Whenever I do have flashbacks and/or vividly remember something, it just comes in very brief blips: emotions, sounds, sensations, weight/contact, etc.
 
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