Friday, October 17, 2008

To Tell the Truth

In my psychology classes, we are discussing repressed and recovered, including false, memories. Basically, in the '90's there was a craze about sexual abuse in women who had any sort of emotional disorder. Kind of like, "if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail". It's really weird, because all these women, and sometimes men, were going to these psychiatrists looking for a solution to their problems, and whether they knew it or not, these psychiatrists involuntarily and unknowingly implanted false memories into their patients head through hypnosis, Freud's idea of psychic energy, and age regression.
On the converse, there was a man once who had been sexually abused by his camp counselor when he was in choir. The man repressed this memory for twenty-five years, and then one day, his sister called him up, telling him that her son had joined the choir. The man began to get headaches, and he was depressed, and all of a sudden, the memory became clear. He did some research on the counselor and later confronted him about it. The counselor confessed over the phone, and the man pressed charges.
Once, due to certain cues of sexual abuse, my mother asked me point-blank if I ever had been. I told her no, because at the time, I couldn't ever remember anything about it. So she took me to see psychologists, thinking that maybe, I would feel the "secrets" were safer if I told them to the psychologist instead of her, not that there were any secrets, because nothing was really happening. To this day, I do not remember anything about any sexual abuse what-so-ever. I do remember some somewhat disturbing things from my childhood that got close to it, but nothing really dark. My father would sit me on his lap while he was going to the bathroom. I never saw anything, but it made me uncomfortable all the same. My mom never knew about it, and it went on until I was eight, at least. He did it once in my now-step-mom's house, which is how I'm tracing this, but I never once saw a penis. Not until I lost my virginity. I almost even walked in on him once when he was peeing.. and he stopped me.
To my credit, this memory has been with me for my whole life. I don't feel that it was ever repressed. But it makes me question if I have repressed things in the past, like having actually been sexually abused, or even if my memory of sitting on my dad's lap is valid, or complete. It makes me wonder if my memories of his emotional abuse are real, or if I'm just crazy. I hate listening to the stories of the people with false memories because some you can tell are very clearly made up, and I don't like feeling like I made something up when my story is totally different. I think what bothers me most is my lack of evidence, since psychological abuse is so hard to prove. With a lack of evidence, my memories are just as valid as the woman who had a memory of getting stuck in a fallopian tube as an egg. So, how am I supposed to know?