TRAUMA, REPRESSION, and MEMORY
A part of Webster’s definition of the word memory states that it is the act of retaining and recalling impressions, facts … Placing the word facts next to impressions is, I believe, a distortion and a dis-service to one’s personal reality. Why? Because what we call our reality, though it may feel, smell and often taste factual in nature is, nonetheless, always processed through the lens of our particular personality. Our ability to recall often includes the need to repress a variety of experiences, if we are to survive early trauma and remain functioning members of society. So, while I agree that each of us has impressions of the past, if you were to speak to members of the same family you’d often hear the so-called facts sound as though the people never shared a common experience. So much for facts!
Many have thought writing Four Rooms, Upstairs must have been a cathartic experience for me. It was, but it was much more than that. As one vivid memory emerged, it triggered others – ones buried so deep inside a protected cave that for more than 50 years (and many therapists’s probings) I did not know existed.
That reminds me of something I’ve kept on a scrap of paper (with no author’s name attached to it) … and I’d like to share it with you.
“We are never quite in the present, but are always meeting the present. And what we meet it with is memory – the expectations, habits, desires and fears that began and then were transmuted through memory into behavior.”
What I’ve learned from that is that when I’m able to disempower negative memories, I’m better able to meet the present without fear and with realistic, hopeful expectations. I hope that through these blogs I am able to offer you tools to do the same.
Again, I look forward to you posting your thoughts and responding to mine, as you read my entries. (Scroll down.) Have a great day!