An Odd Memory

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

A few weeks ago i remembered something from when i was younger. I would have been about seven or eight…or maybe 9, i can’t remember. Anyways, i remembered being in my room with a friend. My mum was in the house and my door was shut. To cut a long story short…she had her pants off and she made me ‘feel her’ and then she made me do the same so she could ‘feel me’. She told me that if i didn’t do it she’d tell my mum that i was being mean to her, which scared me so i complied. My memory of it is a little skippy, but the next thing i remember is telling my mum and she was casual about it and we never spoke of it again

But now that i remember it again, i have NO feelings about it at all. i would think that i’d at least have some!! I’f i’d blocked it out all those years then surely i must have some feeling about it! And then i vaguely asked a friend about it and he said that it would mean i’m a psycopath…which scared me a lot. Because i dont know…it might be true.

I just want to know what it was exactly that happened that day, and why i don’t have any feelings about it (my thoughts on this are that it was no big deal so i obviersly wouldnt have feelings on it) and if my mum should have done something. I think at the very least she should have done some investigating on the girl..i mean, she was clearly being abused by someone. Or do i just have too much time on my hands to over think things!?!

A. I disagree with your friend. Having a lack of feelings associated with a vague memory does not make you a psychopath. I am not certain why your friend believes this but I don’t think it is accurate.

It is difficult to explain memory. Scientists know only a small fraction of how the brain operates. No one can be fully certain of what a memory is. Why did you have that particular memory at this point in time? One possible theory is that you had the memory because you were psychologically ready to have it. Some psychological theories posit that painful memories are unconsciously blocked as a way to protect the conscious mind from having to deal with them. In other words, the memory may have been blocked by your unconscious mind because it was too painful to handle. Perhaps you were psychologically able to handle the memory and that is why it occurred. That is only one theory and it may not explain what happened. There are many other theories to explain your experience.

Some individuals have similar experiences except their memories come in the form of dreams. After a series of dreams, each one more revealing, an individual may believe that he or she had been sexually abused. I mention this with caution. I can’t be sure that your memory is accurate. It is important to keep in mind that memory can be faulty and unreliable. The fact is you may never be able to verify whether the memory has any basis in reality.

The other aspect of your question is why your memory had no emotional affect on you. That too is difficult to answer. I do not believe that your non-reaction means anything negative about you. You should take this incident at face value which is you had a vague memory and you have no emotional connection to it. I do not think you can ascribe a deeper meaning to the memory.

If more memories surface, you may want to keep track of them. It may be a one-time event and as I remarked above, you may never learn the truth. Should more memories surface, you may want to consult a therapist to further explore why they would be entering your conscious mind at this time. Thank you for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Apr 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). An Odd Memory. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/04/13/an-odd-memory/

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