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Disconnection with Childhood

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I didn’t have a horrible childhood, however there were parts that weren’t particularly pleasant. I was a victim of mild child abuse- mainly emotional, some physical (but nothing too bad). I battle with Dsythymia and ADHD (diagnosed).
When I remember my childhood, I remember mainly the facts. I know that I visited an aquarium, but I don’t necessarily remember. If I focus, then I can remember, but it is only snippets- like an image or two. Most of it is reconstructed, where I see myself- my child body- in the picture. I don’t see the movie or my parents from my point of view in my memory, rather I see from another’s point of view, where I see the back of my head, myself in between my parents, staring at the screen. I see the memory from another point of view, not my own.
When I am recalling what happened to me as a child, specifically when I was abused, I can give the facts of what happened, but I feel separated from the memories. I know it happened, but emotionally it doesn’t feel like it happened to me, if that makes sense? When I start to make the connection that it happened to me, I become emotionally confused and fragile. I can handle it, but it is a frustrating.
Is this normal? If not, why is it happening to me? My main guess is this feeling is caused by the stress and trauma of my childhood, but speaking with others, they seem to vividly remember their events in a completely different manner than myself. (From the USA)

Disconnection with Childhood

Answered by on -


 Thanks for writing to us about your situation. Sometimes when there is abuse early on the mind can try to protect itself from the painful recollection by distancing and blocking the memory. Your background information indicated that you are in college. I would make an arrangement with the university’s counseling center to have a therapist there help talk you through these thoughts, feelings and memories.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Disconnection with Childhood

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Disconnection with Childhood. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 1 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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