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Counseling/Help Me Please, I Need To Remember What Happened


"I have always had a kind of bad family situation. My mom is well I guess the closest word to describing it would be crazy and I met my dad once when I was about 6 or 7 I think and haven't seen him since. I was taken away from my mother when I was a few weeks old because she wasn't taken care of me and I was then put in my grandparents care, well mostly my grandmothers because when I was about 5 my grandfather had a stroke and suffered brain damage leaving him with the mentality of pretty much a child.Living there my mom would come by every once and a while sometimes stay for a couple days and then leave for weeks. When I was about 10 my grandmother found out she had breast cancer, she went through the chemo and surgery but she was just getting worse and was unable to take care of me and my grandfather anymore so I was sent to live with my cousins that I had spent a few weekends here and there with.
My grandmothers house wasn't really a good place for a child, with my mother there talking about people taking her wheels and saying she was going to take me "home" when she got a place, and with one of my uncles(now deceased) who was homeless and a druggie, there was people coming through that house that weren't the best for a child to be around.
My question has to do with, I have this strong feeling that one of my other uncles let's call him Bob, I just don't know why but I have this strong feeling that he did something to me, i'm not really sure what exactly, either him making me touch him or him touching me or what. I just remember when my grandmother was in the hospital I was just mean to him specifically when he would tell me to do things such as come and eat dinner or go to sleep and I just had this strong feeling against anything he said.
Well I am 19 now and my cousin/mom was talking with my cousin/dad and he was like there were so many bad people going through that house when she was living there, how do we know that she wasn't sexually abused, and she told him that well if she was she might not even remember it. She told me about this and I was like yeah I don't remember anything really but I was also so young that I don't remember a lot of stuff from when I was living there. I think that is what has got me thinking a lot about it.
Also most of the time after me and my boyfriend have sex, I just feel really sad afterward and I just want to curl up in a ball and lay there.  Also if we are in like the middle of something, and he does something accidentally that makes it hurt I just try to get away from him and face the wall but I have no idea why. He recently asked me why after we have sex that I always want to like curl up in a ball and I was like I don't really know, I think that has also got me thinking that maybe it has something to do with "bob".
I guess the question is really is there anything you think I can do to determine if anything really happened? Maybe I remember since I have such a strong feeling against him maybe my mind is just blocking out any of those memories because of how bad it was and is there anything I can do to maybe unblock it? Maybe you have an insight on it being about something else rather than abuse?

Also I can't talk to my uncle "bob" about it because he is in jail for stabbing a woman and there isn't anybody left really from my childhood that I can talk to about it because my mom was rarely there and my grandparents and uncles are now deceased.
- Signed

Hello Veronica

I can certainly understand how your situation could be very unsettling, and why you would want some answers about how to figure out what happened. Feeling that something happened, and not knowing for sure is very frustrating.

Remembering trauma is not an exact science by any means. Memory is a tricky thing, especially when youíre talking about repressed memories like those surrounding childhood sexual abuse. That being said, there are definitely some things you can do to facilitate your memory of traumatic events in your past.

First of all, I recommend that you trust your mind, and the intuitive sense that you have that something happened. My experience has been that you would not be thinking those thoughts unless something indeed did happen. Your emotional and physical reaction following sexual relations with your boyfriend is a validation of your suspicion that you may have had sexual trauma in your past.

Here is a process you can use to start the remembering process. Get comfortable in a private, safe place, and get a journal that is specifically for this type of writing, and not a general purpose journal. I recommend that you write in longhand, as that will be more likely to facilitate memory than typing on a keyboard. Be sure and keep the journal private...this is for no oneís eyes but yours.

Then, just write about what you do currently remember. Write about anything and everything surrounding the time when you think something may have happened. Donít worry about whether it is completely accurate or not. Unless you plan to file charges against a perpetrator, you donít need to determine verifiable just need enough information to heal emotionally from what happened. As you write, include possibilities of things that you think may have happened, and notice whether your body has any emotional reactions as you write.

Your body remembers, Veronica. Thatís why it reacts when you are intimate with your boyfriend. Listen to and pay attention to your body all the way through this writing process. It will tell you when youíre getting close to traumatic events.

Be aware that you may need to seek counseling as you go through this process. This is very difficult to do on your own. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break, and only go back to the writing if you feel that it is helpful to you. Discontinue the writing entirely if it is creating unmanageable stress for you.

I created a web page on my site specifically to help with this type of healing process. It addresses journaling for healing and peace of mind, and will definitely help you with remembering and recovering.

Your body and mind are designed to heal, Veronica. Trust yourself, and your internal process as your ultimate and most reliable guide. These imagery processes will further help you as you heal.

Feel free to write again for follow up questions, if needed.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore


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William DeFoore, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about depression, anxiety, anger issues, marriage issues, parenting, addiction issues and general life coping problems. I will give a positive perspective, offering encouragement and an action plan about the next best steps for you to take.


I have been in practice as a counselor for over 38 years, working with individuals, couples and families with good results.

I am the author of: *Anger: Deal With It, Heal With It, Stop It From Killing You. Health Communications, Inc. 2004. *Anger Among Angels: Shedding Light On The Darkness Of The Human Soul. Health Communications, Inc. 2000. *Serai: Bringing The Children Home. Wingspan Press, 2007

B.A. in Sociology; M.A. in Clinical Psychology; Ph.D. in Counselor Education; Licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor

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