Domestic Violence/suppressed or not?
I spent four abusive years married to a man with antisocial personality disorder. After my son was born and things continued to get worse, I finally developed the courage to walk away. My son and I have forged out our own life these last six years putting those years behind us. Recently, I found that pretend those things away or ignoring them only causes the emotional issues to grow. This last year I began seeing a therapist and started to really dig into those dark years. It has not been easy! I developed sever PTSD, and I have experienced flashbacks and nightmares along the way. Still, at least I am trying to deal instead of hiding it all.
I have a question for you. A few weeks ago I revealed another aspect of assault to my therapist for the first time. After mentioning the gun and what he wanted to do with it, we ended the session. I have had very intrusive thoughts since then. I have had what seems like flashbacks where I can see myself on the bed. I can feel the cold barrel of the gun. I actually shutter from the fear of him intending to put it inside of me - of his intentions to rape me with it.
What is bothering me is the fact that I can't remember all the details. I don't know if I have made this up or if it is a suppressed memory trying to come out. There are lot of other instances of abuse and rape that I can remember more of the details to, and those I can validate more easily. How can I know if this is a true memory or not? It has haunted me for the last two weeks now. I don't know that he actually ever put it inside of me so maybe it doesn't even count. Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned about it, but the unknown seems so scary at times. I just want to feel confident of something. I know I can't change anything that happened, but I at least want to be confident in my memories. How vulnerable are our memories? Can I be making up these memories because I was merely afraid those things would happen? I know he talked of using his gun on me many times and I know he wanted to, but I just don't know if it ever happened or not. Do you have any advise you can share with me?
Out of respect for your process and for the counselor you are working with, this is a question that should be addressed to that person. What I can say to you is that memory is fluid and any one person can remember a situation differently than any other person. Police officers can tell you that from eye witness accounts of situations....not one is exactly the same.
When you look at memory from that point of view, who is to say that any memory is 100% accurate? I think we remember what we are able to handle when it comes to PTSD and trauma. Our minds have so very many protective mechanisms that kick in to keep our sanity intact when we go through frightful situations. If you are recovering memories, it is best to let them come as they come forward. You don't want to add to them, have anyone suggest what may have happened or read into anything that is surfacing. Your body knows best what you can handle and it is always right. Be patient with the process. You will recover these memories as you develop the inner resources to do so.
The best thing I can tell you is that no matter what happened in the past, it has no power to change who you are now. Dealing with someone with that personality disorder and coming out with your life puts you in a very select group of people. You won...you got out. That is a monumental accomplishment. The details will reveal themselves as you can handle them. If they never present themselves, you haven't really lost anything. You are who you are...with or without defined memory. That is what you can be confident in.
Many blessings to you. I will pray for you and your counselor as you go through this process. If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me again.