How accurate are my trauma memories?

Dec 03, 2018

Let’s talk about memories, because that can be controversial and is a struggle for many trauma survivors.

.... I don't know but you, but it just really hurts me when someone questions the validity of my memories or the accuracy of my memories from past traumatic trauma events.

On top of this I thought that it’s essential to know every detail of the trauma stories. So that I can talk that through in therapy, process, integrate and store those memories, for them to stop haunting me… and I can heal and move on.

When I read into the research on memory and how all this is happening… I came across a statement saying: "even if you have a very vivid and clear memory of something, this is no proof of its accuracy".

I was fighting this statement initially, till I realised that own of my memories wasn’t all that accurate:

here's my clear vivid memory:

... I was in a near miss car accident when I was about 4 years old back in Austria. This was before seatbelts and car seats for children 😊 So, I was sitting in the back in the middle. My aunty slammed on the brake, I kind of fell forward and landed in the front on the bottom of the passenger side on the left...

Well, I’ve been living in Australia for the last 20 years. Here the passenger side is on the left. But this happened in Austria, where we drive on the other side of the road, hence the passenger side is on the right. So, my memory is very vivid, but not all that accurate, as I'd have fallen to the right.

That was the starting point of me shifting and spending a little less time on trying so hard to figure out what happened in detail in my childhood. Because if the memories aren’t that accurate, what’s the point??

Do you too have lots of gaps or for some incidents it feels like two events moves/merged together?

Having complex PTSD essentially means, we had lots of trauma and often it's very similar types of trauma multiple time over years.

This makes it really hard to distinguish exactly when, where, what and how things were accurately in detail… In fact, it’s impossible to do, so I had to stop wasting time in trying to do the impossible and shift my focus a little 😊

Personally, I try to focus on a more overall “theme” now. Like acknowledge that what happened was:

  • Horrible, unjust, criminal, unfair, undeserving…
  • Bad enough to affect the way my brain developed
  • Bad enough for me to have complex PTSD

Regardless of whether my memories are accurate or not, I just acknowledge that:

  • I didn't do anything to deserve this
  • No child or human being should be treated this way
  • This was wrong and criminal

When a memory comes up, I acknowledge the unfairness of this and how this was wrong and should not happen to anyone, then bringing myself back into here & now. Tell myself that in this moment I'm actually safe and it’s safe for me to focus on my future and creating a better future for myself.

No amount of joy, happiness or success that I will have now and in the future is ever going to take away the fact that what happened to me was wrong unjust and criminal.

This is how I kind of dealt with the memory gaps that I have and the blurry memories and not so accurate ones. Most of all, I ignore people who question the accuracy of my trauma memories...

But I'm very curious to hear your thoughts on that, because our trauma memories (accurate or not) are painful and it brings up tons more unnecessary pain & hurt, when people question the validity of our trauma stories.

So please leave a comment down below for me. I'm curious to hear 😊

In the meantime, I'm sending you lots & lots of love and rainbows to brighten up the tough times just a little... 🌈💛

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