For me, my repressed pain, which is triggered by my repressed memories, is something that I can only express privately or more to the point, I use every method I can to distract myself so as not to feel this repressed pain. I’ve spent so many years in denial of what happened to me, first because I couldn’t handle it than because I didn’t know how to handle it. In my family Denial is our way of life. If we had a family crest with a motto on it; it would say “Deny, deny than deny some more”. Nowhere in our family are the words “You shall know that truth and the truth shall set you free.” This is kind of funny since the saying about truth comes for the Bible and my family eat, sleeps and breathes the Bible. But for them, and thus for me because that is how I grew up it has been “If you deny it happen then it really didn’t happen and so you don’t have to face the reality of the abuse. Deny, deny, deny – Deny that my grandfather was a pedophile, deny that my grandmother was enabling my grandfather to abuse child, deny that my mother had split-personalities and that she was physically abusive and neglectful in turns, and deny that you knew about any of it so that you would have to deal with what these statements mean.”
To live in this state of complete denial, I’ve had to repress my pain and the memories that went with them. Now that the pain keeps bubbling to the surface I have to face the facts that I have use a lot of different things to keep them repressed. The most noticeable of them is not letting one moment of quiet to permeate my life. The TV, music or a book on tape is almost always playing in the background. Even when I worked in the corporate world, I almost always had my IPod with me. It helped me to work better and to drown out the voices and memories in my head. Now I can’t go anywhere without my IPod, I don’t sleep at night without the TV on, I can’t drive without some kind of background noise (music or a book on tape). I can’t allow even one moment of quiet or the fear, pain and loneliness of my childhood finds its way in.
The repressed memories are the hardest to work with because at first you think you are going absolutely crazy. For me, it was “Why do these horrifying flashes of abuse keep popping into my head? What do they mean? Are they real!?!” Once I got past the point of thinking that I was going crazy for having these horrific flashbacks and I came to a place of acceptance that they were real and not just my twisted, sick mind. Then other questions started coming up “Who was doing these things to me? Where was I? How old was I? Where were my parents since I was pretty sure it wasn’t them abusing me?” But I think the biggest questions for me were “Why had I forgotten the abuse?” and “Why was I remembering it now?”
The answer to my first big question was pretty easy for me – I’d forgotten them because they were horrific and my child’s mind just wasn’t able or ready to deal with them. It was a safety mechanism to keep me from actually going insane, it was the only way my child’s mind could handle it. As for the second question – it’s true I started remembering things when I was 16-17 but none of these memories were really clear. I didn’t get the clear memories until after my grandfather died. I think that my mind knew that I could not handle them until he was gone, otherwise I might have snapped and killed him, but at the same time I think I remembered just enough as a teenager so that I no longer had to put myself in situations where I had to deal with him.