Remembering not remembering


I have a friend who when they were 6 had thier dads workmate drive up early one morning while they were outside playing with the other kids. He called them over and picked them up and put them in the truck. That is the last thing they remember before being found around midnight in front of a bar where the guy had dropped them off.
The guy disappeared after that and was never caught.
To this day some 60 years later they have no idea what happened in the time they were missing. Kidnapped early in the morning and then no memories until that night.

The brain tries to protect us the best it can.
Sometimes by being hyperaware and vividly remembering every detail. For others it is by shutting down and not remembering anything. Not remembering doesn't make it less real.
I often question myself because of how little I really remember. Wondering if am I making this all up. But the fact is that it did happen and my little brain just couldn't handle it.
I similarly have had huge gaps in my memory. PTSD Therapy has helped tremendously to unlock the traumatic stuff and allow healing to take place.
I had no memories of sexual abuse that went on from age 3 to age 7 until I was in an EMDR session when I was in my early fifties. But the most significant instance of what you talk about happened when I was 16 years old. I was driving with a group of teens from church one evening, on our way to meet other teens for a burger after a day of play together, when the car had a flat tire. I'm sharing what I know about the event but with NO memories. I probably helped the driver get the jack and spare tire out of the trunk of this lovely old Mercury owned by Rollie and his brother Dan, who was driving their family car with our friends. Dan was likely already at the restaurant because we were alone on the edge of a fairly busy suburban street that curved around Woodlake. The flat tire was on the driver's side front. I probably jacked the car up as Rollie kneeled next to the tire to remove the hubcap and bolts holding the tire on. I expect I was standing in front of the car, or perhaps on the curb when the hit and run driver struck Rollie and killed him, likely propelling him down the street. I know the story, I've read the newspaper article about the event, but the only memories I have are later that evening at our youth pastor's home, sharing our shock and grief... a bunch of teens overwhelmed by grief.

So, the body keeps the score, but that doesn't mean we remember what has caused us so much pain. I relived being raped at age seven in an EMDR session after three years of preparation. It was buried so deep I'd forgotten it all... but I did act our around the abuse for decades. And now I'm here to unpack it all so I can claim my life. This IS the healing journey.
I often question myself because of how little I really remember. Wondering if am I making this all up. But the fact is that it did happen and my little brain just couldn't handle it.
Yes, it did happen. I felt exactly what you felt for quite a while after recovering memories of what I experienced.... I wondered if it really happened or if I was making it all up.... i.e. wondered if I was crazy - my first therapist said "you are not insane, you are a sane person who lived through insane events". I remember another time talking with a therapist for an hour and upon leaving I said "maybe none of this ever really happened" and she firmly replied "it happened" and in my head I thought "how the hell do you know, you weren't there" - but she was right - who would make up such horror tales about their own lives and then pay someone to listen to their made up stories so that they could somehow feel better about themselves.... the more I realized that these things did happen, the less I needed outside validation (eg the perps to admit what they did and be sorry - never happened in my case)... the more I realized these things did happen, the more rage I felt, the more damage to my psyche from dealing with the lies associated with the trauma... but, with time, I came and am still coming to a place of acceptance and a releasing of the anger because it was killing me... and realizing that I am alive and that although I was used like a piece of meat, and that although the rape etc did cause pain and did leave "scars" - I am loved, and can and do love others.