While continuing to read the book I’ve shared before I’ve been reading the chapter on memory. Much of it is a bringing together of research from many people over many decades and is presented as possibilities with some certainties in the way memory works. Most of it is theorizing but much of it also makes sense.
When I came to a section talking about the power of suggestion I made sure that I didn’t ignore it in favor of the section on memories cut off from consciousness. I feel it’s necessary to look at all possibilities when it comes to sexual abuse and not to only consider that everything I see must be real. Nor does it mean that everything I see is fake.
I found myself going back to the session when I first told my therapist about my uncle kissing me on my underwear. She was sure that it wouldn’t have been the first time he did something but for me, that was the first time I ever entertained the idea that anything else could have happened.
Without her meaning to, my therapist has made this process more difficult. I in no way believe she had some nefarious purpose and I remember the conversation we had the next visit because I was upset with her for saying that and I called her out on it. She apologized explaining that she goes off of her professional experience and her intuition in situations like that. She just spoke what she felt. I could accept that and we have since come to better understand how the other person communicates and processes information. But…it was still said and because of that I always wonder if I would have had these distressing thoughts about my uncle if she had said nothing about possible other abuses.
So, now I once again feel the need to look back at the “case” and once again put forward other facts in play. Sometimes it can be helpful to have things down in writing as it were.
I go back to when I first got married and my husband and I had been intimate. I had never been with anyone sexually before him (as far as I know). Afterwards I was laying in bed (I believe my husband was going to sleep) and I suddenly saw an image of my uncle and I started crying. That fact has always stuck with me in moments of doubt because it made no sense. I hadn’t thought of my uncle in years and years. He was nowhere in my thoughts until that moment. I think my husband asked me what was wrong but I can’t remember what I said. And just as quickly the whole incident was forgotten until I brought him up in therapy.
The other thing I look at is my more immediate reaction to my therapist’s thoughts about further abuse. My own thoughts became very specific. I thought of my uncle’s wife, about her leaving me alone with him. I did a collage about it at one point two years ago. ****
****I saw a narrow hallway with rooms off to the sides that was in keeping with the architecture of my hometown. I also had a perspective on the “scene” that was unusual. I told my therapist about something I had seen at one point and she pointed out that my perspective was from being on the floor where children play. In that she was correct and I’ve wondered from time to time why I would put my younger self on the floor automatically instead of on a couch or chair or whatever.
Yes, she suggested that a man would not pick up a little girl and kiss her on her panties in a house with people around him as a “first move”. But I’m the one whose mind started displaying “details” or environments and scenarios that had nothing to do with what she said. She never once said, where or how etc. There are other things that I’ve seen or felt but I picked out two.
I feel that to be responsible I have to ask myself if I am that open to having my mind influenced? Honestly? I’m not. I am a person who tries to form a cohesive unit with those I am around socially so that we can all get along and find common ground. But if a person tells me something or suggests something I don’t just accept it. I have to prove it to myself first. I either do that based on personal experience and/or previous knowledge or if I have none, I research the matter in order to form my own opinion. And while I try to understand other people’s feelings or conclusions, if my own don’t match I don’t defer to the other person.
I think the power of Me is stronger than ideas. This doesn’t help my own struggles but I find it helpful to re-evaluate myself and my process from time to time.