themighty logo

What It's Like to Have Repressed Childhood Abuse Memories Resurface


Growing up, I never realized my childhood wasn’t “normal.” I thought my life was similar to everyone else’s but with a different order of events or situations. I was 30 before everything started coming back. Small pieces at first. I didn’t have an official diagnosis, but I knew I had anxiety and I researched everything. This is when I first started contributing to The Mighty. As I continued researching, more memories returned; repressed memories. Repression of childhood trauma. I lived in the trauma for so long I thought it was “normal.” I thought domestic violence was normal.

It started when I was 4 years old. This was the first incident and I have few memories from anything prior. I’m told its normal for people to not remember much from their early childhood, but I feel the trauma has something to do with my lack of memories. The trauma continued for years. My older sister recalled I would rock back and forth with my arms crossed every time my parents started arguing. I don’t remember this. She said I did it for three or four years. There are so many things I don’t remember and part of me doesn’t want to remember.

After those years, I became emotionally detached. As I aged and went to high school and college, I had trouble relating to my peers. They didn’t understand my perspective and I didn’t see the joy in life they all saw. Few people wanted to spend time with me. When someone did, if they poked fun or ridiculed me, I would leave. They always thought I was bluffing. I grew up being ridiculed and treated like I was nothing. I didn’t want to be around that anymore. I spent nearly 30 years without emotional support from anyone. That’s a long time to feel alone.

I have a long journey ahead of me and I feel I won’t be able to have a healthy romantic relationship for many more years. I’m only now starting to get emotional support from other people. It’s only a handful of people, but it’s a start. And I provide emotional support for them. I’m not broken, but I need to heal. I’ll never be fully healed. The damage is too deep, and I spent years without treating it because I didn’t know I had damage. Time heals all wounds? Maybe. This wound needs all the time I have. If your wounds feel like too much, don’t give up. Give your wounds the time they need. Don’t stop fighting. We are The Mighty!

Unsplash photo via Kyle Loftus