Reliable Memories

Part of therapy – surely every type of therapy – is recalling memories, often traumatic or sad. And we all know that individual memories are very often unreliable (the way we interpret things, what we forget, etc.) so when a therapist is making you probe around in the gloom at the back of your mind, how much of what you uncover there is real?

For example, in a past relationship I have various memories of my ex standing over me and shouting while I cringed, cried and quivered in a heap on the floor. What I don’t 6e7d08db06b0f335733c35c259184a27remember is how I ever ended up there. It seems baffling to the person I am now that I would put myself in that position. I’m not an overly dramatic person – I don’t fling myself about for attention. Was I trying to make myself seem vulnerable so he would stop? Was I so overwrought with sadness that I collapsed? Was I having a panic attack? Was I pushed? How and when did I get back up?

I have one memory of a more recent time when I was so upset I almost fainted but I can remember that so vividly, so it’s odd how murky these memories are when they seem so significant. But back to my point – what slant does therapy make me put on them? I’m told it was an abusive relationship so it’s easy to look at these images and see a victim, thrown to the ground. But I jut don’t believe that happened. Yet I could so easily paint this full story, with thicker and thicker layers until it becomes truth.

And that’s what worries me sometimes about therapy – how true are my memories? How much can therapy that looks back at your past ever be accurate and is it possible that it could do more damage than good?


5 thoughts on “Reliable Memories

  1. I can totally empathise with this. My memory is bad and I always worry that a lot of what I remember isn’t even true, but manipulated to suit my mood or whatever I’m trying to prove to myself about that time. Memory is fascinating and terrifying at the same time. I’m plotting a novel to try and work it out in my head!

    Liked by 1 person

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