While not many people realize this, our memories are not perfect, they are recollections of how we perceived something we experienced but that doesn’t mean they’re always accurate. Memories while something we think to be untestable truths can be quite inaccurate.
When trauma and dissociation come into play, memories become quite complicated at best. You see, on the average day, your brain forms memories in three steps but when we are in danger or going through some kind of trauma our brain does not work in the same way it would ‘normally.’ When our fight or flight response is activated according to Good Therapy it prevents the parts of the brain responsible for creating and retrieving memory from functioning properly. This is why some people completely forget the traumas they’ve faced and if it happens over and over again, can cause issues with what we call dissociation.
Now, for those who do not know, dissociation is something that many people experience that basically includes them feeling detached from their surroundings. Their experiences be them physical, emotional, or otherwise all feel out of place. Some people who face this kind of thing on an extreme level end up experiencing things like dissociative amnesia which is a severe disorder that separates a person from their memories. They go through abnormal memory loss to an extent where it affects their lives. While some people are aware of their memory loss, others are not.
Good Therapy wrote as follows in regard to dissociation and memories:
At the heart of dissociation is memory disruption. During dissociation, the normally integrated functions of perception, experience, identity, and consciousness are disrupted and do not thread together to form a cohesive sense of self. People with dissociation often experience a sense that things are not real; they can feel disconnected from themselves and the world around them. Their sense of identity can shift, their memories can turn off, and the connection between past and present events can be disrupted.
In understanding the human response to trauma, it is understood that dissociation is a central defense mechanism because it provides a kind of mental escape when physical escape is not possible. This type of defense is often the only kind available for children living in abusive situations. Posttraumatic stress (PTSD) and complex posttraumatic stress (C-PTSD) often go hand in hand with dissociation. In studies investigating the impact of PTSD and memory, researchers have found that people with dissociative symptoms have a greater impairment with both working memory and long-term memory.
The truth is this kind of thing can cause long-term issues for a person in regard to their memory. If you want to learn more about all of this check out the videos below. Have you ever experienced something like this? Our minds really do come up with some of the most mind-blowing ways to cope with the things we’re facing.