Why is my memory not working right?

Lab tests have shown that when trauma happens, the frontal lobe shuts down, including the region necessary to put feelings into words, the region that creates a sense of location in time, and the thalamus, which integrates the raw data of incoming sensations.
Under ordinary conditions the rational and emotional brains collaborate to produce a blended response.

What does this mean?

The intense horror of being abused causes the brain to become off balance and this trauma disconnects various brain areas that are necessary for proper storage [memory].
Terror shuts off the frontal cortex [the thinking brain] and the limbic system and brain stem function [the emotional brain] take over to ensure that you survive the event[s]. During abuse, the sole purpose of your body is to keep you alive – this is the trauma response – of Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn.

With the brain not processing all the information that is happening correctly, there is no coherent, logical narrative of the abuse. Rather, the memory becomes fragmentated with emotional sensations, images, sounds and physical sensations. The ability to tell what happened at the beginning, then what happened next, and then after that, and then what happened, and how it all ended …… all this is not possible from one who’s been abused.

So you abuse survivors, there is nothing wrong with you because you are not able to recall the abuse in a story like fashion. Your body and brain did not nor could not remember the abuse that way. There was too much adrenalin flowing through your body. Your memories, as they return, manifest in various ways and your body will allow them to surface when it is ready to process them for recovery. They will come back in bits and pieces and this is perfectly normal. There is no judgement. You will get through this. You are not alone. As a certified trauma recovery coach I am here to help you along your healing journey.

Lisa Hilton, CTRC-A, founder of Hilton Coaching & Consulting. I am a trauma coach; I educate, consult, and am a published author. I work with adult survivors of Childhood Trauma and those suffering from Complex PTSD so they can Transform their Travesty into Triumph, one step at a time.

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