Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Screaming on the Inside

A friend who has an undergraduate in psychology from about a hundred years ago has informed me that body memories of trauma do not exist and that kids cannot remember what happened to them before they were 3 years old.  He told me it was a bunch of hogwash that J could remember her sister trying to drown her at 9 months or that Kara could not remember eating soup in the orphanage when she was a baby.  I could just spit I am so mad.  This is basically calling J & Kara liars.  He has never worked in this field and he comes from a non-traumatic family back ground with two NT children. This is only based on what he "has read" since he still "keeps up with psychology" because he's "interested" in it.  He basically said that Kristy doesn't have any idea what she's doing and must not be worth a sh*t and our psychiatrist doesn't know anything.  Those are fighting words in my book so I had to hang up the phone before I said something I would regret.  My side of the street is still clean at the moment and I'm going to try to keep it that way.

I think he's too old to learn (as in people who have shut the steel trap doors of their mind and think they know everything) and has his head stuck too far up his nether regions to learn anything new but does anybody want to jump in with resources on this subject or personal accounts of your children's body memories?  He really doesn't want to learn anything new but I could use some back up.  I'm paralyzed with pissy-ness at the moment.

I realize he can be stunted when it comes to social cues as they are not one of his stronger attributes. When I'm though with being mad at him I think I should get him a copy of Amer*can Girl's book, How To Make a Friend and Keep a Friend because I think he needs some lessons.

The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about. -Wayne Dyer


matryoshka said...

You may not have a degree in pysch...but I suspect you have field experience way in excess of what this person "has read". He thinks he's right...but you know you are. Maybe most of us don't have memories that far back; but very young victims of trauma do because of the trauma they experienced.

Barb G said...

Our son suppresses many of his most terrible memories, like I did. But, let a bee or any other stinging insect within 10 feet of him and he is hysterical! He completely loses it. This is not normal fear. It is completely over the top. His DCS records indicate that when he was 2 years old, he was removed THAT time because he was being kept in a room that was infested with a wasp's nest. He had been stung several times ... that they know of. ((((Lisa))))

Blessed said...

OK, this is not a personal story, but one that always haunted me. My BFF dated a man who could not extend his arms all the way out. He was perfectly fine in every other way, and this was not a genetic issue. The doctors said it was the result of him being traumatized *in the womb* because his mother was being abused throughout the pregnancy. AS a little fetus, he could somehow sense what was going on in his mother's body, and kept his little arms clutched so tightly to himself that the muscles/tendons did not develop normally, and to this day he can extend his arms most of the way, but not all the way.

I don't know that your "friend" would believe this story, since it was not experienced by me personally, but it is true.

And so, so, so sad. : (

Mijk said...

Neurotypical children here but I have similar experiences. My son was in Nicu for 10 days as a newborn. When hew as 2 his sister got admitted to hospital for pneunomia. She was 7 months and when son walked into the building, he froze, stopped, turned around and tried to leave the building. The nurse asked us if he had been in hospital. We told her. She said. Oh they know. We see it all the time. It is the smell and the sound. They remember.

Daughter was 20 months when her dog died who she adored. We had him euthanised at the vet. We took son and left babygirl at home. Big mistake. She is 6 now and still has quite a lot seperation anxiety that is totally out of character for her. Dog died early november and every year from november til the beginning of march she is hard to handle whe wakes multiple times at night si very frightened and difficult. I never knew why until around four I talekd about a picture of the dog that hangs in her room. I said that was Joris our dog he died. She very angrily screamed. He didnt die. He left He ran away and left me!!! I hate him. I was very fortunate that she articulated this anger because it suddenly made everything clear. These two experiences have made me realise how hard it must be for kids like J. My daughter struggles a lot from this one experience!

GB's Mom said...

Lisa, you are never too old to learn. However, the book sounds like a great idea! With all the people in the world available, you don't need a "friend" like him {{{Hugs}}}

Deborah said...

You mean, he was an undergrad psychology major? Did he ever work professionally in the field? And he thinks he knows more than you, and more than Kristy? Argh!!!

Anonymous said...

As a recent graduate, with a Masters in Psychology, I find your friend's comments to be uneducated and outdated. Psychology is a young science with most of its leaps and bounds in advancement occurring within the last decade. New findings blow old assumptions out of the water on a regular basis. I seriously doubt that theory regarding traumaversaries and body memories existed when your friend obtained his undergraduate degree. I would suggest to him that until he has 30
years of real experience in this field as well as the constant continuing education courses real professionals are required to complete every year that he refrain from passing judgement or spewing ignorant opinions on someone who is in the trenches (you) fighting for survival every day.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

They used to say (and many still do) that basically anything could happen to a child as long as it was prior to age 4 and if they got a stable family by then, that they would be just fine.

VERY new findings show that it is in fact the opposite. So for example a child who spent a year with her mother- even if a little wobbly- is better off than a child who had no parent in an orphange. Neurochemicals develop or do not develop based on infant experiences. They don't have to remember it for it to be a massive factor in development.

Anyway, that's not really what you asked for but it's the first thing I thought of that shows definitively how psych has changed in a colossal way.

Memories take many forms. There are the 'visual' sort where a person can recall things in almost a photographic way, and can "hear" the memories. Certainly people remember smell and taste and those register in the brain at a primal level.

Ok, then, so who is Kara? I thought she was a friend of J's hanging out with you but is there more than that?

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

OH! I just saw the part about his lacking social skills. Coincidentally, people with Aspergers think in pictures. Very famous book by Temple Grandin on the subject. Also thinking tends to be rigid, and social skills are not easy.
Just a thought. Certainly not diagnosing anyone over a blog post! LOL!

Anonymous said...

My NT children recall incidents from before they were 3. Not long detailed memories, but specific events or moments, and lots of them!

Ellen mcneill said...

I would never presume to assert my lack of experience as "understanding", so I am asking for help in understanding how "body memories" can be formed at such young ages--not as a demand for proof or substantiation, but rather as a plea for knowledge. To my mind, it is hard to reconcile a 9 month-old remembering a traumatic event just because I personally can't remember anything before age 4 1/2. That certainly does not mean no one can, or that it's not impossible, I guess I just don't know the information behind the body memory system. Help, please? Humbly asked after having read your blog for at least a year:) Consider this my de-lurking!

Amanda said...

I think the fact that your friend graduated a hundred years ago isn't (in this case) a benefit! A shame too. A shame he isn't more supportive of you. I have found with my kids, whether they remember it or not, if they THINK they do? That's what matters. It's a reality in thier minds. So, you deal with it!! You work to help them deal with it!

I've looked for many a ghost that I know do not exisit (haha..though many would disagree with me). I look for those ghost and I make sure my children are "safe" because that is what they need from me!!

You are going to do exactly what is needed, beause you are that kind of mom!!


Katie said...

I just started my undergrad in Psych, and after my Intro to Psych course alone I could tell your friend he is wrong based on current research and understanding. He obviously has not "kept up" with psychological research in this area. Good for you for keeping your cool!

Life's Mom said...

Here is a book on exactly what you are talking about (available at Amazon):
The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment by Babette Rothschild