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Managing Abuse Memories

By Dr. Margaret Paul
April 22, 2024



While it is very important to be working with a knowledgeable therapist when dealing with abuse memories, there are many things you can also learn to do to help yourself.



abuse recoveryWhen children are severely physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, they often cope with the abuse through some form of dissociation. Dissociation happens on a continuum, from temporarily leaving the body, to fragmenting into different parts, as in Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Dissociation allows the child to separate away from the abuse experience enough to survive it.

Dissociation may cause the abusive event to become repressed, which means that it becomes unconscious - not consciously remembered. It will likely remain repressed until the child aspect, who holds the painful memory, feels safe enough to bring it to consciousness.

This often occurs when people are in a safe therapeutic environment, or when they start to practice Inner Bonding and begin creating a loving internal adult. At some point in the healing process, the memory or memories may emerge in dreams, in drawings, or in physical feelings - called body memories. Occasionally, there may be an "abreaction," which is when the person relives the abusive event as if it is happening in the moment. The person might even swell up from bruises or have intense internal or external physical pain. A person who goes into the abreactive state may or may not remember having been in that state after returning to normal consciousness. Often, the abreaction is a way that the inner child, who received the abuse, lets the therapist know what happened.
 

If You Are Recovering Memories…

If you are starting to remember severe abuse as a result of your Inner Bonding work, what is the best way to handle this?

First, I highly recommend that you seek therapeutic help if at all possible. In a sense you were alone - no one was able to help you - when the abuse occurred, and it is best to not be alone when you remember it. It is best to be with a warm, caring well-trained person who can help you feel safe during the memory process.

However, this isn't always possible. If you need to deal with your memories on your own, there are some things you can do to help yourself through the process.

1) I highly recommend that you learn the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to help release both physical and emotional feelings from your body, as well as old programmed false beliefs. In addition, I recommend you learn Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), which help to release the trauma from your body. You can learn both these techniques online.

2) Practice a process called "revivification." This is technique of intentionally visualizing the abuse a distance away on a screen, as if you are watching a movie. Instead of having to relive all the pain of the abuse, you can see what happened and what shame and beliefs you absorbed at the time of the abuse. You can then visualize giving the darkness of the shame back to the abuser or to spirit, and work with your higher guidance on letting go of the false beliefs.

3) Inner Bonding is a powerful process for healing abuse. By continually going through the Six Steps of Inner Bonding whenever a memory comes up, you discover the false beliefs, move into truth from your guidance, and bring love and nurturing to your hurt inner children.

4) Trust the memories. Realize that dissociated memories will always appear dream-like. It may feel as if you are making them up, but if you do not trust your inner children who have the memories, you could do more damage. These parts of you need to be heard and believed by you in order to heal. Because you repressed the memories, they will not be experienced in the same way conscious memories are, but this does not mean that they are not real.

While it is not ideal to go through abuse memories alone, it can successfully be done, and has been accomplished by others doing Inner Bonding. By learning to be a loving adult for your very hurt inner children, you can heal the past.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."



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