Can you forget traumatic events?

Today, I read an article in the newspaper in which a professor, who is specialized in memory and legal psychology, said that victims of sexual abuse tend to pretend to have memory loss (in other words, lie about it), because the experience is too painful to talk about it. From personal experience, I can tell you that recalling the horrific memory, can call out a flood of emotions (fear, guilt, horror, disgust, anger, self-hate, etc.) that makes the brain unable to function normally. When it was necessary for me to forget about it and act normally in order to survive, I did not remember anything until I got in a safe enough place to recall it. For example, if your life is in the hands of the camp leader and he sexually abused you, it is possible for you to forget about the experience during the whole month there. Especially in the situation, when you have no means to reach the outside world (confiscated mobile phones) and your basic needs like food, sleep, and the people around you, can be taken from you in an instant. For your survival, it is best to forget about it and go with the flow, be nice to the camp leader (remembering everything stands in the way of that). After camp, you either got threatened so much, you became too broken from it, or you don't want your parents to feel bad for sending you there, that you will never talk about it, or completely opposite, when you go back to your warm home, you will finally feel safe enough to speak up, so the memory comes back. I have seen with my own eyes how people around me got memory loss or even distorted the reality and made me the villain, just to be able to live without the guilt of not saving me and be able to keep on believing in the safe fantasy world that they created in their mind. 

The professor also thinks that repressed memories and dissociative amnesia don't exist. He explained that repressed memories cannot be scientifically proven even if they exist, but the majority of specialists and experts don't think it exists, so it doesn't. However, I do believe it is possible to have dissociative amnesia. The brain acts in strange ways, whenever your life is at stake. Just like with Stockholm syndrome, when you are held hostage by bank robbers or kidnappers, your life depends on them, so it is best to like them and for them to like you back. If they care enough about you, they will keep feeding you and not kill you. So, you conveniently forget about how you got beaten to pulp by them or you do remember it, but you take away all the emotions and reframe the memory, blame yourself and justify and minimize his actions (It was just this once, normally, he is good to me, I did act annoying, etc.). Another example would be, when you get in a dangerous situation, most people think they would fight or flee, but it is also possible, to freeze or cooperate, whichever increases your chances of survival. The brain does this unconsciously and in a split second. While it is possible for a bunny to freeze and play dead and escape from the mouth of a lion, when the lion relaxes his jaw, thinking that the bunny is dead and unable to fight back, for human beings, freezing, especially in the current developed society and not when there were still dinosaurs walking around, actually does not increase your chances of survival. Still, the brain decides it for you, doing the danger analysis based on previous experiences, which is different for every person. 

Not too long ago, I also read an article about a woman with DID (dissociative identity disorder) in Taiwan, who is married and her husband allows her other alter to freely date with other people. A man, who she was dating since early this year, thought it would be interesting to sleep with the other alter too, even though she is the married one and doesn't like him in that way. Afterwards, she went to the police and in court, he admitted guilt. Since it is self diagnosis, it is difficult to prove that she actually has DID. At the moment, there are not that many people diagnosed with DID in the whole world. It is so rare that most people don't think that it is real. I think that it is possible after continuous abuse, while they are still a child and the brain is still growing. Seeing all the cruelty uncovered in the world, I think that there are many undiagnosed cases. Because there are so little cases to study, it is still an under-developed field. But just because it is rare, I don't think it is okay to just say that it doesn't exist. It is really easy to just say that they are acting, but the people close to people with DID can clearly spot the differences between the alters. I think doctors must have had several patients that don't react to anesthesia, as one alter got it and the other didn't, or patients who has perfect sight the one day and bad sight the other day (some alters need glasses, some don't), and just told themselves that they were just lying. This under-reporting is not helping people with DID. 

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