False Memory Syndrome

Bernardo Uribe
11-21-98
Psychology

Memory, defined by the dictionary: is the mental reaction of containing and recalling past experiences. A repressed memory is: one that is retained in the sub conscious mind, where one is not aware of it but where it can still affect both conscious thoughts and behavior.

“When memory is distorted, it can be what is called the False Memory Syndrome: a condition in which a person\'s identity and interpersonal relationships are entered around a memory of traumatic experience which is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes. This syndrome is not characterized by memories that are not true. We all have memories that are inaccurate. Rather, the syndrome may be diagnosed when the memory is so deeply ingrained that it orients the individual\'s entire personality and lifestyle, in turn disrupting all sorts of other adaptive behaviors. The analogy to personality disorder is intentional. False memory syndrome is especially destructive because the person assiduously avoids confrontation with any evidence that might challenge the memory. Thus it takes on a life of its own, encapsulated and resistant to correction. The person may become so focused on the memory that he or she may be effectively distracted from coping with real problems in
his or her life.” John F. Kihlstrom, Ph.D.

There are many theorys that try to explain how memory works, still we are not sure that’s how memory works. One of the most amazing theorys of how memory works, is the one which says that every experience a person has had is \'recorded\' in memory and some of these memories are of a traumatic event that is too terrible to want to remember. Then traumatic memories are put away in the sub conscious mind, i.e. repressed, and are remembered in when you grow up and some event brings it back from the unconscious.This causes physical, and mental disorders in a person.

Some persons have tried to explain their pain even on things like cancer, as coming from repressed memories. Scientists have studied related wonders like people with hands that bleed in some religious settings. Apparently some people, called stigmatics, are not showing unconscious memories of being crucified as young children, but are showing a psychogical anomaly that comes from their conscious obsession on the sufferings of Christ. It is possible that conscious obsessions on the idea that you were sexually abused might increase the frequency of some physical symptoms, and it doesn\'t matter if whether or not the abuse really occurred.

There is no evidence that shows we remember everything that we experience. In fact, there is alot of evidence to show that it is impossible for us to even notice all the things of an experience, much less to recall them all. There is also no evidence that shows that all memories of experiences happened as we remember them to have happened or that they have even happened. And there is no evidence to show any accuracy of memories or that vividness of memories has something to do with accuracy. Although, a connection between abuse and health or behavior does not mean that bad health either mental, or physical, is a \'sign\' of having a bad experience.

Here are a few of the unproved, unscientifically researched things that are being said around by some child abuse experts: If you doubt that you were abused as a child or think that it might be your imagination, this is a sign of incest. If you can not remember any specific instances of being abused, but still have a feeling that something abusive happened to you, it probably did. When a person can not remember his or her childhood or have very blurry memories, incest must always be considered as a possibility. If you have any suspicion at all, if you have any memory, no matter how vague, it probably really happened. It is far more likely that you are blocking the memories, denying it happened\'.

There have been many symptoms suggested as the ones that show that there was of past abuse. These symptoms range from headaches to irritable bowls. In fact, one psychologist of a list of over 900 different symptoms that had been presented as proof of an of abuse. When he reviewed the the list, he found