False Memory Syndrome

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When she was fifteen, Paula was rushed to the hospital
having
plunged from a six storied building.

Police investigations found a very
low sill, a very wide
sash window, easy to open, with no ledge. The
thin
screen, like the window, was easy to raise, and had
been found lying
on the ground beside Paula.

The neighbor, who called the police, had been
alerted by the
crash of the screen then thump of Paula’s body. She told
the
police that when she approached to cover Paula with a
blanket, Paula
asked her; ‘what she was doing in the bedroom’?

Interviews with the family
had them all in one room having
breakfast. Paula, herself, claimed to have
fallen.

This matched the medical evidence which had Paula in
a
semi-conscious/sleep state when she hit the ground as
she had not
tensed.

This coincided with the psychological examination which
ruled
out suicide.

Paula spent nearly a year in a hospital, being
released
first for weekend visits, then sent home, coming back
for therapy
over the next three years.

Paula completed high school, went on to
college.

At the age of thirty one, Paula claims to have
jumped.
Estranged from her family, she refutes any attempt to
label her
actions accident, saying;

“How could I accidently open a window, open a
screen,
climb out on a ledge, and jump?”

When told that there was no
ledge and the screen was
lying on the ground beside her, Paula ceases to
converse.
She knows what she knows.

She makes no effort to revisit the
apartment in which she
had lived, nor to stand on the sidewalk and view the
window
to confirm there was no ledge.

She does not consider the police
investigation.
She dismisses the psychological examinations.
She <u>knows</u>
what she <u>knows</u>.

Hence a fall has become a suicide attempt to match
the
new constructs of her invented past.

Her memory of events is so certain
she can describe
how she stood on a ledge that didn’t exist.

She
claims she tried to commit suicide to escape the
abuse she suffered ‘all
her life
‘.

What happened when Paula was thirty one to have

altered her memory of the past to such extent?

Paula, who had
dependency/insecurity issues due to
events in her early childhood, attended a
therapist.

The therapist, assuming abuse, focused on that
area.

Hence, assuming ‘suppressed’ memories, with a mixture of
drugs
and hypnosis, Paula was brought to recall incidents
of abuse she had suffered
between the ages of five and
nineteen, (when her sister left
home.)

Three slaps over a fourteen year period became beatings.
Games
of make believe turned into sexual abuse.
The usual ‘big sister’ advice
turned into domination.

Paula demanded her parents admit that they
‘enabled’
her sister to abuse her.

At the age of fifty six, Paula is
the woman who tried to
commit suicide when she was fifteen. Her entire
life,
from the age of thirty one is founded on being abused.

That her
actual problem was based on abandonment issues
as she had spent the first
years of her life being raised by
an aunt whom she thought was her mother,
and that her
sister, to whom she was closest, had married and
forgotten
her, were ignored by the therapist.

That Paula had attended
the therapist at the age of thirty
one because her parents were moving across
country, and
she had bounced in and out of unhappy lesbian
relationships,
was not addressed.

Had the therapist been competent,
the focus would
have been on dependency, insecurity, abandonment
and
identity. But so quick to assume abuse, the idea
that there were ‘suppressed
memories’ provoked the
diagnosis.

False Memory Syndrome is
the definition of what
Paula now suffers.

A number of successful
lawsuits have been completed
against therapists who create these kinds of
memories
and thus destroy the life of the patient by estranging
them from
their families.

In many cases, therapists have caused patients
to
‘remember’ being sexually abused by fathers/brothers/etc.

The usual
‘formula’ in these cases, as with Paula, was not
to confront the actual
abuser, who will deny the abuse, nor
to look to prove events, but to accept
they happened as
remembered.

I know what I know,” is a
hallmark of False Memory Syndrome.

The American Medical Association as
well as their British and
Canadian counterparts have warned, in the strongest
language,
to be very careful in dealing with ‘sudden’ adult memories
of
childhood abuse.

This has been prompted by litigation where patients,
like
Paula, have had their lives destroyed. The therapy they
paid did not
help but hurt them.

If you are attending a therapist who suggests the
problems
you experience now have their roots in ‘suppressed’
memories,
consider the following;

1) When did you first notice the
problem you are attending
the therapist for?

If it’s only been in the
last year(s) consider what happened
around the time you first experienced
this problem.

2) What is your actual relationship with your
family?

If you have good relations, good memories, it is
highly
unlikely they abused you.

3) Can you recall your childhood
without trauma, dark areas,
fear?

If you can do this, whatever
problems you have now do not
relate to your childhood.

If you, as an
adult, suddenly recall being abused as a
child during therapy, especially if
you have successfully
functioned in society up until this time, change
therapists
before accepting those ‘memories’.

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