When I was little, we had one of those memory card games. Not just ANY memory card game—one with flags that you flipped over and had to find the match. I remember liking that game although I don't remember being all that great at it. I now know that the abuse I suffered as a tiny child—which triggered my ability to easily block things from my mind—has always made it hard for me to remember childhood memories. Even the good ones are still blocked.
Fast forward to now. It's December and I've officially been recovering from narcissistic abuse, as my therapists have said, since July. One thing I've noticed is that my memory has gotten worse since 2014—a side affect of having endured the kind of abuse I did for more than three years. The same thing happened when I was little: I blocked memories. What's hard about this is it isn't like i can pick or choose what I block. It just all kinda fades to black. I have to fight hard to remember good and not-so-good moments in time.
I noticed this memory decline in other ways, as well. While I was still in the relationship and I had lined up several on-air hosting gigs where I had to memorize lines to repeat on camera, I struggled more than most. I had the hardest time remembering the lines to the point where I was panicking about it and had to repeatedly look at the lines on paper.
Anyone else out there dealing with this lovely physical side affect of abuse? I read the best article the other day that talked about this very thing and how "neuroscience has revealed that long-term narcissistic abuse may cause brain damage." Fortunately, through healing methodologies like EMDR therapy, memory can be improved.
A few important things to note from the article:
I noticed that I was gaining weight in my mid-section during the most stressful times—the lovely affects of too much cortisol in my system. I always felt like I was in a state of high alert and started to have panic attacks while in the relationship.
Also, I literally started pulling my hair out from the stress. It wasn't something conscious—it was my equivalent to chewing on fingernails. I would find myself doing it and not even realize it. In a nutshell, I was a complete physical mess.
I am much better now but I still find myself having heightened reactions to any kind of experience that has the slightest overtone of abuse or control and my emotions are really extreme.
There is no doubt in my mind I have been changed by the abuse but I also know I can fight to heal the damage.
Now, where are my damn keys?
* If you've been through this, I'd love to know how you're doing, if you can relate, and what helped you.
Neuroscience reveals that long-term narcissistic abuse may cause brain damageby Lachlan Brown | Nov 17, 2017