In most cases, not being able to remember your childhood very clearly is completely normal. It's just the way human brains work. On the whole, childhood amnesia isn't anything to worry about, and it's possible to coax back some of those memories by using sights and smells to trigger them.
Memory loss after surviving traumatic events is sometimes called traumatic dissociative amnesia. It can happen in people who experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect, verbal abuse, or emotional neglect.
Adults can generally recall events from 3–4 years old, with those that have primarily experiential memories beginning around 4.7 years old. Adults who experienced traumatic or abusive early childhoods report a longer period of childhood amnesia, ending around 5–7 years old.
Memories do fade. The more time that's passed since an experience, the less likely you are to recall all the details. It's fairly easy to remember what you did a few hours ago. But recalling the same events a month or years later is considerably more difficult.
Childhood amnesia is totally normal. Babies and young children are constantly learning, but their brains don't store experiences into long-term memory. Research shows that adults of all ages are equally bad at remembering specific details from their early lives.
Childish reactions may be a sign that you're dealing with repressed childhood memories. It could be that you throw tantrums, speak in a child-like voice, or are stubborn about small things. These regular regressions are all indicative that you have memories you haven't unlocked.
PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma, psychologists report. Adults can develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder even if they have no explicit memory of an early childhood trauma, according to research by UCLA psychologists.
regularly feel numb or blank. feel nervous, low, or stressed a lot of the time, even if you aren't sure why. have a tendency to forget things. experience unease or discomfort when other people tell you about their feelings.
It may be due to lack of adequate sleep and rest, distractions while reading, poor nutrition, failure to choose the right book, or memory issues such as decay or shallow processing. As you move through life and gain new experiences, your brain is continually undergoing some upgrades.
Summary: On average the earliest memories that people can recall point back to when they were just two-and-a-half years old, a new study suggests.
If you are an adult survivor of childhood trauma you are likely to experience memory loss. Childhood trauma and memory loss go hand-in-hand. Blocking out memories can be a way of coping with the trauma. Memory loss from childhood trauma can affect your life in many ways.
Childhood trauma in adults also results in feeling disconnected, and being unable to relate to others. Studies have shown that adults that experience childhood trauma were more likely to struggle with controlling emotions, and had heightened anxiety, depression, and anger.
Repressed memories can come back to you in various ways, including having a trigger, nightmares, flashbacks, body memories and somatic/conversion symptoms. This can lead to feelings of denial, shame, guilt, anger, hurt, sadness, numbness and so forth.
Stress and fear can cause your brain to vividly remember events to protect you later in life. However, the brain can also repress or push traumatic memories aside, allowing a person to cope and move forward.
Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event. Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks) Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event. Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event.
Clinicians believe that repressed memories have the potential to be psychopathological and therefore can inflict both a physical and mental burden on the individual. Recovering the repressed traumatic memory is necessary for relieving this burden.
The Trauma Test is a brief self-administered rating scale. It is useful in determining the degree to which you struggle with the aftermath of trauma, anxiety or depression, nervous system overarousal, and difficulty with healing and recovery.
Signs of Childhood Emotional Neglect
Low self-esteem. Difficulty regulating emotions. Inability to ask for or accept help or support from others. Heightened sensitivity to rejection.
People can have PTSD even though they do not recall the experience that triggered the problem. As a result, such people may live with PTSD for years without realizing it.
What causes dissociative amnesia? Dissociative amnesia has been linked to overwhelming stress, which may be caused by traumatic events such as war, abuse, accidents or disasters. A person with dissociative amnesia may have experienced the trauma or witnessed it.
Traumatic experiences can initiate strong emotions and physical reactions that can persist long after the event. Children may feel terror, helplessness, or fear, as well as physiological reactions such as heart pounding, vomiting, or loss of bowel or bladder control.
Some of the symptoms of trauma in children (and adults) closely mimic depression, including too much or too little sleep, loss of appetite or overeating, unexplained irritability and anger, and problems focusing on projects, school work, and conversation.
Repressed memory examples include being scared of all spiders after receiving a terrible spider bite in childhood. In this example, one might experience sudden anxiety, depression, or a lack of sleep due to the sight of a spider.
Maltreatment can cause victims to feel isolation, fear, and distrust, which can translate into lifelong psychological consequences that can manifest as educational difficulties, low self-esteem, depression, and trouble forming and maintaining relationships.