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False Memory Syndrome

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Many of us grew up in homes where Satan’s influences were more prevalent than Christ’s. All forms of abuse took place and for those who have experienced abuse, particularly sexual abuse, coping mechanisms and defense mechanisms can take place within the victim.

In the case of sexual abuse the victim can repress those memories so deeply that as an adult she/he may “forget” the abuse occurred. But it isn’t that easy because our brains don’t forget. Like a computer, even though we delete something, it’s still hidden somewhere in the hard drive. It will come up at sometime with the right buttons pushed!

The victim may eventually go for counseling for depression or anger issues or any number of reasons. One in particular is feelings that “something happened” or flash backs of abuse begin to occur. Others may know they were abused but can’t recall everything and the family members deny vehemently that nothing happened and “you’re making it up.” Which places the victim in a dilemma of “am I making this up or did it really happen?”

In my case I had to sit down and think back over the years I could remember. Yes, I had definite memories of places, approximate ages, and was having dreams that brought out a few incidents,  plus the fact that a sister was also abused even though my mother was denying that I was abused. I went through the stages of “he wouldn’t do that, it didn’t happen, I have to be making this up.” Yet I couldn’t deny that what memories I had were in fact real and not just figments of my imagination.

There are some guidelines that I found useful in discerning the truth.

1. Who brought up sexual abuse in the therapy session?  Did you tell the counselor you had vague memories of abuse? Or did you seek counseling for some problem area and found the counselor “suggesting” sexual abuse as an answer? If your heart reveals thoughts, memories, inklings of an abusive background, follow your heart. I found that when a memory surfaced, it felt right, or it felt wrong. It explained a dream I never understood or a vague inkling of something I couldn’t pin down. If your counselor insists you were abused and that just doesn’t resonate with your heart, mind, and soul, pray about it. God will show you the truth. Consider seeking another counselor if this one continues to insist on abuse.

2. Think back over the early years. Has someone else in your family talked about, or hinted at abuse directed at them. Did a sister reveal that “Daddy was hurting her.?” Is there a tangible friction between your mother and you that you can’t explain as normal friction? In my case there seemed to be a “wall” between my mother and I that I didn’t understand. I know now it was because she knew of the abuse and turned a blind eye to it. Even though I had buried the memories somewhere in my brain I knew she knew. I’m not suggesting that if you and Mom don’t see eye to eye that you were abused and she knew and did nothing to protect you. I’m suggesting you seek God’s truth and He will reveal the reasons why you and Mom don’t see eye to eye. Unforgiveness for other hurts can be a reason. Another indicator can be that you don’t want to be alone with a particular person, especially someone you trusted, find out why.

3. Confrontation isn’t a good idea until you are absolutely certain of abuse. If through therapy exact memories of places and events have been revealed by you, not a therapist telling you they took place even though you don’t recall them, then and only then is confrontation a possibility. That is up to you. Don’t expect an apology or even confirmation of the abuse and do it only with the Lord’s guidance.

It is very difficult to admit that someone we trusted and loved has betrayed that trust and love. As adults we waiver between admitting the truth to ourselves and others. When we have come to face the horrors of the past it’s still very difficult to seek counseling or tell others of the abuse. To have to face the truth about the past destroys the image we have put in place of a “happy home”  or  “I had wonderful parents.” It is having to face betrayal of the worst kind and that isn’t easy.

False Memory Syndrome is very dangerous to those of us who lived, survived, real – not imagined -sexual abuse. Ask Christ to reveal His truths and you will know within your heart, Is this false? Is this truth? Don’t allow others to convince you it did not happen when in reality it did. And, don’t allow a counselor, or anyone, to convince you it did happen when in reality it did not. Lives can be destroyed by a false memory.

My Dad finally admitted what he did yet my mother was still in denial right up to her death.


If you have confidential comments or questions feel free to e-mail me at:

Blessings to you.

Confronting your Abuser

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Thunder sounded like bombs being exploded. Lightning streaked down, sizzling and dangerous from the sky as its deadly bolts slammed into the ground outside my bedroom walls. Sheets of rain pounded against the windows as though wanting to enter and drown me. Wind whipped through the tree branches ripping them from their trunks.

Suddenly it stopped. An eerie silence hung mysteriously. Not even a bird chirped. The clock ticked loudly in the silence.

I knew. I knew what was about to come and then it came. As the hail pounded against the roof, blasted horizontally against the windows I ran. Grabbing my Bible, my purse, and my dogs I ran to my walk-in closet. Cowering beneath the skirts, shirts, and slacks tears streamed down my face. Gasping from the sobs that forced their way past my lips as the wind howled outside I cried out to God. God I don’t want to die hating my Dad!

It seemed like all of my life I hated the man who was suppose to nurture me, keep me safe, feed me, clothe me, educate me, and raise me to love God and others. Instead he violated me, taught me to lie, to sneak about in the dead of night, to depend on myself and not scream or ask for help. He taught me to feel guilt when I was not the guilty one. He taught me to distrust any who got near. He taught me shame and that I was nothing; not in his eyes or God’s.

God, I don’t want to die hating my Dad.

As the tornado warning horns blared loudly through the trees the Lord said to me, “I want you to forgive your father. Not here in this closet. I want you to go to him tomorrow and forgive him to his face.” I agreed and sighed a sigh of relief when the warning horns finally stopped and I was able to leave the confines of my closet.

The next morning three of us entered my car for the fifty mile drive to confront my Dad. The three of us was not God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It was me, Christ, and Satan. At several points the enemy wanted to turn my car around. “Forget it! You don’t have to do this, he doesn’t deserve forgiveness.” I fought the steering wheel. Again I cried out to the Lord. “If You want me to do this Lord, you better take control of this car!”

He did.

I parked my car under the large Oak tree and began walking across the pasture toward my Dad’s front door. “What do I say, Lord?” I asked as I approached the front door. “I will speak through you. Trust Me child.” The door opened, in more ways than one.

Sitting across the table from my Dad I saw fear in his eyes. He didn’t know I was coming but somehow knew this wasn’t a social visit. “We need to talk,” I said softly. He just looked down at the table. “Why? Why, Daddy, did you do all those horrible things to me for all those years?” I had a sense that the words were not mine. That the voice coming from my lips was from the One who already knew the answers. A defiant look flashed in my Dad’s eyes as he boldly looked up at me and said, “You wanted it!”

I had confronted my Dad once before many years previously. When he said those same words to me at that time, I lost it! I went bolistic and screamed, cussed him, shook my finger in his face, and got nowhere except hating him more. He sat like a stone on the chair and listened. He ignored my pain and then got up and walked out with an air that he did no wrong and it was all my fault.

Not this time! It wasn’t Sue asking the questions. It wasn’t Sue doing the confronting. It wasn’t Sue who would lead this father to the realization that the child, his child, was not the one at fault. Softly the Lord’s words came, “How can a two year old child ask for sex? A two year old child doesn’t know what sex is.”

The Lord, and me, calmly waited for his reply.  “Well I must have been drunk and didn’t know what I was doing!” was my Dad’s next excuse and with each excuse the Lord very calmly confronted him with the truth. When the excuses ran out silence filled the room.

I looked across the table at this man I called Daddy and for the first time I really saw him. I was looking at an 85 year old man who had been physically and emotionally abused by his own father, sexually abused by his Dad, abandoned on a street corner and left to care for his mother and seven younger siblings at the age of seventeen. I saw an old man who didn’t know how to accept love or give love. I saw a man who had been given over to the enemy by no fault of his own.

Looking across that table at the man who now had his head lowered and tears streaming down his cheeks my mouth opened. Jesus stepped back and the words that came were mine. “Daddy? I forgive you. I forgive you for all the horrible things you did to me. I forgive you for all the things that you should have done, that you didn’t. I forgive you for not being the father to me that you should have been.”

My Dad sat sobbing. Through his tears he, for the first time ever, apologized for all the hurt he had caused me.

And then the real kicker came.

Reaching across the table I took his hand in mine and looked at his tear stained face. “I love you daddy. I loved you then and I love you now. What you did was wrong and I forgive you. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. You still have to answer to God.”

The Lord showed me that it is those we love the most that are the ones who can shatter our hearts into a million pieces. I never dreamed there was an ounce of love in my heart for this man I called Daddy.

With God’s peace beginning to flow through me I cried all the way home.


“Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: “‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” Jer. 1:9


Read: John 14:27 – Is.26:12 – John 8:32, 36 -Is. 43:2 – Is. 41: 10 – Ps.118:17

Now be still and ask the Holy Spirit what He wants to say to you.

If you have confidential questions/comments feel free to e-mail me at:

Blessings to you.

Published 2008 (2)