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One major controversy regarding Abusive Parents concerns people who grew up thinking they have a good family, and then 'recover' memories of childhood abuse. On one side, there is the belief that people (particularly children) can subsconsciously choose to forget something that is too painful to remember, and on the other side, there is the belief that therapists or others could potentially implant false memories of abuse into a person's psyche. (Evidence suggests that both theories are actually true, making it very tricky to determine the truth in any given case.)

Naturally, this controversy has shown up in fiction. And since not everyone does the research, there are some common mistakes made.

Assuming it's possible to repress memories, it is a skill that can be learnt in childhood if there is repeated trauma. The only known cases where adult or single-event trauma appears to have been repressed occurred in individuals who also recovered memories of repeated early childhood trauma. In addition, it seems to be that the child has to be attached to the abuser and need to trust them, meaning the abuse must come from a parent or other beloved authority figure.

Compare Remembered Too Late.

Examples of Repressed Memories include:


Web Comics

  • In Sluggy Freelance Torg represses/alters his memories so he doesn't have to face the fact that Zoe and Riff most likely died in the Mark-19 explosion.

Fan Fiction

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