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Revere, MA
A 26-year-old female asked:

i have trouble remembering experiences; especially ones that are associated with guilt or shame. what could be wrong and is there a way to recall them?

4 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
We have built in: Protective mechanisms that may sometimes prevent recall for traumatic or painful memories. Or sometimes, we make conscious decisions to avoid or ignore thoughts about such things. Most of us don't like to be made aware of things which we are ashamed of. Triggers often can bring up memories which can then be examined.
Dr. Julia Irwin
Psychiatry 26 years experience
Consider counseling: Defense mechanisms are a way our brains deal with information the is too much for us to handle. It sounds like you may be using a psychological defense mechanism from confronting guilt and shame. Exploring your issues with a therapist may be an appropriate next step. The defense is serving a purpose for you. After consultation with a therapist, they can determine if therapy is appropriate.
Dr. Brian Lynch
Family Medicine 38 years experience
Memories: Our first reactions to guilt and shame is to withdraw from the eyes of other. For some people shame or guilt producing events are very vivid for others they are repressed. What you're looking for is a good therapist that can help you deal with the feeling ;if you deal with the feeling the memory should become clear and then you can process it in a healthy way.
Dr. Andrew Berry
Clinical Psychology 14 years experience
Shame: Shame is just about the darkest emotion people can face. It presupposes that there's an audience to our alleged wrongdoings, and that devastating judgement will be passed. Something to remember is that everyone has something they feel ashamed about; it's inescapable. Find a reputable psychotherapist to speak with. Getting it off one's chest in a safe, nonjudgmental place is the first step.

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Last updated Mar 8, 2015

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