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Monday, January 5, 2015

1 Tip for Finding the Truth about Traumatic Memory

Have you ever asked yourself questions like: "Is what I remember real or did I make it up? Is my memory a false memory?" 

If you have asked yourself would a tool be really a benefit? The would a test help? Yes, it would. A test to help you determine if a memory you're experiencing is the truth or really happened?

As a survivor myself I asked myself these questions all the time. I had suffered abuse and trauma my whole childhood and did not start having memories or flashbacks of the experiences until I was my 20th birthday. When they started, I thought I was crazy. When I asked professionals, no one could tell me if my memories were real or not. I thought I must be making them up. Now I know I was not.

Professionally as a trauma coach, I have been asked this question regularly by survivors with flashbacks they were experiencing. The problem is always, “How do I know that my abuse or trauma really happened?” And before I can give them an answer, they would say, “Because I think or feel that I made all of it up in my head. Does that makes me a bad and horrible person?” No, it does not.

So how do you know any of your non-traumatic or traumatic memories are accurate or actually happened? Below is a test I developed that will allow you to figure out if your memories are made up or actual truth.

Traumatic Memory Test

You know that memory is real by the following;

      1) A flashback does not stop surfacing no matter what 
           you try to do to stop it.

      2) The intensity of the flashback increases with every episode.

      3) You experience triggers everywhere you turn which causes flashbacks to surface again.

      4) You find yourself thinking how you can fix those 
           past situations.

      5) You attempt to rationalize those horrible times even though they were not rational.

      6) Every time you have a flashback, it hurts emotionally, and you feel like you are "reliving" the situation all over again.

I believe that #6 is the most vital telling sign. Think about this ... memory is made up of three subfiles: audio, emotion, and content. The most crucial subfile of each recorded memory is the emotion associated with each situation recorded and when the memory replays you feel the first emotions all over again because it has not been processed.

1 Tip:

Emotions are the Truth Indicator of Truth in Memory

Why you might ask? Do lies, false statements, or made up excuses have no emotion connected to them? No, they do not.

Go ahead and make up a lie in your head and then say it out loud. Does your statement arouse any feelings? I bet your answer is no. 

So if you make up a lie and say it, the first thing you will openly recognize is that there is no emotion or feeling attached to it. Lies, false statements or excuses are something you create, you form on purpose, or makeup to get you out of a situation. You know the comment you are uttering is false.

Memory is an actual recording of a situation you experienced. The content may degrade over time, but the emotion charge never does. All your real or true experiences evoke emotions manifesting actual true feelings. A real experience converted into a memory always evokes emotion. Excuses, fraudulent statements or lies never have feelings associated with them. 


When memory is replayed in your conscious mind, all subfiles should play together. When all subfiles replay together, audio, (sound, what you heard), content (what you saw) and the most critical subfile of all is emotion (what feeling was aroused). If no emotion is part of the replay, then it is not real. It is the emotional charge in a memory that hurts and makes the "reliving experience" but also validates it is real.
                              No emotion, no truth

Hope this test has helped you to relax some of your worries and uncertainties about your memories. 

If you need more help at eliminating the emotional charge in memory and keep it from destroying your ability to have a happy life then visit my website. While you are there download my free eBook gift to you.
         Coach Bill


  1. Thank you for taking the time to share this important information for survivors. It is sometimes easier to deny reality than to accept what has happened. Now I can accept what has been and leave it behind for a fabulous future. Thank you again!!!

    1. Dear Kate,

      Thank you for your comment. I think this is a very important issue and way to test memory for survivors. Now anyone can can validate themselves.

    2. Thank you Dr Bill. I agree that this is an extremely important issue and an amazing tool that will help so many people. This method is especially helpful for people who are very analytical and attempt to minimize events because there is no denying a severe emotional and visceral response to a flashback.

    3. You are so welcome Kate. I am glad you see the importance of this issue. I use to get asked all the time year after year; "how do i know my memory is real. Maybe I made it all up?"
      So true from what you said about the visceral response. No one can fake that. Thanks again for following my blogs.

  2. I appreciate that you are trying to help victims, but this information is simply inaccurate. False memories are often accompanied by strong emotions, and can look and feel just like real memories. I recommend you look at research by Elizabeth Loftus and colleagues. This information could be taken out of context and used to try and reliably distinguish true and false memories, which is simply not possible. As a psychological scientist, I encourage you to edit this post in line with current scientific and therapeutic consensus.

  3. Anonymous

    I really appreciate your comment and I honor your opinion. After 45+ year of being and working survivors I feel that my information is accurate.

    Thanks again.