Compartmentalization: without realizing it; it’s what I do. I divide my mind into happy little compartments. No… Not all of them are happy. The ones that are not happy… Well, I happily ignore. Well… I ignore them in any case.
Self destructive behaviour I’ve had in the past, behaviour that I am ashamed of that perhaps hurt other people… I stick the details in one of those not-so-happy compartments in the back of my mind with no conscious decision to do so, nor any intent to make myself ever revisit those spiderweb encased boxes.
I have the basic knowledge of some of these blocks of time – I have the basic sense of what went on, I haven’t blocked or repressed my own memory completely… But there are blocks of time, blocks of events in which I baffle my husband at how little I recall. He was the first to point out to me that I apparently compartmentalize a lot and it finally made sense to him when he did some research and was able to align my behaviours with science.
Oh… Huh… Yeah… I guess I do do that now that you mention it….
The other day he made comment at how bad my memory was when I said something about not recalling something from my childhood my mother had mentioned… But then I proved him wrong when I could tell him my Kindergarten Teacher’s name, the Teacher’s Aide’s name, the exact blanket I used for nap time. My BFF’s name from that school (Rachel Fitzpatrick), and memories about the classroom itself and the god awful prayer time and the disappointment of not receiving a Well Done or Good Job ribbon that Mrs O’Neill would make daily for those kids that could stay perfectly still during the dimly lit prayer time. (Needless to say I rarely had the pleasure of getting one.)
My memory itself is not the issue. Sure, I have mom-brain now and I live in a fog a lot of the time nowadays… A hazy head space that makes it difficult to concentrate at times and makes me less likely to recall more recent events. But also… I compartmentalize. My sister says she does too. I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me.
I don’t wish to revisit difficult times. I don’t wish to delve deeper into myself anymore to wade through the muck that I don’t want to think about anymore. Once I’m in a better place over all, once I’m happier, I unconsciously protect myself by simply forgetting the details that would hurt to recall.
I started this young. I realize that now. I started this with Wyatt, blocking details and thought processes from my mind that would have shouted at me to get out of the situation I was in. I rationalized and forgot important details easily, making it easier to stay and believe it was love. Once he was out of my life, I slowly but surely repressed even those rationalized memories. I pushed it all down inside of me and I forgot. I forgot about almost all of it. I had a sense of it linger… I had a wariness of men with only the most basic sense of where it came from. I had a vulnerability seep through for them, especially David, to see and at times take advantage of… But all in all I forgot. That is, until one day in late 2014 – 18 years later – my subconscious spilled forth on a page, I sat back and I realized what I wrote… I started to process it… and a few days later I found myself curled up on a church floor, sobbing.