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False Memories in Childhood

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posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 12:12 PM
I decided to post this in "Psychology, Philosophy and Metaphysics" cuz I think this category suits this topic best. Mods if I'm mistaken please move.

So, I have a memory of when I was about 3 or 4 years old. We used to have a house at Shawnegan Lake on Vancouver Island, and we often swam in the lake. My cousins were awesome swimmers, but myself and my sister were just learning and we always wore lifejackets in the water.

It was always the 5 of us that would go, myself, 2 cousins, my sis, and my aunt.

The memory goes like this. My 2 cousins are already in the water swimming away. Me, my sis, and my aunt are on the dock and my aunt is helping my sis with her lifejacket. I don't know why, but all of a sudden, I had the notion that it would be a good idea to jump in.

As it turns out, this was not such a good idea and I sank like a rock.

I panicked, and I swallowed water. I remember touching the lake bottom before being grabbed by my aunt and pulled back to the surface. I remember everything about this moment, the mud on the lake bottom, seaweeds all blurry and distorted cuz of the water.

My aunt pulls me back to the surface and onto the dock, I was coughing and choking, however at no point was I unconscious. I remember feeling very weak and rubber limbed.

This is a memory I have had since this time, all my life I remember this. However when I question my aunt about it she denies it, saying it never happened. My sis was too young to remember at all. My 2 cousins have since passed away in separate tradgedys. There is no way to confirm this, but my aunt has no reason to lie about it. Could this be a dream that somehow transformed itself to a vivid memory??

I have other memories like this, I'm not sure if they happened or not. I decided to write about this one, because it is amongst the more benign.

Do other ATSers have memories they are not sure of? It doesn't seem likely, but could this be a symptom of mental illness, manifesting at the age of 3?

ATS write me back with your wierd, hazy memories, I'd love to hear similar stories.

[edit on 27-10-2009 by red_leader]

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 12:24 PM
With the exception of your other experiences with possible false recall, could your aunt's denial be the product of her own guilt borne of being the adult present in this life-threatening situation? Perhaps she felt responsible for what happened and would rather not acknowledge that it happened and risk others finding out about her role in it.

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 12:28 PM
reply to post by GoneGrey

I thought someone might suggest this as a possibility. But I have to say "no".
Besides, she kinda saved my life u know, I would be proud of myself

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 12:38 PM
It's entirely possible to create false memories, it has been experimentally shown time and time that memories are very susceptible to the effects of suggestion and imagination.

It's also known that episodic memories, that is to say memories of events in your life, are very limited before about the age of 4 so this event occurring around or before this time does lend weight to the possibility that is is a false memory.

It's certainly not a sign of mental illness.

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 01:29 PM
I'm presently in a terrible situation where I don't know which of my childhood memories really happened. It sucks bad. In my case, I know how the false ones happened, I just don't know which ones are false.

An older relative, who was a parental figure to me, told me numerous lies over and over again during my childhood and to this day stands firm on those lies. I didn't know they were lies at the time. Those lies that I heard over and over again became false memories. The relative had mental issues. Sometimes those lied memories conflicted with other memories and that is what prompted me to look into things. So, basically, I feel like my whole childhood was a big lie.

These weren't just little lies. These were huge lies that affected my life in a big way. Lots of huge lies.

It's too late to do anything now. All I can do is wonder if every childhood memory was real or not. Some of the big lies I've found the truth for, but there's a lifetime of lies that I will never know about.

[edit on 27-10-2009 by Schleprock]

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 01:35 PM
I have what I'd call false memories also. I have memories that when I quizzed my mother; never really happened. I can remember how old I was, what I wore, who I was with, what I was doing and the vehicle that I traveled in.

She swore up and down that none of it ever happened. She has since passed on, but to me they are still vivid memories of my past. Are these from a past life or a vivid dream, possibly a vivid imagination? I will never know, but it will almost haunt me forever...


posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 01:49 PM
If your Aunt had something to do with you ending up in the water and sinking then maybe she chooses to deny it ever happened. If she pushed you because of something or knocked you in by mistake then it probably isn't something she wishes to remember seeing as you could have died.

People are funny like that...denial is easier than admittance. I'm not saying your Aunt is a bad person, but possibly has a weak side in responsibility.

Hope you swim good now.

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 02:03 PM
I have enough very early memory that I have been able to confirm. In some cases I confirmed them as an adult with assistance from family members and then many years later asked the same adults that confirmed them, and guess what? They actually had forgotten that they used to remember! Ha!

So kids, just because an adult doesn't remember it does not mean it did not occur. An experience with great significance to the child might be to an adult like asking what they had for breakfast on some random day in 1973.

As had been mentioned as a possibility, some may wish to simply conceal something. Of course false memories are possible but I wouldn't just jump to that.

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 02:39 PM
ok, this may sound (or will sound) very stupid but I have a false memory from when I was 3 or 4 years old. A memory of a cow standing in my livingroom and the window behind it shattered. In my memory my grandma tells me it had escaped from the farm further down the road and jumped through the window. She said gradpa was going to get the farmer to come and get the cow.

Of course this did not happen, it most likely was a vivid dream I had but I remember it as any memory as real as it could get.

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