The Underappreciated Role of Repression and Denial

More often than not, we don’t remember our trauma or have only partial memory of it. We might only have memories of the parts we can dissociate from as adults. We are not supposed to remember trauma as a means to survive it and what we DO remember, we might be desensitized from as a means to survive it. When we get the strength or live in the right environment to face it, the memories might begin to unfold from the subconscious mind through nightmares, flashbacks (physical, emotional, visual) or otherwise. Anxiety, fear, depression, emotional detachment, physical illness and addictions are there for us should we never be ready. They are the end-results of denial, the most common forms of escape. Some are never ready to face their past and die never knowing their whole story or have the flashbacks, neurosis, pathologies, addictions and nightmares but never realize they are connected to repressed memories due to profound denial and die never understanding them. This is more common than not. While some may not remember their trauma, the body and soul, does. We are only alive right now due to these survival skills. Repression is a God-given gift. This is something to celebrate. Repression and denial are proof we are made so perfectly and it’s all part of the human experience.

Some people’s memories later show up in their lives, for some they stay tucked away. It all depends on why the trauma even happened and/or why we are here in this incarnation.

“Our greatest strength and our greatest flaw is our capacity to forget. The past recedes and we stagger into the future, hoping that there is something more, something better, but then we think of what we have lost and it almost destroys us until we find a way to forget. The world is built on voluntary amnesia, for if we remembered everything all the time we would not be able to continue. We would perish of heartache”.

–Caitlin Meredith


If we are on the path of healing, it is important to understand repression, dissociation and denial. It’s all about self-awareness and the more we deny how we survived, the more our past rules our lives.

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