” One morning after Dad finishes his workout, he pulls a fold-out bunk from the wall and lies down, still unclothed. I sit on the floor beside him. I watch his erection. He slaps his tummy with it. He laughs as if he is surprised. ” Touch it,” he says, holding his penis up, offering it to me. I reached over, hold it with my fingers, and let it go, making a thwack… …I have seen his penis before when it is hard. He’d tried to put it into my bottom. He is going to do it again, isn’t he? “I don’t want to be here,” I say. “Unlock the door. Please, Daddy.” The bunker sits around me, heavy and grotesque. I disappear.” (de Milly, http://www.walterdemilly.com/chapter.htm) Who would want to remember this sort of thing? Certainly not the poor child who is recalling it, so why would he? He didn’t, for a long time, because of the pain this memory causes, so he did something that many people do with painful memories. He repressed it. Why do people repress memory, and how can it be recalled? This paper hopes to unlock a few of the secrets of this strange phenomenon. Firstly, repression, as defined by A Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, is the unconscious and involuntary process by which an unacceptable impulse or idea is rendered unconscious. According to Chip Phillips, repression is where “unconsciously you bury painful or embarrassing memories” (Phillips, Ch. 3). So what exactly causes someone to repress a memory? As Phillips stated, “painful or embarrassing memories”. Memories of childhood abuse and sexual abuse are very common (Herman & Schatzow, 1-14), as are those of embarrassment (Phillips, lecture). The writer believes that these are valid statements, but believes there needs to be more added to the definition. The writer believes that repression is where a person subconsciously buries memories of shocking acts and events that caused severe and traumatizing pain and/or embarrassment. This definition is very similar to the…
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