More threads by Lana


I have been hesitant to do this write up, so while I’m feeling brave, here is the glimpse….

I’m a survivor. Growing up, I was an only child (to a single parent) with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). I was held responsible for everything that anyone has done or didn’t do. I felt her every ache and every upset (physically and mentally). I was also responsible for her because it’s what she wanted and conditioned me to do so. I believe the term for that is “parentified”. In essence, I was the “parent” to her also. Today, I wear the physical marks she rewarded me with.

At age 13, I immigrated to Canada. New language, new place, no friends, and an angry parent were my challenges. I am bright and picked up English fairly quickly, but was the odd kid that did all I could to be invisible, especially in a gym class where bruises can be easily seen. One time I wasn’t so lucky and a teacher reported me to Children’s Aid. Mom played along, but I paid the price for my carelessness. No one followed up because when asked, I assured them that everything was wonderful with a big smile on my face.

When I was 16, I was kicked out of home and lived on the streets, but not for long (2-3 months). Out of desperation and circumstances I drew the line; take my own life or take charge of my own life. As a last resort, I asked for help from the least likely source and got it. With that, I was able to stand on my own two feet, even though they were a bit wobbly.

Although I was out of her home, the abuse didn’t stop. In fact, the emotional and mental part of it escalated, became more vicious, especially when I got my own place (size of a closet but all my own). But it subsided after about a year or so. A year after that, I went back home, thinking we were getting along well, and went to college. But soon enough the abuse came back, albeit less frequently. Either that or I was really good at managing the stress. :) At age of 23, I fought back and shortly after left home. As expected, the emotional and mental abuse followed, more severe then before.

It took me many years (in my mid 30’s), and much pleading from my family doctor, to see someone and then learn what has happened and how it was affecting me. I don’t remember my childhood. Aside from some incidents, many years are a complete blank. Through therapy, I learned and admitted the abuse (because up to that point it never occurred to me that that’s what has happened…I thought it was normal and happened to everyone), the RAD, the depression, and managed to recall some things, instantly wishing I didn’t. It was a rough trip, with other issues on board for the ride but I came out the other side stronger, healthier, and traded surviving for living and learning.

I did a lot of work on myself in the last few years with tons of research, reading, and studying. I’ve also been able to sever ties with my tormentor who insisted that I got all that I deserved. Looking at my life today, I'd say she's right...I have all that I deserve now. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done and I’m still work in progress. But through it all I found a passion for psychology, desire to learn more (my friend calls me a psych-junkie because of books I read LOL), and a deep desire to help others.


It was a rough trip, with other issues on board for the ride but I came out the other side stronger, healthier, and traded surviving for living and learning.

I can only imagine how difficult this was for you. Thanks for sharing your courageous journey and it's a pleasure to have you with us, Lana.


Thanks for sharing, Lana. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you. The courage you've shown, and the progress you've made are commendable, to say the least. You're right. You have exactly what you deserve! Kudos, and it's such an honor, and a pleasure, to know you.


Welcome to the forum!

It is nice to hear from another survivor. I can't remember alot of my past either, some is foggy, some just isn't there anymore. I believe we conciously or sub-conciously blocked it out. Do you find that you still have a tendency to forget things quickly? I'm trying to rebuild my memory capabilities because I built up such a wall between the present & the past that I find my once good memorization skills have really gone down...

Congratulations on finding the right path & sticking to it. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say we are proud of you for your accomplishments!



*big smile* I’m glad that you found it helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions, here or in private and I’ll do what I can to answer them. I find that sometimes, opening up, while scary, can be very liberating. No more secrets or vulnerabilities to hide and in that, we find strength, confidence, and understanding. It’s one less thing that we need to carry within.


I believe that selective memory is a simple survival tactic that some of us deploy. Today, my memory is quite good (but fading with age LOL). Some of my friends laugh when I recall conversations or events accurately, right down to specific phrases. I suspect it’s because I can focus really well while discarding the “noise” around me, trait I learned while assessing her moods gauging my own behavior and reactions. It’s a blessing and a curse all at once, especially when I begin to internalize things.

But you’re right about the memory block with regards to my past. When my doctor asked me to consider talking about my childhood, I remember feeling extremely uncomfortable and agitated for a couple of reasons. One is that I instantly felt defensive and didn’t see what it had to do with anything at the time. And second, is that I drew a complete blank, which scared me because I’m one of those persons that can recall a conversation I had with someone a year or more ago. I even considered not going back, but figured I had nothing to loose and much to gain. She was very good and clearly stated, and repeated, that we would only discuss the past if and when I’m comfortable and ready, not a moment sooner. It was up to me.

Isn’t that ironic that I could clearly recall events (with any significance) from two years ago, but ask me to remember what happened in my childhood and I draw a complete blank? I have a total of about a dozen memories from that time, scattered throughout the years. I also have some photographs of a much younger me and for the life of me can’t remember what was happening then. I can remember the outfits, or colors, sometimes places, but not the big picture. In some cases, when I look at the picture, I can't even recall that moment when a shot was taken, I even have a hard time recognizing myself. Sometimes I recall some place that feels so very familiar, but can’t place it. It’s bizarre. Maybe that “clean slate” is what allows me to have a good memory today. Who knows.


I guess I still haven't fully learned to shut off my memory shield. Like you I remember bits & pieces, but I look at old photos and don't remember the situations at all. My sister on the other hand constantly reminds me of things from when she was 2-5 years old. I don't remember the events at all, but she remembers them vividly.

I more or less came to the conclusion that I would live in the present and the future not in the past. That is something that really helped me get out of my situation and on top of things. Now I need to learn to lower the shield a bit more so that I can retain more of my more recent past. Not that I can't learn & retain, its more of a "If I don't feel it's important to remember, out it goes" type of thing.

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