People Do Not Heal From Serious Disease and Psychological Disorders By Making Up Memories of Incest

One of my readers has suddenly chosen to ask me to question my memories of child sexual abuse. She has brought up false memories and tried to post a link to the British False Memory Foundation.

One thing I will not do on this Blog site is cater to the ignorance that still remains regarding Dissociative Amnesia (also known as Repressed Memory or Traumatic Amnesia).  I will also not post any links to the ridiculous material out there that supposedly “discredits” the well-documented and very real psychological mechanism of repression and dissociation –especially not links to the “False Memory Syndrome” people, whose organization was partially founded by an admitted pedophile and organizations that have extended from a society of people who have supported known child sexual abusers.

I have chosen to address her “concerns” about my memory, in an entire post because it is an important topic and one that needs re-addressing from time to time.

Car Lady writes:

“By the way, you may want to look more in depth at “hypnotic regressive therapy” (I think this is what you previously stated you were involved with.) I have researched this pseudoscience, and there is case after case of individuals who have been misled into believing they were raped by family members, when in the end it has come out that they were never raped at all. It was merely a figment of their imagination, or they were led by their “hypnotist” to develop these false memories. Remember, psychology is a huge money making business. I am in no way stating that your memories are false, or that someone has led you to develop an extreme obsession with sex abuse cases, but you may want to really look into this. I would hate to think that your entire life has been disrupted by something that never even happened.”

It was the incest and all of its after-affects that disrupted my entire life Car Lady. I was very sick and mentally dysfunctional prior to remembering the incest. I have healed from things that cause people to kill themselves. People do not heal from incurable diseases and psychological hell by making up things that didn’t happen. If they did, the medical industry would go out of business. People could make up all kinds of things in order to cure themselves of their suffering.

Thank you Car Lady for reminding me that there are still people, even those who claim to have suffered from child abuse, who somehow think that by reading a few articles on the Internet, or a book or two (written by questionable people) about “false memories” that they are educated on repression and dissociation. Thank you Car Lady for your sincere concern, but I have already “really looked into this.”

When my memory returned in 1997, after having blocked virtually all of my childhood, I began to investigate quite thoroughly. I read every book on the subject (except those that cost $100), researched at University libraries, researched every possible outlet on the Internet, corresponded with experts, and even got involved in groups which support the “false memory” theory (so I could hear their side).

I then spent the next ten years continuing in my research so that my book would be well-documented.

People who have recently remembered previously repressed trauma (and it’s not always sexual abuse) have a hard enough time believing themselves, they don’t need people who have not informed themselves to any degree, to tell them they ought to “look into” their memories as being false, and that recalling previously repressed incest is a “pseudoscience.” This can badly affect any adult survivor who has recently experienced the return of traumatic memory.

Thankfully, I am well past any self-doubt and I am centered enough to not be affected by Car Lady’s lack of education on the matter, but there are many people out there who still suffer from being ostracized, vilified, threatened, and go into states of panic and terrible fear by being told their memories are false –told this, by people who have no real knowledge about this extremely complex topic.

It is the so-called “False Memory Syndrome” which is unscientific, but there are more than seventy studies that give evidence of discontinuous memories of childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, or trauma. 1 There are countless corroborated cases of Dissociative Amnesia for child sexual abuse, which include confessions from the perpetrator. 2

Some studies have shown that continuous memory and delayed memory are comparable in accuracy. 3 In addition, studies show a corroboration rate of forty-seven to eighty-six percent in the core of the memories in delayed recall. The evidence used to substantiate the memories included other victims, legal and medical records, diaries, and confessions by the abusers. 4

“False Memory Syndrome” has absolutely no scientific basis and there are no documented cases. No such syndrome exists. There have been cases of people who were led to believe they were sexually abused when they were not (These instances are uncommon) and there are some people who make up stories of abuse (This is statistically rare), but these facts are not synonymous with a “syndrome.”

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation was founded in 1992. It was started by the parents of Jennifer J. Freyd. Jennifer is a highly respected psychology professor, who privately accused her father, Peter Freyd, of sexually abusing her as a child. 5 Jennifer’s father denied Jennifer’s memories and her parents formed the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Jennifer’s mother is the executive director of the FMSF.

William Freyd, Peter’s brother, has stated, “There is no doubt in my mind that there was severe abuse in the home of Peter and Pam. . . . The False Memory Syndrome Foundation is a fraud designed to deny a reality that Peter and Pam have spent most of their lives trying to escape.”

The FMSF was supported and encouraged at its inception by therapist Ralph Underwager, who became a board member. Underwager was quoted in an interview with the editor-in-chief of Paidika: The Journal of Pædophilia. He said, “Paedophiles need to become more positive and make the claim that paedophilia is an acceptable expression of God’s will for love and unity among human beings.” 6 Underwager resigned from his seat on the board.

The now deceased, Richard A. Gardner, M.D., who was also an FMSF board member, proclaimed that society’s “excessively moralistic and punitive reactions” about pedophiles surpass what he felt to be the magnitude of the crime.  Gardner also suggested that when a child has been molested and has feelings of guilt about the abuse, the child may be ‘helped’ by being told that, in other parts of the world, child molestation is accepted as “normal.” Gardner further asserted that if the child’s sexual urges continue after the abuse ends, the victim should be “encouraged to masturbate.” 10 Interestingly, much of Gardner’s work concentrated on false accusations of sexual abuse, yet he admitted that “probably over 95%” of sexual abuse allegations are legitimate. 7

At one time, the FMSF defended the members of their organization, who had been accused of child molestation, by saying their innocence was evident because they had graying hair, they were well-dressed, they smiled a lot, and were healthy.  8 Now the FMSF seems to base proof of this so-called “syndrome” on the denial of the accused and their wives, and because some people have retracted their allegations of child sexual abuse. Although some of the retractions are probably valid, recanting claims of abuse is highly common among children who have been sexually assaulted; it is not surprising that some adults would do the same.

Note: There is a difference between hypnoanalysis and hypnosis. I will address this in another post.


My Story

Please also see:

1. Recovered Memories, Linda Stoler, Kat Quina, Anne P. De Prince, Jennifer J. Freud, 2001, Encyclopedia of Women and Gender, Volume Two, page 906, Academic Press.


3. The Leadership Council, Research Regarding Accuracy of Returned Memories

4. Recovered Memories, Linda Stoler, Kat Quina, Anne P. De Prince, Jennifer J. Freud, 2001, Encyclopedia of Women and Gender, Volume Two, page 913, Academic Press.

5. Your Memories are Not False: A Reply to the False Memory Syndrome Foundation Revised Edition, Copyright 1994 by John Backus, Sc.D., and Barbara Una Stannard, PhD

6. The pornography tradeshow Posted: July 16, 1999 1:00 a.m. Eastern By Eunice Van Winkle Ray……..…….False Memory Syndrome Foundation From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

7. Gardner, 1992, p. 593, Gardner, 1992, p. 549, Gardner 1992, pp. 580, 585, Gardner, 1991, p. 7, 140

8. Freyd, P. (1992b, February 29). “How do we know we are not representing pedophiles?” False Memory Syndrome Newsletter.

Peter Freyd:  Misinformation concerning child sexual abuse and adult survivors, Charles L. Whitfield, Joyanna L. Silberg, Paul Jay Fink, page 15

This entry was posted in Child Abuse, child molestation, child sexual abuse, Crime, Denial, dissociative amnesia, evil, false memory syndrome, Priest Abuse, rape and abuse, Religion, repressed memory and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to People Do Not Heal From Serious Disease and Psychological Disorders By Making Up Memories of Incest

  1. Libbe says:

    Pardon – Alethea, not Althea.

    • Serieve Marie Elizabeth Andrews says:

      LOL Libbe

      You did what I often do; I spell Alethea ‘Althea’ then frequently need to go back and correct my repeated errors.

      I blame her. 🙂 I think I should do a study – many people who have had child abuse done to them choose to adopt new, different, frequently unique first or whole names. I’d like to know how many of us have done this. I had a very plain, pronounceable name, like Mary, for example (sorry to all the Mary’s) and chose something that now people cannot pronounce, either with the correct roll of the tongue, the accent or at all. They struggle with it – is almost funny. They have great difficulty saying ‘Serieve.’

      What I do to remember the Alethea spelling is I remember the drink ‘Ale’ and then remember ‘Mia’ because it rhymes with ‘thea.’ I find it works for me.

      Never mind. Alethea had to tell me ‘Marina Nova’ was not her last name!

      • Alethea says:


        Serieve, you’re funny.

        I like that no one can pronounce or remember my name, it makes me more memorable.


    • Alethea says:

      Thanks Libbe, you’re so conscientious.

  2. Libbe says:

    Althea — Lovely to find your blog. Patricia posted it and I will follow suit. I’ve written about FMSF and the impact it had on the Incest Survivor Movement, which existed and was gaining power in the late 80’s/early 90’s. It was derailed in large measure by the PR campaign behind the falseness of “FMS.” I live in Los Angeles and was one of the leaders of the protest after the first McMartin preschool verdict. I heard first-hand from reporters how sick they were about writing about abused children and how they welcomed FMS as “a different spint” on the subject. No investigative reporting on whether or not there was any scientific data to back them up; just “Thank God we don’t have to write about incested kids any more!”

    Good to discover you, the ferocity of your intellect and the precision of your words. I look forward to catching up on your earlier posts.

    I the healing,


    • Alethea says:

      Greetings Libbe.

      I’m so happy you found my Blog. Thank you for posting it, or my articles, anywhere you think they will help others.

      I knew the extent of the influence that the FMS movement had on victims and survivors, and on the media, but I HAD NO IDEA that a member of the media would actually ever admit that they were “sick about writing about abused children” and that FMS gave them permission to stop helping victims.

      I had always known about feelgoodism: “Oh thank God, it’s not that so many people are actually sexually abusing their own kids, it’s False Memories! Hooray, we can go back to our LaLa land of denial.” But I never heard any of them actually admit it.

      Good for you about McMartin. I put some information in my book about that case because I found some material while doing some research about it –some material that I had never heard before.

      I stood outside the Michael Jackson trial with a big yellow and black sign that read; “Parents and Famous People Molest Children Too.” I wasn’t very popular, and the media there were very pro-Jackson.

      Good wishes,

  3. Serieve Marie Elizabeth Andrews says:

    Wait! I have an epiphany!

    ‘People Do Not Heal From Serious Disease and Psychological Disorders By Making Up Memories of Incest’

    THEY DON’T!? You mean incest is actually HAPPENING? Where? Hey, since my memories are false – and my memories were always there years before I ever saw my first therapist at 14 in Sept. 1998 (gee, figure that out) – does this mean I can make up a PREFERRED false memory and believe it to be real?

    I’m just saying because I’ve never been to Disneyworld…can anyone make me a memory that I did when I was 5? Rather than being tortured by my uncle, I want the Disney false memory.

    On a serious note, I have read CarLady’s other posts and until this one, she? seemed to be on ‘our’ side, I wonder if perhaps this isn’t about Alethea and her memories, but of CarLady’s struggle perhaps. Are you CarLady worried about your own memories being false? I think we all go there at one point – I have. I’ve wondered if my memories were false, or, if some were true and others false. An example: recently I wrote a post on a sexual abuse board that was badly received. I was perceived as attempting to ‘validate my own struggles’ by attacking a topic and apparently a member. I was not attempting to validate anything or attack anyone’s experience to understand my own, but this example makes me wonder about you, CarLady – and only you know the answer to this and you do not need to tell me – are you encouraging Alethea to verify her memories or are you hoping to verify your own by worrying about someone else?

    If the answer is yes, maybe we could talk about it someday if you like.

    Because I admit, false memories ARE tempting – imagine if what I went through NEVER HAPPENED; I would be incredibly relieved! Then, devastated at what I put my offenders through.

    And THAT is why the fmsf exists. Because if they can get enough people to doubt their experience, their memories, the broken bones, then they can continue with illegal acts.

    Alethea’s going to ‘kill me’ one day when she gets my e-mail about memories, but CarLady, I agree with her. Why on earth would she actually allow anyone to post a fmf link here? She and I disagree on a lot, but I’ll say it now. Her response to your post makes me very proud to say that I’ve ‘met’ Alethea.

    • Alethea says:

      Hi Serieve.

      I think that Car Lady has issues that she has not dealt with and thus, for whatever reason, she was having an over-reaction to my comments and decided that she should ‘out of the blue’ challenge me on my memory. Never mind that she never read my story, or bothered to privately email me and say, by the way, I was wondering how you came to recall your memories? Did you find corroboration? Did you experience any doubt? The way she went about it was accusatory, unkind, unconscious, and crossed boundaries. I hope that she does not ask other abuse survivors that question in the same way. She needs to use more prudence. Incest survivors who have not yet dealt with new memories on any significant level, could really go into a tailspin if they were approached in the manner she used.

      There is a difference between truly questioning if one’s memory is false, and denial. I experienced denial in the first few months of my memory returning. If someone goes through real questions, then they ought to look into that, but survivors of sexual abuse who experienced delayed recall should not freak themselves out by hammering on their memory too much if it is merely a case of denial. The subconscious gets angry when we don’t believe in ourselves and don’t trust the process of healing.

      “…but this example makes me wonder about you, CarLady – and only you know the answer to this and you do not need to tell me – are you encouraging Alethea to verify her memories or are you hoping to verify your own by worrying about someone else?”

      I would say that this is probably true Serieve. And it can go either way. A person can be denying something very traumatic and firmly believe that they have always remembered everything about their childhood, while supporting the false memory theory so that they don’t have to face their own unresolved truths.

      “Alethea’s going to ‘kill me’ one day when she gets my e-mail about memories,..”

      LOL. That’s okay Serieve, I prepare myself for your emails with a nice cup of coffee and lots of time 😉

      • Serieve Marie Elizabeth Andrews says:

        Oh great! My e-mails are something to be ‘prepared for!’ 🙂

        On the other hand…man, look at the power I seem to have over Alethea…maybe I could get you to do something about my taxes? As in, I don’t want to pay taxes – ever.

  4. I have intended for some time now to write a post on my own blog about this very topic. When I do, I will post a link to this article as well. You said everything that I have been thinking and then gave proof of it with footnotes. Thank you.

    • Alethea says:

      You’re welcome Patricia. Thanks for commenting. Please send a link to your Blog so we can check it out.

      Good wishes,

  5. Serieve Marie Elizabeth Andrews says:

    I have questions about hynoanalysis/False Memory that I will one day e-mail to you.

    But other than the parts of this post that did not confuse me…

    Alethea, THIS is one of the reasons why I like you.

    ‘I will also not post any links to the ridiculous material out there that…’


    The fmsf is, in its most basic form, a bunch of pedophiles that joined together to rationalize, minimize and excuse their criminal acts in order to have what they do presented in the world in a positive light so one day they may get away with shoving penises into the vaginas, anuses, mouths and ears – yes, ears – of babies, children, and adolescents – in the ‘best’ sense possible – legally.

  6. Darrell Williams says:

    Kudo’s to you Alethea I am in total agreement with your decission.

Comments are closed.