of any sexual abuse, it is currently good advice to avoid groups and
psychotherapists (and hypnotists) who find repressed sexual abuse in
almost every case they see.
If you want to learn more about repressed memories, read the
above references, especially Loftus. Also, look at new material, such as
Terr (1995) and Schacter (1996). This is a hotly debated complex
area; there is much we don't know but we know that human memory,
even for yesterday not to mention early childhood, is easily influenced
and often inaccurate.
Recognize Unconscious Forces
Freud said, "The child is father to the man." Our childhood
experiences stay with us; our "inner child" is there for a life-time
(Missildine, 1963). Eric Berne (1964) described a special form of
childhood influence, the "life script." It is a life-plan--a set of
injunctions, decisions, and expectations--developed by us when we are
about 5 or 6, that spells out how we feel towards ourselves, towards
others, how we interact with others and what we expect out of life.
Thus, getting in contact with our childhood and the inner child's
continuing role in our life are important. In the 1970's, Transactional
Analysis (TA) became a major self-help method; it was a fad.
Unfortunately, some people thought this method would make it easy
to identify and change deeply ingrained beliefs and scripts. Some
helpers gave instant analyses of "games" or "scripts" to hurting people
and thought that was all that was needed. And troubled readers
assumed that once they knew their destructive script, they would feel
and behave differently. Often, they didn't change or felt worse. Yet, TA
has a lot to offer the self-explorer.
All of us respond to the world--the present situation--in accordance
with how we see it. We may take a "scientific" view of the world (e.g.
we believe in a complex 5 billion year evolutionary history of the
earth) but others may believe the world is a miraculous act of God
done in seven days. Myths are simply those stories and beliefs that
provide meaning and direction to a person's or a nation's life. Some
beliefs are learned very early in life and become part of the inner
child's life script; others are learned much later in life. For example,
some nations have believed that kings are born to become gods or to
inherit special rights; other nations believe in letting the most powerful
person rule; others believe in voting for a leader. Some nations believe
property and land can be owned by one person and even passed on to
their children; others believe that no one can claim exclusive rights to
a piece of the earth; others think wealth should be willed to the most
needy, not to well-provided-for children. Some parents believe
children should be supported through graduate school; others believe
children should become self-sufficient by age 6 or 8. Some families