Link – The Mysterious Connection Between Smell and Our Past

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“It has been well-documented (link is external) that autobiographical memories associated with smell are frequently more intense and emotionally tinged than memories associated with other sensory cues. This is due to the uniquely direct access smells have to the olfactory cortex, and the proximity of this area of the brain to the limbic system and the amygdala. Several recent studies, however, reveal another singular characteristic of olfactory-cued memories: In addition to arriving at the brain through different channels than other sensory information, olfactory cues tend to trigger memories from a different part of our past than those our other senses.”

Unfortunately, for survivors, these experiences can be powerful and disturbing. Smells that trigger memories can come at very arbitrary times and can leave us utterly unable to function for a short time. I’ve been somewhat lucky in this regard, I don’t have any every day smells that serve as reminders to my abuse, but I know some others have had to deal with that struggle.

Are there smells that remind you of your abuse? How have you dealt with them?

The Mysterious Connection Between Smell and Our Past

7 Responses

  1. Keely
    | Reply

    The smell of Old Spice makes me sick to my stomach and causes me to hyperventilate. Just when I think I am okay I run into someone wearing it. I find getting out into the fresh air and deep breathing helps me. I have become very good at meditating!

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