I have dissociative amnesia, remember very little before the age of 18, with a mother who was schizophrenic and a father who was an addict my life was chaos. So dissociation was my friend and helped me survive.
Here’s a really good explanation of the condition.
From the book: Human Development and Trauma by Darius Cikanavicius
Page 145 and 145.
Do you know people who can’t remember their childhood or only vaguely remember it? How about people who can’t remember years, even decades, of their lives? They may have dissociative amnesia, and their reason for it , as troubling as might see, make sense.
To begin, when children experience severe or prolonged traumas, they often forget about it. The memories are simply too painful and even dangerous for them to recall. Remembering only makes their lives worse, especially when they have no choice but to continue living with their abusers. Children are vulnerable and when they have no allies they are particularly ill equipped to process their traumas correctly, As a coping mechanism they dissociate, that is, split off from their memories and feelings and despite the consequences of this, it does allow for them to survive.
Many times these memories, and the intellectual, psychological, emotional and physical realizations that go along with them, never do resurface to consciousness, it the individual remains emotionally unprepared for them, for many, this never happens. But if a person begins to heal and grow, they will slowly begin to remember and process their past, at which point their painful memories and all that go along with them will begin to return. That is, the amnesia will begin to dissipate.
Hope that helps.