Is there a word for "haunted by bad memories" or "to be haunted by bad memories"?

  • 3
    No, there isn't a single word that means that. The phrase "haunted by bad memories" or "I am haunted by bad dreams" is already idiomatic. I'd be amazed if such a word exists. Not my downvote.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 22, 2017 at 16:00
  • 2
    an example sentence should be supplied
    – J. Taylor
    Feb 22, 2017 at 18:20
  • 1
    Aaron, your question needs to be posed better and then it can be reopened. Write a sentence showing how you'd like the word to be used, with some dashes in the place where the word would go. Feb 22, 2017 at 18:28
  • 1
    Not enough in the question to know what kind of answer would work for you. Traumatized is probably close.
    – jxh
    Feb 22, 2017 at 21:56

1 Answer 1


A strong word to use might be agonize.

Agonize via M-W

intransitive verb:

1 : to suffer agony, torture, or anguish: "agonizes over every decision", "agonized for days over whether she'd done the right thing"

2 : struggle

A less intense word might be brooding.

Brood via M-W

transitive verb: To think anxiously or gloomily about, ponder "I used to brood these things on my walk — Christopher Morley"

intransitive verb:

1 : to dwell gloomily on a subject "brooded over his mistake"

2 : to be in a state of depression "sat brooding in her room"

If going in another direction, you might be interested in using scarred to describe a person.

Scarred via dictionary.com

a lasting aftereffect of trouble, especially a lasting psychological injury resulting from suffering or trauma. "My children and I are safe now, but we will always by scarred by those twelve years of abuse and fear of deportation."

Similar words: Traumatized, Lament, Grieving, Mourn, Bemoan

  • "Traumatized" is very close to what I was thinking, thanks! "Scarred" is pretty good too. Dec 6, 2022 at 1:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.