One of the advantages of having a glitchy mind is that it makes you rather forgiving and flexible when dealing with glitches found elsewhere, such as on WordPress.
It’s glitching a lot at the moment. WordPress, that is. My mind is actually less glitchy than usual.
If you’re at all into astrology, you’ll know that Mercury just went retrograde in Pisces (a sign associated with illusion, delusion, confusion, imagination and the collective consciousness), and one of the things which we’re warned about during a Mercury Rx period is an increase in occurrences of mechanical mistakes, software silliness, and computer cock-ups.
The advice to weather the mercurial communication chaos is to back things up. But what if your back-up plans go awry?
What if everything gets wiped out, all your files get erased, your system’s structure collapses, and you’re left with a blank where once there was a plethora of words, information, images, knowledge, and details.
Can you remember what was there and replace it?
What if all your knowledge of yourself was erased?
That used to be a question which I loved to ponder. My memories caused me so much pain, anxiety, depression, misery, left me feeling mentally congested and paralysed, stuck in a dark and dreary place of self-hate that the idea of losing them all brought me solace.
Who would I be if I couldn’t recall who I was?
These days I don’t wonder about that anymore.
I’m comfortable with who I am, and also with who I am not.
Part of that comfort comes from many years of sifting through my memories and reviewing, reflecting, reorganising, reexperiencing, and restructuring them (‘re’ verbs are encouraged during Mercury Rx).
Which brings me to Fandango’s challenge for this week:
How do you know which of your memories are genuine and which have been altered over time or even made up?– Fandango’s Provocative Question #17
That’s a good question.
It’s a question I asked myself a long time ago which started a life-changing ball rolling for me.
I grew up with parents who were narcissists. Narcissists are fantasists. Reality is whatever they make of it and say it is. Their version of reality is based on a possibly true story with all the bits they don’t want, like, edited out, and all the things they wish for and desire to be true, edited in.
They are whoever they say they are at any given moment. You are whoever they say you are at any given moment. You are who they need you to be for them to be who they have decided they are at any given moment.
You are not allowed to be yourself, your self is a threat to their self. Your mind, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and especially your memory are a threat to them and their version of reality and sense of identity.
One of their favourite tactics to deal with threats to their fantasy’s survival is to divide and conquer. They break your mind, invade your thoughts, dismiss your feelings, replace your emotions, and fracture your memory into tiny pieces.
They divide you up and get you to fight yourself – you’re so busy fighting yourself, seeing yourself as the enemy, that you forget about them or only remember them as the good guy helping you in your battle to annihilate yourself.
Did that confuse you? Imagine living with that kind of confusion on a regular basis.
They scoop your self out and throw it away – you must remain empty so that they can fill you with their discarded, rejected and dissociated parts of themselves.
They wipe your system and install their own system into you. They do this 24/7/365. Mainly through talking, talking, talking, telling you over and over, ad infinitum ad nauseum who you are, what you think, what you feel, what your emotion of the day is, what you remember.
Refusal to comply is punished with tantrums, rage fits, threats, sob stories, emotional blackmail, guilt trips, cautionary tales of what happened to others who betrayed them by not allowing them to be the prime authority on all things you, life, world.
When you live with a narcissist, knowing what is real and what isn’t real can become too confusing and painful to figure out.
When you live with a narcissist, day in day out, your memory is constantly being tested.
Things you must remember – What the narcissist likes and doesn’t like, what triggers the narcissist and how to stop the narcissist from being triggered (and when to allow them to be triggered because they want to be triggered and release stress), what persona they are being at the moment, what personas they are no longer being and which must be forgotten, what version of reality is the one you must uphold, which versions of reality are no longer active and were never active, which lies are truth and which truths are lies, what you mustn’t do and what you must do, what you mustn’t say and what you must say, what you mustn’t be and who you are at this time for the narcissist (which can change at any given moment depending upon a,b,c,d and x), who you are never allowed to be unless that is who is suddenly needed in an emergency, when it’s an emergency and when it isn’t (this is a trick – it’s always an emergency, except when it isn’t), who is a villain and who is a hero (the narcissist is always a hero – this only applies to others and changes on a whim of the narcissist).
Things you must forget – yourself, and everything which the narcissist requires forgotten unless it is needed for an emergency.
Luckily when living with a narcissist, there’s no time or energy left to remember yourself, and it’s too painful anyway.
When I took the step to remove the main narcissists in my life from my life once and for all, it was also a step taken towards remembering myself.
But before I could do that I had to sift through a congestion of false memories implanted by the narcissists via the repeated retelling of anecdotes and other brainwashing techniques, altered memories – some altered by them, many altered by me to only recall a ‘happy childhood’ and what wonderful parents I had. There were also memories distorted by repressed emotions, cognitive dissonance, and skewed perspective. And blocked memories.
While I was doing all of that in stages and phases, I was also making new memories which were affected by where I was at with the process of sorting through the old memories.
If you have a virus in your system, any new software gets infected.
Once you’ve cleaned and cleared your system, you then have to deal with the damage that’s been done, and your attitude towards the damage.
I’m still working on the cleaning and clearing up and attitude issues… I find blogging has been very helpful with doing that. It has made things easier.
In my posts I often repeat what I consider to be “point of reference” memories. Each time I repeat them, they change a little bit. Become less congested. Sometimes while retelling them I will feel that memory fade away… I no longer need to remember that, its purpose has been completed, it is no longer relevant to me now.
Last night a memory from a blocked segment rose to the surface. At first I rejected it, but it was an old reflex which was no longer necessary. I let the memory surface. It wasn’t as bad to recall it as it used to be, in fact it was rather meh – that was a good sign.
Astrologically it was interesting to note that Mercury Rx is merging with my natal Chiron – the keeper of the wound.
Mercury conjunct Chiron – Healing conversation
Transit active from March 1st 2019 until mid-April 2019:
Under this influence all forms of healing and being healed are especially favored.
This influence is also particularly suited for every type of operation on body and soul, whether you undertake this on another person or on yourself.
With people who are close to you, you can have deep conversations about those sore points which we all have and which make us react very sensitively to some things.
It would be only too human to avoid this situation for fear of the pain connected with it. But, of course, you should not do so, as healing and becoming whole demand certain preconditions which are not readily to be found, but which are, during this time, especially favored.– via Astrodienst’s Daily Horoscope
How do I know which of my memories are genuine and which have been altered over time or even made up?
The genuine ones have a different feel and look to them – I’m predominantly a visual thinker, if I have a mental image of the memory, and I can move within it, if it’s like a film with added sensory data, then it’s a real memory.
False memories tend to be verbal in texture, at least for me they are, and the image attached to it is fixed and flat like a snapshot someone gave you of yourself.
You may not recognise yourself in the photo and may need for them to inform you that the person in it is you. You may not recall being there, doing that, and having that picture taken. You have to rely on their assertion that it’s you in the picture, trust their story of what the picture means, why it was taken, and what you were doing. That’s not a real memory.
All memories get altered over time, if they don’t it’s a bit worrying, and may be a sign that you’re stuck there while being here in the now. It’s a good way to find a blind spot, a knot you’re tangled up in, a place where you’ve turned to stone and are still living by writing written in stone decades ago. Or at least that’s how I perceive it, how my system works… my system is quite glitchy.
While I was trying to get a feel for what I would write in this post for this challenge, how to approach it, connect with it in such a way that I would enjoy writing about it… I ended up on a couple of fun sites:
The former is very interesting if you’d like a science-y type of approach to what humans think memory is and how humans think it works.
The latter is fun but… Mary = Mercury… no, no, no…. Mary = Mars… come on, it’s the same letters except for one!
My glitchy brain really doesn’t like mnemonics – even the word, how on earth am I supposed to remember how to spell it if it doesn’t sound like it’s pronounced.
They’re too confusing!
It’s like that time I read a ‘clever’ trick invented by someone who I would hazard a guess doesn’t have dyslexia to help those with dyslexia remember the difference between Left and Right – apparently you just have to stretch your hands out in front of you and the Left hand is the one which has the thumb and forefinger making an “L”. Pfft! Someone really doesn’t get how dyslexia works.
I had a bit of a rant about that in this old post, which also includes a “point of reference” memory of mine: A Mercury Retrograde Cocktail of Confusion
Dyslexia tends to give its owner the ability to spin things around in 3D in the mind. This can be a problem sometimes, but it can also be a solution… especially when you need a new perspective on an old memory, a different angle from which to view a segment of your life story which makes up your identity.
That new perspective and angle of vision of the past can give you a renewed perspective and angle on the present, on the you who you are now in the here and now.
Rather than forgetting things, maybe we just need to remember them differently. Let memory play its tricks on us and appreciate it rather than punish it for being naughty.
Or something like that.