My Post Keeps Forgetting Its Title

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.

Congestorium artificiose memorie by Johann Romberch, 1533 folio

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 Human Memory: Types of Memory

Vocabulary: Word Routes: Mnemonics, from Roy G. Biv to Mary’s Violet Eyes

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.

20 comments

  1. now that is an interesting question that fandango proposed! I wonder myself who I’d be if I could erase my memories, my life and start over!

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    • Thank you, Carol Anne πŸ™‚

      It’s an interesting exercise to do. When I first started asking myself that question I wanted to erase everything. Over time I began to want to keep certain memories, and eventually I was loathe to erase anything because of the domino effect. It’s a good way to see where you are, where you’ve been and the journey you’ve taken.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Howdy Ursula🍎
    I’m starting to believe that the more we bloggers converse online, get to know one another through challenges and sorts, we are becoming in sync. A memory post had been on my mind as well.
    This is a question I constantly ask myself because sometimes it seems as if my experiences are too far fetched or lacking something.
    Mom loved to tell me (or anyone else) what she thought or what actually happened according to her; loved mind games.

    The way you described false memories vs real is spot on. I’m learning to discern them better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Scherezade πŸ™‚

      It’s rather fascinating to notice synchronicity in subjects bloggers decide to write about. Something like memory touches all of us and is a big part of life experience. I think the way we remember something tells us more about the now than the then – it’s how we need to recall it now. We’ll see it differently later based on how we deal with it, and what it inspires in us, in the now.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. My biggest fear, now that I’m an old fart, is that my memories will soon start to fade to the point where I can’t remember who I am or what was realand what my addled mind concocted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve spent a lot of time thinking I was someone who I wasn’t, confused about my identity because of being fed false information about myself and assuming that those feeding me the false information about myself knew me better than I knew myself. I thought their version of past events and my role in those past events must be the correct one because they seemed so certain about it, their memory of it was so solid compared to mine. Eventually I began to realise their memory was made up which is why it was so solid.

      I used to make a lot of “I am” statements based on other people’s version of who I was. Those statements seemed correct, and I could back them up with the false memories I’d absorbed, the anecdotes which others had told me about myself, and my own memories which I’d altered to suit someone else’s narrative. At some point the conflicts and clashes of who I supposedly was based on the stories/memories of others caused too much confusion. There was a jarring disconnect between who I thought and believed that I was and who I actually was – I wasn’t in touch with who I actually was, but that sense of being was within me, getting more and more upset with all the false layers under which I’d buried it.

      The point of that long ramble is – there’s a core self which exists within you who does not need your memories of who you are to define who you are. Without memories of who you are, you would still be yourself. It’s your natural self. The one you expressed easily as a child. Spontaneous. Angry when angry. Happy when happy. Sad when sad. Delighted by random things which delighted you without needing to justify the delight. Not thinking about who you are and have to be, just being who you are.

      Sometimes our memories of who we are hamper who we are, are a burden because we’re using them to block ourselves in to an identity. They’re a wall which keeps us in and others out.

      You once said that part of the reason you blog anonymously is to say what you can’t say in RL because of who you believe others expect you to be as your offline self. So a you without memories is Fandango πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Ursula, for taking the time to share your thoughts. I appreciate the wisdom inherent in your comment, although I can’t help but believe that who you are is defined, in part at least, by your memories, be they real or manufactured. I don’t think, without my memories, I could be who I am, both in real life and as Fandango.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing post. Sorry to hear that you had become the victim of narcissism.

    I don’t really think there are 100% genuine memories of events in our lives. Only the essence of what we experienced gets preserved.

    I believe when you access a memory, it’s not like taking a book off a shelf, reading it, and simply returning it. It’s more like you take the book, skim through it, and the re-write any pages you read, before returning it.

    There are some epic stories from my past that we have told and re-told so many times. No one in our group is lying, yet our stories have differences. We’re all just trying to preserve the essence of what occurred, but time and age are not our friends in that endeavor.

    The exception seems to be hard data and facts. We don’t change our memory of what one plus one is everytime we recall it.

    Where is a neurologist when you need one?

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    • Thank you, BlackSheep πŸ™‚

      Do I get to choose which neurologist we invite? I’d definitely pick Oliver Sacks, he’d make the conversation about memory a fun memory to remember πŸ˜€ and yes, I know he’s dead but he lives on in his books and work.

      It’s intriguing to explore the workings and not-workings of memory. The stories we tell of ourselves and our lives are fascinating. What, why and how we remember tells a story too. Our memories change as we do, and we’re changed by our memories. What was real, what was not, what is real now and what is not is subject to interpretation and re-interpretation at any given moment. Are we truly ever sure about what we’re seeing, sensing, and experiencing in the now – a slight shift can disassemble the components and reassemble them in a different form. Everything is made of pixels πŸ˜‰

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  5. Lol I’ve the same case with that word mnemonics, I can’t ever pronounce it and need to look up its meaning every time to remember what it means.

    Memory like reality alters itself based on your perception at the given time. Totally agree with your point of view πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you, Reverist πŸ™‚

      I’ve just finished watching a Kdrama wherein the male lead gets given all this new information by the female lead about the past they shared together and he thanks her for turning what had become a painful memory which would have haunted him and made life difficult into a beautiful memory which he could cherish and which would help him get through life.

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      • Last night I was in a rewind mode, listening to music from yester years, lamenting a bit over two great HK artistes who died so young lol typical Pisces drowning in sorrows, no I’m joking, I’m just remembering the past.

        What’s coming up next in your Kdrama list? Any recommendations?

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        • The astro of the moment is rather conducive to merging with the waters of the sensory, of the imagination, such as music and memory πŸ™‚ I’ve been rather mentally squishy too, especially at night when the minds of others are asleep and the airwaves are quieter or filled with the dreams of dreamers dreaming and the snores of sleeping kittens.

          You said something very interesting in a comment the other day, I was going to reply but a conversation flowed out of it and I didn’t want to interrupt that flow. You said:

          “Q: if there is a song that would describe/resonate with your life experience thus far, which song would that be? Or if there any song you is talking in a personal way to you?”

          I was going to ask you for your answer, since I felt you had something playing in your mind at the time of asking.

          I may use what you asked as inspiration for a post.

          re: Kdrama

          I’ve just finished watching “I’m Not a Robot” which was wonderful! Really great story and characters, lots of food for thought about life and relationships, reality and the psyche.

          Not sure what to watch next. I gave up on The Beauty Inside – I was watching that online, and it was good until episode 8. Then things went a bit nope for me.

          I’d really like to see Goblin. But it hasn’t come to Netflix yet. It is available online but I really like the subtitles that they do for Netflix, they’re more poetic – I call them ‘subtle’ translations because I misread ‘subtitle’ and like my misreading of the word.

          What about you any drama recommendations?

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          • TBH, that question just blurts out itself, I was bit of high from the wine and beers, plus the music. This morning I think back my question and thought it was silly the way I ask that. Perhaps there is a song that speaks to you, yes but a song that describe/reasonate with your life’s experience could be difficult. Then I started to think if I can find a song that does that for me.

            Well, say there is one, not my particular favorite though, by Eagles, Desperado πŸ˜‰ The song describes me quite fittingly i thought in a way. However, some parts of the lyrics I don’t agree. ‘and it seems to some fine things had been laid a upon your table but you only want the ones you can’t get’ it’s not fine if it isn’t that I want. There is no second best for me.

            What is your song then?

            I like that the skeleton picture in your new post, it is funny πŸ˜‰

            This post started with a light tone, very funny too about the warpaint your face, hahaha I was laughing, you are…seriously humorous. However, as I read on the tone seems to be more sombre, or am I mistaken… hehe, women during period time are weirder lol

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            • Aha, Goblin sound interesting, I might try watching. Came across a new title Babel, the title sounds intriguing. A prosecutor falls in love with a married actress who is the suspect in the murder of her husband, son of a chaebol family.

              It was almost Chinese dramas I watch previously, but I stopped watching for some time. And the genre I watch are fantasy wuxia or historical war period drama. I still waiting for Part 2 of Tribes and Empires, a fantasy world drama. There is one notable modern drama that caught me by surprise, it the genre that I would not watch but I ended up watching and ya it’s good, will recommend ladies to watch if they ask. It’s a women kind of show, talks about marriage, love and choices titled The First Half of My Life πŸ™‚

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you, Reverist πŸ™‚

              I had fun with my skeleton pic! I did start off the post humorously and then became a bit more serious. That was a deliberate conscious transition because I wanted to respect the theme, not be too silly about it. That kind of shift from humorous to serious and serious to humorous is a consistent feature of my mind, and thus of my self-expression. I tend to spin things around in my mind and look at them from different perspectives, the contrast between a humorous view and a serious one is a perspective angle I find useful for getting a better balance.

              Interesting choice of song. When I first met my partner and we were sharing songs we thought expressed something about us as a way to get to know each other better, one of the songs he chose for himself was Desperado. It wasn’t a favourite of his either, but the story of the song resonated with him and he felt it described an aspect of his life experience.

              Over the years there have been several songs and pieces of music which have struck a deep chord within, which I sometimes return to after years of forgetting about them and reconnect with them. Sometimes it’s the sounds within the music, sometimes it’s the lyrics, sometimes it’s a mix of the two. I’ll need to think about it a bit longer, maybe listen to some music, try to recall songs which I’ve resonated with and whether I still resonate with them. It often depends on what facet of my life story I’m exploring as to what music is its soundtrack.

              There was a time when I was very caught up in the sounds of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Peter Gabriel used his voice in – Passion – which is a piece of music I resonated with very deeply. It actually goes with the serious/humorous interplay.

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              • Desperado describe an aspect of me a long time ago, and in my 30s my experience resonate with the song again, then probably now again. This is time it would be different though. I considering to write my story for this song… hmm

                Lol, how coincidence your partner and I share a same song relating to our experience. The reason this song is not on my favourite list is because the lyrics is asking one to compromise, to life, resign to fate, telling you ‘Your prison is walking through this world all alone’…if it will be alone then alone it shall be, there is no prison, it’s only in the mind what you made of it.

                Take you time to think, listen to those music again and I look forward to you sharing them πŸ™‚

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