Remember Remember

remember-remember

You may be familiar with our selective amnesia as we demonstrate that staggering ability to forget something that you said only that morning, or a contradictory comment we made just five minutes ago. The number of times, when we are exerting our manipulative hold over you, we will announce:-

“I cannot remember that.”

“I had forgotten to do it.”

“I don’t recall that being the case.”

“I do not remember ever agreeing to do that.”

“It slipped my mind as it was not important.”

“I have no memory of what you are talking about.”

In our customary manner it is designed to bewilder you and confuse you and of course to draw a response from you that provides us with fuel. Of course, when it comes to advancing our own agenda then our memory suddenly becomes elephantine. We cannot recall the conversation we had two days ago about you going out with friends this evening but we do remember telling you six months ago that we do not like kidney beans and you have used them in the meal on purpose, despite our clear assertion that we do not enjoy eating them. Our powers of recall become especially impressive when it comes to recounting everything that we have done for you. You will be familiar with refrains such as:-

“After everything I have done for you and then you do this.”

“All the support I have shown you in the past and you say that to me.”

“Let me tell you how many times I have taken you out.”

“If I can just remind you of how much I have actually contributed.”

We will then with stunning accuracy, or at least it appears that way, reel off all of the gifts we have given you, the various places we have taken you and all those delightful acts we carried out in order to seduce you. One after another we will recount times, dates and places as if we were reading them straight from our diaries. Of course because it is all about what we have done it is etched into our memories, ready to be called up at a moment’s notice and detailed to you.

It is not just our occasions of largesse and benevolence that are carved into our memories, our ability to call upon vast depositories of knowledge about your transgressions is similarly astonishing. We will remind you that you ate one extra biscuit from the tin that we did two weeks ago in order to reinforce our point that you are greedy. We are able to tell you how many times you have turned up late and spoilt the evening. We recall your failures, breaches, shortcomings and misdemeanours with remarkable accuracy just as if we were reading a charge sheet to you. Whilst it is true we do have considerable powers of memory, it is another illusory act on our behalf. When you are subjected to these tirades about how many times you have failed to do the right thing, you will be caught in our crossfire of manipulative wiles. Your own recall and critical thinking will be significantly impaired. The way we rattle off these instances without giving you time to think let alone respond leaves you disorientated and naturally we say all of these things in our imperious and authoritative manner. You accept we must be right because we say it with such certainty, with considerable conviction and you are now struggling to remember what you ate for dinner the previous evening, so with increasing resignation you accept what we are saying. The reality is that much of what we are accusing you of from our list of wrongs committed by you is fabricated. We pluck them out of thin air but they sound plausible because you vaguely remember us harping on a little while ago about the fact you did not have dinner on time. In fact on that last occasion that was a fabrication as well, but we do it so often you can no longer distinguish between reality and fallacy. Just as we plan.

Our tremendous memory banks are also put into use when we remember your various weaknesses and vulnerabilities. We probed you for them using our subtle techniques of questioning and the false exhibition of supposed interest and caring when we seduced you. Each instance whereby you admitted to or gave a hint of some weakness was always noted and carefully filed away ready to be drawn upon at a later stage and used against you. Often this is so subtle, both in collection and use, that you do not even notice, but where we might use the weakness with a lack of finesse you will find yourself amazed that we even knew this about you, let alone remembered it. We ensure we extract these vulnerabilities and carefully store them as they are each golden nuggets of oppression that we need to rely on when your downfall begins.

Although we may demonstrate a vagueness about certain events in our past and refer to those happenings in an amorphous manner should you press us about the distant times and our formative years, the reality is what happened then is never forgotten either. We wish they could be but those memories occasionally rise up at us from the rolling mists of the past and try to drag us back to that period which we would rather consign into the archives of our mind with the archive door closed and bolted shut and no index card filed for those instances. No, nothing is ever forgotten.

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8 thoughts on “Remember Remember”

  1. Although we may demonstrate a vagueness about certain events in our past and refer to those happenings in an amorphous manner should you Dear Tudor
    “Although we may demonstrate a vagueness about certain events in our past and refer to those happenings in an amorphous manner should you press us about the distant times and our formative years, the reality is what happened then is never forgotten either. We wish they could be but those memories occasionally rise up at us from the rolling mists of the past and try to drag us back to that period which we would rather consign into the archives of our mind with the archive door closed and bolted shut and no index card filed for those instances. No, nothing is ever forgotten.”

    In my husband’s case, he revealed what that was for him and it was shattering to find out what had happened to him. He had no reaction, was as callous towards himself as he was to us, his own family. I understood then better what that dragon at the gate was all about. Nevertheless I did not want to remain in its path and was happy to see him go.

  2. I think the irony here is that victims tend to forget the abusive things, as we just arent comfortable accepting them. Maybe that’s not irony, but it’s unfortunate, especially for those of us who have real ADD and can be easily distracted before the memory of abuse has a chance to ‘get in.’

  3. Ohhhh that memory!! Out of everything, its the stories (some true, some half truths, some fiction) of my past that has been thrown in my face. Through letters, face to face, the smear campaign. Things Ive forgotten about. Things I cant remember telling him. Things that sound feasible but just arent. Things that he carefully twists to suit his benifit. His memory in any form, has hurt the most. How I hate the fact he forgets nothing. NOTHING. Unless of course, it fitted with his plan also. Thanks HG. Another very accurate goodie.

  4. Hey HG, fantastic writing as usual. In your book Fury you talked about your perception of criticism. In the book you described criticism as being extremely painful and how, despite the claims of others that criticisms are usually not delivered with malicious and destructive intent, you’re wholeheartedly convinced that criticisms of you are, in truth, attacks calculatingly designed to destroy, reduce, and devalue you. Another well-studied narcissist, Sam Vaknin, expressed a very similar perspective:

    “The slightest hint of criticism or disagreement threatens the precarious balance that I have created over many years…the balance that constitutes my personality…you are out to destroy and kill me, so I am out to destroy and kill you”

    Operating under the belief that criticisms are actually calculated attacks intended to destroy, it’s hard to regard criticism as anything other than a tool of manipulation. The offender is performing a malicious, aggressive act and yet they present themselves in a way that appears to be civil, non-aggressive, and even friendly. Clearly they’re working behind a façade

    A large portion of the abuse dealt by narcissists is strictly in service of the acquisition of fuel, but just as important as narcissistic supply is narcissistic injury. If someone is trying to ruin you and destroy your life it’s entirely natural to hate them and try to ruin them first. If criticism is truly intended to destroy, then a first criticism is a declaration of war. In your experience, do you believe that narcissists in most relationships believe themselves to be engaged in a war of covert manipulation against an apparent lesser, weak, and tactless manipulator?

    1. Hello JT and thank you for the compliment. There is force in your observations and indeed we are engaged in a war against somebody who is a traitor and treacherous. Hence the need to get our retaliation in first against this person who is indeed seeking to manipulate us (and others against us).

      1. Thanks for the insightful reply, HG. This is a longer comment and my questions are at the end of the post

        I find it interesting how the vast majority of those affected by narcissistic abuse who seek to educate themselves about pathological narcissism seem to only focus on reinterpreting the context of the actions taken by the narcissist in their life to understand the narcissist’s motivations and the functions of their various manipulations. In trying to understand the “why?” and the “what?” of narcissists most completely neglect the topic of what made them narcissists in the first place and how their personality disorder developed. Nearly every source I’ve seen talk about narcissism, narcissists and victims alike, has shied away from, and placed little focus on that topic. I wanted to ask you about your personal experience and your knowledge of the experience of other narcissists related to this topic

        I have an idea of the circumstances that lead to the development of narcissism that has been proven right in the descriptions of upbringing from every case of narcissist I’ve heard from. In every narcissist I’ve seen there is one critical, controlling, high expectation parent that offers no form of love whatsoever, but offers conditional and occasional affirmation, approval and appreciation, and there is one enabler parent that essentially doesn’t have the balls to step in and protect the child from the other parent’s harsh and emotionally neglectful parenting style. As far as I can tell, children are not born with self-worth issues. They don’t require constant reminder of how great they are and how desirable their traits are. What they do appear to have is love “issues”. Young children crave love; they exist in a state of great desire and need of it. They try to soak in as much of it as possible and fill themselves up with it. In the upbringing of narcissists this function fails and the behavior and expectations of the critical parent leads to a mutation of the inborn desire for love

        The critical parent provides no unconditional love. Further, they provide no love at all, conditional or unconditional. The critical parent provides criticism and disappointment; rarely, they provide affirmation, approval, and appreciation when the child meets their ideals, expecations, and vision. The child, naturally, gravitates towards that scarce amount of lovelike treatment. To use psychological terms, the ideals and expectations of the critical parent inform and shape the child’s ego ideal, and the devastating criticisms made of the child in the barren wasteland of non-love create in the child the internalized, brutal critic known as the sadistic superego. The self-love and gentle self-treatment that becomes automatically regulated in healthy people is contrasted with the self-criticism and self-abuse that becomes automatically regulated in narcissistic children. The sadistic superego, stirring up a cocktail of horrific and extremely unpleasant emotions, tortures and devastates the ego into non-function and leads to the creation of a substitute ego (or false self), composed of pure ego ideal, to protect the mind from itself

        The reinforcement of the substitute ego creates distance from the abuses of the sadistic superego. The sadistic superego is a black hole sucking all the fuel out of the substitute ego/false self, and the false self becomes a black hole sucking all the fuel out of the human environment to compensate. In my view, it’s all caused by a kind of mutation of the original desire for love. It’s intuitive to believe that narcissists, because of their upbringing, don’t believe in love. They were never exposed to it. All there is is abuse (particularly from criticism) and the elation of being successful. Either being torn down and exposed to pain, or boosted up and exposed to satisfaction. I think this is the intuitive way of seeing the situation when you look at the narcissist’s upbringing. But where does the enabler parent come into this? Does the enabler parent also fail at giving the child the love it so desperately and instinctively desires?

        Your comments about your upbringing that you made on your second appearance on the Out of the Box podcast confirmed for me, yet again, my theory about the family dynamics found in narcissist’s early childhood. There’s an enabler parent and a critical, abusive parent. My two questions are:

        1. Was your father loving? Did he provide unconditional love?
        2. Of all the narcissists you know do you know of any whose parents don’t conform to my theory of an enabler parent and a critical parent?

  5. “Everybody is special. Everybody. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain. Everybody. Everybody has their story to tell.”

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