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Narcissism and Selective Memory
I am often shocked when presented with incontrovertible evidence to an event in my past, something I said, or did, a person I knew, a sentence I have written. I do not remember having done, said, or written what is attributed to me. I do not recall having met the person, having felt anything, having been there. It is not that it looks alien to me, as though it happened to someone else. I simply have no recollection whatsoever, I draw a blank. Hence my enormous and recurrent and terrifyingly helpless state of surprise. These cognitive distortions, these lapses of memory are as close as I ever get to losing control.
My terror is mixed with voyeuristic fascination. Through the writings, through the reconstructed utterances, through a careful study of what that other, previous, "Sam" has done, or said, or written - I come to learn myself. I meet myself on numerous occasions, reflections in the shattered mirrors of my dysfunctional, selective memory. These frequent occurrences of dissociative amnesia - when I repress the painful, the irrelevant, the useless - are the fabric of the punctuated being that is I.
But what are the rules determining this ruthless and automatic censorship? What governs the selection process? What events, people, writings, thoughts, emotions, hopes are cast into my oblivion - and why do others etch themselves indelibly? Is the repository of my discarded reality - my True Self, that dilapidated, immature, scared and atrophied little child inside me? Am I afraid to get in touch with memory itself, spun from the yarn of pains and disappointments? In short: is this an emotional involvement prevention mechanism?
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Nov/13/2009, 6:08 am
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