"What I Will Not Forget" about my relationship with my Narcissist

As humans, we have what is called "Selective Memory," which our mind uses as a way to protect us.

Good memories are vividly clear and much more readily available for recall in our memory than bad memories. As mentioned earlier, bad memories are fragmented, stored in a different part of the brain and not as easily accessible. We tend to obsess about bad memories more because they are unresolved and scattered. They pop into our heads more frequently when we have not sorted out the chaos or made any kind of effort to understand what happened.

Often times, we purposely try to avoid thinking about the bad memories. Unfortunately, avoiding the memories only causes us to obsess about them more. Telling yourself not to think about something is similar to telling a room full of people not to look at the white elephant in the room. The minute you do this, everyone is going to look at the white elephant, right?

Similarly, if you tell yourself not to think of something, it will only cause you to think about it more. You must understand that thoughts are random. You cannot control what you think. However, you can control how you respond to what you think.

Selective memory means that instead of remembering how horribly he treated us, our brains access good memories much more readily. We avoid and obsess over bad memories, but positive memories are easily accessible at any time. This puts us at a significant disadvantage when trying to stay away from our ex. Instead of remembering all the bad things, we remember the good times and begin idealizing the relationship

We must be mindful of this happening and the best way of doing this is to create a list of what we will not forget. This should be a bullet point list of all the things your ex did, which made you feel sad, angry or fearful. Every time you think of something new, go to your journal and add it to your list.

By doing this, it will help you resist his charm when he tries to win you back, which is often the case with narcissists and other PDIs. You must allow yourself to process what he did to you so you can stop obsessing about it. By maintaining a journal of how horribly he treated you, you create a silent weapon of defense to turn to when you need to remind yourself of why you should never be with him again.

A University of Michigan psychology researcher, Robin Edelstein, found that people who block out unpleasant memories may enjoy short-term gains but cause long-term consequences by emotionally detaching themselves. People who block out or avoid painful memories worry Edelstein the most.

"Most avoidant people who are in relationships are less happy," Edelstein explains.

She continues, "While avoiding things can be a helpful short-term strategy, not paying attention to certain things for extended periods of time might be bad for your mental health with consequences for your physical health. All the effort to avoid anxiety actually creates more anxiety later.”

Nov 21 - 8PM
Tinker's picture


what if it's all just too painful? isn't it a way of protecting ourselves? what if we just can't process that kind of evil and hurt? i see exactly what you're saying - because we tend to remember the better parts of the relationship, that makes us more vulnerable to them in the future. when i remember too much, it's overwhelming. what does help is to read the submissions on this site; it's someone else's pain but it gets me angry and i remember my own anger, my humiliation. but i'm not ready to look at lists of what he did, i can't do that yet.
Nov 14 - 5AM
Alibi_10's picture

Lest we forget

Appropriate on Remembrance Sunday. Here is what I will not forget: The feeling from yesterday that he ignored the anniversary of my Dad's death and how that has driven me to the edge of despair Telling me he wished he was dead on my birthday Offering to take me to a buy one get one free meal for my birthday Screaming at me to leave him alone and not touch him (Cinderella - strange similarity) Walking on eggshells because he said I talked to much, then said I was not a good communicator Telling me he wished we had not had sex because he just wanted to be friends, then saying it was the best sex he had ever had Telling me I was imagining things he had said, or that I had taken them out of context Telling me I was trying to control him, but controlling every aspect of when and if we spoke, when and if we met, how he liked my hair, what clothes I should wear. Telling me my house was a mess (his is characterless, like him) and that I was "too up and down'", that he needed someone stable, that I should stay out of relationships because nobody would want someone as broken as me, I am crying while I write this, so am going to come back to it. Writing it out makes me wonder why I put up with this. Why?
Nov 6 - 6PM
cinderellablue's picture

NO touching!

I would reach for his arm, he would snap it away...didn't like to be touched. Would only touch me when he needed sex, no hugging, kissing, cuddling...just that look in his eye like I was a piece of meat! He would cut me down, tell me I was not working hard enough, making enough money, make snide remarks about my famiy..riducule my upbringing Watching an animal show on tv. he said I looked like a monkey with the big nose, he laughed at me... i felt like kicking him in the nuts! He bought anything he wanted, the house was full of HIS stuff. Nothing was mine, it was all HIS! He treated me like a child, telling me how to cook, clean, dust HIS furniture. He would watch porn daily, whack off while I was upstairs! He smoked alot of pot. He had a bad temper, he was always right, everyone was wrong. There was no sense in arguing with him, it was like beating your head against the wall! It was like I was walking on eggshells every single second of every single day! yuk!
Oct 20 - 10AM
Used's picture


I WON'T FORGET A THING...regarding the narcs.... NOT ONE SOLITARY THING!!!!
Nov 9 - 8PM (Reply to #1)
PhoebeR's picture


I still have limited contact with my Ex. He does things for me now, is nice. Wants to help, wants to care. I almost buy it, but like you say, I DON'T FORGET. How he kept sex from me, ignored me, isolated me from family, how everyone was wrong, he was right. How no one understood him. He never kissed me, how during sex he had a cold stare, and i was not allowed to hold him, touch his back, nothing during. How he made me cry. How not having sex with me prevented me from getting pregnant, he stole that from me. He might be nice to me, and says he is sorry, eventually the wounds will heal. But in my head and in my heart i will NEVER forget.
Mar 10 - 4PM (Reply to #2)
Hope's picture

Cold stare

Hi, mine had a cold stare too during sex, almost like he hated me, especially toward the end of the relationship, a couple of times it felt like rape to me, he held my arms down on the bed, really weird. He would make comments about some women he hated on TV, such as the View Ladies, Suzie Orman, the lawyer that is on at night I forget her name, etc. All women with opinions, strong women. I see a pattern here.