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.”