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Old 08-01-2013, 09:17 PM
 
Location: San Marcos, TX
2,570 posts, read 7,712,721 times
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I know people make jokes about how their parents, or older people in general, will remember things in a more positive light, or through rose-colored glasses, but is this some sort of universal human "thing" to do?

Will I end up doing it as I get older?

This is a huge "thing" with my mother (she is 70)...and not just in a manner that people would joke or tease about, but in a very serious way. She pretty much flat out refuses to acknowledge anything from the past that might paint her in a negative light or call any of her decisions into question.

I suspect (strongly) that she suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder so I wondered if this sounded like a thing most "older people" do or if it is just her. In any discussion, she revises history to fit her version of events and make herself look like the best wife, best mother, etc.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Lower east side of Toronto
10,567 posts, read 12,766,264 times
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You naturally blot out the sinister periods of your life- The things that were mistakes or simply horrible behavior. Only recently I thought back to who I was 30 years ago and what my personal history was all about- not a pretty picture - but eventually you have to take full ownership of who you are - from the beginning of life to the end.
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:48 AM
 
936 posts, read 2,053,510 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sally_Sparrow View Post
I know people make jokes about how their parents, or older people in general, will remember things in a more positive light, or through rose-colored glasses, but is this some sort of universal human "thing" to do?

Will I end up doing it as I get older?

This is a huge "thing" with my mother (she is 70)...and not just in a manner that people would joke or tease about, but in a very serious way. She pretty much flat out refuses to acknowledge anything from the past that might paint her in a negative light or call any of her decisions into question.

I suspect (strongly) that she suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder so I wondered if this sounded like a thing most "older people" do or if it is just her. In any discussion, she revises history to fit her version of events and make herself look like the best wife, best mother, etc.
Everyone does it to some extent. Partly it's a result of biases in memory (people tend to recall positive/pleasurable events longer than negative/painful ones over the long term; it's easier to recall events that are consistent with your own self-concept than things that aren't consistent with it), and partly it's a bias in what you're willing to see about yourself.

But based on what you wrote, it sounds like you're talking about something altogether different. It sounds like your mother isn't trying to recall events, and just happens to remember them differently. It sounds like you're saying that she's actively denying past events simply because she wants to revise history to make herself appear better than she was. That doesn't sound like a memory issue; that sounds like the two of you are having a relationship problem where you want her to acknowledge something from your past. Am I getting that right?
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Switzerland
83 posts, read 148,343 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sally_Sparrow View Post
I know people make jokes about how their parents, or older people in general, will remember things in a more positive light, or through rose-colored glasses, but is this some sort of universal human "thing" to do?

Will I end up doing it as I get older?
Yes ist is. And yes, you will

See it as a positive, it is part of human resilience.
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
29,627 posts, read 34,107,821 times
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For most people, everyone wants to see themselves as the hero of their story. They may admit to mistakes or wrong-doing, but they'll be glossed over and justified.
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Somewhere
8,070 posts, read 6,924,170 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sally_Sparrow View Post
I know people make jokes about how their parents, or older people in general, will remember things in a more positive light, or through rose-colored glasses, but is this some sort of universal human "thing" to do?

Will I end up doing it as I get older?

This is a huge "thing" with my mother (she is 70)...and not just in a manner that people would joke or tease about, but in a very serious way. She pretty much flat out refuses to acknowledge anything from the past that might paint her in a negative light or call any of her decisions into question.

I suspect (strongly) that she suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder so I wondered if this sounded like a thing most "older people" do or if it is just her. In any discussion, she revises history to fit her version of events and make herself look like the best wife, best mother, etc.
A lot of people do that young, old it doesn't matter. Even young people don't have the guts to admit they were "dumped" by their exes.

We are expected to be perfect so admitting we were less than perfect brings feelings of shame to most people. So people revise their history and at some point it might become their reality.

I think it's better to admit our reality but it usually requires that we stop being so judgmental of ourselves. What we did 10 or 40 years ago really doesn't dictate how we will behave in the future.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Windham County, VT
10,855 posts, read 6,334,908 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockJock1729 View Post
Everyone does it to some extent. Partly it's a result of biases in memory (people tend to recall positive/pleasurable events longer than negative/painful ones over the long term; it's easier to recall events that are consistent with your own self-concept than things that aren't consistent with it), and partly it's a bias in what you're willing to see about yourself.

But based on what you wrote, it sounds like you're talking about something altogether different. It sounds like your mother isn't trying to recall events, and just happens to remember them differently. It sounds like you're saying that she's actively denying past events simply because she wants to revise history to make herself appear better than she was. That doesn't sound like a memory issue; that sounds like the two of you are having a relationship problem where you want her to acknowledge something from your past. Am I getting that right?
This^ I most agree with.

Memory is a fluid process, things get modified over time, whether we realize it or not-
doesn't have to be a conscious process in any way, it just happens, biologically-
human memory isn't mechanical, it's organic & malleable.

That's a different behavior than actively disowning one's own unkind actions/past self (at younger age)
& shutting down anyone else's attempts to remind them of those not-so-flattering recollections.

It's too bad that the person in question can't/won't say:
"that was a really painful time, I feel awful about it now, and I'd rather not have to deal with those emotions all over again".
Whether one agrees or disagrees with that approach, at least it would be addressing the actual reality/history.

Last edited by cloven; 08-02-2013 at 12:34 PM..
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:27 PM
 
11,558 posts, read 11,994,482 times
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"Society" changes it's acceptance of human behavior; for example, in my particular situation, I made a mistake that led to my family trying to hide me from the community. That was 50 years ago, and nowadays, the same situation is not viewed as all that terrible. Society can be very cruel when it chooses to decide what is right and what is wrong; and I'm not referring to anything illegal; am referring to moral issues.

I no longer hang my head in shame - thankfully. However, until 'society' felt my error shouldn't lead to a girl being stoned, I did feel shame and whenever I met new friends, that part of my life was hidden away.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:44 PM
Status: "I'm turquoise happy!" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
23,878 posts, read 32,156,993 times
Reputation: 67768
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sally_Sparrow View Post
I know people make jokes about how their parents, or older people in general, will remember things in a more positive light, or through rose-colored glasses, but is this some sort of universal human "thing" to do?

Will I end up doing it as I get older?

This is a huge "thing" with my mother (she is 70)...and not just in a manner that people would joke or tease about, but in a very serious way. She pretty much flat out refuses to acknowledge anything from the past that might paint her in a negative light or call any of her decisions into question.

I suspect (strongly) that she suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder so I wondered if this sounded like a thing most "older people" do or if it is just her. In any discussion, she revises history to fit her version of events and make herself look like the best wife, best mother, etc.

Some what. I have noticed it with my father too. Social Psychologists have a name for it "reconstruction of events".

People with NPD do it way more frequently that do average folks.
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C.
561 posts, read 1,125,599 times
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the bad and shameful things i done are part of me and shaped how i have grown from them. i would never want to blot them out because i am not perfect.
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