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Petty Please

Throughout the last week I have realized that deep down I am a very petty person. It isn’t that I intend to be or even want to be, I don’t think but it is an unconscious byproduct of a very very good memory. My memory has always been both a blessing and a curse. In school it allowed me to read a chapter in a text book and then quote passages word for word on an exam weeks later – so much so that I was often quoted as cheating until I could prove my innocence by reciting the same passage to my teachers verbatim. I never had to study, never had to try very hard at anything academic and that is the blessing. The curse part is something that I am su my husband and children could commiserate with – I rarely forget anything – any comment or slight, especially if it elicited any type of emotional response. Can you imagine living with someone like that?

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an Eidetic memory like Sheldon or Spencer but when something matters to me in a good way or a bad, when I am emotionally charged by something that was said or done, by an event, an image or a smell, I never seem to forget it. I tend to forget about it (pun intended) because it is just one of thoe things that I have always lived with but in writing a few chapters of my new book this past week, even I am stunned at how vivid my recall is. When I was younger I used to talk about things I remembered and was constantly told by my parents and older sister that I was ‘dreaming’ and that those things never happened so I grew up doubting my own memories but now I know better. Now I realizeĀ  that these events or comments just didn’t register with them as significant and they didn’t or chose not to remember so they didn’t believe it when I did, but I do. I still do. For many, many memories – I wish I didn’t, at least not in such vivid detail.

These memories lead me to the pettiness that plagues my relationships to this day. I remember things that others don’t. When people have let go of events, arguments or comments, I am still effected by their memory. I try very hard not to bring up past arguments or disagreements when discussing new issues with friends and my husband, but it doesn’t mean the new situation doesn’t bring up the past one and effect my emotion or opinion. If a friend called me a name or said something hurtful in the heat of the moment a year ago and we haven’t had words since, I guarantee you that the next time we do, the feelings from that comment will arise and fuel my feelings in the present. It is like a husband’s worst nightmare and thank God I am married to the most patient loving man ever.

I have learned to compensate for these strong emotional responses as best I can – and can usually put them into quick perspective but often it leads me to evaluate friendships at a more intricate level. If there is a person in my life who hurts me with comments or actions too often, when these negative memories become overwhelming and outweigh the ones that elicit positive emotion and good memories, then I usually don’t keep that person in my life very long, I simply can’t, it is too difficult for me to filter through the emotions of those memories with each interaction. Often people don’t understand, they say that I just can’t let go of anything, that I cannot forgive and maybe they are right. It is so hard to let go when you can’t ever forget. It is easy to overlook small things, infrequent or inadvertent slights or hurts, but when those things accumulate or are so painful that they override all else, I simply have to walk away from having that person in my life. It isn’t about forgiveness, it is about self preservation – when someone is causing you pain, they have no place in your life and having to relive painful events or comments due to some miswired connection in my brain is really no different to me, those emotions elicit the same emotional responses as if the event were relived over and over because to me they are.

When I recall a hurtfull comment, I can remember it in such detail it seems beyond petty. Depending on the emotions involved I can describe the day and time, what I was wearing, smells, sounds, events leading up to it, events afterward – it is almost creepy. I am not sure whereor why thisability began haunting me – it seems ironic to me considering that the memories of my childhood were lost to me for so many years but perhaps it is due to the fact that when those recollections returned, they came in snapshots and flashbacks – all of which were emotionally charged and usually very emotional events. Those flashbacks came back in vivid details and perhaps whatever mechanism my brain used to protect me from those events as best they could back then, never actually shut off and is still working in some warped way, never letting me forget. Who knows. All I know is that this is a part of me, a part of who I am and who I probably always will be. I am used to it, my husband is used to it and knew about it long before we started dating (I wanted him to know wht he was getting into). Unfortunately not many others realize it and think I am petty and refuse to let anything go, by choice.

The truth is, if I could I would. I would love to take a good deed and just accept it for what it is, as an individual event instead of weighing it against the hurts of the past. I would love to be able to let go, to forgive and to forget and I have not been able to learn to do that yet. My definition of forgiveness is to stop wishing the past was ever going to be any different -that I have learned to do to some extent, but the forget part – that is a work in progress.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2011 at 2:02 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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