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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Topic: If you could selectively erase certain memories, would you?

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Assume you can afford it if you save a little, and there are no long term side effects other those from not being able to remember erased memories (so no possibility of physical injury/death/cancer/etc.).

Assume you are allowed to write down in a journal (or a letter to self, or via some other memento) as much (or as little) as you want about the memory you want erased, so you have at least some record of why a part of your memory is blank.

Assume you can choose as much or as little to be erased as you want. So if you learned a lesson or picked up a habit or behave differently because of that memory, you can keep it. You just won't have the memory that spawned this new behavior.

Assume the people involved in your memory will not know about it (or don't care, or don't want to know/care, or are dead, or otherwise will not be affected directly).

1. Would you ever seriously consider doing it (is it ever the "right" thing to do)? - Morality question.

2. If yes to #1, does anyone here have any memories they'd want to be erased in such a way? How much erasure? Why?


The reason I bring this up is because in typical ENTP obsession fashion, memories of my ex have ingrained themselves so much into my psyche that I think about her every day, often absentmindedly. Nobody else except myself, and now you, my anonymous friends, knows about this.

I think about her daily despite having been broken up for 3 years now (longer than our actual relationship of approximately 2 years), despite having dated many other women after her, despite having discussed this with a counselor, and despite having reasoned with myself in every way possible that I should stop thinking about her. It's like having an incurable infection that I really don't want or care for. I've wondered whether it's because I loved her so much, so deeply, and our breakup was so traumatic, that my feelings about her became seared into my brain and left indeliable marks in my thoughts. Something, perhaps, akin to a milder case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Rationally, I want these memories gone. Emotionally, they're draining to say the least.

So if I could, I would write down a brief explanation of what I'm going to erase, and then erase the whole two years and all my feelings and experiences with her.
 

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Why would you do that? Did you not see the movie :O

Granted I can't say that I can relate to your situation, but I do have similar memory obsessions where I become overwhelmingly consumed by the past. To this day, I still remember every socially embarrassing moment and every emotionally draining experience that happened in my life. It used to be really debilitating because I would replay the memories in my head and think of every possible scenario that could have happened instead of what actually transpired. I would also get extremely anxious when I thought about them because I would relive the same emotions I felt then.

However, I would never erase my memories.

That's like going backwards for me.. sometimes I feel like I'm alive to learn and make as much connections as possible from the world. Assuming I did go through that procedure and deleted two years of somebody(+all experiences with them) out of my life and did not lose any information of how something happened because of them. I would become obsessed with how that habit/lesson learned/behavior formed. Nothing magically conjures. The void in my memory would be even more confusing and problematic in my opinion, because that is experience that never happened. If I didn't go through that procedure, at least I can remember how A (time spent with ex) lead to B (meaningful life experiences).. despite that A also leads to C (traumatic moment). Purging A and C means that B will be swimming in an endless vacuum.

Doesn't this backfire happen to the protagonist in the film? Been awhile since I've seen it..

Anyway, I accepted that everything happens for a reason, for the good or the bad (even if it was terrrrrible at that specific moment). I can't have a life of happiness if I don't get over the cruddiest, lowest, rock-bottom moments. After this realization, the anxiety over my past subsided. Now I just love to live and learn from all my experiences.

Maybe you just need closure? Have you spoken to your ex since?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Why would you do that? Did you not see the movie :O
I did, and I felt that they were stupid to have tried again. It didn't work out the first time, and the same factors of utter incompatibility remain.

Granted I can't say that I can relate to your situation, but I do have similar memory obsessions where I become overwhelmingly consumed by the past. To this day, I still remember every socially embarrassing moment and every emotionally draining experience that happened in my life. It used to be really debilitating because I would replay the memories in my head and think of every possible scenario that could have happened instead of what actually transpired. I would also get extremely anxious when I thought about them because I would relive the same emotions I felt then.
We seem to share the same basic affliction though - flashbacks of previous scenarios. I used to get a lot of the times when my ex and I had major, major fights. I also get them regarding the happiest times we've shared. Regardless of the content, I want to erase them all. I want to move on.

However, I would never erase my memories.

That's like going backwards for me.. sometimes I feel like I'm alive to learn and make as much connections as possible from the world. Assuming I did go through that procedure and deleted two years of somebody(+all experiences with them) out of my life and did not lose any information of how something happened because of them. I would become obsessed with how that habit/lesson learned/behavior formed. Nothing magically conjures. The void in my memory would be even more confusing and problematic in my opinion, because that is experience that never happened. If I didn't go through that procedure, at least I can remember how A (time spent with ex) lead to B (meaningful life experiences).. despite that A also leads to C (traumatic moment). Purging A and C means that B will be swimming in an endless vacuum.
Perhaps so. I would think that having a dry, written record might suffice to understand the blank spots in memory.

But that might raise huge issues inofitself. Artifically erased memories might plunge me into paranoia - wasn't I strong enough? Did someone else make me do it? How can I trust any other memory I would have as being complete?

Doesn't this backfire happen to the protagonist in the film? Been awhile since I've seen it..

Anyway, I accepted that everything happens for a reason, for the good or the bad (even if it was terrrrrible at that specific moment). I can't have a life of happiness if I don't get over the cruddiest, lowest, rock-bottom moments. After this realization, the anxiety over my past subsided. Now I just love to live and learn from all my experiences.

Maybe you just need closure? Have you spoken to your ex since?
I have kind of made closure, in accepting that we will never be together again. I have a realistic sense of why we can't be together; she appears to reciprocate this feeling. It's also a promise I've made to myself to never see her again. I did talk to her since our break-up, but we just couldn't get along even afterwards to continue communicating.

This isn't necessarily about getting over in terms of accepting/cutting my loss. It's also about purging the memories which replay themselves in my mind. This phenomena has lessened over time, but it still happens a few times a week. I would zone out or something, and suddenly something from the past would pop up. I'd then have to waste time disintegrating the thought, which is highly annoying because I want it all gone.
 

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I'll start by saying that I wished for this possibility since I was a teen. I'll continue by saying that whenever I'm in severe emotional distress I long for the potion that will ease or numb the pain. I am and always have been hypersensitive to emotional feeling in both positive and negative ways. I also have virtually perfect emotional recall, even from situations that happened before I was old enough to speak. Not to oversimplify, but as much as I want the relief in the moment (and those moments can either be peppered through decades lasting minutes, days, weeks.... sometimes longer) and those moments are relentless in their pursuit of my psyche, I have come to honor their presence as they give me the necessary framework to evaluate and interpret my life realistically. There is hope that stems from those horrific feelings, and it affords me the amazing ability to feel the joy of life exponentially when it does occur. Frickin' demons that they are. I therefore have no choice but to keep them lest I be numb in all things.
 
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Also, I am so grateful for your BOTH posts this morning as I'm going through one of those would be "erasable" situations and this came at a perfect time for me to regain perspective. It's as if a light was switched back on. You can be assured that I feel your angst deeply. Who are these unemotional ENTPs? Nahhh never mind, I guess I am one when I don't care. Hmmm..another realization?
 
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I used to want to have one relationship erased but now I'm perfectly fine with it. I wouldn't erase anything else thou. The only things I consider painful are all the things that I haven't done really. Mostly backing off when I should have faced situation head on.
 

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I have kind of made closure, in accepting that we will never be together again. I have a realistic sense of why we can't be together; she appears to reciprocate this feeling. It's also a promise I've made to myself to never see her again. I did talk to her since our break-up, but we just couldn't get along even afterwards to continue communicating.

This isn't necessarily about getting over in terms of accepting/cutting my loss. It's also about purging the memories which replay themselves in my mind. This phenomena has lessened over time, but it still happens a few times a week. I would zone out or something, and suddenly something from the past would pop up. I'd then have to waste time disintegrating the thought, which is highly annoying because I want it all gone.
Interesting.. have you ever tried writing down your thoughts or journaling? When there's things running through my head that I want to get rid of, especially if it is preventing me from sleeping, I would write it down. It may not seem like a viable solution and is not as novel as drugs/memory erasure but it is most definitely my most sound resource of therapy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Interesting.. have you ever tried writing down your thoughts or journaling? When there's things running through my head that I want to get rid of, especially if it is preventing me from sleeping, I would write it down. It may not seem like a viable solution and is not as novel as drugs/memory erasure but it is most definitely my most sound resource of therapy.
I don't give myself much time for that, probably because I find it embarassing. In reading all my past journal entries, I've realized that I only write when I'm completely stressed out or breaking up. So there are huge, multi-month or annual gaps between entries. I feel kind of ashamed for how purely negative my journal is. The paper, if sentient, would blush.

I wrote pages and pages during our breakup -- love letters to her which were never sent (even though I was the one who ultimately ended it), and some extremely dark and depressing things.

This issue of these flashbacks doesn't really stress me out as much because I think that the pain triggers it causes has calloused sufficiently. I find them annoying, but copable. But if possible, I do want them gone.

Yet given what you've written before, I wonder if it's indeed just something I'll have to live with. They are probably the consequences of my having invested everything I've ever hoped for: career, future kids, ambitions, the meaning of love... I changed my entire life direction and am the person I am today because of this cataclysmic relationship. The tremors I continue to feel today are the aftershocks of our breakup. I suppose they'll subside in time (as they have been). But you know us ENTPs; when we something executed, we want it now :D
 

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I urge you to write down or even draw all of your current thoughts. Good, bad, awesome... make it about yourself and not a letter to anybody. Don't erase anything, no one will read it. :)

I think one of the biggest backfalls of being ENTP is that sometimes we let our "endless possibilities" minds control our lives.
 

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I think that I'm all over the place, and if I had the Eternal Sunshine treatment I would probably be doomed to repeat whatever obsession/experience/relationship I tried to erase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I urge you to write down or even draw all of your current thoughts. Good, bad, awesome... make it about yourself and not a letter to anybody. Don't erase anything, no one will read it. :)...
But I will read it, and I'm very, very harsh on myself. Looking back, with 20/20 hindsight, at prior entries (not just the love letters, but other stuff) is like looking at the work of some infant fumbling with issues completely beyond his competency.

Forgiveness is one of the biggest issues in my life -- not of anyone else, but of myself. I take personal responsibility for my own failings, of which there are many, and though I know I always regret inaction over the consequences of any action, I am still my own worst enemy in many ways. It feels like any other way, such as forgiving myself for the causes of that breakup, is an excuse or cop-out. I know this is illogical in many ways, but I'm grateful that time has slowly healed the self-induced wounds even if nothing else that I've tried works.
 

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Very good movie ESSM. Probably one of my top 40 movies.

The reality is if I remove one moment of my life I'd become an entirely different person. Every memory accounts for who we are today. I know that if I didn't remember a girl I dated a long ass time ago I probably wouldn't be where I am at today. I know that if I removed that horrific family experience, as painful as it was, it still wouldn't lead me to the life I am happy to be living today. No, it is far from perfect on the external but it built my character and allows me to accept the person internal (even when tough as hell sometimes.)
 
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