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Do they actually 'forget' ? Or are they just lying ?

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#1 wannalife



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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:57 AM

What I would really like to know is this ~ Do abusers actually 'forget' that they have done things to harm or scare you, or are they just lying.
How can someone do such obvious behavior, and then say, "Really ?? I don't remember that . . ", or......... "I did NOT do THAT, and if
you are accusing me of lying, , , then I am OUTA HERE ???"

I am so confused about this. I have read some about 'dissasociating', where they actually do not remember what they do.
It comes from trying to deal with their trauma when they were young. I wonder how prevelant it really is ~

Can you HELP ME here ???? I just really want to know, as I am always blamed for accusing him of lying about things, and
he says he is NOT, and he will swear before God on that one ~ Oh, just confuses me more.

It seems like dh is 'crazy', or very mean, to act the way he does, but if he actually would not be aware of it, that feels even worse.
Like, 'what IF' he did something worse to me :-O ~

comments please, are sooooo appreciated -


#2 sren


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:48 AM

Hi, ((Wannalife)). My H was also conveniently forgetful. Once he went into a rage and pushed me into the closet, and when I came out i found him lying on the couch. He claimed to have no memory of what had just happened and that really scared me. He would also forget promises he made, agreements that we reached through prolonged discussion, it was maddening.

Lundy Bancroft addresses the concept of red-outs in his book Why Does He Do That? He says that abusers will often claim to have no memory of things to avoid responsibility or as an abuse tactic (gaslighting). Generally, abusers act deliberately and with full recall. I don't know which was more disturbing to me, my original belief that he was that prone to amnesia or the realization that I was being played. Hope this helps.

#3 claudifred



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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:24 AM

I think my ex forgot things because he was always looking at things through filters. These filters created the reality he wanted, not the reality he and I were experiencing.
So yes, he did forget, but only because he was making himself forget by rebuilding the memory into the way he wanted it to be.
Sort of like re-writing history.

It's exhausting. Don't try to figure out WHY he does it or HOW. Just know that it's not OK, and do your best to get away from it.


#4 SteffieB



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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:35 AM

Mine just lied. Lie lie lie lie lie with no conscience whatsoever. Some of them engage in sick mind games. I don't know if that's the case for all, though.

#5 cocomama


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:56 AM

Steffie I'm with you my bible thumping h conveniently didn't remember many hurtful things in our m and never owned up to them. Just lying cause he remember anything he wants.

#6 PrudenceB


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:58 AM


"abusers" is a very broad term, too broad to give an answer - this is a topic that gets discussed quite often.

In SOME people "forgetting" is a device that is used as a conscious way to avoid discussing a problem.

Very often, "forgetting" is a result of either 1) lack of empathy- it is part of minimizing - 2) something called a "cognitive distortion" . Both are a result of feelings=facts. CD's are very dangerous because they cause the person to 'rewrite history" to fit their feelings.

For example my narc rewrote our entire relationship timeline months after out relationship ended. It was the most bizarre thing I had heard from him (and a source of gladness that I was out). His version of how we met was completely supportive of a false accusation he was making against me.

I pulled out e mails he sent to me, with time stamps, because I thought I was going crazy.

nope. It was just as I had remembered it "pru, our first official date is tonight", "pru will you marry me?" , etc.

For complex reasons I will not go into here, I printed out the e mail trail and gave it to him. he was surprised at how his memory did not jibe with the reality- AT ALL -

A few weeks later, he laid into me - using the same made up timeline he had given me in the first place, even though he had a copy of the real one, even though he sent an e mail appology to me about it the day I shpwed it to him.

Several weeks after that- he laid into me again about that time line- and it was a different one than he had presented the first two times, still not adhearing to the REALITY of his own words in e mail.

Point: He will "forget" from day to day how things happened, because his memory is formed by his FEELINGS. If he wakes up on Monday feeling happy, then it's one time line, if he had a mad day, by monday night, the timeline shifts to make his bad acts and misery my fault.

people who do this, do it because they can not take responsibility for their feelings (FEELINGS) so they must adjust the facts to make their feelings make sense.

We all do it to a tiny degree, that's called personal perspective. It becomes "abusive", crazy making, when it is pervasive, chronic and creates an alternate version of reality. The thing to remember is that the person who is doing this is not aware. they BELIEVE what they are saying. They FEEL that way.

For more- read "stop walking on eggshells" by Randi Kreiger.
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#7 thebewilderness



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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:52 PM

Some people's filters are a lot thicker than others. The more they practice denial the thicker the filters get until they act as barriers.
You see it sometimes over little things when people say "all I did was", then describe it as asking you to move when you quite clearly heard them say "get the H out of my way". Or they will tell you that you said something that you absolutely did not say, because what is going on in their head overwhelms what is happening in reality.
These are methods to bend reality to comport with their world view and their self image. Neither of which can stand the cold light of reality.
They would shrivel up like the mythical vampire in the sunlight.
Embracing reality and being self aware is hard work.Even when we do the work the filters remain. The best I think we can do is to thin them out and keep thinning them out.
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#8 wannalife



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Posted 22 March 2012 - 05:29 PM

I appreciate all of your responses, and your perspectives. 'I' believe my dh must remember, as he times things correctly as not to be seen acting out, etc.
I think he also wants to confuse me, by saying something did not exist~ So then, that means 'I' am CRAZY, huh ? (gas lighting) ~ that movie was the BEST !

Recently dh came flying at me, across the bed, while I lay asleep. I immediately woke up, and he was kneeling over me, both hands up, holding a pillow above my
head. I had quickly turned towards him, and raised one arm up, and attempted to hold the pillow up there.
He began yelling at me, something about, "What are you doing?" or whatever . .
I said "I just don't want to get HIT !"
He threw the pillow across the room,went in the bathroom, and came back to bed.
In the morning, he knew nothing about it, and said he must've done it in his sleep. (he did not seem sleepy about it when it happened)

I think he did it to scare me ~ but, then I wonder, or was it to do real harm ????? :-O

He also damages my things, like dents my hair spray cans, got a new powder compact, and couple days later the top was gouged (it was a very hard surface, I could not scratch
it with anything, then tried the Ice Tongs, lying near by ~ YES, two scratches, 1/4" apart, exactly like the teeth on the ice tongs ~) It had to be a heavy metal object to scratch it !

I go into my vehicle, (I return late at night), and my interior light has been turned off ~ happened a few times~ (when I asked him, he said, "Oh, maybe I hit it accidently with a box I was taking out of there . . . right, it is ON THE CEILING !!!) you have to reach up to turn it off. And, a few times ? I think he wants me to get in my vehicle at midnight, and it is DARK ! Always trying to scare me ~

I believe he puts things in my food that keeps me awake at night, and make my heart race ~ Then I found some Gensing, a few tabs lined up under the bathroom vanity on the floor,
(the bathroom is right off the kitchen, part of the mudroom)..... do these things walk around ??? I think he may have had them in a handy place to put in my food when he makes it, as he often does.

It's just lots of stuff. Makes me nervous.


Edited by wannalife, 22 March 2012 - 05:34 PM.

#9 Maddie_NY



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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:08 PM

Wow, this is so over my head! Part of the reason why I got to a dark place I am is that I believed him! (talking about xh). I thought I was going crazy and kept questioning myself. It didn't occur to me that someone could do this deliberately (esp. changing stories, lying, telling me I am imagining things, or that I even get rages). I am so glad I didn't go crazy, I was so confused, and a nervous wreck esp. during the divorce when everything magnified x10. wannalife thank you for bringing this up, I wondered myself, what a nightmare.

#10 oneness


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:53 PM

This is an interesting question, one which I struggled with with O as well. I never knew how much he actually remembered, but I havec the sneaky suspicion that he remembered more than he let on. His timeline was always distorted - I blamed on the booze, thought he had MPD, thought he was just born with a brain like a sieve. It drove me nuts!

I know some stuff he does not remember - when he was on a bender whole weeks would go by and he only had vague memories of it. Sometimes I know he is lying to cover up things he feels too guilty to confront. He always hated that I remember everything - including dates, times etc. I journal a lot, and always had a great memory.

So in my case, I don't believe he was gas lighting. He either doesn't remember, forgets because he does not want to remember, and occasionally lies....

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