Arguing & memory and who got it wrong?

So who's right and who's wrong?

goats butting heads to argue

Me and hubby had words yesterday. Nothing major really, just about what groceries we needed, the usual been married for donkeys years run of the mill tetchiness.

A bit later on he asked me why I'd reacted as I did. 'Hmph.' I snorted, rolling my eyes 'what do you expect when you say something like that?'

'Like what?' So I told him what he'd said and he just shook his head and bemused replied 'I never said that at all or anything like it!'

Now I don't take bemusement well, and as far as an apology went it was lacking greatly in the 'yes you're completely right as usual' words of appeasement.

But to be honest by this time I couldn't actually remember him saying what I'd thought he'd said at all, so I backed off from fully demanding a retraction and just let it lie. I'm a great peacemaker like that Winking

But this post is all about memory and the way you can recall exactly your very own and unique perception of something that happened. And the reality of remembering is that it is not, nor ever can be an unbiased brain recording of past events.

Near enough a hundred years ago in his book 'Remembering' Sir Frederick Bartlett describes a study in which he asked a group of people to read and then retell a story, a north American Indian folktale called 'The War of the Ghosts.'

He found that the people retelling, distorted the story to fit in with their pre-existing experiences, omitted the parts they deemed irrelevant and changed the emphasis and structure of the story to match their own view of how the world worked.

Which is exactly what hubby accuses me of doing....or is it me that accuses him
....well, we probably take turns to be fair, riding that particular horse into town.

What seems to be true is that...

"You don't remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened."
(John Green from An Abundance of Katherines)

When something is happening what we really do is view that thing differently depending on our mood at the time, what we already know and what we expect to happen next.

Its an evolutionary thing. To be able to simultaneously process whats happening right at the minute, its similarity to what's happened in the past and to get creative with what that means is going to happen next, i.e. to prepare ourselves by considering more than one possible future stemming from whatever we are experiencing right at that point.

The fact is that memory evolved to be forward looking. A crucial function of the brain to be able to predict and plan for possible eventualities.

So that's it. Our memories are an amalgamation of feelings, fact, past experience and imagination. oh and motivation at the time. And that's okay....unless it's not that is.

With hypnotherapy its hardly ever essential to go raking over old hurts or painful memories but sometimes if they are colouring your experience right now, or you feel stuck in a moment unable to move on then it seems eminently reasonable to take another fly by that old memory. To see it from the air if you like or from another viewpoint, most definitely with a fresh frame of mind and more than likely a more beneficial motivation. To step back and reframe that recollection, untangling emotion and freeing yourself from its restriction.

Then what you remember really does become what happened.



Is it really worth it?

girl on a lilo relaxing

So, I was 18 and on a budget coach holiday to Rimini in Italy with my best friend Amanda. And it being budget, the lira were in very short supply. As a treat we bought ourselves a lilo, just one between us, and took turns floating on the gloriously warm Adriatic Sea.

It's my turn, I'm lying on my back, the waves lulling a deep and sensuous dream of all being well with the world, the summer sun deliciously warming and playing dreams in shades of tangerine on the backs of my eyelids.

A rather large wave engulfs the airbed and the spluttering shock causes me to jump or rather inelegantly fall off the lilo. Feeling a bit daft I glance back to the shore to see if Amandas laughing at me and realise that I've floated way beyond what feels a comfortable distance. The tiny figures on the beach, the stretch of sea between me and them, a heavy burgeoning fear slickly sloshed into the pit of my stomach...what should I do?

The lilo is floating further out.

I should swim back to shore.

I don't .

The lilo is important to us, isn't it?

I choose to get the lilo and swim even further out. The current however is against me and it continues to float further and further from reach.

Have you ever experienced that feeling? The OMG this is really happening, how did everything get so bad so quick.

I was so tired of reaching and failing, I started to take time outs by floating on my back while the airbed needing no such breather floated its own path.

I am way out at sea, it feels like miles, it won't be but perception a few inches above sea level is deceptive. I am thinking that reaching the lilo is going to be my only way of surviving.

I cannot reach it and I cannot breathe.

Ok, I'm here and writing this, so you know I must have done.

I was rescued by a lifeguard on a raft that he was rowing like a venetian gondola. He took me back to shore.

I was 18 and obviously stupid and to be honest got over the whole thing pretty quick, relief is a wonderful relaxant.

I believe in people, I really do, that you can pursue your goals, that its all in the mindset, that with planning, hard work and a healthy dose of reality you can make things happen or be happy or successful or any way you wish to be.

However make sure what you are chasing is important to you and that whatever it's costing you is worth it.

Don't let it be a lilo.

Oh by the way the prompt for this little trip down memory lane is a Cosmopolitan article: Hypnotherapy Helped Me End a Toxic Relationship

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Does my bum look big in this?

photo of Jennifer Lopez

Getting ready to go out tonight….don't ask your partner this question, if he loves you he'll lie!

And I love this new study looking into the relationship between love and lying. The 'love' hormone, oxytocin, has been demonstrated in research as promoting bonding in couples and between mothers and babies, and is also thought to drive people's impulse to be sociable, important in group bonding. Also in general, the higher levels of oxytocin a person has, the more empathy and trust they will have, as well as lower social anxiety and fear response.

The lying done in this case IS however all about its effect on the people around you and not about the self-centred deceitful type. 

So these intrigued scientists one rainy afternoon split a load of people into small groups and told them to individually within their groupls  toss a coin, guessing before the coin landed what the result would be; heads or tails. Now no one was checking on them so they had to self report. The more correct predictions an individual reported the more money would be won by their group.

Before the commencement of the tossing, some groups were injected with oxytocin and other groups with a placebo.

Of course there was going to be some fibbing going on, stands to reason. And as the participants were all MEN, well need I say more. (Just joking!)

However the probability of  guessing correctly 9 or 10 times out of 10 is highly unlikely, less than 1%. 

The placebo group reported 23% of their members guessing correctly at 90% or even 100%

The oxytocin group were however 'really feeling the lurrve in the room' and reported a 53% success rate at guessing 9 or 10 times correctly out of 10. i.e. twice as likely to bend the truth as the placebo guys.

The satisfied scientists concluded that;

"These findings fit a functional perspective on morality revealing dishonesty to be plastic and rooted in evolved neurobiological circuitries, and align with work showing that oxytocin shifts the decision-maker's focus from self to group interests.
Our results suggest people are willing to bend ethical rules to help the people close to us, like our team or family," says Dr. Shalvi. "This raises an interesting, although perhaps more philosophical, question: are all lies immoral?"

So guys my advice in answering the question "Does my bum look big in this?" is something along the lines of "Darling you look beautiful!"

Because, and here's the secret, we already know the answer…..and if we really want the honest truth we'll ask another woman!