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Tracking Down the "Embarrassing Memory" Noise

Compelled to Blurt... | Ask Metafilter

Like a lot of people in this Ask Metafilter thread, I thought I was the only person in the universe who made an unconscious little noise when remembering something stupid I did or said.

It's not especially loud, in fact it's often under my breath. The sound is usually just a quiet grunt, or a word/syllable or two. If I remember an embarrassing conversation, I tend to blurt out a random word of the conversation (as in, I'm replaying the dialogue in my head but then all the sudden one of the words pops out of my mouth). If it happens while I'm reading, I tend to blurt out one or two of the words that happen to be under my eyes at the moment.

For context, my tic (which can also be heard when someone near me does something dumb) sounds a little like the noise Leo Bloom makes after he falls on his keys (00:34). "Ooooooom...."

The Question to You

Anyone else do this? Anybody out there qualified to talk about the psychology or neuroscience behind this apparent phenomenon? I’ll bet there’s a cool, scientific name for it.

djbell's picture

This article makes me feel less insane

I do something similar to what is quoted from Ask Metafilter, but I'm semi-consciously providing myself with negative self-talk in a half-whisper or grunt. It's usually a single word attack like "dumb" or "stupid," although it's sometimes a phrase.

Honestly, I've thought about seeing a shrink about it because rationally I know it's absurd and destructive. I did this recently upon remembering answering 63 as the product of 8 and 8 on my third grade multiplication test. I would like to point out that I am now 31 years old, have a wife and child, am successful, lucky, and definitely know my "timeses."

I've been ruminating on a solution to this, in addition to professional help. Maybe capturing the embarrassing thought would get it out of mind in the same way capturing information for processing does. Do you think if I wrote a journal of embarrassing things it would help or hurt?




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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