What stupid memories keep coming back to haunt you?

Only the bad ones.

Mostly stuff my so-called “mothers” and my aunt have said to me. I still remember the callous disregard they both had for anything called feelings. In my family, you just didn’t have feelings until you were grown up. I still remember dozens of times sitting there, squirming, humiliated, while all three of the grown-up women laughed at me, or all three of them ganged up on me and yelled at me once.

I have a clear, crystal-clear memory of asking Mom when i was 12 or so…“Mom, am I pretty?” and her answering, “No, your nose is too big.”

If I let myself dwell on these they will make me cry. I remember a line from Anne of Green Gables where the sister remembers something an aunt said in her childhood, and how the “sting took fully forty years to heal”. I refuse to dwell on them and have purged most of the bile from my system, but yeah…just because I forgave doesn’t mean I forgot.

I also have lots of memories of times I have been a dolt. These I try to remember and hold close so I don’t do it again.

Too many.

Too painful to share.
They come like a flash, and I involuntarily twich and/or curse when they do.

GOD I wish I could delete some parts of my life.

I should have kissed that guy Bill that time instead of letting him wander off with Kelly.

And plenty of others–I definitely have social anxiety and don’t know how to make up for when I mess up–and usually trying to make it up becomes more embarrassing than just letting it go. After all, the other person probably didn’t think twice about it…but what if they did…?? and on and on

I don’t think I am better than anyone intellectually, but it’s “phenomenon”.

:stuck_out_tongue: just kidding, don’t hate me, you don’t hate me do you? Really I was just kidding

I have many, many of them. Here are just a few:

[li]Wetting my pants in class in 3rd grade because I was too embarrassed to ask the nun (it was a Catholic school) permission to go to the bathroom.[/li][li]Fifth grade, right before Easter. My grandmother had made me a beautiful pink gingham party dress that, in retrospect, looked like something Mary Ann from “Gilligan’s Island” might wear. I had only been in the States a little over a year, and had some vague idea that you were supposed to dress up for Easter, so I wore that dress to school the day before Easter break started. I will never forget one of the girls in my class saying, “She looks like my poodle.”[/li][li]All the times I stupidly told people in school who I thought were my friends that I had a crush on a certain boy, only to endure teasing from them, sometimes even from the boy himself. I will forever be grateful to my 8th grade crush for actually taking me aside and letting me down as gently as he could, rather than simply making fun of me like his friends were doing.[/li][li]Attempting to run for student government in 11th grade and passing around a petition that needed 100 signatures so I could run, only to have the popular kids fill it full of celebrities’ names. This was the same crowd that dominated the cheerleading squad to the point that any girl who wasn’t part of their crowd and made the squad quickly dropped out, perhaps due to intimidation or catty comments from them.[/li][li]In college, I fell in with a group of people who prided themselves on their vicious sense of humor. Since this was the first time I had real friends (or so I thought) and wanted to impress them, I quickly adopted their style of repartee. That summer, I was involved in a theater group composed of both students and professional actors. I was just as sarcastic and insulting with them as I was with my new friends, being socially inept and not realizing that the standard mode of speech in my crowd simply didn’t fly among “normal” people. Needless to say, I made a lot of enemies that summer.[/li][li]My Bridezilla moment, when I threatened to kick my sister out of my bridal party if she cut her hair short. I’m sorry, sis. [/li][/ul]

Man, I really am a fucking loser, when I look back.

If only you knew. Seriously, I originally typed phenomenon, but then talked myself into the plural as I was referring (in my head, if not in my post) to all types of evolution, not just that of man. Ugh. I knew if I went singular someone would nitpick, and if I went plural the same fate awaited me. Such is life on the Dope :smiley:

When I was in 7th grade, I saw an episode of Mork & Mindy where Mork, pretending to be a cowboy, says “Chink” as he steps (in imitation of spurs). The next day, I walked into my English class, empty except for me and my teacher, and do the same thing. She began yelling at me for being racist – I guess she thought I was saying it regarding some Chinese student – and refused to believe my explanation. It was about five years later that I even learned of the word as a slur.

My real memory though is when I was perhaps nine years old. I was on the front patio at the end of summer, sitting with some older kids who were trying to get me to dump out my sister’s mayo jar full of fireflies she had collected earlier. Finally, my sister came bounding down the stairs to show me her new school uniform. I dumped the jar in front of her and she ran back inside crying. I felt like shit for having listened to the other kids and hurt my sister when she was trying to show me something she was proud of – and for no real reason at all.

That memories bothered me for years and, about six years or so ago, I apologized to my sister for it. Naturally, she looked at me as though I was growing an extra head, having no memory of the event what so ever. So it goes. Sometimes it still bothers me though.

I have quite a few too, almost all from my early childhood.

One I will share has to deal with a time when I was very sick and scared:

I was sick for quite a few days and had a fever of over 105 when I was in the fifth grade. Eventually I was rushed to the hospital and spent about a week recovering from pnemonia. But the memory that comes back to me is when I was delirious with the fever and asking, “… if anyone would help me get this salt across the desert.” I was begging my sister to help me. That is when my mother finally told my dad(who was too damn cheap to take me to the Dr.) that she was taking me to the hospital!

I still get very anxious whenever I am sick.

I also remember thinking that little green aliens were carrying my mother on their backs, like ants carry food, and taking her up the chimney. I don’t know if the alien thing was a bad dream or another delious fever moment. I had quite a few illnesses as a kid. My sister talks about me and the alien thing to this day, and it has been about 40 years. I was 4 at the time. She was 9.

Nah, just normal. Many of us probably have lists just like yours.

I’m going to assume a lot of the posters in this thread are younger than me. And I won’t bore you with any of the details of my embarrassments or stupid actions over the years.

But, I do tell my kids that things stay with you for a long time and no one blames you or respects you less when you do stupid things. I never told my parents when I did something stupid and I wish I had. If my mother or father had said, “Don’t worry. Everyone makes mistakes.” I know they would have and I would have felt better, but I never told them because I was ashamed.

And I know my kids sometimes do the same things. Sometimes they tell me, but I think often they don’t. I just wish I could wash away the pain and make things right again, every time. That’s pretty much what everyone wants.

You can’t make the memories go away, but you can help feel better about yourself by doing the right thing whenever possible. Well, that sounds like a load of old peoples’ crap, so I’ll stop now.

Ugh, this came up just the other day.

There’s a guy I knew in high school through college. I can’t really call him an ex, because we never really got together, but he was in my life for nearly 10 years and there was something that could have been. At both our high school and college graduations, I had the feeling that I may never see him again, that I needed to find him and talk to him one last time. You know how you think everything as you know it will end forever and ever after school is done.

Both times, I didn’t find or talk to him, but I eventually saw him again at some point. That was 10 years ago. We’ve both since moved far away. I’ve heard from him maybe twice since then.

But every now and then I’ll have a dream where I’m back there (but at weird, random locations), looking for him again, trying to find him, thinking that if I don’t, I’ll never see him again. It’s such a stupid dream to have, since we both have relationships and in his case, kids, and are happy with our lives. I have no idea why my brain is so fixated on that.

I don’t remember what grade I was in. Probably elementary school. I rode the bus every morning, and one morning, at the last stop, a girl named Robin got on. She was a few years older than me, and I knew her brother, who was a few years younger than me. They lived in an old building that looked more like a garage than a house. The point is, I didn’t really know her. I was sitting by myself on the seat, and she asked if she could sit with me–SOP. People asked, but you weren’t really supposed to say no, especially on a crowded bus.

My response. “I don’t like you. I never liked you. I never will.”

I didn’t even know this girl! I don’t know what possessed me to say that. Just random cruelty. It wasn’t like I was Miss Popularity. Like I had so many friends, I could be a total bitch to random girls I didn’t know. I never apologized, and a few years later, she was in a car accident and died. I should have apologized right that second.

A few years later, when I was in middle school, the power went out before classes started. The lights were dim, because they were the emergency lights on the generator. We were all wandering the hallways–I think it was before the bell rang. My friend Melissa told me that there had been a car accident the night before. The reason the power was out that morning was that there had been a horrible, horrible snowstorm the previous night. So, anyway, I said “Who?” She named a person who I knew quite well. In fact, she was the bully who had made my life a living hell since I was in second grade. Every morning and every afternoon, she targeted me on the bus and was just relentless. She was a few years older than me, and it was a little awkward because her brother was my best friend. So when Melissa said her name, my immediate reaction was, “I wouldn’t be that lucky.”

Well, the car accident took her life, took her friend’s life, and put another boy in the hospital for a very, very long time. I can’t even express how guilty I felt at the time, and how awful I still feel.

Yeah, thanks; maybe I will when we see each other over Christmas.

Rodgers01 - I agree with those who have encouraged you to tell your brother. If I became aware that my sister felt even a nominal amount of guilt for some of the things she said/did to me when we were kids - I would probably forgive her on the spot. And she said/did things that (to me) were far worse than your anti-scouts rant (although I say that without any knowledge of how your brother felt about the incident).

All I’m saying is that if he does still harbour any resentment about it, your acknowledgement of guilt is likely to go a long way towards assuaging it. If he has forgotten, he will probably still appreciate the sentiment.

As for my own crappy, cringe-making memories, I have many! Like others here, I am socially awkward (though not so much anxious, so far I feel I am closest to Litoris’ self-description - there are many to whom I simply cannot relate and haven’t the faintest clue how to talk to) and also lie awake at night, my mind regurgitating each painful moment so that I can feel each one as though it were fresh…

However, the memory that springs immediately to mind is not really like those, though it does make uncomfortable to think about it.

I am short. I was always short. Many in my family are naturally short and my natural genetically-induced smallness-of-size was augmented by a medical condition I was born with that was not treated correctly until I was about 4. Mentally, I progressed correctly and thankfully did not grow out of proportion in any way, but did not grow at the usual rate (I was sick all the time and undernourished) and by the time I got to kindergarten I was still about a head shorter than my classmates. This was not helped by the fact that I had started kindergarten a year early and was also 4 whilst they were all 5. On top of this, I was shy and found it hard to make friends.

In the very first few weeks of school, our regular teacher was away for about 3 days and we had a relief teacher. She thought I (because of my size, mostly) was the most adorable little thing ever. To start the day, we had to line up single file to enter the classroom and I was last in the line the first day she was there. When I came through the door, this woman literally squealed in delight at my diminutive presence and called me out of line to ‘stand next to her’, which I had to do until everyone else was seated on the floor. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I hated to be singled out and just this first experience was mortifying. But there was more to come.

She then had me sit next to her in front of the seated class, facing my classmates like I was in a position of honour and they were not. For the time she was there, she frequently had me stand or sit next to her when she addressed the class or read a story/whatever. She would pick me first for every game, activity and demonstration, though I never volunteered. In games she usually made sure I had two or three more ‘goes’ or whatever than others. She would always comment on how ‘little’ and ‘cute’ I was - for all to hear. I would come in from lunch, race to my seat and try to disappear into it, but she would call me out and have me sit at her desk, opposite her, to do my work. I didn’t know what to do except that I should probably do as I was told, though I hated every minute and felt constantly on the verge of tears. She seemed to find me all the cuter for my shyness. If I shook my head no to her requests, she seemed to think that too was adorable and would usually just lead me by the hand to whatever I was supposed to do and talk to me in a patronising way until it was easier to just do what she was asking than endure her cooing at me while everyone looked on. I felt like my classmates despised me for it and was too embarrassed and shy to try to tell anyone that I didn’t ask for any special treatment.

Being made the centre of attention like that made me feel like bursting into tears and a little ashamed, like it was somehow my fault. I hated the teacher at the time and when I think about it now, I am horrified at her behaviour. Singling out a child in a classroom on the basis of your personal assessment of their cuteness and basically making them your adorable sidekick while the other children are somehow not worthy of that degree of attention? Not to mention further limiting the child’s chances at friendship with the Teacher’s Pet label. Had this woman even worked with children before?

I did not make any friends until 4th grade - I do not blame her entirely for that, but those few days of uncalled-for extra attention stuck with me for a good while. It was generally assumed that I was a teacher’s pet and a suck-up to boot. I was the butt of numerous on-going playground jokes. I don’t blame them - nobody in that class, including myself, knew how it happened that I was suddenly this teacher’s favourite and more important than the rest of them so they probably assumed that I had somehow engineered this circumstance and liked it that way - I’m sure there would have been a level of automatic resentment in my mind had I been among them. Ugh. I hate that woman.

Wow, that story reads a little like an underhanded attempt at showing off. “I was SO cute as a child!” - I was no more cute than your average 4/5 year-old. Nobody besides this particular woman reacted like this to me and my family is in agreement that my little sister was FAR cuter :smiley: . I’ve seen the photos. She was.

Oh, man, I seriously feel for you. It has never happened to me, and I’ve only ever seen it on TV - but for some reason the ‘inviting everybody and having nobody/almost nobody turn up’ idea happening to a child makes me want to cry more so than other ‘painful childhood memory’ memes. I always find it so hard to believe that it actually happens outside of TV/films, but yours is the 5th or 6th such occurrence I have been told of.

I am so sorry that that happened to you.

I hope you have good friends now who would turn up even if you didn’t invite them.

That story makes me want to hug you and I am not a hugger, electronically or otherwise, but: {{Stauderhorse}}.

The real wickedness and indifference doesn’t trouble me where it should and there has been plenty of it. I’ve been less bad than (most/many/some) if I had really put my mind to it. Instead I am forever haunted by having made fun of a schoolmate wearing boots to school. I’m bigger, smarter, faster than most and he was small. Months or years later I’m told he has a club foot. I went to one school reunion only many years later with the specific purpose of making it up to him and sort of did. A proper apology would have been better, but it’s not so easy to find the right words on the spot.

I also once threw a stone at a boy I knew swimming and made him cry. He couldn’t see me do it.

An uncomfortable number are trickling in - animals / younger children / women / men. Time to go lie down.

Bizarrely, that rarely happened to me as a child – at least some people always came to my parties, no matter how bizarre they were (art gallery party! in grade seven!) and never mind that I was literally the least popular person in class – I say this without spite, I just was, and I certainly didn’t do anything to attempt to change that or feel the need to.

And yet, it keeps happening as an adult. I invited like thirty people to my 25th birthday party, and about three people showed up, which didn’t help how freaked out I was feeling about turning 25. And let’s not even talk about the other (non-social) events I have occasion to organize.

Buckler of Swashing, I’ve been having such a crappy day, and you have no idea how much better this makes me feel. That memory really makes me want to crawl into a hole and cover my eyes for the rest of my life, but the fact that there are decent, caring people out there is the reason why I keep going. So, thank you. Very, very much.

Also, your story made me cringe terribly. I would hate to be singled out like that for no reason, and I can just imagine the reactions of the other kids.

I find it fascinating that all of these memories for people are the awkward, dignity-crushing experiences of youth. I think brilliant people are most often the most sensitive ones. I find these stories therapeutic, in the sense that I now know that several others are haunted by events like mine. Those are the ones that haunt me 20+ years later and counting. I got a bunch, but here are the ones I consider most haunty.
My senior year of high school, I decided that I would overcome my nerd status and ask out a girl I had a crush on for a couple of years. She was enormously popular, but we had a class together and our lockers were close. I summoned the courage and, nervously, asked her out one day. She said no, because she was interested in someone else. Months later, after a basketball game, I nervously approached her again. I said, “I would like to talk about something we talked about a long time ago…” I was trying to avoid saying “will you go out with me?” She stopped abruptly, and said in a scoldy, angry tone, “No! Alright? Look, I’m not trying to hurt you, but just NO!” She also kept repeating, “I’m not trying to hurt you.” Probably because she could see the tears forming in my eyes. In my mental replays of the event, I find myself saying, “Yes, you are trying to hurt me. Otherwise you wouldn’t be talking to me like someone scolding a naughty child.” I often find myself hoping that she is equally haunted by that moment. Yes, fellow dopers, I was yelled at by a girl for asking her out. I was so ashamed for trying to extend myself beyond my assigned social ranking.
A friend of mine in grade school used to torment a girl in our class. When I stayed at his house, he would occasionally call the girl and hang up, or try to do various pranks. One day, while I was walking home with him, we passed that girl’s house. I followed him through the yard and we saw that their car was gone. He walked up and opened the door. In my timid-6th-grader way, I pleaded with him to get out of there, but he forged ahead. I thought his boldness would be my buffer if we got caught. We went in and he vandalized some of their things. He put a bird wing we had found in a field on the way over into a pitcher of Kool-Aid in their fridge, and he put a tomato into a shoe on the counter and smashed his fist down onto it. I still remember the sight of the tomato juice running toward the heel of the shoe. Years later, I found out that the girl, and her younger sister, were HOME and saw us there! A couple of years later, her dad showed up at our house and told my mom the story, and about the bullying (which I never did, but was with my friend when he did it). I felt like a criminal while being punished for that. I denied the event for years, and have been wanting to tell my mom the story lately (I had a vivid dream about it last month!). I resented the girl for a long time because she she blamed both of us, and not just my friend. Her parents still hold a grudge against mine! In recent analysis, I have decided that I did, indeed, try to stop the trespassing and the bullying. I was a force of good, just limited by the innocence and small stature of being 9 years old (my friend was 10, an intimidating age gap back then). I looked up that girl’s email, and am considering telling her the story and apologizing that I didn’t do more to stop the event. I wonder if she has forgotten it, or if such a message would be seen as something positive. I also considered stopping by her parents house (still the same house) and telling the story with an apology. If I were extremely wealthy, I would probably buy them an elaborate security system.
My mom hated when I got bad grades. I often did poorly due to incomplete homework. I did extremely well on an I.Q. test in 2nd grade, which my parents insisted I take so that the school wouldn’t make me repeat 2nd grade. I believe that my incompleted homework and frustrated teachers were a result of my boredom with the material. I did really well, when I did the homework. My parents found this frustrating. One time, when I was about 13 or 14, I got a bad progress report and my mom was lecturing me while washing dishes. I sat on a stool in the kitchen. We were the only ones in the house, so as the lecture went on, she got increasingly angry. Dishes were clanging more and more loudly, and her voice changed from stern to angry, to yelling, to shrieking. I was worried that she might break a dish and then blame me because I made her so irate. She ran over, grabbed my shoulders and violently shook me forward and back, screaming, “Why don’t you do your work?!” All I could manage to stammer out was, “Okay…I’ll…t…try harder.” I felt like a criminal, worthless and ashamed. A couple of years ago, I told that story to my sister and she just kind of laughed. I don’t think she understood the magnitude of the event and how it torments me to this day. Mom’s voice, that day, I remember it like it was yesterday. It is like the screaming of the lambs.

I loathe anger. It is the plague of our species. I avoid getting angry at all costs, because I believe it is very destructive to everyone who experiences or even witnesses it.

Sometimes, I get random, unprovoked feelings of dread/terror and I think these events may be a part of it.