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When someone says "I never said that" or "I don't remember saying that..."

Suzanne

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
This is a situation I have got myself into. I would rather not elaberate. I would just like to know how to respond, because in fact, they did say what I am "accusing" them of saying. The trouble is, that all I can think of are sentances that will cause more contention and I really just want to end what ever is going on.

I did say to just forget it, because of the type of character this person is ie a very strong one, but the person kept insisting that the words were not spoken or they have no memory of it or even that I am not making sense. Yet, the words are as clear as could be in my head and I KNOW that I am not imagining it.
 

Progster

Grown sideways to the sun
V.I.P Member
It sounds like they are trying to manipulate the situation to their own advantage, in order not to lose face or to win the argument.
 

Suzanne

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It sounds like they are trying to manipulate the situation to their own advantage, in order not to lose face or to win the argument.

That is exactly what I think. But I just do not know the best way to answer, so that the person is neither a winner or loser and me too.
 

Bolletje

Overly complicated potato
V.I.P Member
When someone denies having said something I know they have said I blow up. It’s one of my conversational meltdown triggers.
 

Iamnotarabot

Well-Known Member
Its almost like gaslighintg, this is something my father do often " No i never did or sayed that, you mus tbe crazy". I managed to ignore that now but my mother is still easely manipulated by that and doubt her own memory.

At some point the trick is soooooo overdone that it feels realy ridiculous.
Stand your ground and ignore when people are doing that, because someone rationnal would try to understand what actually happened and would not put the blame on you immediatly.
Someone acting like that is just poorly defending himself.

Even people that you love can have those bad habits , Once you discovered the trick it just doesnt work and feel ridiculous.
 

Streetwise

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
wish that worked with neurotypical neighbours who maliciously gossip about me and make me physically sick .
 

Dwoops

Active Member
I have this problem so often with my brother, though usually it’s reversed. He thinks that I said something that I didn’t actually say. It makes communicating with him 10x harder than other people because he takes meanings out of my words that make no sense to me. Then they get filtered through his brain so he thinks I said something with a completely different meaning.
 

Lichi

Think of an idiot, only smarter.
Try saying "OK, but from what I remember you said something like .... Oh well, but that's just how it is." In this way you will be able to still get across the point that you still believe the events were like they were without opening up the discussion again. It's a more satisfactory way for me to end the "let's agree to disagree", except that you highlight that their argument has not convinced you.
 

the_tortoise

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It is possible they are manipulating you, as others have said.

But it is also possible that they truly do not remember or are confabulating (meaning they only remember things vaguely, and their brain is filling in the gaps with imaginary things where they do not remember specifics -- in such a way as to match what feels right to them, or what makes sense to them in the present day.....regardless of whether or not it actually happened).

It is common for people to remember only what they meant to communicate or their perceptions of a situation, and not what they or anyone else actually said (I don't know why/how they then convince themselves that they do remember what they said when, in reality, they do not -- if I remember what I meant to communicate but not what I said, that is very different to remembering what I actually said....it is a mystery to me how the two things are confused for others).

It also seems to be common for people to forget things and then be unwilling to consider that they may have done/said those things when it becomes clear that whatever they did/said is now problematic, or has hurt someone else, or doesn't fit within their moral code and what they predict they would do in such a situation (given that they can't actually remember anymore, so it is the same as if they are thinking about an imaginary situation -- and what they imagine/predict ends up being different than what actually happened).
 
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Fridgemagnetman

I only have one
V.I.P Member
I've come across this.

It's normally a tactic used when you ask someone to stop doing something.

They reframe your request,statement into '' never said that.

They don't want to admit anything so the behaviour continues .

If that's the case here, say

"Whether you said it or not. I'm asking you to NOT do this (x,y,z) in future.
Can you agree to do that?"

Repeat phrase until the other person either dies or leaves.
 

Fridgemagnetman

I only have one
V.I.P Member
or has hurt someone else, or doesn't fit within their moral code and what they predict they would do in such a situation

People have selective memories and will only remember things that fits with their self/image that they hold of themselves and want to project out to other people.
 

Smiley

Well-Known Member
Sometimes it's a denial of what they regret or are embarrassed about, but other times they really don't remember. Probably the best thing to do in most cases is state how you remember it, then let it go.

There is also the possibility that you remembered wrong. It happens. Life goes on.

If you are sure the person is trying to manipulate you, stop interacting with them as much as you are able to stop, and don't take anything they say as a promise or truth.

I've been on both sides of this, people denying saying what I know they said, and also people claiming that I said or did something that I don't remember ever doing and would be totally out of character for me. The argument isn't worth having; state your recollection of events, then let it go.
 

the_tortoise

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
People have selective memories and will only remember things that fits with their self/image that they hold of themselves and want to project out to other people.

I remember lots of things that I have done that were stupid, insensitive, hurtful, mean, etc. I'm glad I do, too, even though they are painful to remember (so much shame and regret) because otherwise how would I ever learn to do better? How could I make amends?

Maybe it's not such a bad thing to lack a strong/fixed/internalized from-the-outside-in-type self-image like other people have.....
 

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