Missing things Frequently, Why?

When someone tends to misplace things relatively frequently, there may be something that is dispersing their attention, or that this is due to an unconscious desire that, for that reason, has not been able to identify.

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There are experts in misleading things. Sometimes, they just do not know where they left the keys, the phone or the glasses. They leave the umbrella anywhere, they lose the pencils and never know to whom they lent a book. At other times the situation is a little more serious. Corresponds to people who lose money, credit cards, identity documents or really valuable assets.

Why does this happen? Reviewing the available literature, there does not seem to be an agreement on this. The explanation for the phenomenon of misleading things depends on the approach or perspective with which we look. Some give a cognitive explanation, associated with memory and attention. Others, suggest that it is a condition determined by genetics.

On the other hand there is the psychoanalytic explanation, in which the unconscious will of the people counts. Poses that this type of situations obey the unconscious desire to mislead things for some unreasonable reason. And if all this were not enough, there are also those who maintain that forgetting is related to intelligence. How to understand then this problem?

“You only lose what you want to lose.”

-Benjamin Orellano-

Missing things, a matter of genes?

At the University of Bonn, a study was carried out among people who were in the habit of losing their belongings. They wanted to establish common biological patterns between them. In the end they found that 75% of the respondents had a variation in the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2).

The researchers concluded that this made them more prone to forgetting. The keyword there is prone. As is often the case, the existence of these biological markers does not explain behaviors by itself. A predisposition or potentiality is not an insurance of success.

The director of the research, Sebastián Markett, also pointed out that at least half of the forgetfulness could be explained by a genetic predisposition. This, in turn, would correspond to at least 10 variations in genes.

Lack of attention and intelligence

The most frequent explanation for this tendency to mislead things has to do with a cognitive factor: attention. We are not fully focused on what we are doing and that is why those small accidents happen that prevent us from remembering where the glasses are.

This lack of attention is due, in general, to the fact that our mind is working on a problem that prioritizes. Either because we are in the execution of a one task and thinking of another completely different, or because we are actually in multitasking mode. This dispersion is an obstacle to the storage, conservation and retrieval of information.

It has been suggested that when a person is very intelligent he tends to immerse himself in his own thoughts, to the point that he forgets the external world (stereotype of clueless genius). Particularly, they do not pay attention to minor or everyday matters and that is why they often lose belongings frequently.

The unconscious desire

From the psychoanalytic point of view, these losses would be an expression of an unconscious desire. In other words, the unconscious would impose itself on the rational mind in terms of a desire that is not consciously recognized. The belongings that you want to lose are lost. It is a way of expressing, basically, rejection of the meaning of them.

In this way, losing the keys would be a way of manifesting the desire not to enter the house again or of not being present in any situation that we anticipate in it. To lose the glasses, would imply the unconscious desire of not wanting to see some situation or of not working in something that is rejected. It is also possible that things are left in a specific place, because unconsciously you want to compensate those who live or work there.

Sometimes there are more complex forces involved. It happens when we unconsciously wish to punish ourselves. For example, a person puts his hand in his pocket and drops some bills with a large sum. Maybe in the past days he refused to buy something that his family needed, or feels guilty for the economic misfortune of someone he loves.

Be that as it may, the systematic and repeated dismissal in time is a really annoying phenomenon, both for the person who suffers it and for those around him; For example, when you entrust a task to him, you have to assume considerable uncertainty – will he remember or not remember? – the same uncertainty that the person suffers – will I remember or will I not remember? -.

Thus, against a genetic basis that predisposes us to oblivion, we can deploy a systematic coping strategy of which the good organization is part (agenda, notes, alarms, requests to remember others…).