Nostalgia is generally positive memories (sometimes through rose colored glasses) of past events. Is there a word for the surfacing of negative/unhappy feelings/memories?

So for example, one might say "This burrito is good, but I don't think I can finish it, it's making me ______ of/for that time I ate a burrito and got food poisoning."

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    Nostalgia is a longing for the past. Are you looking for a word that means longing for negative past experiences? That might be so rare a phenomenon that there's no such word. – Juhasz Aug 19 at 19:59
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    The difficulty with this query is that nostalgia is a specific feeling towards the past. We feel nostalgia for. "The surfacing of negative/unhappy feelings/memories" entails different expressions, since the focus is on memory or feelings. For example, "the return of the repressed" (to use a famous Freudian phrase) literally describes what you ask for, but it does not fit your example sentence. Meanwhile, revulsion ... does fit what you ask, but there is no necessary temporal sense or memory involved. Would you clarify what you want? – TaliesinMerlin Aug 19 at 20:04
  • Well, melancholic is close but not an exact match. – Stefan Aug 19 at 20:14
  • I'm not sure that there is a word. Triggery/Triggering is about as close as I can think of. Definitely not looking for longing towards it, but nostalgia is usually involuntary ... when it happens were reminded of good past times and miss them... when we're reminded of bad past times and don't want them.... – aslum Aug 19 at 20:19
  • Brood or broody? – Mark Jones Jr. Aug 19 at 20:33

I think the word you are looking for is 'flashback'. While it does not have the exact connotation, because it implies suddenness, it most closely approaches a 'negative nostalgia'. It is usually used in the plural, as in 'flashbacks'.

[A] sudden, clear memory of a past event or time, usually one that was bad.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

So to complete your example, I'd write 'this burrito is good, but I don't think I can finish it, it's making me have flashbacks of that time I ate a burrito and got food poisoning'.

  • Though I wouldn't usually choose it, the 'usually one that was bad' caveat makes this a very appropriate answer. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 22 at 13:55
  • In this context one might say " it's dragging up that time when..." Dragging up memories that have been buried ie. purposely forgotten because they were bad. – user356866 Aug 23 at 6:52

There's no exact corresponding term to 'nostalgia', one that captures a vague memory of feelings in the past, but negative instead of positive.

However, there are multiple words that come close and fit well within your pattern.

The most likely one is the noun

regrets - worries over past action.

or essentially bad memories of past actions (nostalgia usually doesn't concern primarily actions, while regrets do).

But in your example sentence, the bad memory is about a past action:

"This burrito is good, but I don't think I can finish it, it's making me regret that time I ate a burrito and got food poisoning."

(used here as a verb, but could be reworded to say "... making me have regrets about that time...").

There are other synonyms that are further away: remorse, heartache, misgivings, lament, qualms. Note that 'nostalgia' is given as a synonym of 'regret', but I don't naturally associate 'nostalgia' with negative memories so I question its use for both positive and negative.


The WRONG word to fit your example is Pine.

Example; once ensconced in the bank , George began to pine for the smell of a cricket ball , the sound of chalk and the companionship of his chums" ...cripes, too much Wodehouse methinks!

As @Pluto thePlanet has noted that was a duff answer. The word Rue may be worth considering; "This burrito is good, but I don't think I can finish it, it's making me rue that time I ate a burrito and got food poisoning."

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    While 'pine' does imply a certain sadness, it's the sadness of not experiencing something anymore. The memory you pine for is a happy one. So this doesn't answer OP's question. – PlutoThePlanet Aug 22 at 13:49
  • you are correct of course! what do you think of "rue"? – user356866 Aug 22 at 15:31
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    Closer, but I would still say not quite-- rue essentially means "to regret," which isn't really the same as "to remember negatively." (Rue also has a very strong connotation; I've never heard it used for something as casual as eating a burrito.) I don't think English really has a word for this. – PlutoThePlanet Aug 22 at 16:32

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