Blog 5. How It All Starts: Your Brain Can Be Your Worst Enemy.
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As a relationship therapist time and time again I observed the following:
The brain is a funny thing: It acts in ways that are usually not conscious to us. In order to protect us, it can help us deflect from all sorts of issues. It can fool us so easily. It can make us think that we’re ok and coping. The brain loves excuses like – it’s too difficult to deal with something or that we don’t have the courage to delve into what ever needs looking at. It can have us bang our heads on every brick wall enduring multiple whippings just to avoid what needs looking at.
If we’ve experienced trauma or abuse or anything negative in childhood, the brain will protect us thereby shutting down the memory, helping us to forget especially if the trauma was extremely distressing.
As time goes on a habit of suppressing the trauma sets in.
Penetrating this memory is extremely difficult especially if the brain is used to protecting that memory. Often clients would say they had forgotten certain negative memories. It was only through delving into the past that a forgotten memory would come to the surface.
Usually the brain run rings around itself and it can talk itself right out of a situation that needs looking at. This is why certain talking therapies may not be effective especially if dealing with extreme trauma or abuse. The brain can help us come up with the most amazing statements that can prevent and divert us from really looking at the trauma: statements or justifications that keep us from delving deeper.
This does not mean that we all contain some hidden trauma that we don’t know about. You WILL know. You will know that there is something buried that you just can’t put your finger on. You may feel something odd lying deep within. Usually something happens to force the feelings to surface. Yet the brain can still try to suppress a past trauma. Even when the physical body tries to signal via illness that there is something wrong, the brain can still conceal the past.
This is when finding the right person who can help the brain release that hidden memory is crucial.
So, our brains can be our worst enemies. It’s there to protect us. However what happened in childhood and the brain patterns that were set up as a result, might not be helping you as an adult.
Worst still, the cleverer you are the more effective a brain can be at diverting issues. Some brains love being arrogant and superior and ‘on other intellectual levels’. A clever brain loves and is often attracted to debates, arguments and theories to justify actions in order to suppress painful feelings.
Intellectualising and debate is usually constructive and healthy. If however, it’s sole purpose is to deny the emotional buttons being pressed then debate can become destructive especially when the person becomes angry and aggressive. The brain can also the techniques of arrogance, superiority and self-importance to get itself out of looking at what it is hiding.
In order to heal the pain that may lie deep within, watching out for emotional signals that hide rather than reveal, may help you understand yourself better. On the other hand the brain fools us all too well.
In trying to protect, it may actually hinder. As an adult it may become hard to develop long term relationships. Becoming vulnerable in a relationship might be very scary for someone or the brain trying very hard to hide issues. So it’s easier to play at being intellectually superior and so on, as this keeps people at arms length. In other words, arrogance or superiority is often used to keep intimacy or a relationship at bay for fear that the truth may come out.
Yet if the truth and the pain were addressed, it could be understood then healed. When this happens the relief is usually enormous. Because it takes a lot of energy for the brain and the body to keep pain hidden.
I and many of my colleagues have witnessed, how afraid some people are of releasing their pain. Even when the body can no longer hold on to the pain, when the body even gets ill, many still prefer not to deal with their inner emotional selves.
I urge you however to take courage, release what ever needs releasing, so that you can get on with your lives. Understanding yourself allows you to make better choices to suit your life’s goals. And this will also help you develop intimacy and long term relationships. And by understanding yourself, you will be able to make better choices to suit your life’s goals.
So remember your brain can be your worst enemy – so watch it like a hawk!
Note: © 2014 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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