All experiences vary in intensity which is typically determined by the importance one ascribes to the event in question. So it’s understandable for people to get bent out of shape if they risk losing their livelihood, but what happens if your world implodes from seeing someone throw a dirty dish in the sink instead of washing and drying it on the spot?
What would you say to someone who gets anxious from watching someone eat sloppily? What would you think of a person who spends more time rushing around instead of resting to enjoy the flowers once in a blue moon? How about someone who loses their mind if their desires aren’t fulfilled on their personal time table?
That was me for a long time because my parents raised me to fail. But how? Well I couldn’t function because I was constantly judging myself, others, and situations which would lead me into tail spins (dissociation) so bad that I would just retract myself into my head space like a turtle retreating to the familiarity of its shell. Now was I a dick? Well yes and no because I would mostly just keep things to myself – i.e. I wasn’t engaging anyone but just observing from a distance while internally I was falling apart.
I’m not sure which bit was worse. That is not being able to rest and enjoy the present moment or limiting my interactions (isolation) for the sole purpose of finding a sense of peace (stillness). Well it turns out these judgement issues were springing directly from an inner and outer critic who were basically learned programs that I developed overtime to ensure I wouldn’t attract unwanted attention (abuse).
Wait a second, are you telling me that you projected insecurities onto the environment in order to actively protect yourself against something that wasn’t even there to threaten you? Yes. It’s the reason you get worked up over the little things in life that don’t even need mentioning (spilt milk).
There’s a part of you living in a state of fear that gets triggered anytime something happens because your “caretakers” reacted inappropriately as opposed to remaining calm and carrying on. I.e. mommy and daddy freaked at the slightest upset, and this in turn caused their vulnerable child to install a self-berating program which targets both the self and others in order to keep everything “orderly.” After all it’s the child’s fault for lacking the coordination to make sure the milk fills the glass and nothing more (I’m being facetious).
It only takes one traumatic instance for the mind to remain wary of similar situations that occur further down the road. Why? Well that’s because the regular process which causes one to retain memories gets all botched up. You see the Amygdala keeps track of the emotions experienced in a moment while the Hippocampus attaches imagery to what was felt – i.e. one can connect the dots between feeling joy and having seen the safe return of a lost pet.
Although the Hippocampus shuts down during times of stress while the Amygdala still takes note of your emotional reactions. In other words, trauma creates memories that more than likely won’t have imagery attached to them – but it’s a sure bet that you’ll feel them when they bubble to the surface. This is why you’ll be enjoying a social gathering until you’re thrown into an emotional flashback which basically means you’ll be reliving the trauma (triggered) until you fully process and integrate what happened.
Excerpt from Practical Healing: A Guide to Restore Your Life
Featured Image: Giphy