Trauma healing is impeded by our inability to see the most disgusting of human behavior honestly.

Trauma healing is impeded by our inability to see the most disgusting of human behavior honestly.

Originally published October 5, 2021

Trauma healing is impeded by our inability to see the most disgusting of human behavior honestly.

One of the mechanisms of interpersonal trauma is a split between a memory of a traumatic event and the mind map we hold of that person. Often an accurate mind map of a person is so overwhelming that our memory fractures to protect our nervous system.

It’s why we can construct complex narratives of a person even when their behavior illustrates something completely different.

For instance, we may hold onto a narrative of a mother who was kind, dedicated, and good-hearted, and say they are simply weighted down by life to explain behaviors that don’t fit our narrative of them.

And while those things may be accurate, they are not the whole picture.

When accessing a traumatic memory, if we take a moment to look honestly and ask ourselves- what was that person thinking? How did they want me to feel? We may be disturbed by the answers we find.

Because the reality is that all humans are capable of anti-social empathy, and some humans take this to greater extremes than others.

We may look back upon a memory and find that someone was getting pleasure out of our suffering. We may realize they thought our distress was humorous. Perhaps they felt powerful in their ability to control and shape us.

And while this realization is likely to bring up feelings of disgust, the more we are able to reconcile that truth and construct a more accurate mind map of a person, the better we are able to integrate traumatic events.

This is due to the memory recall error that occurs when a narrative memory is fractured from an accurate mind map of a situation- bringing the memory together in all it’s parts integrates that memory, and traumatic symptoms subside.

When we are able to sit more comfortably with the realities of human behavior- the greater our ability to see it and navigate it safely without becoming dysregulated.

Trauma healing is impeded by our inability to see the most disgusting of human behavior honestly.

Originally published October 5, 2021

Trauma healing is impeded by our inability to see the most disgusting of human behavior honestly.

One of the mechanisms of interpersonal trauma is a split between a memory of a traumatic event and the mind map we hold of that person. Often an accurate mind map of a person is so overwhelming that our memory fractures to protect our nervous system.

It’s why we can construct complex narratives of a person even when their behavior illustrates something completely different.

For instance, we may hold onto a narrative of a mother who was kind, dedicated, and good-hearted, and say they are simply weighted down by life to explain behaviors that don’t fit our narrative of them.

And while those things may be accurate, they are not the whole picture.

When accessing a traumatic memory, if we take a moment to look honestly and ask ourselves- what was that person thinking? How did they want me to feel? We may be disturbed by the answers we find.

Because the reality is that all humans are capable of anti-social empathy, and some humans take this to greater extremes than others.

We may look back upon a memory and find that someone was getting pleasure out of our suffering. We may realize they thought our distress was humorous. Perhaps they felt powerful in their ability to control and shape us.

And while this realization is likely to bring up feelings of disgust, the more we are able to reconcile that truth and construct a more accurate mind map of a person, the better we are able to integrate traumatic events.

This is due to the memory recall error that occurs when a narrative memory is fractured from an accurate mind map of a situation- bringing the memory together in all it’s parts integrates that memory, and traumatic symptoms subside.

When we are able to sit more comfortably with the realities of human behavior- the greater our ability to see it and navigate it safely without becoming dysregulated.

We are also more able to see where tendencies towards anti-social empathy arise in ourselves and take responsibility for them.

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