Self-concept & Worldview

A wide variety of dysfunctional relationships have traumatized more of us than we realize, leading to varying levels of confusion, anxiety, fear, cynicism, anger, and overall dissatisfaction with life as adults. Much more than mere conceptual understanding of our past traumatic history is needed to heal the resultant distorted self-concept & worldview:

“Attachment researchers have shown that our earliest caregivers don’t only feed us, dress us, and comfort us when we are upset; they shape the way our rapidly growing brain perceives reality. Our interactions with our caregivers convey what is safe and what is dangerous: whom we can count on and who will let us down; what we need to do to get our needs met.

This information is embodied in the warp and woof of our brain circuitry and forms the template of how we think of ourselves and the world around us. These inner maps are remarkably stable across time.

This doesn’t mean, however, that our maps can’t be modified by experience. A deep love relationship, particularly during adolescence, when the brain once again goes through a period of exponential change, truly can transform us. So can the birth of a child, as our babies often teach us how to love. Adults who were abused or neglected as children can still learn the beauty of intimacy and mutual trust or have a deep spiritual experience that opens them to a larger universe.

In contrast, previously uncontaminated childhood maps can become so distorted by an adult rape or assault that all roads are rerouted into terror or despair. These responses are not reasonable and therefore cannot be changed simply by reframing irrational beliefs. Our maps of the world are encoded in the emotional brain, and changing them means having to reorganize that part of the central nervous system.”

Bessel Van Der Kolk. “The Body Keeps the Score. Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.” Penguin Books, 2015.

Courtesy of Buddha Doodles www.buddhadoodles.com

Courtesy of Buddha Doodles www.buddhadoodles.com

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