Link – Past Experience Shapes What We See More Than What We Are Looking At Now

I do believe the findings also support what we see with abuse survivors, trying to see current situations through the lens of what we learned earlier.

“A key question in neurology is about how the brain perceives, for instance, that a tiger is nearby based on a glimpse of orange amid the jungle leaves. If the brains of our ancestors matched this incomplete picture with previous danger, they would be more likely to hide, survive and have descendants. Thus, the modern brain finishes perception puzzles without all the pieces.”

It’s a survival instinct. You’re not broken, you’re doing what your instincts tell you to do. We are built to try and immediately process information based on potential risk, and we take any new piece of information and try to match it with what our previous experience has taught us. That’s great for recognizing a tiger in the wild and reacting to the danger. It’s not so great when childhood abuse or other trauma has warped our previous experience to make everything seem like a danger.

Yet this is exactly the state many of us have lived in, or currently live in. It’s not impossible to retrain your brain, but it takes time to do it. It takes having experiences that counter the experiences that you are currently basing reactions on. That’s not going to happen today, tomorrow, or even next week. It takes lots of time and patience, and even some failures, to get those new experiences to start outweighing the trauma.

Give yourself, or your loved ones, that time. But, continue to try and have one experience at a time.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.