As she and her guests shared their stories and the research around how this happens, I kept replacing all of the stories; the pain of giving birth, the struggle to bike up 4,000 feet of incline, and others with trauma and PTSD flashbacks. When we have those kinds of reactions, we become different people. Often we become the child who was being abused instead of the adult we are, and we act accordingly. We lash out, self-protect in unhealthy ways, or try our best to hide from it.
The exact reactions are not the important thing. We need to know that it happens. When in an extreme emotional state, we have the capacity to act like a different person. We all do. The problem comes from the fact that we don’t know that person. We are not good at predicting how we will react. When we are in a cool state, the warm state version of us makes no sense, and how we think we’ll act turns out not to be the reality of what happens at all.