tisdag 13 november 2007

Silently thinking...

photo on Joseph LeDoux.
Facing new betrayals of trust- can that be too much for some people (for not so few), why they stay in destructive and abusive relations/circumstances of all kinds: in abusive partnerships, at bad work-places, in therapy that doesn’t lead anywhere etc.

Blaming oneself can be very practical for people in the environment!? Women tend to admit these sides in themselves, tend to blame and accuse themselves more than men, generally… Men tend to hide this more (not least to themselves), afraid of being "revealed"!? But there are also men who tend to blame themselves more openly…

So more harmed people stay in relations that are more or less harmful instead of leaving them… Maybe trying to change the relation, the other person… The more the more hopeless this is?? And often the more stuck she/he gets!?? Occupied with the fight to change a situation/relation that is impossible to change? The more impossible the more stuck? The more energy is used and the more narrow the person struggling sees things?

A therapist and psychologist (working with both individuals and couples/pairs) once said to me:

“You can’t imagine what people tend to do in avoiding to be left alone!! How many strange things they can do!!”

And people are also afraid of hearing:

“How could you be so stupid!!???”
Probably they are thinking in those patterns too?
“Stupid me!! My own fault!! I can’t blame anyone else then myself!! I have it as I deserve!”

Bosch calls this “tendency” (it’s more than a tendency) of blaming oneself a defence, the Primary defence. The stronger the more this is a sign of being a defence and thus being about the past! Maybe very early in life too?

A defence which the child resorted to firstly: it was easier to blame itself instead of the persons it was totally dependent on.

The child, client, wife, husband, employee etc. who stays in the bad relation resort to hope of changing the situation/relation, the more hopeless the more (if she/he has a lot of unprocessed things). Or resort to a false power of anger, and/or a false power of denial of needs: I don’t need this or that! Does it matter!? I can live without this and that! Etc.

Just stop doing this isn’t easy… You can’t just tell yourself to stop doing these things… Or, yes, you can!!?? But the best would be if you could deal with the feelings of disappointment and sadness and fury or whatever it is about, and if these feelings are strong (the stronger the more tied up you are, because the more difficult a truth is to face, because it is triggering something in the past) this is a sign it is about past things. OR if you under react this can be a sign that old things are touched upon…

Maybe many are satisfied with solving things more on the surface… They can’t do more??

What needs are we trying to fulfil? Adult or childhood? Does it matter what sort? Or?

What does this cause, for individuals, for relations, families, the nearest environment, the society, the whole world maybe? Is this uninteresting?

Addition: came to think when I was making lunch... Bosch thinks (and I think she is right) that therapists have to avoid strengthening this defence (my interpretation?? Or my words).

Because all defences are protections against the truth... If the client goes on blaming her/himself this will more likely hinder healing than curing anything.

Instead one ought to explore what's behind this self-blame??? On the clients terms and in her/his pace?? Sensitively, compassionately, empathically, and the therapist must have worked on her/his own to not be afraid of facing truths...
Addition in the evening:
I read in a forum:
"'Karen wrote: We are back to the point where the ones that need help the most (are more harmed, i.e., have more to process) also are the most vulnerable.'
'Catch-22. I can't think of an easy solution to this dilemma. What makes it worse is that these vulnerable people are the ones who can most easily be persuaded that a therapist's theories or 'thorough training' are the important factors. Neither of those things can impart empathy if the therapist wasn't already an empathic person before choosing to become a therapist'."
So true. The brain-research by LeDoux was also pointed out at another place so I got interested to know more than I have read in Bosch book, see about him at Wikipedia. His lab. Blogposts about LeDoux's work here and here.
In one of the links in the blog that is linked it stood about LeDoux that:
"We have to put emotion back into the brain and integrate it with cognitive systems. We shouldn't study emotion or cognition in isolation, but should study both as aspects of the mind in its brain.

Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux seeks a biological rather than psychological understanding of our emotions. He explores the differences between emotional memories (implicit--unconscious--memories) processed in pathways that take information into the amygdala, and memories of emotion (explicit--conscious--memories) processed at the level of the hippocampus and neocortex."
See how Bosch interpret LeDoux finding. She
writes at page 46 in her book:

“LeDoux’s research illustrate that certain information is repressed in a place not accessible to our conscious mind, and influences our behavior without our conscious awareness of it.

A part of our brain that plays a major part in this process is the amygdala, an important part of our brain when it comes to strong fearful emotions. The amygdala is the part of the brain that stores the memories of strong, fear-producing experiences, without needing to be connected to or communicating with the neo-cortex, that part of the brain involved in conscious and more rational processing. The amygdala, therefore, is capable of storing emotional experiences of which we have never been fully conscious, resulting in Repression and the resulting divided consciousness.”

Bosch about the brain page 117-118:

“Those things that we could not process as children are stored in our brain (the amygdale stores emotional memories and via the hippocampus factual memories are stored) and body (body sensation memory). These truths remain hidden and
only parts of the memory show when we are adults and are confronted with a
symbol. Most often bodily sensations and feelings will manifest themselves when
confronted with a present-day event that is Symbolic. The factual parts of the
memory (the facts of what happened, how, by whom), however, usually remains
hidden from consciousness. If the factual part of a memory would show up as
well, we would instantly know we are feeling something about the past.

Unfortunately this doesn’t happen since, as we have seen, the hippocampus and
the amygdale are separate memory systems, and the old, stored painful memory is
not accessible for rational processing [occurring in the neo cortex, things in
amygdala and hippo campus has not been integrated and processed in neo-cortex,
because these things were too pain to experience consciously then] /…/

Joseph LeDoux’s research revealed how the processing in our brain takes a shortcut when it comes to assessing danger[it did then and it still does a roundabout by neo-cortex.
According to Bosch these findings are recent (her book was written 2002).

She writes further at page 118:
“In non-threatening situations the brain assesses the meaning of a particular situation in the neo-cortex. The neo-cortex is the part of the brain believed to be responsible for rational thinking and logical reasoning. However, when it comes to dangerous situations, this more evolved part of the brain is bypassed and instead the brain activity goes straight to the amygdale. The amygdale is a less evolved part of our bran and is responsible for intuitive, nonrational judgment. Bypassing the neo-cortex results in the inability to profit from logical, rational, cortical processing.

When threatened (be it a perceived or actual threat), however, we derive meaning from the processing that is done by the amygdale (which is very instinctive) instead of by cortical processing [“His logical thinking you know!!!” Isn’t what it should! And why not? Because something threatening of some kind is triggered and touched upon*] /.../

LeDoux’s brain research implies that therapies directed at the rational/cognitive level will not be able to change our basic way of reacting to emotionally threatening stimuli. In those instances [when we encounter a threatening stimuli, the reaction can be so immediate so we don’t even realize that this has happened and don’t even feel the fear or pain that is there beneath actually] the brain just bypasses the cortex, the ‘home of logical reasoning’ and is governed by the amygdala’s alarming response. All events that we needed to repress as children fall into the category of emotionally, threatening stimuli. Therefore anything that resembles or seems to resemble these original painful events, in other words anything that works as a Symbol is perceived as a threat (by the amygdale). The results of LeDoux’s brain research indicate that when we symbolize we bypass cortical processing and instinctively and immediately employ defensive behaviors [protection-mechanisms, adequate then for the child we once was, as to fight or to avoid or putting the blame on ourselves]. We can’t break through this defensive cycle of defensive behavior because we remain the ‘prisoners’ of the amygdale, which tells us we are in danger and need to protect ourselves.”

Bosch writes at page 56:
“Daniel Goleman writes: ‘The lack of precision of the emotional brain at such times (reacting to the present as if it were the past), is increased because o f the fact that many emotional memories date from the first few years of our, from the relationship between the child and its caregivers. This holds especially for traumatic experiences such as abuse or neglect. During this early period of our life other brain structures still needed to be developed, especially the hippo campus, crucial in the formation of narrative memories, and the neo-cortex, the seat of rational thinking. In memory formation and retrieval the amygdale and the hippocampus work hand in hand; each saves and retrieves its own special information. While the hippo campus is retrieving information it is the amygdale that determines whether this information has any emotional significance. But the amygdale, which develops quite rapidly in the brain of the young child, is much closer to full development at birth.’ [And this means that early trauma gets such a great effect and is felt as so horrible: the child just can’t handle them on her/his own!! Amygdala is closer to full development while the parts where processing take place aren’t!! Therefore small children should need much more help and support and sensitivity to handle difficult things to a much higher degree than they usually get or we think they need??]

LeDoux confirms that the interaction during the first few years of life will lead to the imprinting of emotional lessons based on the harmony or disruption of the contact between parent and child. These emotional lessons have so much influence and yet are so difficult to understand from an adult perspective because they, according to LeDoux, have been saved in the amygdale as undefined wordless blueprints of emotional life. These earliest emotional memories are imprinted at a time when a child does not yet have words for her experience. One reason why we can be so surprised by our emotional outbursts is because often they date from a very early time in our life when things were still confusing and we had no words to understand what was happening. We do have the chaotic feelings, but we lack the words for the memories that formed them/…/

The mentioned inaccuracy of the amygdale can have disastrous effects on our life because we might e.g. fight or flee from the wrong person or situation. Before the cortex, the seat of rational thinking knows what is going on; the amygdale can react with an outburst of raw anger or acute fear. Reactions which would have been accurate a long time ago [but isn’t any longer, most often, if we aren’t confronted with a person and situation we can’t defend ourselves against at all].”
Bosch also writes at page 104 that:
“… thinking and analyzing can also be misleading. When we are in a rational, neo-cortical state of processing information, which is where we are when we are
talking about and analyzing what we consciously remember about our childhood, we cannot retrieve he information stored with the help of the hippocampus (factual) and in the amygdale (emotional) that are usually associated. And if we
misinterpret the cause of the feeling we can inadvertently hinder the healing
process, since in order to heal we need to be aware that a specific feeling goes
back to something (be it a general or a specific situation) and let ourselves
feel that.”
*) Bosch writes at page 47:
“In our western society there is a strong tendency to think that although love, respect, physically affectionate touch, emotional warmth and safety, etc. are important, a lack of such things could not be life-threatening.”

Also see this "talk" with LeDoux "Putting emotions back into the brain"

2 kommentarer:

D.R.B. sa...

I see you found the "Un-Emotional Brain" article already. It made me chuckle. It's good that you are collecting all this evidence about emotional blindness in psychiatrists and bio-medical scientists. I have no knowledge of the Swedish language (I clicked on the "Svenska" link at Wikipedia's Catch-22 page), so it helps me that you write in English sometimes. Jeffrey Schaler's blog (currentideas.blogspot.com) and Thomas Rosko's article (tomrosko.blogspot.com) were very interesting. I wish I could make more time for reading. If I had more time I would make a blog on these issues too. Maybe one day, if enough writers highlight the failings of 'establishment' psychology and psychiatry things, will change.

Best wishes,

k sa...

Actually my time is also limited... But the writing feels important for me still. I need to articulate things for my own sake... By writing I see clearer and clearer it feels. I hope it is so.
I wish had more time too for reading and reading more in debt and for digesting things more.

What you wrote in the other forum about defective genes was so well said:
"If the seemingly endless list of genetic susceptibilities that the 'let's forget about replication studies for now' brigade keep on announcing were true, then every human alive today has to face up to being part of the most evolutionary defective species on the face of the planet. We all know the kind of things some humans get up to in today's world:
Genocide, war, child abuse, blaming ethnic minorities and the poor and the sick for being the cause of their own problems. Heaven forbid that it could be the powerful or priviledged members of society who are keeping them down and denying them affordable healthcare (Don't raise my taxes, except perhaps to build cemeteries for those trash!).

If the scientists are correct, to be a member of Homo sapiens is to be a member of the species which best proves that genetic evolution can go haywire. What other animal has a 45% chance of developing some type of mental disorder (according to DSM criteria) during its lifetime?"
Best wishes back to you!