[English] The dictatorship of our emotional brain

Let’s start by assuming this concept: when we experience a painful situation (let’s call this a “trauma”) that experience gets recorded in our right hemisphere (emotional brain). A painful situation can be any daily conflict we have with a friend, with our partner or with a charming person we’ve just met. It’s about a conflict which made us feel disappointed and particularly hurt.

The emotional hemisphere is different from the rational one in terms of something as important as not responding to logic. In other words, the emotional brain is not logical (regarding these kind of matters you should ask his hemispheric neighbour!), so logical thinking and serene analysis are not its thing.

Also, the emotional brain doesn’t understand the concept of time and is not aware of “short-term” nor “long-term”. The present moment is the only thing that exists. If I feel good, I’m alright. If I feel bad, I’m down. End of the equation.

When we experience a painful situation, the emotional brain takes control of our mind and makes the decision to disable our rational brain, restraining the necessary balance between them. For example, if my ex-partner was abusive to me or betrayed me 5 years ago, even if I’m getting to know a different person 5 years later, my fears will probably arise sooner rather than later in my new relationship. So, regarding that bad situation experienced and recorded by us in the past, every time we experience a similar situation our emotional brain will activate that memory with those painful feelings included.

Why? Because what my ex-partner did to me was hurtful. And since then my emotional brain has taken over regarding that issue, and when it thinks something similar is going on it activates the pain without measuring time or logic. There is no balance. Even though it’s been 5 years since my bad experience took place, it still hurts as if it had happened yesterday. Fear and frustration get activated as if the conflict was recent and still alive. Our emotional brain has the positive purpose of trying to protect us from a new disappointment, but the consequences of this protection are unfortunately insane and disturbing.

I can’t think logically, I can’t analyse the situation with serenity. Not only that, but even when I sometimes know and understand that is not okay to feel like this and it doesn´t make sense because it’s been a while since I was hurt, I can’t avoid it. The imperial army troopers have established a dictatorship that can last an incredibly long time. Darth Vader is in charge now.

This mechanism can lead to desolate comments like “I’ll never overcome the death of my child”, as do spiteful comments like “one day you will pay for what you did to me, I’ll never forget”, or lovelessness ones like “I don’t trust people”, “I’ve become a very jealous and possessive person”, and so on.