4. Access your wisdom
Aaron is a smart guy who can tolerate a lot of pain. That’s why his wife was so perplexed when he flat out refused to get a tetanus shot after stepping on a rusty nail.
She got some insight years later when her mother-in-law told the story about the day a humiliated Aaron came home from school. Despite his best efforts, this first-grader cried in front of his friends when they got their polio vaccine injections. That forgotten episode set up a lifetime aversion to needles.
Like computers, our brains get a steady stream of upgrades that improve its performance. More experienced brain make wiser choices.
A traumatic childhood experience can act on the brain like a computer bug that kicks up outdated software program. When this thinking glitch is activated, the brain seems to forget that the past is over; it reacts as if the past trauma were being relived at this moment. Further, the person has access to the resources at the time of the trauma.
We all get triggered like this. Sometimes it’s mild; a certain smell can give you a bad feeling or a stranger rubs you the wrong way. In extreme cases, it’s called post-traumatic stress disorder. The brain seems to forget that the past is over, and it reacts as if the past trauma were being relived at this moment.
If your loved one in pain is demonstrating uncharacteristic behavior, consider the possibility that they are tripping over an unhealed trauma.
You–as the caregiver–can get triggered too. It’s more likely to happen with people you knew during your childhood.
The best chance of using all of your wisdom when you catch yourself When you catch yourself living in the past.