Why Peace Feels “Dangerous” For The Traumatized Brain?
There is a reason why sitting in stillness, not engaging in any activities, taking a break or reaching a pinnacle of joy can be terrifying to complex trauma survivors. All of these activities of rest and happiness also inadvertently open up an opportunity for traumatic memories to resurface in the brain. For a nervous system that is trained to be hypervigilant and accustomed to tackling the next threat, even respite and rest can feel dangerous. The brain is trying to “reset” itself back to the conditioning of old traumas and to battle a threat that may no longer exist. The flooding of traumatic memories especially during a time of peace is one example of how it does so. It is not yet used to the new normal of fulfillment and satisfaction – so it fears what will happen – when too much of that fulfillment is achieved. If you are noticing that this tends to happen when things are going especially well, be mindful of the fact that your survival brain is trying to do what it thinks will protect you. It will take time and healing to associate protection with joy and peace, rather than danger and chaos.
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