As humans we have a remarkable ability to go back in time and change anything that happened to us that we no longer want ruling our actions and reactions.
Okay, she’s totally lost it!
No, I haven’t lost it, I’m talking about reprogramming the brain to react differently to triggers. When something happens to us that is at all traumatic, our entire bodies register the event so that any time we encounter something similar (a trigger), we’re prepared to protect ourselves from getting into that trouble again.
This is a useful evolutionary adaptation to danger. You learn a lesson once and automatically react in the future. When danger is all around, and you are just trying to survive long enough to reproduce, the slightest trigger prepares you for fight or flight.
These days, we as the human species are working to become civilized, which means socially evolving past our instinctive reactions when they are not healthy. We are no longer surrounded by constant threat to our lives and we live long past our reproductive capability. The traumas of our past make us closed, reactive, fearful, and combative. This in turn limits our ability to relate well to others and accomplish our bigger purpose in life.
We’ve come to realize that we actually have a say in how we react to triggers that remind us of past pain. Not that it’s exactly easy. You have to recognize what’s happening in your body — usually some form of clenching, tightening, closing. You have to recognize what’s happening to you emotionally — do your feelings feel out of proportion to the event? It’s likely that you are feeling not just this event, but every similar unresolved event of your past!
You have to recognize what’s going on in your thoughts. Are you engaging in All-Or-Nothing thinking? Are you catastrophizing? Focusing on the negative? And you have to recognize what’s going on in the background, in your unconscious — watching for reactions that you aren’t even aware are happening (it can be really useful to get feedback from others here).
In other words, you have to address your behavioral reaction to triggers from all four of your functions, Sensing, Feeling, Thinking, and Intuition. Leave any part of that out and you aren’t getting at the whole issue. You also have to look in both directions (extraversion and introversion). What thoughts and feelings are you directing at others versus towards yourself? What sensations and intuitions are you gathering from outside yourself and from within?
Incidentally, I’m not talking about changing your memories. I’m talking about changing your instinctual reactions that remembering cause in your body, emotions, thoughts, and intuition. This way you can acknowledge what happened without falling apart and losing your ability to consciously choose how to respond.
The process of changing the past — changing your reaction to triggers and even removing triggers from your personal lineup — is a process of reviewing how all of your functions are playing a role. Then practicing with each function to take on a different role in the present to build a new habit or instinct into the future.
Contact me if you’d like help in learning how to recognize and change these patterns from the past, acting out in your own life.