One of the most beautiful things about the brain is how it both partitions and separates activities, as well as integrates and synthesizes.
For a full, healthy view of life, we need both hemispheres (right and left) of our brain communicating and integrating.
In situations of abuse, though, you lose, symbolically, half of your brain. The right side of your brain provides context, nuance, judgment, and comparative powers to your life. The right brain “sees” the big picture and and contextual clues are extremely important to it.
The left brain is discrete and instruction-oriented. “Insert tab A into slot B”. Why? It’s what the instructional manual says. The right brain, though, checks to make sure you actually have the correct manual for the task you are completing.
Because of the survival response induced by abuse, the right and left sides of the brain quit communicating. And the left brain dominates because the abuser demands it. Whatever the abuser says at the moment is seen as the “instruction manual”.
Context, personal judgment, broad views, the domain of the right brain, go out the window. If you do try to connect the dots, and have the two parts of your brain engage, you are likely to set off the abuser’s wrath.
For example, let’s say the abuser says one thing, and then contradicts him or herself.
You may try to point out this contracidtion, using your right brain, providing contextual clues : “Oh, don’t you remember. You said it in the car, on the way the party? I was wearing the blue dress.”
No, no, no. To an abuser’s mind, you should never do this. You should never see the big picture, remember context or hold a vision for yourself beyond the current moment.
So in the course of suffering abuse, you begin to shut off part of your brain. It’s easier that way. Where the right brain would normally balance the left brain, connections have been severed and communication occurs no more.
When you recover from abuse, and those pathways reestablish, and you begin to reconnect your entire brain, you can be left with a sense of “What in the world was I thinking?”
You were not thinking. You were surviving. Never underestimate the body and mind’s survival instinct, and NEVER judge yourself for it. You do the best you can at the time, and as you reconnect with parts of yourself, your eyes will open and you will not believe the amazing, holistic thoughts that you now hold in your head.
Welcome to your “new” brain – the one that communicates with itself rather than the rantings and ravings of an abuser.