This is Your Brain…This is Your Brain on Abuse

This is Your Brain

This is Your Brain

This is Your Brain on Abuse

This is Your Brain on Abuse

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.


12 thoughts on “This is Your Brain…This is Your Brain on Abuse

    • thanks! I follow your other blog- the one about yoga, but I must just miss it in my reader or something. Anyway, I am so glad you posted your piece about Bikram yoga on your “normal” blog. It has run through my mind several times and i have passed it on to several friends. thank you!

  1. “You were not thinking. You were surviving.”

    I said these words in response to your question, just before I read them. This is it exactly. I’ve had people ask me how how such-and-such thing ever made sense to me, and I have explained that it never did, but I lived in a situation where it was not safe to point that out. It wasn’t even safe to think it.

    Hurrah for having our whole brains back!

    • Yes, it is great getting our brains back!! People always underestimate what “survival” mode does to our thoughts and bodies. It’s hard to explain to someone who has never “lived” it.

  2. Thank you, Kimberly! I actually cried last night as I laid down to sleep. I have to write a letter to the studio owner to discontinue my monthly auto payments. I don’t know how much I should disclose. She knows how much I live it there. It’s not like I’m moving away. I know I need to just tell her exactly how I feel, right? 😦

    • I bet you did cry over this. Yoga is such a gift to each of us. The truth and honor of Yoga for each individual remains, no matter how others may manipulate the practice of it. I guess I am “old school” in regards to what Yoga stands for, but I would think the studio owner would understand. Yoga will never, ever work if one feels uncomfortable with the set-up, etc.

      Your reasons are perfectly sound and understandable- and most importantly- your reasons honor who you are and what Yoga means to you.

  3. “you begin to reconnect your entire brain, you can be left with a sense of “What in the world was I thinking?”…Oh boy, you read my mind, Kimberly, lol! This is exactly what runs through my mind, almost daily now! 🙂

    • I know. I am trying to work past judging myself when I look back in “horror” at some of the things I had done. I was so well-intentioned, you know? But I was not functioning in reality.

  4. Pingback: Why Art Heals and Moves us from “Survive” to “Thrive” | Soul Healing Art

  5. Pingback: Stop Burning Rape Survivors at the Stake | From guestwriters

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