Why We Are Still Living On Survival

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

When we are living and governed by our subconscious, we are not aware that our subconscious is subtly influencing and controlling our thoughts and behavior. This leads to curious behavior.

We keep asking why. We keep repeating the same actions over and over and expecting different results (ironically, Albert Einstein reportedly called this the definition of insanity). We keep allowing our partner to trigger us and, once we get mad or upset, we consequently blame them for how we feel. We do not know how to escape from a negative relationship cycle because no one has ever taught us how.

It’s no wonder that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce (and granted, this doesn’t mean the other 50 percent are happy. It just means they haven’t taken that final step and legally terminated their marriage).

It’s troubling, but all of these observations lead to this conclusion:

We have been living on survival and our relationships have been barely surviving.

This idea of living on survival isn’t just relevant to our relationships. It extends to every other area of our lives.

Two-way communication is governed by the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. Based on what happens in the limbic system, we generate recorded images. Those recorded images are then interpreted by our prefrontal cortexes. If we have an image that matches a past “trauma,” that image emerges subconsciously and we impulsively react to that image, not recognizing that the image was picked up by the old brain (the limbic system). The prefrontal cortex then says to itself, “I don’t understand.”

Here are some additional facts about the limbic system and prefrontal cortex.

Limbic System:

The limbic system is our caveman, reptilian old brain. It is essentially the most primitive part of ourselves. It is the part of the brain that deals with survival, pleasure, and basic emotion.

Our amygdala’s are located in our limbic systems and our automatic nervous systems regulate things like hunger, pulse, blood pressure, breathing and arousal in response to emotional circumstances. It further regulates pain, levels of pleasure, and sexual satisfaction.

All reptiles and mammals have this portion of the brain. Along with the duties described above, the limbic system regulates our need to feel safe, our propensity to act out in anger, and manages our “Fight or Flight” response.

The limbic system is like your thermostat in that it maintains our homeostasis. With trauma, our limbic systems get disrupted don’t return to our set points. When our partner is attacking us, we, as adults, revert back to children and embrace our unmet survival needs.

Prefrontal Cortex

Our prefrontal cortexes manage our enlightened thinking and logic. They represent the analytical part of our brains, allowing us to probe and question things we encounter in our lives.

The prefrontal cortex forms a belief system based on our experiences and perception. It builds a case for why things happen even when some event is unexplainable or traumatic. Ultimately, it is the filter for emotions and sometimes tells us that we cannot feel a certain way.

In our next post, we will speak about what all of this means, including the need for all of us to explore our mental health.

Learning to love yourself is the process of learning to value, care and love yourself unconditionally not expectations. Come join one of Carolina’s BeLove Retreat that’s for both men and women. You can learn the tools through experiential exercises on more ways to connect with loving yourself, loving your life and loving the life you live.

Co-founder of the Love Discovery Institute, Dr. Carolina Pataky is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Certified Sex Therapist . Recognized as one of South Florida’s leading authorities on intimacy, relationships and self-discovery. Her focus is to give individuals and couples of any sexual preference the tools to learn how to love themselves unconditionally, receive love, and create fulfilling and joyful relationships that will last a lifetime. Through private sessions, couples intensives and luxury retreats, she provides individual and couples coaching sessions, sex therapy, and psychotherapy practices that support clients through the journey of finding the right path to healthy love.Visit her website: www.lovediscovery.org

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