The Complex PTSD Workbook: EMOTIONAL HIJACKING; part one

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Introduced by psychologist and author Dr. Daniel Goleman, the term emotional hijacking refers to the ways strong emotions such as fear or anger can overpower your thoughts and behaviors. There is a key structure within the limbic system of the brain called the amygdala, which functions like a smoke detector—it is wired to determine if you are in danger.
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If the answer is yes, your amygdala can temporarily inhibit your neocortex, the upper brain center responsible for rational and reflective thought. From an evolutionary perspective, it is better to immediately run from a tiger than to pause and think about it first.
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Emotional hijacking initiates the instinctual fight-or-flight response. Unfortunately, individuals with a history of C-PTSD may be more prone to false alarms. Intrusive symptoms such as flashbacks or extreme reactivity may be in reaction to perceived rather than actual threats.
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For instance, you might overreact to hearing your partner’s annoyed tone of voice, getting interrupted during a conversation, or seeing your teenager roll their eyes when you ask them to clean their room. When you feel grounded and calm, these relatively minor events might have very little impact on you.
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However, when you feel more vulnerable, you’re more likely to resort to impulsive behaviors. Successful processing of traumatic memories allows you to say, “The traumatic event happened, it happened to me, and it is over now.”
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