Monday, July 20, 2009

Emotional Sobriety

Dr. Tian Dayton On Emotional Sobriety

According to Dr. Dayton, emotions are processed by the limbic brain system- our “emotional brain”. Our cortex- "thinking brain", tends to shut down when we get scared but our emotional or limbic brain keeps operating. The emotional "animal" brain takes over. In this moment we can lose our ability think clearly, to reflect on and make sense out of what we're feeling. It's nature's way of keeping protecting us by switching into survival mode.

The child is dependent on their parent to act as an external regulator because their internal regulators aren't fully developed until they are twelve or so. The small child is particularly vulnerable to emotional and psychological damage when the home is chaotic. If the parent is a victimizer or abuser, the child also loses access to their source of comfort and regulation.

Dr. Dayton believes if we didn't learn adequate skills of self regulation in childhood, we can learn them in adulthood. It is something we can train ourselves to do.

Dayton believes, to inscribe new hardwiring into our neural networks we must do more than just talk. We need to spend time in the presence of others who are experiencing balance and pleasure in their lives. To heal, we need to develop new relationships and learn the skills of limbic regulation in therapy, hobby groups, faith institutions, twelve step rooms and healthy lifestyle activities.

To use a "Dog Whisperer" analogy, we need to become part of a balanced pack. Then we learn to become balanced.

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Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson- ACA

Raised by an abusive father who demanded perfection, Michael Jackson grew up to become one the world's most popular dysfunctional people. His story and tragic death, allegedly brought on by drug abuse, illustrates how untreated personal issues can grow from hidden pain to eventually become an "unmanageable" life and a shortened life span.

Michael's pathology became visible when he began engaging in bizarre behaviors, including multiple cosmetic surgeries and short lived "marriages". Things continued to snowball with strange on camera antics, accusations of child molestation and finally, reported drug abuse.

It is not known if MJ ever sought help for his troubles. He was, as many rich and famous are, surrounded by sycophants and those who's very livelihood depends on not challenging the status quo. If Michael's family tried to intervene, they were not successful. Judging by the end result, MJ didn't find a workable answer.

Perhaps he had isolated himself so deeply in a cocoon of denial, drugs and an entourage of protectors, he never had to face reality. If Michael wasn't able to take the first step and come out of his self imposed isolation, ACA recovery was an impossibility.

The lesson here is that no matter who you are, how much money or fame you have, the first step to getting badly needed help is still "coming out of isolation".

Rest in peace, Michael.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children