As we’ve established, overactive fight-or-flight responses created from genetics and social survival environments are doing a tremendous amount of damage to the physical body. They are also doing an equally devastating amount of damage to the psyche. For these reasons alone, the conditions are essential to address, but in our study, the more important question, I believe, is; what damage is it doing to our impression of reality.
With our subject, she has a pronounced skew in her view of relationships. While none of us can get away from the inherent truth that we all skewed perspectives, whether we suffer abuse or not, the issue here is the skew. Fight-or-flight responses will shift our view of reality to child-based thinking, often leaving us feeling vulnerable and out of control. This experience can be extreme, like in the case of PTSD, or it can be subtle, like believing an opinion to be a fact.
The individual experience of what severe states of stress can create are obvious reflections of that childhood. Our subject wants to live in a healthy community, but her perspective nearly prohibits it. Of course, if she already knew how to live in a healthy environment, wouldn’t she already be living it?
To ever be supported, really supported, we must first be willing to be vulnerable. This is her wall, her difficulty. She wants love but is physically incapable of receiving it, even in a scenario where she thinks she might die. She rejects all support for fear of being vulnerable. The risk of exposing vulnerability is far too great.
The brain’s threat mechanisms measure all situations based upon the risk of loss and never potential gain. While accepting the help she is being offered would be of tremendous benefit for our subject, she cannot. The overprotective mechanisms in her brain will not allow it. While she is trying to find ways to be comfortable in her new, more supportive environment, she reverts to a desire for isolation when faced with a physical threat to her health. She wants only to find a quiet place alone, to lick her wounds.
There is no logical reason for her to try and escape support. Her mind doesn’t understand what it is. Like a wounded and cornered animal, it only sees a threat.
She has spent her entire life feeling isolated, and yet, opportunities for love surround her. She is now trying to make something she considered impossible, possible in her mind. It will take time. She must learn to find comfort in it. When she feels comfortable in her new experience, she will turn her vision over to a new potential and maybe even allow life to guide her again.
She will discover a new relationship with the world. For now, she trusts the intangible presence of a Native American man, a bear, and a white woman slowly caressing her face. If she continues her quest, she will extend that same faith to the humans around her. It is a beginning.