Overthinking, dissociating, escaping from the present.. why cant you stop? 😏

What i’ve noticed is that escaping from the present and overthinking are helping you accomplish one goal: Predict and control the next moment of experience in case someone or something attacks you

For example let’s say you are 6, your dad is coming for you, and you already know how it’s gonna end: He’s going to punish and slap you

So your mind starts coming up with some ideas on how to avoid this pain..

“okay so you’re being beaten up for something you didn’t do, so every time you do something even small, im going to immediately dissociate you from the present moment and shift your focus on peoples reactions and expect how they’re going to attack you, so you can read their facial expressions and decode what they’re going to do before they actually do it, and how you’re going to react in case they attack you so you’re prepared” the mind strategically thinks

15 years later you have your first partner, and after 2 years of being together, all of a sudden they leave you, just like that, out of nowhere, and you just cant find an answer

So the mind awakens the old protection “okay i thought you were safe but you arent, now you need my protection EVEN with people who you think you can be safe with.

So now im going to make you believe that you need to constantly scan for dangers because you just cant be safe with anyone”

So the mind keeps layering belief after belief, confirmation after confirmation, emotion after emotion, and from localized and isolated experiences the mind keeps on extending and generalizing the protection until it becomes a 24/7 thing “just in case” those painful emotions or potential attack get triggered and occur again

And the mind starts to create the mental habit of “I ALWAYS need to brainstorm ways to avoid being attacked, how im going to react if im attacked, how can i avoid it, what im going to do in case people trigger that painful emotion, what im going to do in case they leave me out of nowhere, etc.”

At first it was just your parents, but then that protection mechanism that started to protect you from your parents now gets extended in the category of “people who you think you can be safe with”

So now you’re enjoying some time with your friends, but your mind immediately reminds you “hey you’re relaxing here, but did you forget that last time that you thought you were safe and you were relaxing these people left you out of nowhere?”

So the mind immediately reminds you, on a more or less unconscious level: relaxing & enjoying yourself = imminent danger

So the mind goes to work, pulls you out of the present moment, and starts brainstorming ways in which you’re going to react in case people leave you, in case they attack you, how you’re going to handle those painful feelings after they leave you, what will you do when you are alone, in case this in case that

And this is how a seemingly pleasurable experience externally quickly becomes the perfect setup for a small hell internally

So the mind extends and generalizes the protection until it covers every possible aspect and detail of your life and the different mental categories and it goes from the more specific categories to the more general ones:

  • people who raised you, then
  • people who are close to you, then
  • partners, then
  • people you think you can be safe with, then
  • any situation where you’re having fun and enjoying yourself
  • people, everyone, 24/7

    This mental habit of “scanning for threats and who’s going to attack me” remains and 30 years later, you are a parent, but the pattern is still there

    Not only does it remain, but it gets STRENGTHENED every time someone hurts, leaves, rejects, abandons, attacks you and so this belief that “someone is about to attack me” attracts more and more proof, emotions, and it gets bigger and it becomes more pervasive in your every day life

    So how do you stop this? I have two tips for you, one for how to prevent, and one for how to ‘fix’

    ✅ HOW TO PREVENT IN THE FUTURE: refuse to generalize. If you break up with someone, dont say “Im never going to be in a relationship again!” or “I hate people! Fuck everyone! I dont want to feel anything for anyone!” or generalizations of that nature.

    The mind listens very carefully to your cries for help, but if you generalize, the protection the mind comes up with very quickly ends up becoming the new problem.

    Be VERY careful with generalizing and dont give the mind the opportunity to form beliefs that are going to last and limit you for a lifetime, and from what? From a few experiences

    The mind likes to escalate protections to cover more and more “territory of protection” but you have to consciously refuse to do that and to say to your mind “I’d rather feel this pain now and for how long i need to without protection, than protect myself from it and then having to deal with the protection of the pain which now has become the new problem which is going to be more painful and pervasive than this pain”

    ✅ HOW TO FIX NOW: refuse to brainstorm ways in which you’re going to react. Of course there’s an emotional aspect to this as well, but you can start from here to calm your mind

    You need to consciously refuse to brainstorm ways such as “how am i going to react when that person triggers that painful emotion” “how am i going to react when that person is going to say that hurtful thing and how can i avoid it before it happens”

    Refuse to find, overthink and brainstorm ways in which you’re going to react when this and that happens and re-center yourself in the present NO MATTER how seductive and emotional those thoughts are, refuse to explore them

    Hope this helps and creates more freedom in you 💕

    Let me know in the comments below how i can further help you or book a discovery call with me here if you want to work with me and how to overcome dissociation, overthinking, self-doubt and feel calm, confident and present

    Giuseppe Tavella, DPDR & Dissociation Specialist