Fight, flight and the 21st century human

You don’t often see a movie where the main protagonists arrive on the scene saying ‘we’ve come to negotiate – why don’t we sit down and discuss things, perhaps over a cup of tea?’  Nope, for most films (the ones worth watching anyway), the plot is structured with the protagonists forming two or more opposing camps. This is swiftly followed up with everybody plotting new and ever more clever ways to fight one another. Each is out for their own goals. They are there to win – whether that win is over territory, who’s religion is better, food, trade or something else. And fight they generally do.

Occasionally, (but not often) they run for the hills

Over the millennia we humans have constantly behaved this way.  The thing is, our human brain hasn’t had a hardware update a long time and consequently our response to any perceived ‘threat’ is usually along those very similar lines – we either come out fighting or we retreat. And so when we are presented with ‘threatening’ situations which require an immediate response, this is still pretty much what happens, even now in the sophisticated context of the 21st century. When we feel that we are in extreme danger, whether physically or emotionally, these responses exaggerate.

It is no wonder then for those who themselves facing the end of a relationship or divorce, particularly one that they do not want, did not look for and certainly did not see coming – the threat level feels unbearable. Everything you hold solid: financial security, family life, the relationship you thought would be a safe haven forever is now suddenly on very shaky ground. When faced with this sudden threat to our security, we tend to respond with fear, anger and shock. We’ve detected a modern day threat and our fight or flight responses kick in.

So how can counselling help in such a situation? Well, if both parties are willing to look at the relationship and see if things can be made better, then it is quite likely that some level of relationship counselling will be of significant use. But what if it really is all over? What if one party to the relationship has genuinely reached a point where they, quite simply, no longer wish to be involved any longer and have essentially checked out emotionally and psychologically already?

Now we have a situation where one person has to pretty much restructure their entire life. They have to come to grips with the fact that they are now single. They may need to work through feelings of betrayal, or abandonment. They will quite likely have some financial constraints and find themselves having to get out into the job market after a gap of several years. Close friends can be of great help in such situations but they an also be a bit of a burden. Almost everybody you know will be offering advice. Of course they mean well, but for some reason they just aren’t getting what you feel, and why you feel it.

A skilled therapist can really be of help in such a situation. I often work with people who are recovering from a drastic life restructure that was not of their own making. Helping you to find the strength and inner wisdom that feels so elusive right nowmay well be easier to achieve that you ever thought possible. If you are in the Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire area and would like to have a fully confidential, no obligation discussion of your needs, please do give me a call. If counselling can help, I would be happy to discuss your needs briefly over the phone before having to make an appointment.