Until the age of seven is known as the imprint period, in this age range neuroplasticity is at its highest. The imprint period is when we’re learning the most complex and difficult tasks, we are learning about ourselves and our environment. As children our ancestors needed to learn fast so they looked to adults in their tribe to show them about the environment. Show them what they should and shouldn’t eat, what they should avoid and what they shouldn’t avoid.
As babies we internalise everything and we’re looking to the people around us to form our sense of identity. We’re looking to parents and caregivers to teach us about the world and to kids parents are superheroes but if those parents are traumatised themselves in some way, if they’ve got unresolved issues they can project those issues onto their children. Toxic parents may put their children down, call them names, tell them they are stupid, beat them and worse.
A child is going to internalise such abuse and it’s going to become toxic shame, it’s going to affect that child’s self-esteem, confidence and it’s going to negatively influence their map of the world. Many parents tell their children that they should have been born the opposite sex and the children of such families grow up feeling rejected, many people allow this trauma to affect them the whole of their adult lives.
The Map Is Not The Territory
We all have different maps of the world and our experiences create our maps. There’s a theory in NLP that as humans we can only be aware of seven plus or minus two things at any one time, if everything our senses were picking up was made available to our brain, we would be overloaded because there’s about 14,000, different bits of information going on around us at any one time.
So we need to quickly sort the information that’s coming in and find the most relevant things to us, we do this by using something called the reticular activating system. The reticular activating system is a network of neurons located in the brainstem, its purpose is to help us sort information. So we can make decisions quickly and it does this by filtering out anything that isn’t relevant.
Your RAS has been programmed by past experiences. These experiences help your RAS decide what to filter, traumatic events programme the RAS very quickly. If something is traumatic it’s probably dangerous and something you don’t want to experience again so trauma programs the RAS much quicker. When we’re in the fight or flight response we can develop tunnel vision and become very focused on finding threats.
All your life experiences distort your view of reality. I noticed this recently with the pandemic, lots of people were reading, lots of different things into the situation and to me this proves that everything we see around us is a projection of our beliefs. Someone who grew up in a wealthy family is going to form different beliefs around money than someone who grew up with a lack of money, rich kids, grow up into rich adults and poor kids generally grow up into poor adults.
As we grow older our neuroplasticity drops but we can still imprint old beliefs with inner child healing hypnosis.
Negative self-talk is a hijacked super ego, a negative dialogue that you have with yourself, it is the internalisation of a critical parent. Because we don’t have boundaries as children we take the put downs and insults of the toxic parent and form an inner critic. We internalise, the abuse and it can keep us stuck in a negative cycle. It can call us all kinds of names and cause us to feel anxious. Tell us we’re useless or worthless. It can cause us to be codependent, a people pleaser, a doormat again. When you grew up in a dysfunctional family you don’t get to form healthy boundaries you don’t get to learn to say no if you did you’d probably get a slap.
The negative inner voice can keep you stuck in abusive relationships, making you think you deserve it. It can tell you there’s something wrong with you. Make you fail, tell you can’t get any better that you won’t survive on your own.
Negative self talk can cause you to be a perfectionist, it can cause all or nothing thinking such as I’ll never be good enough, I always fail. We can become pessimists always worrying about a worst case scenario, looking for things to go wrong.