What To Do When Someone Dysregulates Your Nervous System

What To Do When Someone Dysregulates Your Nervous System

Our ultimate commitment is to our nervous system. There is no other goal than regulating your nervous system

Somi DasUpdated: Saturday, November 25, 2023, 10:28 PM IST
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Ensuring daily mental well-being involves nurturing emotional hygiene, influenced by factors like sleep, diet, and self-care routines. These basic elements, akin to habits like washing hands before meals or brushing teeth, form the foundation of a balanced mental state. However, despite meticulous planning, achieving emotional equilibrium isn't guaranteed. This happens because humans do not function in isolation. We operate in a system where we rely on other people most of the time to get things done. Thus a lot of our emotional regulation is dependent on our interactions with other people. What do we do if someone is dysregulating your nervous system, you need to protect yourself?

There could be very valid reasons for not liking someone or not finding an association very productive at a given time in your life. Further, humans are tied to narrative structures that are a complicated labyrinth of morality, value systems, learned behaviour - part of our cultural and familial and experiential conditioning. If you find value in coming across as a kind person, not liking someone, or naturally having a hostile reaction to someone, or the thought of getting rid of them may sometimes excite guilt and shame.

Like firing a house help or a team member who hasn’t shown the integrity to perform can be very painful for an employer who values maintaining a positive work environment.

You are under no obligation to be kind, nice, and lovable to everyone at all given points. We all have limited emotional capital to expend. It is not advisable to exhaust all your emotional capital in simply managing people’s expectations of you and vice versa.

Contending with intense emotions on a daily basis poses a formidable challenge. Life often demands decisions that, while not conducive to personal happiness, are essential for growth. The emotional aftermath of such choices can be particularly intricate. For instance, terminating a romantic relationship may initially provide a sense of relief, yet the ensuing guilt for what may be perceived as betrayal can cast a shadow.

In such moments, the discomfort that you may feel in your body because of the ambiguity of the situation need not be immediately resolved. You can let that ambiguity flow for some time, even though it will irk you throughout because of self-doubt over “am I a bad person?” “Did I do the right thing” is a deeply ingrained script in our minds. And thank god for that. You are not a psychopath. A deeply sensitive person who is skeptical of your motivations and the consequences of your actions - not because you will get some brownie points in the afterlife (that again is a problematic motivation) but simply to make sense of your own self and actions, and designate a final feeling to an event for the purpose of closure.

Our ultimate commitment is to our nervous system. There is no other goal than regulating your nervous system. The large part of this comes from not attaching any misleading or mistaken meaning to the sensory inputs from your body. American psychologist and scientist Lisa Barrett says emotional intelligence is knowing when not to construct an emotion - meaning when not giving a story to an effect. Feel a feeling, if you need to feel it without getting into the familiar scripts that have been fed into us through pop culture or other conditioning, or attaching any grand meaning like mourning the loss of a dear one or the end of a long relationship, or the death of a pet. And deflect the feeling when you need to with a run or wiggly dance, so that you are ready for the next moment without wasting any time.

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