Why Do I Keep Losing My Crap, My Mind, and My Memory? Understanding Amygdala Hijack in Relationships

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by intense emotions in a relationship, struggling to understand why your reactions seem out of your control? Especially if you, and most people in your life, view you as kind and caring rather than reactive and angry. Chances are that you’ve experienced the “amygdala hijack,” a survival technique that often seems to come out of nowhere but can be especially harmful in relationships with narcissistic or emotionally immature people, as they often are the ones causing your brain to scream “fight, or flight!” Today, host Tony Overbay, LMFT, dives deep into the phenomenon of the amygdala hijack, particularly in the context of relationships with narcissistic or emotionally immature individuals. This episode unravels the intricate workings of the brain under emotional stress, focusing on how the amygdala, our emotional control center, can take over rational thinking. Tony discusses the critical role of primary and secondary emotions in triggering the body’s stress response, highlighting the release of cortisol and its impact on our mental and physical health. The episode is a journey through the neuroscience of emotional processing, offering valuable insights into recognizing and managing the complex emotions that arise in challenging relationships.

Tony brings to light the profound effects of prolonged emotional trauma, referencing the poignant phrase, “The body keeps score.” The conversation delves into the risks associated with chronic stress and the development of conditions like Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) due to long-term exposure to narcissistic abuse. The episode is an exploration and a guide, providing practical strategies such as EMDR, talk therapy, mindfulness, and meditation to manage the overwhelming waves of amygdala hijack. It emphasizes the importance of professional support and the journey towards healing and understanding our emotional responses. Concluding with a message of compassion and self-reflection, this episode is a beacon of hope and resilience, encouraging listeners to take actionable steps toward recovery and emotional self-awareness in the face of the challenges of emotionally charged relationships.

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