Having looked at attachment styles and personality types in part 1 and the complexity of thinking loops triggering the threat system, its clearer to see that there will be many fears, blocks and resistance to receiving compassion from others.

We know that patterns of behaviours from observing our care givers through childhood has an incredible impact on our capacity to feel a secure attachment. If our basic needs were not met with warmth, love, safety or consistent messages of reassurance then the threat system will be activated with fear from the confusion, hurt, and suffering will continue to be experienced because triggers will keep taking you back into the threat system.

This ultimately will impact on your sense of self-worth, trust in self, and others leading to fears, blocks and resistance to other people’s compassionate responses.  So, if you were raised with care givers who were unable to meet your needs because of their psychological distress then it is likely you may struggle to accept compassion from others as it can feel so unfamiliar or uncomfortable.

The important message from the discoveries of science and evolution  is ‘it’s not our fault’ as a  human being our brains are so tricky and that we suffer as we getting caught up into loop style thinking patterns which pull us into our threat systems.

Many research studies have shown that experiencing care and kindness from others has a dynamic physiological effect upon our brain and body which is hard wired from birth.  Our mammalian brain requires nurturing, caring and kindness.

Thankfully, our new brain has the capacity to develop ways in which we can learn to be courageous, making healthy steps to change old patterns to gain strength and wisdom from being more curious and creative in the way we think, communicate and respond to our life events.

Being open to making changes will give you an opportunity to alleviate or prevent suffering and begin to welcome the compassion others may send your way. When we look at our three systems, we can recognise that we have a soothing system in which we can change our tone of voice, pace things more gently and allow more time to rest and digest information received.

Our drive system allows us to create opportunities to take action for change. You are responsible for your own wellbeing and mental health now and nobody makes you feel the way you do. They may cause you to feel unsafe through their actions and decision making but you have the capacity within you to learn to regulate your three systems and think about your way of responding compassionately.


Maggie Murray

Maggie Murray

I’m a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Reg MBACP (Accred). I work from a pluralistic perspective rather than humanistic perspective as I am identifying with that terminology after further training.

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