I can remember a time when I arrived at the train station to catch my train to the airport, having checked first the timetable to arrive at my destination well before time. What I did not do was also check if there was any track work happening on the line, only find that there was track work along the way and I would need to take part of the journey by bus.
I received this information as I was buying my train ticket at the station. I could feel the tension in my stomach. What if I missed the flight? I was on the way to give a workshop and I had worked it all out so that I would arrive at the airport a half hour early and enjoy a cup of coffee whilst waiting to embark on my designated flight. I had already downloaded my boarding pass – and now this!
Instead of arriving early before check-in, I now found that I needed to get off the train and wait for a bus that would take me to the airport and according to the man at the embarking train station; I would arrive 7 minutes before I needed to board the plane. The tension was now moving up into my chest. The bus could be wrong or held up and I could miss the flight – then what? I reasoned that it was an inconvenience, but hardly earth-shattering. Nevertheless, they would have expected me to check – how unprofessional was that? I took a few deep diaphragmatic breaths to still the butterflies in my stomach and pulled my mind away from my dilemma hoping the train and bus would not be late. NO good crying over spilled milk that hasn’t yet spilled I reasoned. Fortunately, I did arrive in time with barely minutes to spare and the rest of the journey was uneventful. I do check for track work now to avoid any future such situations.
I was waiting to board a flight recently (having made sure to get there in plenty of time before boarding) and was ruminating as our thoughts will. The workshop I was giving was on irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel disease. I reflected on some of my own clients that had come to me with these problems. The woman who found she had Chlamydia, her fear of what a future partner might think about her when she had to tell him her secret. Her relationship where the partner had a gambling problem that wasn’t going anywhere – he wasn’t going to change. She could not see a happy future with him, but part of her ached to be with him. Months of emotional turmoil led to her gut problem.
I had seen many people over the years with IBS, (less with IBD that was more severe). Most people it started with a significant negative event in their lives. In fact, many health events started with an emotional unresolved reason. It seemed that whilst some people find they develop an irritable bowel, with others, their weak point in the body might create a migraine headache, or their band-aid solution might go into an addiction.
I turned my thoughts to a research I read that said we all get angry sometimes, but some people turn that anger into violence. Scientists are discovering that this may be partly due to genetics.
The study also found that a variation in this gene, called the L version of MAO-A, disproportionately affects men, because this gene is located on the X-chromosome, which determines sex. Since men only have one X chromosome, they are more prone to the effects of the gene. Women have two X chromosomes, but the chances of having the gene variation on both chromosomes is very rare.
It seemed though, those people that did have those violent genes who were brought up in a loving environment, did not turn on the switch of violence, whereas those that were brought up in a less than desirable violent environment did. 1
In another research, David Goldman at National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Maryland, US, said; “Interestingly, we found that the genetic variant alone was insufficient to cause people to act in such ways.” “Carriers of the HTR2B variant who had committed impulsive crimes were male, and all had become violent only while drunk from alcohol, which itself leads to behavioural disinhibition.”
Some people when they return from war find it difficult to overcome post-traumatic stress which turns them to alcohol, and some of these men then become physically abusive. To release their war anger they drink which causes them to lose touch with reality and find a reason to vent this pent-up feeling inside of them. I remember dealing with a case of insomnia that medication couldn’t help. 12 years after her husband died, she was still waiting for the key in the door, fearful of that abuse.
In collaboration with researchers in Finland and France, Goldman and his colleagues studied a sample of violent criminal offenders in Finland. The hallmark of the violent crimes committed by individuals in the study sample was that they were spontaneous and purposeless. They found the association with HTR2B gene and then conducted studies in mice and found that when the equivalent gene is knocked out or turned off, mice also become more impulsive.
“Impulsivity, or action without foresight, is a factor in many pathological behaviours including suicide, aggression, and addiction,” said Goldman. 2
My mind went back to a client I was dealing with who had taken himself to hospital. He was stopped from committing suicide by a friend who called him on the phone, just as he was about to commit the felony. What was so fearful for him was that he knew he would have gone through with this act if his friend had not phoned him at that time. “It was almost as if I was on auto-pilot, without a thought about if I should or shouldn’t.” And, “It scared the hell out of me… what if it happens again?” One act in his life took him back to his childhood where he had felt useless and no good, enough to make him feel his life wasn’t worth anything. Fortunately, we were able to work through this.
Just observing life can answer many questions. I can’t recall how many clients I have seen that have involved themselves in relationships that were either violent or selfish. In hypnosis I ask them to go back to the early time they first met the person and to tell me; “Using your gut feeling through what you were aware of regarding this person, were there any warning signals that you ignored… a feeling something wasn’t quite right?” I have only ever had one client that didn’t have a forewarning. Most tended to dismiss that controlling nature as though things would change. The little tell-tale signs of things like; “I will marry you when you give up smoking.” Or insisting they buy and wear the clothes they want to see you wear. They don’t want you to see your friends anymore, or any other control issues.
I had a client today that still has occasional nightmares where she still hears her mother screaming from being physically abused. Partner, after partner in her early childhood… many men in her mother’s life – all physical and emotional abusers. Leaving her worried and helpless in helping her mother, who was looking for love in the wrong places. And I pondered on where this had taken my client in her life that had led her to her own abuse and subsequent way of handling it through the use of band-aids to mask the outcome of her feelings and emotions.
All of us struggling to make sense of our world. I sometimes say to a client; “If people do things to you when you were little, that’s sad. If you still do that to yourself when you are grown up, that is even sadder.”