Hypervigilance, is fear based. It is based upon the fear that people are not what they seem, and will hurt you, or be harmful in some way. The traumatised brain goes into panic when it senses someone may pose a threat to our wellbeing.
Hypervigilance, is very understandable, when someone has experienced ongoing abuse, where they believed their life or safety to be at imminent risk. It is a skill that was required to stay safe.
Part of healing complex trauma, is to turn the hypervigilance of the fear of people and the need to work them out for any sign of potential harm….. into careful and steady discernment. Discernment is healthy and a deeper skill than many people do not normally have.
Discernment allows us to calmly work out people’s motivations and behaviours…. without the fear of hypervigilance, that makes us shut down, withdraw or isolate.
Discernment allows us to accurately read people and then in a calm manner – decide on the actions we may need to take, and the boundaries we may need as a result.
I am adding to this blog, following a question about how we actually develop discernment. This was my response….
Discernment starts by having self control and impulse control. When we sense something is potentially wrong, we have to stop, sit back, not act and think about it. It requires not having fear based processing/reactions. We also learn to consider people’s words, actions, patterns. If words and actions conflict. Watch how people treat others. Do they treat others well? Also understanding selfish and unselfish behaviours. The motivation behind people’s behaviours. It is a skill set that takes the capacity to really understand human behaviour.
I’ve often known things are not okay, or are wrong, had red flags…. but not really understood why. All my research on psychology, put into words all I have seen and witnessed. It puts words and understanding to why people act the way they do. Why people can be selfish and have no empathy. Why some people do have empathy. How to tell if someone has a conscience and what it means if they do, or if they don’t. Other behaviours like why people lie. I look for and watch all of this in people. Understanding emotional development and emotional intelligence helps too.
Just some of the things that have been a part of my journey to turning hypervigilance into discernment.
Discernment also requires people to have good judgment. ‘Judgment’ is so often labelled ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’. But in fact, wise and discerning people know that good judgment is necessary. If we don’t have good judgment, we ignore red flags and ignore behaviours and motivations which may be harmful. We don’t hold people accountable for their actions – which is necessary. We need good judgment to be able to apply appropriate boundaries.
Quote from Wikipedia
‘Discernment is the ability to obtain sharp perceptions
or to judge well (or the activity of so doing).
or moral in nature.
Considered as a virtue, a discerning individual
is considered to possess wisdom,
and be of good judgement; especially so with
regard to subject matter often overlooked by others.
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
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