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Safety and The Lizard: The Essay — 38 Comments

  1. Most single moms I know are poor. The idea that divorce is a payoff for women seems really outdated and sexist. This article is triggering my arguing lizard. Trying not to blow off everything you say because of it isn’t easy.

    • Thanks, Julie, for your comment. Tis not my intention to trigger your Lizard or to drive you away from my sharings. I think I’m generally up to date with the progress of women. (I listened to a lot last night at the DNC Convention and liked what they said.) Please point to what I said in this paper that triggered you. I can alway learn and maybe I would like to restate something. Thanks for contributing.

      • I too struggled with this sentence.
        Are you suggesting that their frustrations were not valid? Or that they just wanted to make an easy buck?
        From the rest of the article I don’t think this is your intention. Perhaps that sentence could be removed. I cannot find a positive purpose for it.
        However, I did find the rest of the article very interesting. So thank you for taking the time to write it.

      • Hi Al, many thanks for the article! That sentence sure caught my attention too as an adult child of divorce. Maybe there was some subset of affluent folks who were okay financially but that was not the case for single mother headed families in my community. The sentence was “ For a while it was pretty easy for them to take their children, divorce their husband, and get paid for the whole thing.”

  2. Hi Al,

    I am trying to develop a deeper sense of understanding of how lizards work.

    I was wondering what you think the difference between a lizards point of view (i.e., jumping to negative conclusions), and just being a pessimist is. Would you expect that creating safety would produce a more optimistic attitude as the lizard would be less active, and would the reverse be true as well (an optimistic attitude would make a lizard feel safer).

    Does an overactive lizard manifest itself as anxiety? If so, do you think anxiety medications would appease the lizard’s fear?

    • Heck, Rhonda, we have been deepening our understanding of our Lizards since about 1996. And we’re still at it. So I took your posting to Sandra and we pondered for a while. Never been asked this one.

      I think the Lizard’s world is all about caution, and pessimism has a useful component of caution. But I believe optimism/pessimism is a higher brain function i.e. mid-brain and mostly cortical. So I think people can be pessimistic and have a relaxed Lizard. Probably the Lizard won’t allow too much optimism if it is active. Note I consider the Lizard to be either more or less activated or more or less sleeping.

      And so I think your guess is fine. More optimistic thinking, more “positive” thoughts probably help the Lizard feel safer. THO a big component is the issue of Trust. If I am around optimistic people, my Lizard tends to feel better as long as I don’t think those optimistic people are bullshitting. A person who smiles make encourage my Lizard. A person who holds a gun will probably fully activate my Lizard and if they also smile my Lizard may go nuts.

      Optimism sees to me mostly a Cortical or thinking process. There is a concept called “Apperceptive Schema”, which refers to a kind of map we all create and manage about how the “future is going to go”. Optimism probably most often means our current schema is positive and pessimism probably suggests that we think our schema is more negative. Remember our most primitive emotion is a continuum between Like a lot and Dislike a lot. So I am talking about our current emotional reaction to our current Apperceptive Schema.

      Anxiety is to me a clue to an active Lizard. The Lizard communicates its status by causing the secretion of hormones (adrenaline and nor-epinephrine). Medications may alter the body’s ability to create or metabolize those hormones, and thus minimize how well the Lizard communicates. May be helpful. May not. When I see someone who is anxious, I look for what their Lizard is seeing.

      A fun book on this stuff is Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.

      • This is interesting.

        Regarding this I have something I need to ask regarding a traumatic experience, I’m a clinger she’s an avoider. Just for some background. I’m seeing this girl named Alison we’ve dated before but, she broke up with me 10 months ago, and recently has told me she’s been missing me since February (9 Months) and couldn’t find a way to get a hold of me for 3 months. I pretty much went offline. Anyways we’re talking again and everything been going great. She knows about some of vintage love because I’ve been talking to her about it over the phone.

        Now to what I was trying to say, I messaged Ally like crazy this morning, unfortunately I’m pretty sure I know why.

        I had a thought this morning about if one of her exes had an outburst because of me what would be mynatural response? My thoughts created a scenario, (mind you I was reading about traumatic experiences and how to get through them on this site). I was at restaurant eating with her. One of them stalked us and pulled up at the same restaurant, he threw food on me.

        My first reaction is laughter. Instead me trying to cause a scene, I tell him to go outside with me. I talk to him, “What are you doing, man?” And I try to counsel him. Pretty much him taking a look as his actions and how his kid sees all of it

        Skipping the little bits and details, he changes in the near future, and Ally takes notice and she goes back with him.

        My heart starts racing and my stomach drops a bit. Why did I think this if I believe she’s gonna be there for me every step of the way?

        Well it goes back to where this scenario actually happened, where I tried to help this girls ex who I was dating and she left me..

        I don’t know why but I like to help others grow. Im pretty sure I’m overthinking it but the thought is now in the back of my head.

  3. Thank you for your years and years of dedication to your self growth. My partner of 9 years (on and off) suddenly decided to part ways yesterday and now I understand why. In reading your paper I have learned about myself and others. Hopefully this will help me make better decisions in the future. I am glad that after reading it, I don’t feel so panick stricken. Thank you.

  4. Pingback:Happy Belated Birthday To Me | the z-beads blog

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