Bruce D. Perry Quotes


 
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Best 37 What Happened To You? Quotes by Bruce D. Perry – Page 1 of 2

What Happened to You? Quotes

“All life is rhythmic. The rhythms of the natural world are embedded in our biological systems. This begins in the womb, when the mother’s beating heart creates rhythmic sound, pressure, and vibrations that are sensed by the developing fetus and provide constant rhythmic input to the organizing brain.”

What Happened to You?

“All of us tend to gravitate to the familiar, even when the familiar is unhealthy or destructive. We are drawn to what we were raised with.”

What Happened To You?

“Balance is the core of health. We feel and function best when our body’s systems are in balance, and when we’re in balance with friends, family, community, and nature.”

What Happened to You?

“Because what I know for sure is that everything that has happened to you was also happening for you. And all that time, in all of those moments, you were building strength. Strength times strength times strength equals power. What happened to you can be your power.”

What Happened to You?

“Belonging and being loved are core to the human experience. We are a social species; we are meant to be in community—emotionally, socially, and physically interconnected with others.”

What Happened to You?

“But speaking of decisions and choices, I want to turn to a question that baffles so many of us. Why is it that people who are victims of trauma are so often drawn to abusive relationships?

Let me broaden the question, because it is so important in understanding not just abuse but all behavior. The key point is that all of us tend to gravitate to the familiar, even when the familiar is unhealthy or destructive. We are drawn to what we were raised with.

As I’ve said before, when we are young and our brain is beginning to make sense of our experiences, it creates our ‘working model’ of the world. The brain organizes around the tone and tension of our first experiences. So if, early on, you have safe, nurturing care, you think that people are essentially good….But if a child experienced chaos, threat, or trauma, your brain organizes according to a view that the world is not safe and people cannot be trusted. Think about James. He didn’t feel ‘safe’ when he was close to people. Intimacy made him feel threatened.

Here is the confusing part: James felt most comfortable when the world was in line with his worldview. Being rejected or treated poorly validated this view. The most destabilizing thing for anyone is to have their core beliefs challenged….Good or bad, we are attracted to things that are familiar.”

What Happened To You?

“Connectedness regulates and rewards us.”

What Happened To You?

“Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, he wrote. Reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.”

What Happened to You?

“Even in the absence of major traumatic events, unpredictable stress and the lack of control that goes with it are enough to make our stress-response systems sensitized – overactive and overly reactive- creating the internal storm.”

What Happened To You?

“For me, the really fascinating part is the power of brief but positive caregiving interactions. Some of the children we studied had attentive and responsive care for only the first two months of life-and then their world imploded. Years of chaos, threat, instability, and trauma followed those positive two first months-yet they did much better than children who experienced initial trauma and neglect followed by years of attentive, supportive care. It is the timing that is so important. The value of early intervention programs, even those that have only brief ‘doses’ of positive interaction, can’t be underestimated.”

What Happened To You?

“If you look at Indigenous and traditional healing practices, they do a remarkable job of creating a total mind-body experience that influences multiple brain systems. Remember, trauma 'memories' span multiple brain areas. So these traditional practices will have cognitive, relational-based, and sensory elements. You retell the story; create images of the battle, hunt, death; hold each other; massage; dance; sing.”

What Happened to You?

“In the wake of trauma, the hardest thing to understand is that nothing and no one can take away the pain. And yet that’s exactly what we desperately want to do - because we are social creatures, subject to emotional contagion, and when we’re around people who are hurting, we hurt too. We don’t want to hurt. It is hard to sit in the midst of ruined lives and not feel the misery. It helps us regulate to try to undo or negate - to look away from others’ pain. So we make our arbitrary assumptions about people’s innate resilience. We make our sweeping declarations that allow us to marginalize traumatized children. We take our focus off the tragedy, move on with our lives, telling ourselves that “they” will be okay. But as we continue to see in our discussions, the impact of trauma doesn’t simply fade away. We can help each other heal, but often assumptions about resilience and grit blind us to the healing that leads us down the painful path to wisdom.”

What Happened To You?

“It’s interesting - most people think about therapy as something that involves going in and undoing what’s happened. But whatever your past experiences created in your brain, the associations exist and you can’t just delete them. You can’t get rid of the past. Therapy is more about building new associations, making new, healthier default pathways. It is almost as if therapy is taking your two-lane dirt road and building a four-lane freeway alongside it. The old road stays, but you don’t use it much anymore. Therapy is building a better alternative, a new default. And that takes repetition, and time, honestly, it works best if someone understands how the brain changes. This is why understanding how trauma impacts our health is essential for everyone.”

What Happened To You?

“My friend, the poet Mark Nepo, says that the pain was necessary in order to know the truth. But we don’t have to keep the pain alive in order to keep the truth alive.”

What Happened to You?

“Our major finding is that your history of relational health — your connectedness to family, community, and culture — is more predictive of your mental health than your history of adversity. This is similar to the findings of other researchers looking at the power of positive relationships on health. Connectedness has the power to counterbalance adversity.”

What Happened to You?

“So often we use the word snapped when we don’t know where a burst of anger is coming from or why someone is having a violent reaction. Well, now we know: Something has happened in the moment that triggers one of the brain’s trauma memories. And because the lower, non-rational parts of the brain are its first responders, they immediately set off stress responses that then shut off the reasonable part of the brain. And so that 'burst' of violence is actually the result of some highly organized processes in the brain. And in this case, the first thing the school is going to say is, What’s wrong with him?”

What Happened to You?

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“It is difficult to remove by logic an idea not placed there by logic in the first place.”


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“Social connection builds resilience, and resilience helps create post-traumatic wisdom, and that wisdom leads to hope. Hope for you and hope for others witnessing and participating in your healing, hope for your community.”

What Happened to You?

“Stress is not something to be afraid of or avoided. It is the controllability, pattern, and intensity of stress that can cause problems.”

What Happened to You?

“The capacity to be connected in meaningful and healthy ways is shaped by our earliest relationships. Love, and loving caregiving, is the foundation of our development.”

What Happened to You?

“The elders were very patient with my curiosity, and gently amused at my Western medical-model formulations of 'disease' when I asked how they handled depression, sleep problems, drug abuse, and trauma. They kept trying to help me understand that these problems were all basically the 'same thing'. The problems were all interconnected. In Western psychiatry we like to separate them, but that misses the true essence of the problem. We are chasing symptoms, not healing people.”

What Happened to You?

“The language we speak, the beliefs we hold - both good and bad - are passed from generation to generation through experience. And so many aspects of the human experience are invented - as opposed to simply springing up from our genes. Ten thousand years ago, humankind had the genetic potential to read a book, yet not one single human on the planet could read; the genetic potential to play the piano existed, yet not one person could play; the genetic potential to dunk a basketball, type a sentence, ride a bicycle - all that potential existed, but it all remained unexpressed. Humankind, more than any other species, can take the accumulated, distilled experiences of previous generations and pass these inventions, beliefs, and skills to the next generation. This is sociocultural evolution. We learn from our elders, and we invent, and we pass what we’ve learned and invented to the next generations. And the organ that allows this is the human brain - specifically, the cortex. As we’ve said before, the cortex is the most uniquely human part of our body, and, no surprise, it gives rise to the most uniquely human capabilities: speech, language, abstract thinking, reflecting on the past, planning for the future. Our hopes, dreams, and a major part of our worldview are mediated by our cortex.”

What Happened To You?

“The more threatened or stressed we are, the less access we have to the smart part of our brain, the cortex.”

What Happened to You?

“The most powerful form of reward is relational. Positive interactions with people are rewarding and regulating. Without connection to people who care for you, spend time with you, and support you, it is almost impossible to step away from any form of unhealthy reward and regulation.”

What Happened to You?

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”

What Happened to You?

“The speed with which we're inventing our world is outpacing our avility to understand the impact of our inventions.”

What Happened To You?

“There is nothing I do that doesn’t start with my asking myself: What is my intention in doing this?”

What Happened to You?

“Think about how you’ve handled difficulty in your own life. With things that are very hard to deal with, you don’t want to talk about the pain or loss or fear for forty-five minutes nonstop. You want to talk with a really good friend for maybe two or three minutes about some aspect of it. When it gets too painful, you step back, you want to be distracted. And maybe you want to talk more later on. It is the therapeutic dosing that leads to real healing. Moments. Fully present, powerful, and brief.”

What Happened To You?

“Trauma leaves your shipwrecked. You are left to rebuild your inner world. Part of the rebuilding, the healing process, is revisiting the shattered hull of your old worldview; you sift through the wreckage looking for what remains, seeking your broken pieces…as you revisit the ship-wreck, piece by piece, you find a fragment and move it to your new, safer place in the now-altered landscape. You build a new worldview. That takes time. And many visits to the wreckage. And this process involves both unconscious and conscious repetitive “reenactment” behaviors, or writing, drawing, sculpting, or playing. Again and again, you revisit the site of the earthquake, look through the wreckage, take something, and move it to a safe haven. That’s part of the healing process.”

What Happened To You?

“We all require some reciprocal social feedback to stay engaged.”

What Happened to You?

“We elicit from the world what we project into the world; but what you project is based upon what happened to you as a child.”

What Happened to You?

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“The smaller we feel in the world, the more we need to shine in the eyes of our partner.”


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