Compartmentalization: When Is It Healthy vs. Unhealthy?

It’s vital to notice that everybody has the capability to compartmentalize to a level, and notably if you’re coping with extenuating circumstances, in line with each Swart and Torrent.

“The reality is, everyone compartmentalizes to some degree, every day, all of the time,” Torrent explains. However, he provides, “Within addiction, narcissism, and trauma, these individuals tend to engage in behaviors that go against their values, beliefs, relationships and morals, which often leads to cognitive dissonance and compartmentalization.”

Addiction is very pertinent right here, as a result of it’s typically accompanied by guilt and disgrace. Both of these emotions (even exterior the context of habit) should be “locked in a compartment of their minds,” in an effort to keep away from them and any subsequent change, Torrent tells mbg.

In the case of trauma or PTSD, nevertheless, compartmentalization is an efficient protection in managing the ideas and emotions related to traumatic experiences. “After a trauma, either systemic or acute, upsetting memories are often compartmentalized as the nervous system attempts to reach equilibrium,” Torrent explains, including, “If, however, these experiences are not de-compartmetalized, brought out, and then processed therapeutically, they can be activated or ‘triggered’ causing the sufferer to cascade into a post-traumatic stress response such as a panic attack or overwhelming anxiety.”

We’ll additionally notice right here that there’s proof that the male mind could also be extra inclined to compartmentalize. As medical neuroscientist psychiatrist Daniel Amen, M.D., beforehand wrote for mbg, there’s an space within the frontal lobes of the mind known as the ACG, which helps you shift consideration and acknowledge errors. Higher exercise within the ACG “increases the tendency to get stuck on negative thoughts or negative behaviors and to see what is wrong rather than what is right,” he explains—and that elevated exercise is extra generally noticed within the feminine mind.

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