In all of us, as love begins to develop so does the feeling of emotional vulnerability. So the more connected we begin to feel to someone, the more we fear that connection being taken away. How safe we feel in a relationship depends upon our ability to manage that part of our brain that evolved to perceive and react to fear, the Amygdala. Long term relationships find an equilibrium between fear and love, a balance. But people that never learned to properly manage their Amygdala’s response find the fear just keeps rising and intruding upon the relationship to the point it destroys the relationship because it sees the relationship as a danger to it’s survival. These people don’t find that equilibrium because fear keeps throwing the scales off balance.

Love turns to hate, and the loved person is more and more perceived as “The Enemy”. The brain works to justify and rationalise the fear signals being given out by the amygdala, and, as it does so, evidence of “The Enemy’s” harmful intentions are gathered and magnified in the accumulation of thoughts. More and more these Amygdala triggered thoughts intrude upon the relationship. The early symptoms are the little niggles; the little things that begin annoying us. We think it’s them, but the annoyance is actually something happening inside us, it’s a part of this evidence gathering process the brain is undergoing. These little annoyances are magnified by the amygdala. Imagine it like a little alarm bell that just rings louder and louder and all you want it to do is shut up, but your brain processes are actually turning the volume up, not down. The amygdala is in the process of trying to convince you of the danger and convince you to act upon it. This is not a thought process, it goes much deeper than that, this is the fundamental animal impulse of survival. In time, fights that seem to have no justification begin to develop. They do, of course, appear justified at the time, but if you step back from the emotionality of it all, that justification begins to fall apart. The final process is either to drive away “The Enemy” (fight) or to create a good enough reason to leave, walk or run away from the relationship (flight). Therefore the animal instinct of “fight or flight” has fulfilled it’s purpose, evading or driving away of something that the amygdala said was a threat to your survival. Yet we have rationalised it as a process that has an external cause (it was “The Enemy’s” fault), while the true process has been occurring inside our own brain.

In this instance, it appears, “The Enemy” is actually in our own brain.