Benefits of Understanding the Initial Physical Reflex

Viewing misophonia as a physical reflex may help you manage your emotions. People have told you to just stay calm. You tried, but could not. People have told you that it’s all in your head. When you have been angry at the person making your trigger sounds or sights, you have probably had horrible thoughts directed toward that person. You thought things that were completely inconsistent with your character. Many people with misophonia think about physically hurting the person making the triggers. You may have even said or done things that you feel sorry for. Guilt (after you calm down) is a common emotion for people with misophonia.

With misophonia, anger is not a choice. It is jerked out of you, and the reason you cannot stay calm without proper treatment is that the trigger is causing an involuntary, immediate emotional reflex. There is also the physical reflex, which is an assault on you. You are being physically assaulted, but you’re being assaulted by your lizard brain. The sound comes into the brain, is perceived by the lizard brain, which then zaps you.

The misophonia anger and the urge to physically assault are consistent with research done with mice in an electrical cage, where the researcher could electrify the floor and shock them. (I didn’t do this research, so please don’t blame me for cruelty to animals.) When the mice were shocked, they attacked the adjacent mouse even though the other mouse had not done anything. This is called pain-induced aggression.22 Essentially you’re getting zapped or whacked, and that produces your anger response. The emotions are so enormous that you may not recognize the shock itself, but it is there. It seems that the physical sensation kicks off your misophonic emotions.

So what can you do? First, be kind to yourself. Beating yourself up because you had horrible feelings toward another person doesn’t help your misophonia. If you become physically or verbally abusive when triggered, you need to make a plan to avoid being triggered and a plan for what you will do when you are triggered.

Second, try thinking of your misophonic reaction as coming from your lizard brain, not from the person making the trigger. Misophonia is all in your head and it is extremely real. Your lizard brain is biting you. View it as if the attack is coming from within. It is your lizard brain reflex.

Third, identifying your physical reflex may allow you to respond to triggers in a way that can lessen the agony of the trigger, and slowly change your lizard brain so that future triggers are less severe. This only applies to specific reflexes, but maybe you have an easy reflex to work with. Also, recognizing your reflex can help you with other treatments, such as the NRT treatment or Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapy treatment. If nothig else, you will have a better understanding of what is happening in your body when you are triggered and why it makes you so darn mad.