A bit of old stuff;
“A traumatic complex brings about dissociation of the psyche. The complex is not under control of the will and for this reason it possesses the quality of psychic autonomy. This autonomy consists in it’s power to manifest itself independently of the will and even in direct opposition to conscious tendencies; it forces itself tyrannically upon the conscious mind. The explosion of affect is a complete invasion of the individual; it pounces upon him/her like an enemy or a wild animal.”
Jung was almost right here, but this pouncing isn’t “like” a wild animal, it IS a wild animal, it is the wild animal in our heads, the amygdala, as it rises in response to perceived threat or danger, it becomes the dominant force in the mind. The need for psychic protection becomes it’s own autonomous personality, the power switches from our advanced prefrontal cortext to our primitive amygdala, the personality adapts to suit, accepting this new captain while it rides out the stormy sea.
Of course, Jung later acknowledged this in the quote;
“Taking it in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him.”
In other words, evidence of our phylogeny; a left over from our primitive animal ancestry, although it’s less a tail, or an appendix, but rather a structure right at the core of our brain.
And something a bit more recent;
“Stress can exacerbate a number of psychiatric disorders, many of which are associated with the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain unique to humans. A Yale University study looked at the effects of noise stress on brain function in monkeys. Results indicate that stress impairs Prefrontal Cortex cognitive function through its influence on dopamine, a key neurotransmitter that’s involved in many brain disorders, including ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.
The researchers think that “stress may take the Prefrontal Cortex ‘off-line’ to allow more habitual responses . . . to regulate behaviour. This mechanism may have survival value, but may often be maladaptive in human society, contributing to the vulnerability of the Prefrontal Cortex in many neuropsychiatric disorders”
The amygdala is regulated by an area of the brain in the orbitofrontal cortex and there are direct pathways between them. Current research in developmental neuropsychology hypothesises that for some individuals, possibly involving early developmental trauma, this pathway, and the development of the anterior cingulate fail to develop full function. The more we have a tendency to “kick off” the more it reveals dysregulation of the amygdala. The calmer and more “in control” we are, especially in times of stress, the more regulated our amygdala.
Essentially, when you are not happy, then you are in a state of stress, or fear, and your autonomous nervous system takes the helm of you, often referred to as an “amygdala hijack”.
And no, you are not a psychopath, because a psychopath would never say “I think I am a psychopath”.