Exploring Cognitive Bypassing

Daniella Segell
Sep 02, 2021
12:00 A.M.
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Every person has gone through some kind of trauma in their lives, whether from their childhoods or from a romantic relationship that didn't go exactly as they had hoped it would.


Knowing that you have gone through trauma frightens many people because they believe that it is something that they will have to live with all their lives, but there are multiple ways to overcome your trauma.

However, many people are trapped in their trauma for longer than they need because of cognitive bypassing. We're exploring exactly what that means.

What Is Cognitive Bypassing



If you are in therapy or even if you have simply spoken to your friends or family about some trauma you are going through, you will know that most people's immediate response to uncomfortable situations is to think positively, and it will all work out.


Having a positive mindset is incredibly important, but having a positive mindset does not negate the fact that you have been through trauma that has changed your brain functions. Positive thoughts will not cast your trauma out, and you are still likely to be triggered by certain things.



The idea of having a positive mindset and thinking positively about your trauma is called cognitive bypassing. It explains how people try to cast the bad thoughts out of their heads to feel good about themselves without addressing the issues at hand.

What Does It Mean For Me




If you have been taught to bypass cognitively, it is likely that you feel great a lot of the time and when you are in a safe place because there is nothing around to trigger you, but as soon as you are faced with a trigger, you will begin to feel uncomfortable.

This is because you have taught your brain that you can relax in certain situations and that there is nothing to worry about most of the time, but when certain situations come up, you are no longer safe, and your traumas resurface.



The only way to overcome this is to embrace the feelings in the body that the trauma causes and move through them as many times as you need to until it no longer affects you in the way that it used to.


It will be uncomfortable each time you feel the trauma in your body, and it will take a lot out of you to move through it, but when you have done it enough, you will have wired your brain to know that you are safe in every situation.

Bottom Line



If you have been cognitively bypassing your trauma, you will have found a short-term solution that works for you and that is comfortable to both your body and your mind, but long term, it might be counterintuitive.

Try to bypass less cognitively, and eventually, you will be able to feel every emotion and feeling that your trauma brings to you and move through it so that you heal correctly.

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