Man in relationships
We clearly perceive that relationships, for better or for worse, affect our emotions. Today we know that, through emotions, relationships also influence our physiology determining well-being or vague symptoms.
Human nature is inseparably relational, that is, man finds his raison d’etre only in the right relationship with other people. In this perspective, success and, more deeply, one’s realization are nothing more than successful communication with those around us.
It is a neurotic attitude to use one’s potential to manipulate others rather than to grow personally: the neurotic takes control and uses others in tasks that he cannot do alone.
Instead the person in tune with the environment does not direct but integrates his / her skills among the people with whom he / she shares affections or professional experiences.
In this the language of a community plays a great factor in social integration. Through the same language it is possible to pass the commonality of people. For this reason, in an occupation of a foreign country, the occupiers endow it with their language.
A same language is never the same as itself. There are diatopic (regional dialects), diastratic (between social classes), diaphasic (of the registers, we think that everyday use is different from the official), diamesic (of the media) differences. But each language constitutes a unicum, an original system with which the individual people give themselves meaning in view of experience. Each language has its own particularities. In Hebrew grammar the term “vowel” literally means “movement” to indicate that, in this language (and also in Aramaic), vowels often change in the formation of words. In biblical Aramaic, the feminine women who come out in –U serve to form the abstract. In Sanskrit the Indo-European E is made A. The Italian derives from the Tuscan.
Our psychism must proceed in harmony with the outside world. Reason leads us to choose those actions with which we interact with others. Emotionality makes us feel that those are the right choices. A father emotionally warns that working consciously and spending time with the family is right.
Rational part and emotional part must therefore go hand in hand. In case they do not go, psychoanalysis speaks of ‘personality as if’: he who does something is apparently impeccable good father of the family, good employee, but inside he warns that all this suffocates him and does not adequately express the own interiority. Certainly society is always born from a certain repression of the drives, however this repression must not be paroxysmal, otherwise the individual becomes macroscopically ill, that is, terribly dissatisfied, without meaning.
In fr. 46 of Heraclitus there is a phrase, which in Greek sounds like this: tēn de oiēsin ierēn nouson. Usually it translates: ‘Individual opinion is sacred disease’ (epilepsy). But the surrender of oiēsin as ‘individual opinion’ responds to a late meaning of the Greek noun. Probably Heraclitus meant that when emotion takes over reason we have a sacred disease.
In everyday reality what we feel is the compass of what we do. If unconscious logic based on emotion takes over reason, we have a delusion. When reason stifles the truest sensation that hearts feel, we are schizoid.
At this point the success of an action is equivalent to imposing our potential against the various interferences that occur. We have the formula: P = p – (le + li). That is, our performance (P) equals our total potential (p) minus internal interference (li) and external interference (le). Internal interference is the thought that demotivates us (I will never make it). External interference is the obstacle along the way. The total potential is the skills we have to perform an action. Let’s say we have to go to the city: the car is the total potential, the internal interference is the desire not to make it to drive into the city, the external interference are the holes along the way.
Now, our total potential is never just an individual factor: we have capabilities if we weave satisfying relationships. If we want to become doctors, our potential is constituted not only by the time we spent studying, but also by that professor who taught a subject well and predisposed us to learn successfully. Internal interference could be constituted by the dyscrasia between thought and emotion: we want to become doctors for a rational project to earn money, but we do not have an emotional validation, so we do not commit enough because we do not feel that way truly ours.
Most of the problematic situations that happen to us are not real, but are only in our mind. The mind suffers these interferences:
Our behavior is the mirror of what we are. It is possible to get to know a person by analyzing what he does, even without introspection. For this reason, the balanced individual has a behavior that makes him stay in an optimal relationship with others. But on the other hand, the deranged relationship makes the individual sick.
The quality of our relationships affects the quality of our life. But when we are sick with someone, our physical health is also affected. Relationships are one of the areas of what creates stress, but not the only one. Today we know for sure that many health problems have to do with stress: these are the so-called vague symptoms (irritable colon, chronic fatigue, acidity, stomach pains, digestive disorders, changes in heart rhythm, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and so on). It is estimated that more than half of the visits to doctors are caused by these ailments. Prolonged stress alters the balance of our body until the onset of these symptoms.
Stress is the pressure we are subjected to by the environment. Our body has a system designed to cope with the more or less demanding requests that come from the environment: it is the Stress System. Through it we adapt each time to the environment. It consists of the autonomic nervous system, formed by the sympathetic system (active especially during the day, which predisposes us to action) and the parasympathetic system (active especially at night, which prepares us for recovery and repair).
When the demands of the environment are excessive, the stress turns into over-stress, up to chronic stress when the stressor is prolonged over time. Some have identified the cause of all diseases in this excessive stress. It is as if there was a continuous wear that does not activate the sympathetic in the morning when needed and does not allow recovery at night with the activation of the parasympathetic.
The autonomic nervous system is very complex: it acts in connection with many other nervous centers. It responds to everything that happens in the environment by integrating external inputs with internal ones. Its purpose is to coordinate all these inputs for a specific purpose: adaptation.
The researcher who best clarified this aspect is Porges. In the vagus nerve (which corresponds to the parasympathetic system) there are two units: the dorsal and the ventral ones. Therefore, based on the conclusions reached by Porges, the stress system is composed of three subsystems: sympathetic, dorsal parasympathetic, ventral parasympathetic. the sympathetic is activated in all those situations that require a mobilization of energy (daily commitments, danger). The backbone activates when we have to block (threat and consequent paralysis). The ventral is activated when we can relax and recharge. There are three different responses of global adaptation to the environment.
These systems are activated on the basis of our perception of the environment: it is neuroception, the unconscious ability that every organism has to pick up the signals that come from the environment. All this is mediated by emotions, which are able to activate the various systems. Emotions are gimmicks that we have to evaluate the environment. So if the imperative of the stress system is to adapt to guarantee our safety, this must respond to the assessment we make of reality (emotion) on the basis of external and internal perception.
When we perceive the safe environment, the ventral system is activated (we are at rest). When we perceive a potentially dangerous environment, the sympathetic is activated (we prepare for action: attack or flight). When we perceive a threatening environment, the backbone is activated (it is freezing: we block ourselves from fear).
These three systems developed in the history of evolution progressively, at different times. The oldest is the backbone: even today the lower animals block in front of a threat, the snail withdraws, others pretend to be dead. Later a more evolved answer arose: the attack or the escape, therefore the sympathetic system developed. Finally came the ventral, that of mammals, which is a modality of adaptation and defense that also involves its own kind: the organism seeks a sense of security by being together with members of its own species.
Relationships are also a source of danger and threat (a harmful boss or an angry family), therefore, they can alert the related systems. This triggers stress and vague symptoms. We clearly perceive that relationships, for better or for worse, affect our emotions. Today we know that, through emotions, relationships also influence our physiology determining well-being or vague symptoms.
The brain that we have in the intestine is a set of neurons that has its own autonomy. The cranial brain via the vagus nerve influences the second, and vice versa. The microbiome is the set of bacteria that are in the intestine and that sends signals to the cranial brain. There is talk of 2 kg of intestinal microbiome and throughout the body. Alterations of the gut microbiome create problems in the stress axis and in behavior. It:
It takes insoluble fibers, such as cellulose, which we cannot digest, to produce other substances. The substances thus produced are used to regulate the epigenetics of our cells in an anti-inflammatory sense. This is why fiber is useful for our body.
The microbiome produces vitamin K, B vitamins, folic acid, butyric acid. Butyric acid is produced by the fermentation of the fibers and promotes thermogenesis (heat production) and the oxidation of the fatty acids we eat, i.e. their degradation. This acid also improves insulin sensitivity.
The gut microbiome produces neurotransmitters, which make the cranial brain work. For example, acetylcholine, which produces many other neurotransmitters and hormones. Glutamate, which is excitatory. GABA, which is inhibitory. The brain works well if there is the right connection between activation and inhibition. Not only that, but relationships between people are neurologically an activity in which GABA and glutamate are involved.
Types without gut microbiome showed increased anxiety-related motor activity.