Love, Drugs and the Brain~1989 (Chapter 23)

The frontal cortex, vital to judgment, shuts down when we fall in love.

( Quoted from: Crazy In Love)
This may explain many of the decisions that I made, or did not make, in my life. It seemed that I was always looking for love. In fact, I recall many times that it was almost an obsession. When I was young I had a boyfriend, if you can really call a relationship a relationship, in junior high. They were innocent buddings of future liaisons, but as I entered into high school I was single. I watched my siblings and my friends pair up, and I was envious.

In college I had a few relationships, but they did not last. I seemed to always be searching for a love interest.

When I met hubby, I was not actively looking. But obviously my brain enhanced the attraction, and I went along for the ride.

The frontal cortex, vital to judgment, shuts down when we fall in love. MRI scans show this de-activation occurs only when someone is shown a photo of the person they adore, causing them to suspend all criticism or doubt.

Semir Zeki, professor of neuro-aesthetics at University College London, says: ‘When you look at someone you are passionate about, some areas of the brain become active,’ he says. ‘But a large part is de-activated, the part that plays a role in judgment.’” ( Quoted from: Crazy In Love)

Looking back, I can see that my judgement had taken a back seat in the courtship with hubby. I was in love with being in love, and I had not asked many questions. I thought that I had, but I never delved beneath the surface, I accepted everything hubby said and did, at face value. There had been red flags, but I allowed myself to gloss over them, to decrease their importance.

Dopamine flooded my brain after the “accidental kiss”…

“Studies have shown brain chemical dopamine is at higher levels in those in love. Dopamine is key to our experiences of pleasure and pain, linked to desire, addiction, euphoria, and a surge may cause such acute feelings of reward that it makes love hard to give up.”  ( Quoted from: Crazy In Love)

Before the “kiss” I cared deeply about Larry, but it never occurred to me that he be considered more than a friend. After the painful realizations and loss suffered during the past several months the feelings of euphoria were very welcome. And they took on a life of their own. I tried to eradicate thoughts of Larry from my mind, but I would always circle back.

After months of feeling betrayed this was an escape.

I knew that it was wrong. I owed it to myself, hubby and our families to end my marriage correctly. To remove myself from the bond cleanly. Involving myself with another person would cause pain to all involved. I knew this, but the feeling of being loved was like an addiction.

Now that the possibility of a relationship, a good/loving/respectful relationship, was presented to me-I could not stop thinking about it. No matter how wrong it was, I could not let it go.

The flood of emotions…

“The love chemical we are most familiar with is adrenaline. This hormone is why our heart races, palms sweat and mouth goes dry when we see the person we like.” ( Quoted from: Crazy In Love)
.

It had seemed so long since I had felt anything but “less than”, that the butterflies in my stomach were heady. I am not making excuses, I am trying to find answers. Once again, I knew that my feelings were wrong. I knew that I should not act on them. But I was also lonely. It was exciting to know that someone as sought after, as Larry was, might have feelings for me. I knew that he cared for me as a friend, he had shown it time after time, he had all of the qualities that I wanted in a mate.

I was wrestling with my sense of “right” against the flood of chemicals to my brain, it was so intoxicating-I did not want to let it go. I had felt so alone for so long, my sense of “right” was losing the battle.

“The same hormone is also released when we are frightened. This means that two people only vaguely attracted to one another can fall madly in love if they go through an exciting or scary experience together. It may also explain the lure of forbidden love.” ( Quoted from: Crazy In Love)

 

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4 thoughts on “Love, Drugs and the Brain~1989 (Chapter 23)

  1. That brain stuff sure does make it hard to be rational and think clearly when feelings are involved :(

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