Addicted to Romantic Suspicion
A life sentence without the possibility of love
Posted Apr 30, 2016
Meet Mario and Kristin, who are socio-economically very different. Yet, in their relationships, they are identical in 5 ways: 1) both are convinced their spouse is cheating, 2) both excessively try to prove it 3) both always fail because their spouses are not cheating, but 4) no amount of evidence will convince them of that and 5) each will relentlessly pursue proving the non existing infidelities to the detriment of their relationships and themselves.Mario and Kristin are not unique. According to a veteran private investigator that has several decades of experience handling infidelity cases, this is common.
Many still think only extreme full blown psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are “real brain disorders.” Therefore, substance dependencies, eating disorders, and behavioral dependencies like Mario and Kristin’s are choices and thus character flaws rather than legitimate brain disorders despite the clearly aberrant nature of Mario and Kristin’s emotional responses.
All emotional responses have behavioral, autonomic and hormonal components. In the case of Mario and Kristin’s behavior, which is a type of adrenaline addiction, the emotion is fear. The sympathetic nervous system controls the adrenomedullary response and the hormone released is epinephrine.[1-12] Studies have shown that there are learned associations between epinephrine levels and negative feelings and that epinephrine causes higher levels of fear arousal
In other words the fear that his or her spouse may be cheating arouses Mario and Kristin in a similar way that a Central Nervous System stimulant, such as cocaine or amphetamines would. [1, 4, 5, 14, 15] So, the issue is not really whether their spouses are cheating or not. The issue is the prospect of catching their spouses cheating opens the neurochemical cookie jar and it feels good. Furthermore, rat studies have demonstrated that this heightened arousal is encoded in memory.[16-20] So the more Mario and Kristin experience the euphoric rewards of adrenaline, the more they remember how good it feels.
Mario and Kristin, and other like behavioral adrenaline addicts, often come from patterns of abuse that have affected the architecture and functionality of their brains. Sometimes it happens in utero, when the mother experiences stress and chemicals cross the placenta that change the structural and functional dynamics of the fetus’s Hypothalamic-Pituitary Axis, which determine how the child will perceive and process fearful stimuli throughout his or her life. [21-24]
Other times, people who behave like Mario and Kristin grew up in families where infidelity was a painful problem. The developing brain observes the world around it in determining how the world is going to be and wires its structures accordingly. Witnessing the collateral damages of infidelity was frightening for them. Children are affected in various ways depending on the developmental status of key brain structures.[25-33] Therefore, two kids could witness the same events and only one be affected to the point of becoming like Mario and Kristin, or at all, or worse.
Ultimately, Mario and Kristin’s behavior began as a goal-directed behavior that became a stimulus response behavior – like walking in the room where one knows the light is out but flips the switch anyway out of habit. People don’t become drug addicts, food addicts, alcoholics or behavioral dependent adrenaline junkies like Mario and Kristin because they want to appear crazy or deconstruct their lives and relationships. They do it because they are in pain, and it is the only way they know how to fix it.
Mario and Kristin have a serious condition that makes them incapable of intimate trust, which sentences them to a life without the possibility of love. How can you truly be in love with anyone if you are incapable of trusting? You cannot. If Mario had erectile dysfunction or Kristin had a large nose, they would receive more empathy, even though their behavioral adrenaline dependency is far worse. Mario and Kristin are just trying to survive by playing the cards life dealt them. Sadly, they are among the sorts least likely to be understood, or receive empathy and proper treatment.
That said, Mario and Kristin represent a category of individuals in our society who suffer in silence because their illness is not publicly painful, so it is dismissed as someone choosing to “act crazy,” which is a euphemism for “we don’t understand your condition, so it is easier to marginalize you for having it, than take and energy to understand it.”
However, tolerance and awareness are a must in a social species, so a change in attitudes must come... .Remain fabulous and phenomenal.
Or come see me…
1. Roozendaal, B., A. Barsegyan, and S. Lee, Adrenal stress hormones, amygdala activation, and memory for emotionally arousing experiences. Prog Brain Res, 2008. 167: p. 79-97.
2. Green, M., Anticipation, hope, and despair. J Am Acad Psychoanal, 1977. 5(2): p. 215-32.
4. Papp, L.A., J. Martinez, and J.M. Gorman, Arterial epinephrine levels in panic disorder. Psychiatry Res, 1988. 25(1): p. 111-4.
5. Gerdes, E.P., Autonomic arousal as a cognitive cue in stressful situations. J Pers, 1979. 47(4): p. 677-711.
6. Suzuki, H., et al., Brain activation associated with changes in heart rate, heart rate variability, and plasma catecholamines during rectal distention. Psychosom Med, 2009. 71(6): p. 619-26.
7. Robbins, T.W., Cortical noradrenaline, attention and arousal. Psychol Med, 1984. 14(1): p. 13-21.
8. Leff, J.P., Culture and the differentiation of emotional states. Br J Psychiatry, 1973. 123(574): p. 299-306.
10. Gray, J.A., Emotional behaviour and the limbic system. Adv Psychosom Med, 1985. 13: p. 1-25.
11. McGaugh, J.L., Making lasting memories: remembering the significant. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2013. 110 Suppl 2: p. 10402-7.
12. Gold, P.E. and D.L. Korol, Making memories matter. Front Integr Neurosci, 2012. 6: p. 116.
13. Mezzacappa, E.S.K., E.S.; Palmer, S.N. , "Epinephrine, arousal, and emotion: A new look at two-factor theory". . Cognition and Emotion (1999). . 13 ((2): ): p. 181–199.
14. Wise, R.A. and M.A. Bozarth, Action of drugs of abuse on brain reward systems: an update with specific attention to opiates. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 1982. 17(2): p. 239-43.
15. Gardner, E.L., Addiction and brain reward and antireward pathways. Adv Psychosom Med, 2011. 30: p. 22-60.
16. Hu, H., et al., Emotion enhances learning via norepinephrine regulation of AMPA-receptor trafficking. Cell, 2007. 131(1): p. 160-73.
17. Korol, D.L. and P.E. Gold, Epinephrine converts long-term potentiation from transient to durable form in awake rats. Hippocampus, 2008. 18(1): p. 81-91.
18. McGaugh, J.L., L. Cahill, and B. Roozendaal, Involvement of the amygdala in memory storage: interaction with other brain systems. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 1996. 93(24): p. 13508-14.
19. Anand, K.J., et al., Long-term behavioral effects of repetitive pain in neonatal rat pups. Physiol Behav, 1999. 66(4): p. 627-37.
20. Zuo, Y., D.C. Smith, and R.A. Jensen, Vagus nerve stimulation potentiates hippocampal LTP in freely-moving rats. Physiol Behav, 2007. 90(4): p. 583-9.
21. Sadler, T.R., et al., Antenatal maternal stress alters functional brain responses in adult offspring during conditioned fear. Brain Res, 2011. 1385: p. 163-74.
22. Reynolds, R.M., Glucocorticoid excess and the developmental origins of disease: two decades of testing the hypothesis--2012 Curt Richter Award Winner. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2013. 38(1): p. 1-11.
23. Schuurmans, C. and D.M. Kurrasch, Neurodevelopmental consequences of maternal distress: what do we really know? Clin Genet, 2013. 83(2): p. 108-17.
24. Burton, C.L., et al., Prenatal restraint stress and motherless rearing disrupts expression of plasticity markers and stress-induced corticosterone release in adult female Sprague-Dawley rats. Brain Res, 2007. 1158: p. 28-38.
25. McEwen, B.S., Brain on stress: how the social environment gets under the skin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2012. 109 Suppl 2: p. 17180-5.
26. McEwen, B.S., Stress and hippocampal plasticity. Annu Rev Neurosci, 1999. 22: p. 105-22.
27. McEwen, B.S., Stress and the aging hippocampus. Front Neuroendocrinol, 1999. 20(1): p. 49-70.
28. McEwen, B.S., Hormones as regulators of brain development: life-long effects related to health and disease. Acta Paediatr Suppl, 1997. 422: p. 41-4.
29. McEwen, B.S., Hormones and the plasticity of neurons. Clin Neuropharmacol, 1992. 15 Suppl 1 Pt A: p. 582A-583A.
30. McEwen, B.S., Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators: central role of the brain. Dialogues Clin Neurosci, 2006. 8(4): p. 367-81.
31. McEwen, B.S., Early life influences on life-long patterns of behavior and health. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev, 2003. 9(3): p. 149-54.
32. McEwen, B.S., Sex, stress and the hippocampus: allostasis, allostatic load and the aging process. Neurobiol Aging, 2002. 23(5): p. 921-39.
33. McEwen, B.S., The neurobiology and neuroendocrinology of stress. Implications for post-traumatic stress disorder from a basic science perspective. Psychiatr Clin North Am, 2002. 25(2): p. 469-94, ix.