When someone says, “You are wrong about this,” or, “You made a mistake there,” the left brain quickly says, “Yes, but the reason I did that was….” The feeling is, “If I’m wrong I won’t be loved by my parents. I must defend.” It is defending against the feelings on the right. “If I’m wrong I will feel useless, like a nothing, not deserving of anything. Not worth being loved.” That feeling of being unloved, I must underline, is already there! The trigger in the present lights it up and swirls the feelings again. One rationalizes because one cannot stand one more bit of criticism and the terrible feeling that it sets off. The left accommodates and does the defending without even knowing why.
Neurosis, in many respects, is a split-brain state. The essence of neurosis seems to be to concoct rationales for one’s behavior, which is driven by unrecognized forces. That is why one cannot penetrate elaborate rationales and explanations for other’s behavior. “Why should I give up drink when it always makes me feel warm and cozy?” said an acquaintance. He had no recognition of the constant tension he suffered. So long as feelings are hidden and repressed, the defenses must remain intact. When the insight/cognitive therapist attacks this defense, trying to dissuade the person from her ideas, it is a vain cause; he has neglected the split-brain effect, which tends to be literal.
In any effective therapy it is the connection between the deep right limbic to orbito-frontal areas that will resolve so many of our problems, from anxiety, which is pain leaking through a faulty gating system, to depression, which is pain butting up against rigid, unyielding gates. Why? Because many of our later problems derive from experiences in the lower right areas that never make it to higher level connections. Rather, they continually do their damage on lower levels; chronic high blood pressure is one of many examples.