Emotional Hijacking

Topics: Emotion, Psychology, Limbic system Pages: 4 (1205 words) Published: December 25, 2012
Emotional hijacking is a state when an individual's cognitions are overpowered by his/her emotions. It is usually referred to in the context of aggression or fearfulness.

With respect to aggression, it can be said to be a sudden unleashing of rage towards another person. It is an extreme emotional outburst or an emotional explosion caused by an incident that may trigger anger or fear in an individual.

Such incidents happen many a times. There are a number of situations in which a person might get angry or upset and without even thinking about anything he/she might just lose his/her cool and simply explode with emotions and attack the other person verbally or even physically. For instance, an individual might suddenly get extremely angry and begin to shout at his/her friend and even slur him/her. In an extreme case, a disgusted husband might suddenly get upset and beat up his wife badly. In more extreme cases, a person might kill another person with an outburst of anger.

Wife beating and killing a person due to emotional hijacking can be rare, but incidents of individuals quarreling with each other and in the process damaging a relationship are quite common. Such moments do not last very long, but the time that it lasts does enough damage. Most of the times, a person regrets getting into such an act.

Research shows that such emotional explosions are neural hijackings. In such a moment, a center in the limbic system (a part of the brain), the amygadala, the seat of all emotions in the brain, takes over the neocortex. The neocortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for our thinking. During this moment the neocortex stops functioning. The amygdala gets triggered and in an instant takes control of the brain, in a sense hijacking it. Thus, it is called emotional hijacking.

Emotional hijacking does not occur just like that out of no where. Usually certain past events that are disturbing...
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