The Top 10% – Not what you think!

December 23rd, 2014

What does it mean to be the top 10%? Accolades? Honor? Opportunities?  

What if it meant this is ONLY 10% of what exists. ONLY 10% of what is possible. ONLY 10% of what we know?

Our behaviors and interactions with others – whether it is the neighbor, the boss, the spouse, or our child are usually reflections of the top 10% we are able to access in the moment.  If we are calm and the interaction is welcoming, the 10% may increase as access to higher brain functions is available. We have the ability to remember, to connect previous conversations with current ones, to interpret facial expressions and tone with the content, to make a coherent response to requests and create solutions that reach into a future time.  Top 10% is working well when all is well. 

When those same interactions are perceived as threatening – verbally, emotionally, or physically or there is a recognition of some trigger – a sound, a smell, a time of year,  the top 10% that pushes through – very quickly – is from the survival – and fear response – part of our brains. Survival instincts kick in. There is only this moment – no memory formation or retrieval, no connecting previous conversations, the other is interpreted to be a threat and there is limited coherent responses or rational solutions to be made. This is often over-personalizing, blaming, lying, non-sensical responses, defensiveness, inappropriate comedic behaviors, denial, and physical aggression.  The goal is just to get through this next moment and survive.

Children and adults who have trauma in their histories often bounce back and forth from calm to threat. It isn’t planned or in their control.  They cannot heal it alone, because they will do what they have always done unless there are safe and supportive ongoing relationships with others who are able to identify, understand and give alternative prompts to move them from crisis to calm.  Trauma that has occurred in relationships can only be healed through relationship. Sometimes it may be someone just being with them saying I am here and you will get through this.  Rather than fight against it, it can be like swimming in an undertow. Go with it – not against it, until you can move out of it.

While there are many options for addressing the behaviors, healing will occur when the other 90% is brought to the surface and understood as the source of whatever 10% we see.  It will allow less judgment and more understanding for yourself and for your children when you can see beyond the top 10%.

Want more information? Support? A Free Monthly Therapist led Online Support Group is now available. Next one is January 6 – morning and evening sessions.

Contact deb@ for times and access codes. 









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