Confirmation Bias & Trauma Recovery

Some know I’m writing my second book and it includes a chapter on the concept of Acknowledgment in trauma recovery. 

So, recently in a deep discussion about Acknowledgment,  I knew I understood the concept but was challenged by exactly how I began to Acknowledge my dark truths. 

Then today, journaling my takeaway from the conversation, I felt challenged again by explaining how I arrived at specific Awareness today which either my brain broke or my entire worldview shifted with deep Acknowledgment of one specific concept: confirmation bias. 

If everything is subjective and we can Accept or Acknowledge other people’s perspectives, then as long as we’re Acknowledging them and open to the possibility their reality is valid, who’s to say the answer to “life, the universe, and everything”  is not “42”, as was written by Douglas Adams in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? 

We can argue that sanity, common sense, and all that’s right and good with the world says that question fantasy, but why? Who says it isn’t reality? 

But in the context of relationships, reality can become even more subjective, requiring full Awareness, Discernment, and Understanding of Self and others, to prevent engaging in relationships based on past traumatic experiences. 

“We know the message we’re about to send will not lead to stirring the interest of the person that we’re sending it to, but we sure as hell press send anyway, because of confirmation bias.” 

— The Moreness Chronicles, Sherri M. Day

To give you an idea of how complicated confirmation bias can get, here’s what it shows us about trauma recovery (for example).

• That it will be painful.

• That it’s a slow process. 

• That inner child work is scary. 

• We will uncover all the uncomfortable truth about ourselves. 

• That we have to go through the storm before we can get to the calm. 

• That we haven’t been good to our inner child. 

• That we don’t appreciate ourselves. 

• We had a bad childhood (whether we did or not).

• That we’re not survivors; we’re all playing the victim role. 

• That we don’t know enough about our own trauma to self-heal. 

• That we need professionals to help us recover…

Do I need to keep going, or do you have the point? 

Of course confirmation bias is active in most everything, including trauma recovery processes, which means your recovery time is doubled or tripled due to unnecessary resistance caused by preconceptions. 

The best way I know to explain confirmation bias is imagine you have two circles overlapping just slightly. On the left side is evidence or facts or truths or your realities. On the right side are previous experiences which confirm the area overlaping in the middle – bias. 

Perhaps you’ve seen the shadowed images of people hunched over in distress due to participation in shadow work. Those images are a bit overdramatized to make a point that it “can” be overwhelming or frightening. Because you have no previous experience with shadow work other than what you’ve seen in pictures or read, your experience is based on the emotions that were stirred at the time you saw the images. You conclude going through shadow work is going to be difficult, and now you’re putting up a resistance to doing the important work. 

That’s confirmation bias. It’s your thoughts feelings, beliefs, and opinions about new information that is presented to you based on previous experiences and information. 

How do we disengage from this bias? Knowing how it’s developed will help answer this. 

If we are to give more value to the idea that trauma recovery is going to be a horrible process and painful; that we’re better off staying as we are as the people we listened to were very convincing, we’ve tipped the scales in favor of confirmation bias. 

Are we Acknowledging the other multiple perspectives with this bias? No. We. Are. Not. We’re taking a singular opinion or view claiming it is our own and making the determination that we’re just not going to have any of that mess about changing.  

Through acknowledgment that we can develop Awareness, in turn Acceptance of multiple perspectives, then taking action through application and consistent practice, we’ve just completely busted the myth that it’s too painful to change. 

Here’s a question for you to check your bias. 

What is the most significant concept you have acknowledged then accepted as “your own” in the past 12 to 24 months?

Acknowledgment is more than what I can write about and explain in one post. Be looking for further elaboration in “The Moreness Chronicles”, a work in progress, hopefully to be delivered to you in 2023. 

🤍🕊️ Sher 

Sher Unbound

Sher Unbound

Growing With Love