Maybe you have been told, “It’s all in your head.” When someone tells you this, they mean that you are imagining or making up misophonia. In this regard, they are very wrong. You are not making up misophonia. Misophonia is very real, but in reality it is all in your head – in your lizard brain, more specifically. It can be helpful to realize that your triggers are just that – your triggers. They are not evil sights and sounds that the whole world detests. They are normal, everyday occurrences that go unnoticed by 90% of people. But for you, those sights and sounds are your own hell. The triggers cause your lizard brain to respond, and your lizard brain literally bites you! It zaps you in some way. Viewing that “bite” or “zap” from your lizard brain as something your own brain is doing to you can be less disturbing than someone else attacking you.
If you have a sprained ankle, it hurts to walk on it. You feel pain with each step, but you don’t feel anger with each step. Why? Probably because you know that the pain is originating in your body, from the injury, and not being caused by someone hurting you.
The same thing applies to misophonia. If you view misophonic triggers as the result of someone attacking you, then you will likely be more upset. If you view the triggers as something you need to cope with because you respond to the world differently, then you can focus on how you should be responding. That response should include the other techniques listed in this chapter, including muscle relaxation, putting on headphones, walking away, and other productive methods of managing your misophonia.
If you view triggers as others attacking you, then it’s all their fault. They should not be causing the triggers; they should have better manners. They need to learn how to pick up their feet when they walk, and to breathe silently! But this attitude is one that is likely to cause you more resentment and feelings of victimization. When someone attacks you, it is natural to become angry. So instead of feeling like a victim who is being attacked, view your misophonia more like a sprained ankle. It hurts, but you can manage it.
I don’t claim that this will make misophonia okay, or that misophonia will no longer be a problem if you have the right attitude. What I am suggesting is that your attitude may make a difference, and that it is one of many things that can reduce the severity of your misophonia.