Loss of Core Beliefs

  • Introduction
  • From the Inside
  • From the Outside
  • It Takes Time to Heal


Our core beliefs are essential to our happiness and the more aware of them we are – the better we are at solving our own problems. Our core beliefs are created through our environment – cultural and social teaching, from past results, self and life knowledge, and experiences.

Core beliefs include the thoughts and assumptions we hold about ourselves, others, and the world around us. They are deep-seated beliefs and drive our behaviour and communication. They often go unrecognised, or remain just outside of our conscious awareness, and yet they constantly affect our lives.

What we make of our experiences is personal to us and creates experiential memories. What we learn from our environment and accept as fact creates episodic memoires.

Brain injury can break the links to our memories and damage to the brain stem, neck and vagus nerve, can exacerbate the feelings of loss people feel and increase detachment from awareness of their core beliefs.

Our personal core beliefs consistently affect the way we think, feel and act, and so when brain injury interferes with these mechanisms people can behave in unpredictable and strange ways.

Our whole lives are dictated by our inner beliefs and, most importantly, sometimes our core beliefs are wrong. We naturally update our core beliefs in line with recognitions we make and daily learning. Brain injury can also interfere with this as the subconscious is no longer able to make the rapid connections it could previously.

From the inside

People living with brain injury have to deal with a massive onslaught of sudden cognitive dysfunction. This can be tremendously overwhelming in and of itself because nothing seems to work the way it once used to.

The loss of episodic memories of events can be harrowing for some people as they fear that they will never be able to grasp their historical life and make it part of who they are again. These feelings are very real, however, memories are stored all over the brain and indeed throughout the body in our DNA and at a cellular level and as the brain heals the links to memories are restored.

The same breakdown is happening when people lose understanding and awareness of their core beliefs. Not knowing what you believe relates directly to knowing what you think and why. If you no longer know what you believe you will struggle with making choices and decisions. For many people there is a direct link between the loss of core beliefs and actually forgetting that they can make choices at all. When this happens it feels like being a ‘Pooh stick’ bobbing on down the stream at the whim of tide and time.

From the outside

For those on the outside the changes can seem very pronounced. Someone who was previously decisive may now seem unattached and wayward. It can appear as though the person themselves has changed at a deep level because they are no longer pronouncing their opinions, or, when they do, they seem without basis.

It can seem as though people are now making decisions and choices that are alien to their character and it can be difficult for people to cope with these changes for many reasons. Many people fear that the person they once knew and loved is gone forever, and indeed, if they have been told by a doctor that the cause is a changed personality these fears and worries deepen.

What doctors should be telling people is that these changes are transitional and that as the brain begins to heal people do come back to being their familiar selves again. How long this transition period lasts for is dependent on the severity of the brain injury and also on the psychogenic effects caused by bad information being given. When this happens the person believes this information as fact and makes them a part of their story. Bad information can have crippling effects on someone’s ability to recover from a brain injury.

It takes time to heal

Because of the way that life works there are constant clues and signals coming to us that let us know that something is amiss in our thinking and beliefs.  These signals repeat themselves until we understand their relevance and meaning.

Following a brain injury this cycle continues to happen but people are slower to notice and respond, so it takes them more time to figure things out. That this ‘figuring’ is always going on beneath the surface is an absolute, it is the effects that are slow to rise to the surface because of the array of cognitive and neurological impairments that stand in the way.

Even when people do re-establish knowledge about their former beliefs, including the innate beliefs that we are born with, it can take even more time for them to again become a part of the impetus that drives a person. When this happens it is because of the changes that happen through the human energy field following brain injury. Information is no longer being relayed in the same ways or as fluidly as it was before so people can feel as though they are brainwashing themselves when they tentatively try and hang on to remembered beliefs.

There are a number of treatments that can help this energy to flow again and assists the restoration of core and innate beliefs. These range from chiropractic neurologists to acupuncture and reiki.

People can also help themselves by practicing meditation, reflective journaling and self-observation techniques.

Information about these treatments and self-help methods can be found under Positive Health and Self-Regulated Learning.