Blushing is the result of your sympathetic nervous system being triggered, you may also know this as your Fight or Flight response. When this is triggered, we release Adrenalin throughout our body and we experience the side effects of this response in ways such as, blushing, sweating, heart racing. Adrenaline causes your blood vessels to dilate in order to improve the blood flow and oxygen delivery. The veins in your face respond to a signal from the chemical transmitter adenylyl cyclase, which tell the veins to allow the adrenaline to do their thing which in turn brings the blood flow close to the surface and you blush
Interestingly and annoyingly for the sufferer, only in your facial veins does this occur, throughout the rest of your body you don’t experience this redness in the veins.
When we experience the fight or flight response we are engaging either a coping strategy or an avoidance strategy. It is obvious here that we are employing an avoidance strategy. Our sub-conscious believes it would be better if we were not in the situation we find ourselves in. It then attempts to hijack us so we don’t go through with whatever it that triggers it. But this is extremely frustrating for the sufferer as they consciously want to do something but the sub-conscious, being overly protective won’t let them.
But why is the sub-conscious holding us back?
The reason for blushing can tracked back to one of three sources. An original event from childhood where the Fight or Flight response was triggered and the blushing occurred for the first time. Secondary event to the original event being triggered or as cumulative trauma.
Let’s understand the first scenario the original event . In your formative years you may have experienced an event that caused you to blush due to your sympathetic nervous system being triggered (due to overwhelming feelings of embarrassment). It could have triggered any number of different anxious responses but for you it triggered Blushing. At that moment the experience of the event was too much for you to deal with so a repressed memory was created. More information about this can be found here.
This repressed memory was then left hidden, untouched in your psyche until a similar event took place and then you reacted by blushing again. For some people decades can pass, others months before it happens again. But once it happens again it can be extremely upsetting because there doesn’t appear to be a reason for it 2nd time around as you have forgotten about the original event.
But it has happened because the situation or scenario appears somewhat similar to the original so our sub-conscious reacts in the same way it did in that first instance. Once that second event happens it seem to cascade and this is when it goes from being a one off to happening often and to the point where you may start to avoid situations that may trigger it.
At this point the sufferer may start to exercise a social phobia as they may start to be withdrawn from society as, as long as no one is around it doesn’t happen and even if it does happen when no one is there, at least there is no-one around to see you blush.
So, the original event is very similar to the current event and logically quite obvious as to why it happens going forward. You experience a reaction to an event. You store it in your sub-conscious so it can repeat this reaction next time it happens. It might not be the reaction you want but the sub-conscious believes its keeping you safe. This is known as an out of date or incorrect belief.
The second reason is similar to the first but with one difference. This is that the original event had nothing to do with Blushing it was a repressed memory in the same way as the first example but at the time might have been experienced as panic attack. That reaction has stayed unused in the psyche for months, years or decades before it gets triggered. But this time when you experience the fight or flight response you blush. At the exact moment of the panic attack, whatever you are doing becomes connected, so if this attack has happened whilst talking in front of some people and you now blush you may now experience blushing going forward.
What has happened is that the initial event was triggered and it has latched on to whatever was happening at that time. Unwittingly you now have the issue of blushing along with the original trigger that is likely still unknown.
There is also a third that is worth mentioning and this is cumulative trauma. These instances are where the person will feel uncomfortable in a situation and blush once. Maybe wont blush again for a period of time, but then again and again. It then becomes an annoying standard response to a certain event. For example, at school a teacher asks you a question which you get wrong. He ridicules you and you blush. You don’t blush again for considerable time. The same teacher catches you going red and ridicules you again. Over the course of your school time with him you end up getting a cumulative trauma that when you are spoken to in front of people you blush.
Hypno-analysis is one of the best therapies to resolve the initial event or the cumulative trauma that has been experienced. More can be found here
It usually takes around 6-12 sessions to fully resolve this type of issue
BWRT is also a powerful tool against blushing. Here we work on the triggers and change the response.
Contact me here to eliminate blushing