Just yesterday someone acted in a way that set off certain triggers from the past and caused me to question my behaviour.
Triggers From The Past
Sometime ago, José (my husband) was teasing me about something I asked him to do and called me a ‘bully’. At first I pretended to be hurt about it, and kept teasing him back. And as I continued, I found that I was genuinely upset. Consequently, I woke up this morning feeling rather low. Thankfully, I snapped out of this mood, about half an hour after I got up. But I can see, how this could have continued.
As I analysed why this happened, I realized that there are parts of me that I haven’t fully come to terms with. I think that deep within, I’m still not comfortable with being a strong and assertive woman. Messages from my past tell me to be soft-spoken, to be non-assertive, to be a ‘gentlewoman’. So for many years, I pretended to be all those things and people thought I was ‘sweet’. When I did assert myself, it made people uncomfortable enough to call me aggressive. And although I know that José is comfortable with my assertiveness and even encourages me to be so, I’m still a work in progress.
Do you find ‘triggers’ from your past coming back to haunt your present sometimes?KAREN SALMANSOHN
How do we deal with these triggers from the past?
Become aware that you have been triggered. What set it off? What’s the core emotion/s? In the situation above, I felt rejection and shame.
It’s fine to be triggered. Accept that it happened. Don’t try to suppress the emotion. Acceptance is the start of healing. You can work it out.
Write down your experience, the core emotions and attempt to travel back to your past to see the root of this. I find that my Morning Pages practice really helps me to deal with these emotions.
Healing takes time. But we must be prepared to spend time in self-reflection and also be open to forgiving people, not in the least ourselves.
Talking About Your Triggers
Talking it over with a loved one, explaining your triggers to the person/ people who are closest to you helps them to understand you better and goes a long way towards your healing. If you cannot deal with the pain, seek professional help.
Remember your triggers are a way to show you areas in your life that need healing and growth.
the bespectacled mother
First of all, Corinne, I have to say it takes deep love to accept a strong and assertive woman and accepting such a person and a woman to be precise does not come easily to majority of people. People never stop having expectations from us. You are assertive but the message for you has been to be just the opposite.
I would consider myself soft-spoken, gentle and majorly non-assertive but even being so does not work in my favour in terms of expectations. There is still something else which is required of me which I cannot be or honour. In such cases, I always recall a quote I shared on my wall a few years back and you were incidentally the first person to acknowledge – “I am who I am”, to ease out.
Yet, triggers do happen and losing mindfulness when this happens can be severely deterimental. By goodness grace, you were able to overcome the pain in half an hour and were able to write this post. My take away from the post is foremost acceptance – Acceptance that triggers will occur at different stages giving me anxiety even though I may be feeling healed in the present. Although talking to someone could be a challenge for me, journalling will be not. Recently I have read about Morning pages on many blogs but am unsure what it is exactly. Just another name for journalling in the morning or something specific?
You are right, Corinne. Despite our willingness to move on, certain things, incidents or even words could trigger the hurt. It’s a hardwork to make peace with the triggers. I agree with the last sentence, though I’ve never thought it of needing more healing and growth.
And Corinne, I can’t think of you anything other than a strong, bold, assertive, and independent woman.
The grains of a character when blanketed by the coat of “accepted set of behaviour” over the years, take time to come to surface and show up in the natural form. Sometimes it happens naturally while other times a trigger sets the chain reaction. It happened with me too and just recently. Outcome, my sour attitude towards the political situations came to shore, much to my own discomfort. And then what did I do with it? I decided to write about it bravely and speak my mind without fear of being judged for political correctness. When I finished writing, I realized that I wrote a piece that is not fiction!
With your thought on the same topic, I am now more aware of this phenomenon and thus better equipped to face it in future. One thing is sure, I will write about it.
I have similar triggers for stalking / stalkish activity around me. And there are days you find yourself back in the square one. Hope you are feeling better now.
Thank you giving a platform to talk of these thoughts.
I literally struggle with my triggeres. Thanks for this mail and the suggestions on how to deal with triggers. As you said that triggers are a way to show you areas in your life that need healing and growth. I am definately going to try and deal with my triggers and grab this opportunity to grow…