Triggering an internal assault
I have been thinking a lot about triggers recently. I know triggers well, I cringe at the idea of them because I know what a tumultuous and seemingly unconscious state they can create in me.
I have learned over time to use them for good, as an entry point into a process of Quantum TLC™ so I can release the old wounds that they are associated to. I have also made peace with the fact that my triggers are a gift and while pointing fingers “out there” can feel liberating, it gets me nowhere. The truth is, while I have worked hard to find a positive use for them, I wish they did not exist in my life at all.
Despite knowing that triggers are gifts, they still disrupt my life as they parachute their big ideas into a perfectly wonderful moment and mess with my peace and my joy. While I am clear that pushing them away is not the answer and that following them to the wound is the key to expansion, I am also aware that they may not be what I thought they were.
I have carried a belief for a long time that a trigger goes off inside when a person outside of me does or says something that touches a tender old wound. That tender old wound comes from a time long, long ago when some other person did or said something that hurt me and it stuck.
I am moving toward an exploration of triggers as clues not to what others have done to me, but to what I am continuing to do to myself.
I believe that when a trigger goes off, I have a small fraction of time — a microsecond — to, instead of collapsing, take a breath and acknowledge what is happening. This acknowledgement means I can pivot from turmoil to curiosity. I used to get curious about what sort of wounding needed to be healed after the “external” assault. Now I am getting curious about how the triggered feeling may indicate instead an internal assault.
What if the things I’ve labeled as triggers are just code for the places I still hurt myself the most? What if instead of calling it “being triggered” when I feel that familiar internal collapse and alarm at what someone “out there” has done to me, I dig deeper to discover that my alarm has gone off to remind me that I am doing this exact thing to myself?
For a while now, I have considered one of my biggest triggers to be the one I’ve labelled “being accused of something I didn’t do.” When it goes off, I am outraged that someone in my life is accusing me of something so blatantly not possible. If I don’t catch it in time, I collapse into a snivelling pool of self pity, wondering how that person cannot see that I would never do the thing they’ve falsely accused me of. I can spin around there for a long time feeling so very wronged.
What if it’s not about the other person at all? What if feeling like I am being accused of doing something I did not do is actually just a clue that I still accuse myself of doing things I have not done?
I do this all the time in the form of being hard on myself. That is essentially ME accusing ME of of doing something I did not do. If I stopped being hard on myself, would the trigger I label “being accused of doing something I didn’t do” go away? I am starting to suspect it might.
What if I looked more closely at my other common triggers:
- Is “feeling unseen” actually an indication that I am not fully seeing myself?
- Is “feeling unheard” just a clue that I have stopped listening to myself?
- Is “not being considered” a clue that I am not considering myself?
- Is “feeling abandoned” a clue that I’ve abandoned myself?
What if all these triggers that I think originate from the outside world are actually just clues about my internal world and the ways I have disconnected from myself? What if I followed the trail of vegan, gluten-free breadcrumbs backward and started reconnecting the shorted circuits? How brightly will I shine in my own life when I am fully connected again?
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