Monday, January 5, 2015
Guest Post: The Truth About Triggers or "Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go on Vacation..."
I got triggered a week or so ago for the first time in a long time.
I was in bed, exhausted from the holidays and my H told me the price of something we have been repairing and replacing on this house it seems every year.
I got angry and then immediately attributed my anger (who me snippy? moi?) to exhaustion.
But I was flipping out.
My voice didn't sound like my own. I sounded as if I was going through an exorcism. Or needed one.
I had no idea what was going on with me. I felt insane. And over the price of something?
It took me a few minutes to realize that this outburst was tethered to D-Day.
Triggers are insidious. They don't all point to the affair, they are not always a woman, or a glance in the wrong direction by your husband.
Sometimes you need to search for the connection. Which is what I did.
Instead of eating the anger, which is what I would have done a year ago, pre-betrayal. Instead of becoming silent and distant, knowing I would spend the day seething and marinating in my own pain and anger, which would seep out of every pore despite my insisting that everything was "just fine." Instead...I told him exactly what was going through my mind.
And as I told him that I did not want to spend "one more offing dime" on this project for the house, the anger turned to tears. When I started crying, well, that's when I knew I wasn't pissed about anything happening today. It sure wasn't the price – we could afford it.
It was a trigger. It was the residual pain surfacing.
I once read that anger is pain in disguise. Uncover the anger and show the pain the light of day. paid cannot thrive in the light, it seeks darkness and secrecy.
I walked a lot at night with my pain. Literally.
So what was this?
Well...last year those exact same repairs were underway right as my D-Day happened.
As I sat for two hours uncovering all the lies and all the women, shaking silently, glued to the computer, there were four perfect strangers working outside not 15 feet from me, seeing right into my window.
They were the ones who saw me first as I searched in silence...and then physically charged my husband when he walked through the door.
Although they spoke a different language, I am pretty sure that bitch, fucker, bastard, whore and "don't you fucking touch me!" translate easily into any language, especially when accompanied by flailing arms, a husband's pleading and a laptop held high over my head as I threatened to introduce it to the floor any second now.
I wailed, cussed, cried, threw things, rightly accused, screamed, crumpled, got up, screamed some more.
The other morning, with my husband's mention of the repairs, it all came flooding back.
It had arisen...and I had to keep it on the surface to deal with it when I really wanted to do was drown it.
So I kept it afloat.
Painful? In that moment, yes.
But the pain passed quickly as I observed the process, like it was happening to someone else.
This is where a lot of pain actually is – in the past but we have not dealt with it enough, even when we're certain we have.
Maybe have some tea ready and nice warm bath for its return because it might visit for a while.
Luckily, the visits will become shorter.
The kick in the gut becomes more like a pinch.
Just pay attention.
Don't ignore the pain. It feels like it's going to take over but really it just wants your attention.
Give it some...and then send it on its way.