When we experience the triggers from challenging people or events that unexpectedly send us into such deep, reactive pain – when someone has said or done something which we have a huge painful reaction to, it’s so easy to forget, in the midst of the wrenching, often suffocating or explosive pain that we ALL have a lot of accumulated pain and stress, old unexpressed emotionally blocked hurt, which lives in our body. This old pain in us lies dormant until someone or something comes along, something which is of the same ‘flavour’ or ‘frequency’ of that old accumulated hurt – and then our interaction with them causes the accumulated, dormant pain in us to be activated. It feels as if this person or event has just ‘made us’ feel a huge amount of pain or stress when in actuality they have just ‘triggered’ not ’caused’ this sensation. They have triggered what was already there in us, lying waiting for someone to come and re-activate it – therefore WE are responsible for our reactions, even if they were unarguably ‘wrong’, the reaction in us is still ours, not theirs.
This is a huge shift for us and our culture that we need to get with NOW. The person who upset us is NOT responsible for the huge volcano of feeling we are experiencing. The volcano was already in us, waiting to be triggered like a time bomb. The thing to do when this happens is to leave the person or event that has triggered us until we can, with help or by ourselves, process the pain, feel it, love it, dissolve it, be with it, allow it, allow the volcano to settle without blaming that triggery person, and only then, when we have responsibly attended to our own wounds and volcanos, go back and clear up anything that’s still left with the present day person without making them responsible for our massive overreaction.
This takes discipline and is, to me, the definition of maturity. I rarely pull it off.
The sucker-punch is to blame the person or thing that set me off. It seems SO just at the time to make it all about the trigger. The pain often feels too big and overwhelming to own. So we live, in our immaturity, in a blame culture, condemning all sorts of people, just because we’ve never learnt to sit with our pain, be responsible for our reactions, process them, love ourselves in them. We’ve rarely been taught these skills, so in our ignorance and overwhelming reaction, all we feel we can do it blame and fight and control the external trigger.
I hope we’re now moving into an age where we can love ourselves more and step out of this never ending cycle of pain-avoidance and blame. Let’s hold each other in it. Let’s teach each other and our kids the skills to be able to sit with our own pain, to be able to self-soothe, to be able to stay in the feelings without blaming and condemning others.
THIS, more than anything else, will create the harmonious next chapter for this planet that we all crave.