Being Triggered

\”Are you mad?\” Evan asked, with a look of concern in his eyes. I\’m not entirely sure what gave it away, my breathing, my shortness, my eyes. In times like this, I often lie and say \”No, I\’m not mad.\” and start \”passively\” stomping about in a huff to make my discontent known. He knows I\’m mad, so why do I lie?

I lie because I don\’t WANT to be mad. It\’s like if I even admit that I am angry than I have lost the game. I don\’t like when my patterns and thought processes set me up for disappointment. I am self-aware enough to know that when I\’m angry, it mostly has to do with my own feelings of insecurity. I know that. I can sometimes even recognize it in the moment. Yet, I cannot stop the emotions flooding over me. And they are always intense. I\’m either ecstatic or furious or devastated or terrified. I have conditioned myself mostly not to express the intensity of my feelings, but they are still there, underneath the surface.

This time I admitted I was angry. \”Yes, actually I\’m pissed.\” I say shortly, practically spitting out the words. Three seconds of seething silence later, I\’m ready to talk about it. And when I talk about anything I talk a lot. I ramble on and on about why I have every right to be angry. I give evidence as to how I was wronged, drudging up all the past information that led me to where I am now. I am triggered.

Every time I get to this place, I try and recognize how my thought process led me to be so disappointed, which is 99% of why I react the way I do. I perceive that someone did or did not do something they should or should not have done. That person I am angry with broke one of my \”rules\” that may or not actually apply to them in their eyes. A lot of times these infractions have to do with what I perceive as loyalty and trustworthiness. I hate being blindsided. I hate feeling abandoned. I already have a hard time trusting people, but when I do and then, for whatever reason, I feel betrayed, I am downright furious: with the person, yes, but mostly with myself for allowing me to rely on that person in the first place.

I have been noticing my triggers A LOT more lately and I\’m not entirely sure why. Either I\’m getting triggered more than normal (which in our current sociopolitical environment would not surprise me) OR I am more aware of the underlying reasons for my negative emotions (which I hope is the case as it shows at least semblance of growth.) Perhaps, like most things, it is a combination of both.

What is most frustrating about these experiences though, is that it\’s almost always the same story over and over again. For me, my core issues circle around trust and reliability. When I say trust, it\’s not even confidentiality (heaven knows I tell people everything all the time, so privacy isn\’t a huge concern of mine). No, my version of trust is this: can I trust that you can take care of X? If you say you will do it, will you actually do it? Can I stop worrying about it and let you take responsibility for this? Will you be able to hold up your end of the agreement? And if you can\’t, can you communicate that with me? I am actually a very understanding person and realize that not everyone can be reliable all the time, but could you at least tell me so I\’m prepared?

All of this is ultimately my issue. No matter how much I want to be able to control everyone in my life to live by my rules, that will never (nor should it) ever happen. All I can do is look at my own reaction towards every situation I come across and hope for the best. My hope is that by looking at my triggers, I will see who I am at a deep level and be able to control my reactions more effectively even when I am most angry or annoyed.

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