It happens, doesn’t it? For some of us, something ridiculously minor can shift our moods south.
Like, maybe, waiting for a response on a not necessarily important email.
Because when enough of lack of responses to unimportant emails start adding up, you start to wonder if you’re being ignored / the person hates you / you did something wrong?
Or how about this example. You’re feeling good, somewhat centred, then someone says something totally left-field and throws you off balance.
Then you spend the rest of the day obsessing, reconciling, or worse, crashing from what had transpired.
How the hell do we deal with these unexpected triggers?
Well, the first thing is to understand your triggers. And by this, I mean really dive deep within yourself and see if you can recognise any patterns for when you react the way you do.
You have to really think deep on this one. It isn’t enough to say that “oh, my family is a trigger”.
What about your family is a trigger? What, and how does it make you feel?
I read this fantastic article Why You Freak Out that got me thinking about my crashes and I realised that, for me, they all came down to one thing.
I cannot remember a time when it was ever ok for someone to have walked away with the wrong impression of me.
When I was younger, if someone said something that wasn’t accurate, I always had to clarify.
Nothing wrong with that, you might think.
Yes, but I had to do it EVERY, SINGLE time. There is no way I could just let it go, even if it was just something minor.
I had to make sure that they understood what was fact.
What was the implication? Well, at work, all misunderstandings were quickly quashed, often quite passionately. Meaning, angrily.
I remember jumping off my seat, and huffing my way to another colleague’s desk just because she said that a campaign would launch at another date, not the date I was planning for.
Really? Did I have to be so… PASSIONATE about my deadlines?? Well, it wasn’t so much about the deadline but more about it being an assault on my perfect professionalism. Geez, extrapolate much? 😊
Of course, looking back, I know that that was just too much.
Still, that wasn’t the worst of it. It was just work after all.
The worst moments are with family. When I think that they do not get me. And among them all, the most painful ones are with my mother.
I had originally written a version of this article where I had examples of the many, many times I had either walked off in a state of catatonia or collapsed into a puddle of tears when I reached home.
What I wrote was brutally honest BUT weeks have passed and upon pondering further, I just do not want to publish those examples relating to my biggest trigger. I don’t want to hurt her, plain and simple.
I even borrowed Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel, the author dubbed the voice of “our” generation, much-lauded for her frank, confessional writing about her battle with depression.
I wanted to know how she handled the touchy subject of parents, especially her mother.
And I didn’t find what I was looking for.
So I decided that I would just keep my original article safe in my private cloud, written as a form of private release.
Anyway, let’s get back to it.
I was talking about understanding your triggers. And in my case it’s being misunderstood and I believe that’s a result of years of being misunderstood my family.
Because I have understood that being misunderstood is a key trigger for me, I try to do the following. I am not a psychologist and I am 100% certain that many of the points below aren’t the “healthiest” of options but I’m just sharing what I do.
1. I’m careful what I say around people who can trigger me. For all intents and purposes, it amounts to not having much of a relationship with them.
By doing that, I give myself some temporary peace of mind to get the interaction over and done with.
But then after, all the repression starts eating away at me.
Then I can’t sleep, I continue hating the person, I don’t communicate with them, I hate them even more… it’s a vicious cycle.
2. I try to talk myself out of the “slights”. But then I spend too much time talking myself out of it. Aargh, if only I could be like Nadal and just reset in 20 seconds.
But I can’t. Days can go by with me still being bothered by what was said.
3. I have my reinforcements ready. That usually refers to my hubby or a friend. If I think I’m going to have a tough one, I’ll plan to meet someone who can “help” give me perspective. Or just listen.
Having someone to talk to helps with preventing my mind from drowning into a black hole of pain.
4. I am trying not to let this need for validation drive me. I have always been that perfect student, daughter, employee (well, maybe just in my mind, but I have always busted my ass to make sure that I am doing my best).
So, in the past, when people misunderstood my behaviour or my actions, it would upset me.
But now, if someone “misunderstands” me, I don’t always try to correct them. If the person is important to me, and if it the matter is something important, then yes.
Otherwise I try to let it go.
So that’s my amateur understanding of the underlying reason for my trigger. And how I try to deal with it. What is yours, and how are you managing it? Share below!