We have all heard and read use of the term, “Triggers”. Often to ad nauseam. It’s a current buzz word and in case you have been living in a cave without WiFi for a long time, it refers to traumatic events that cause our PTSD to be “triggered”. In other words, events that we see, hear or read about that remind of us traumatic events from our own past, are considered bad, and that other people should avoid “triggering” us by not ever discussing anything conceivably traumatic to someone else.
1) know what your “triggers” are; much less to
2) avoid all topics that make you feel uncomfortable.
The more reasonable question would be for you to ask yourself why you continue to hang onto your “triggers” (I promise I will stop using this word soon).
If you had a splinter in your foot, what would you do about it? Would you find a different way to walk so that you didn’t push it further into your foot? Would you render yourself bound to a wheelchair so you would never have to feel the pain of removing that splinter? What happens when your skin starts growing around the splinter? What then?
But that’s just ridiculous, isn’t it? Everyone knows that, even though it hurts when you remove the splinter, removing it is what one must do if one doesn’t want to be wheelchair bound with an infected foot.
But this is exactly what we do with our emotional traumas. We leave them there to fester, so that when a similar trauma manifests to us or even outside of us, we feel the original trauma as if it was new, because it is still there and even though it is old, it is still growing.
This problem is worse if you were a child of narcissists. You would have learned that you were not allowed to react to trauma, that your feelings, emotions and pain were not validated, and that you were punished for reacting, in a way that would guarantee you even more trauma from the narcissistic parent. So in essence, you have been carrying around lots of painful splinters while pretending that it doesn’t hurt to walk on them.
But it does hurt. And the trauma comes out when you least expect it to, at inconvenient times and in unhealthy ways. Trauma cannot be permanently compartmentalized, regardless of how hard we try. It is always there underneath the surface and it needs to come out.
Those splinters need to be removed. We cannot live life in a cave void of Triggers. But learning to feel those feelings that we have been afraid to feel for our entire lives is a very scary thing. A good therapist can be key to helping you extract those emotional splinters.