In the previous post (Happy birthday to me (traveling solo and breaking old patterns)) I mentioned three themes that surfaced during my time in Australia. I thought we’d play a game of mix and match. You have to guess which of the themes powerlessness (a), rejection (b) or abandonment (c) goes with (or got set off by) which scenario presented below (number 1, 2 or 3). Good luck!
1. Imagine finding yourself far far away from home and all that you call security. Let’s say, hypothetically of course, there’s an unpredictable pandemic in the world and strict lockdown pending. Nothing but groceries stores and pharmacies are open and physical movement is limited. There are no jobs nor traveling possibilities in or outer state. The location where you’re stuck, you haven’t yet made any significant social connections. With no solution in sight, you found yourself in a limbo state which has derailed all your plans. But you happen to be in luck! In the midst of all turmoil you manage to get in touch with someone unique and nice. You feel so grateful for meeting such a warm and unique soul. Having contact and meeting up has given you something to look forward to and distracts from the chaotic world. Well, one day without a word or prior warning, the person packs up and leaves.
2. How about having a close friendship with someone you regard as one of few you can turn to and trust. You’re assuming it’s a transparent relationship held highly in regard on both ends. Out of the blue and unintentionally, you stumble upon information making you feel as if you’re the only one who’s valued your bond. The friendship you once put on a pedestal has come crashing down. More so, the relevant information surfaces two years too late..
3. At work you’re giving it your all and putting your best effort in. But after a short while you sense an uneasy pendulum pattern with the feedback from management. On one end things seem to be operating smoothly with no severe complaints then swinging over to the other end, where you’re incapable of doing anything correct. During the first round you go along with it, take in the negative feedback and push yourself extra to please. But by the second round it dawns on you that it’s a game you couldn’t possibly win. The line gets crossed from business to personal. You’re treated as if you’re useless, incapable of performing the simplest task, belittled for mistakes (like mishearing) or not knowing how to carry out tasks excluded from the job description (let’s say, repairing a shower). Bottomline, you start to see how You (and the other staff) is used as an emotional outlet. Nothing you say or do will change the mistreatment.
Did you figure out which ones go together?
Congrats, you got them all right! Labeling any of the themes mentioned to the scenarios is valid. In my personal experience I find that powerlessness, rejection and abandonment go hand in hand, with one theme usually being dominant. So from my point of view whichever you’ve chosen is the right answer. My speculation is they grow from the same seed, I’m just not able to find the adequate word mirroring all three combined.
In all the scenes I set above, I’d say you’d have the right to be upset. Then what’s the difference between being “reasonably” upset and triggered from a past wound? My take is that once you’re triggered, the emotional reaction is out of proportion in regards to the situation that set it off. I’m talking overwhelming anxiety, panic attacks, intense outbursts among many reactions. Figuring out where the reaction is unleashed from (the current situation or a past trauma) is individual and directly linked to inner awareness. It’s 100 procent an inside job although many do need professional guidance when they start sorting this out. If it indeed turns out to be an emotional wound, what’s next? What can you do? More on that in part two “When you’re triggered as f**k“.