No matter how much I progress, I find myself becoming triggered by past problems. Every time this happens, I feel like I’m reverting back to a time when I could solve my problems. I feel like all the progress I have made has been for nothing. Again, I’m trapped in my misery with no way out. I’m trapped and stuck.
Ready for Disaster
Normally, when I’m in this bad place, I recognize it and start to write about it. Writing about gets me to a place where I can understand why I’m feeling trapped in this Shadow. Then I can Feel and Deal with my emotional pain.
For me to do this, I have a “safe” place I can go to. My “safe” place is upstairs in our room where I can lock the door, lay down and write.
We’ve recently moved. I don’t have an upstairs bedroom. I do have a room with a door I can lock. But since our move and my most reason problem of experiencing a seizure and dislocating both of my shoulders, I’ve been sleeping on the couch. My spot in our bed is taken up with clean cloths that need to be put away.
As you can see, this is a situation ready for disaster.
During our weekly family movie night, I go to sit down in the only spot that will protect my hurting shoulders. As I’m walking to my spot, my oldest boy walks past me and accidentally bangs his head on my broken/recovering shoulder. I got into “fight” mode and yell at him with pain in my eyes. At this point, I’m triggered. I’m not certain what I’m triggered into (we’ll find out at the end).
Of course, he’s sorry and didn’t do it on purpose and I apologized for exploding. In my defense, it did hurt (more emotionally that physically as it turns out).
I know I’m triggered and I know I have to deal with whatever it is. I’m feeling helpless and not in control. I’m in a deep shadow and need to deal with it.
I go to find my safe place, but my spot on the bed is covered in clothes. Yes, I can push them off, but I’m not feeling taken care of. I feel trapped and all alone. I feel that nobody’s trying to help me even though I’m yelling in pain (all in my head of course).
I’m in this shadow deep.
It turns out my wife has been dealing with the children all day and needs a break. She slips away for some quiet time at the end of the day and I’m left to put the children to bed. Of course, she doesn’t know I’m in shadow since I’m pretty good at hiding it.
This just add to my triggers of being abandoned and helpless in my pain. I am unable to reach out to her and ask for her help (this is the shadow part of me).
We end up sleeping separately and not talking to each other.
Finally, the morning comes. I’m unable to get more than 3 hours of sleep since I’m so deep in my misery. I know there’s one thing I can do to get on the good side with my wife. I can make her coffee.
No matter how bad I screw it up. I can make things better by bringing my wife a freshly made cappuccino. Nothing says “I love you” and “I’m sorry” more than waking up early and making my wife coffee.
We talk a little about our feelings (actually, she talks and I just cry because I can’t face my feelings yet). She understands I need to “feel and deal” and get’s me a pen and notebook and finds me a safe place to write.
Feeling and Dealing
I start to write, but writing itself is painful (with dislocated shoulders). The main points I come up with are:
- I’m in pain
- Nobody can help me
After what seems hours (probably about 15 minutes), in my emotional exhaustion, I lay down in my bed. My arms try to find a comfortable spot but I can’t get comfortable. I find myself more trapped lying down. I get this sense that I’m in a lot of pain. I find I’m crying out for my mommy. I feel like nobody can hear me and people are hurting me.
I feel more pain and abandonment. Abandonment like someone who fell down into a dark pit. Nobody’s around to help. I cry out for help, but there’s nobody to hear me. Or, there are people who hear me, but they can’t help me. I’m stuck.
Then it hits me like a flash of lightning.
I remember a story Kate told me about my seizure. How I was being strapped into the gurney by the paramedics. How I was calling out for help. I was calling out for my mommy. Kate was trying to reassure me, but I was in so much pain.
I was reliving that moment. I was triggered into that place.
Once I realized this, I was able to again feel those horrible feelings of pain and abandonment. I was able to feel and deal with them.
I felt like a huge weight was lifted from me. The pain I was feeling was gone (not all the way gone, but back to my normal amount of pain).
That is what it’s like to be triggered, find the pain and deal with it. It’s an emotional process, but now I’ve dealt with it. I won’t have to deal with that painful event again. This process I found helps to find those emotionally or physically painful events in our life and finally deal with them.