Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Emotional Triggers

It is said that it is not what we hear ourselves thinking, but what we don't hear ourselves thinking is what is at the root of all of our behaviors and reactions.

When I think of a tsunami, I am reminded that a shift at the bottom of the ocean is the cause of the massive destruction that manifests at the waters surface. I can imagine quite clearly the disconnectedness somewhere at the bottom of the ocean, being what is causing all the destruction on land. Truer, the actual disturbance we see manifest through the enormous waves of water, has nothing to do with water at all. Tsunami's are the result of a disturbance in the earths plates. The rushing water is simply what shows up after the earth has cracked a bit.

When I liken a tsunami to areas of my life that have been explosive, I can see how often it was that while reacting in the moment to a certain event, the truth was that I was reacting to something much deeper inside of me that had very little to do with any moment at hand.

Triggers are those places in us that draw us back to painful times in our lives when specific psychological woundings actual took place. They are the points of negative creation within us, that unless we assimilate and somehow make peace with, will draw us back emotionally as if the initial wounding is reoccurring in our present time.

When I was a little girl, my fathers sister suffered a nervous breakdown. She was ultimately diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. It was a difficult time to navigate through as a child. I was only about 10 or 11 at the time.

My aunt had always been someone I admired. She was attractive, and quite successful for a woman back in the 70's. She lived with a man I believed was my uncle Mike. 10 years into my aunts relationship with this man she discovered he had another life. Mike was actually married and had three children. He worked for a bus company and was somehow able to explain his nights out through overtime and multiple swing shifts.

The realization left my aunt unable to cope. She could not bridge the ten years of deception emotionally through to mental acceptance. Her mind simply could not accept that the man she trusted could have been such a liar. Rather than face that reality, it is my opinion my poor aunts mind split.

There are so many tangents I could go off onto from here. I could draw analogies to the idea that my aunts mother abandoned her when she was 10 through suicide. I could write about how that wound-that sense of abandonment, and betrayal was the unstable groundwork that all of her prior relationships were built, including the relationship with her self, and that instability is what really caused her psychological split, and I would probably be right or pretty damn near close if I did. But these writings are about my souls recovery. And so I choose to connect the dots with a focus on the groundwork that was 'me' instead.

When my mother would find herself frustrated by me for whatever reason, it was not uncommon for her to say cruel things to me like, "You're just like Aunt Eleanor. You're going to end up just like her. You'll never have any friends Lisa. You're a little psycho."

We lived in a tiny little house. My bedroom was on the second floor. Back then only the rich had air conditioners, so we always fell asleep to the sound of crickets, cars passing by, and airplanes taking off and landing in the distance. On one night in particular, I remember my mom talking to one of our neighbors on our front stoop. I overheard her telling our neighbor that she was concerned for me. She told her friend that she thought I was a little crazy like her sister in law. The really fucked up thing for me was, that while my mother was talking to her friend, she made her concerns seem genuine. It confused me, because my mother never acted genuine or considerate of my feelings when ever she did speak to me. In fact my mother seemed to taunt me into frustration.

Her calling me a psycho wounded me. Her telling her friend that I was crazy, cut my emotional Self like a knife. So when my ex husband would not only deliberately frustrate me, or withhold affection, or attention from me, but in addition would refer to me as crazy, or a fruit cake, or flakey, I would react not only to the moment, but through the eyes of that still very wounded little girl I still was.