How do I manage being triggered by something? How do I resolve those feelings? Will I ever not be triggered by that particular thing? Will I always just have to manage my discomfort?
Being triggered emotionally goes something like this for me (granted the below is based on my worst triggers, and my most negative experiences feeling crummy; I don’t always feel and go through all of this):
-I feel triggered, which can take the form of feeling excluded, threatened, disrespected, lied to, or insecure about myself. I emotionally feel terrible. I can have deep feelings of abandonment.
-I feel cascading waves through my body that start in my chest and move down into my stomach and entire GI track. I get a stomach ache almost immediately. My heart rate goes up, and I have to remind myself to breathe because I notice my chest is hardly moving.
-I have racing thoughts about the situation, and the underlying issue on my end. My thoughts usually will just run in circles until I can’t take it anymore.
-I then have to do something to relieve my emotional, physical, and cognitive discomfort. That can take the form of blogging, journaling, calling a friend who I can talk to freely about the situation, and talking with J about what is going on. It also, more often that not (and perhaps more often than I would like), results in me crying a lot.
-I need to have outside perspective from friends or my counselors. I need to hear my feelings validated, and I also need to hear some gentle reality checks.
-I also often need reassurance from J: I need feedback from him to relieve some of my irrational fears or insecurities.
It’s all so much work sometimes to go through this process. And the intention of getting better at it means a lot of things for me. It means creating some necessary emotional independence for myself, and honoring my commitment to our relationship and doing the best I can to be thoughtful, communicative, and honest. Sometimes it just feels yucky, though. Later I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work through something, and I know that it is worth it for both me and for J.