Monday, October 22, 2007

When triggers are pulled, the shot is fired

On WON, a private site I belong to, CZ, the manager posted an article, Why do abused women often stay, rather than just flee the situation? by Brenda Branson. It's a clear, reasoned look at how public opinion has changed over the years, and how our understanding of abuse and its many facets affect a woman's psyche.

In the article, Branson suggests that asking 'why she stays' continues to victimize the woman. We don't ask, why isn't he in jail? Why does he abuse her? -- even though he's the one doing the abusing.

It isn't the why of her staying that makes the difference. It's her not leaving that keeps her in the abusers arms and in harm's way.

As a woman who was in an abusive relationship, I made choices that kept me there. Don't like admitting that. Hurts. Was I really that weak? That disbelieving of what I deserved? That self-absorbed I couldn't see what he was doing was hurting me and those I love?


In accepting that truth, I can heal. When I continue to focus the reasons for my staying on the affect his abuse had on me, I continue to keep myself in the victim's role.

I cannot stop an abuser being who he/she is. I can stop abuse in my life by being who I am meant to be. Courageous. Honest. Loving. Passionate. Fearless. Committed.

I am in relationship again. It's a wonderful journey -- at times fraught with triggers from the past. It is up to me to stay conscious. To be aware. To be my best self.

Yesterday, triggers abounded. While C.C. unwittingly had something to do with those triggers being pulled, they were not of his making. What he was doing had everything to do with him. My responses had everything to do with me.

I had to get honest, get real, get moving through my triggers. I didn't want to talk to C.C. about them. I don't want that relationship back then to be part of my relationship with him. And yet, there are moments when the triggers become so real, I start believing the voices in my head. As I told C.C. yesterday, "I need to talk about this because the conversations in my head are really unhealthy."

It was a powerful moment. In being honest with my insecurities, and my fears, we were able to talk through what was happening. We were able to be emotionally intimate.

For C.C., he was able to hear me without trying to fix me. He gave me room to express myself, without trying to rationalize, justify or even explain away what he had done that ended up being a trigger for me.

And in the end, we were able to grow closer.

Pretty powerful stuff.

In all of us, there are memories, triggers, events from the past that haunt us. Sometimes, it's a simple as a song on the radio reminding us of a love lost long ago. Other times, the haunting is more insidious, more pervasive. Like me with my triggers over the past few days, until I face what is disturbing my peace of mind, the trigger will continue to disrupt my efforts to be intimate.

When the trigger is pulled, it is my chance to step through my fear into courage. It is my opportunity to face what ails me so that I can be free of the past without fearing the future. I can't know all the triggers within me, but, when they're pulled, I feel their angst, their discord, their disruptive force unearth me from my center. Sometimes, like yesterday, I have to feel the tears before I can identify the source of my angst. In relationship, my tears are not about what he's doing, they're about what I fear.

In any relationship, one person will always have the capacity to do something that they don't realize will affect the other person adversely. Unless we're the personality disordered, it is not our intent to harm someone. It happens -- we cannot know everything about the other until they reveal it. And that's where true intimacy happens. In telling C.C. about my trigger, we were able to have an honest, and loving, conversation. One that brought us closer. That helped both of us heal, and build bridges of communication, trust and love.

The question is: Do you walk away from triggers? Or, do you feel their pull and step into the shot, searching for answers to your discord? Are you willing to 'look bad' in order to feel good about yourself once the trigger is pulled, the shot is fired and you are free to heal the wound hiding behind the pain?

No comments: