The Inevitable Triggers

This week, I was triggered while doing this work. This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. I always journal privately about my triggers. The writing is raw and emotional. It usually involves an inner part who is very unhappy. But this time, I also felt the need to write publicly about it. I wanted people to know triggers are a part of this work. It is the reality that comes with openly helping others.

I often refer to the “transformational relationship” as a source of healing. I first heard the term from my friend, Sandy Skelaney, in her TED talk. For those of us who want to help others, we take on a big responsibility. We need to interact with others in a new way for them. We have to show people who have experienced trauma that they can relate to others and the world in a more positive, vulnerable and trusting way.

Originally, I was naïve about that process. I was thinking I could just show others by example and they would get it. I thought that I could just love them until they got it. And while that may be part of it, I am learning that unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Everyone has a filter through which they view the world and others. And even the most seemingly trivial events or mishaps can bring up the triggers of the past. And there is nothing I can do to change that perception. That perception can only be changed by them.

Stop the People Pleasing

So I am learning that I have to build strength in a different way. I have to accept the fact that my approach may be painful for others. They may decide that I am crazy, mean or suspicious. They may decide to compare themselves to me and my life. They may decide that I am not here to help them. And they may feel pain about that. And I can’t resolve that for them. I can’t change their filter. As a matter of a fact, I can do absolutely NOTHING about it. I have to allow it to be. I have to allow them to work it out for themselves, even if it means hating me for now or forever.

And I can’t stand that. I didn’t get in to this work to make others feel pain. I am doing it for the opposite reason. While I understand that pain invokes change, I also know that it sometimes doesn’t. Sometimes it gets piled on top of the rest of it. I know this because I have done this with my pain.

But I also can’t stand it because of my own trauma. It is difficult to accept someone’s negative opinion of me because I feel unsafe. When I was growing up, I worked hard to make everyone like me. If they liked me, they would not hurt me (or so I thought). So when I feel the triggers, it is my inner child feeling unsafe.

Feeling Safe as Myself

And while I know that, it doesn’t change the feeling … at least not yet. In reality, everyone wants to be liked. But when I build a business of helping others and interact with more and more people, I am bound to get viewed through some not-so-pleasant filters. I am bound to be disliked by some. And I have to find a way to calm that inner child who feels unsafe.

I have to let her know that I will protect her. But I will not protect her by laying low. I will not protect her by telling others what they want to hear. I will not protect her by being the person that others want me to be. I will protect her by standing in my truth, even if it doesn’t work for others. I will protect her by clearing out my own filters that the world is generally unsafe, which can unfortunately be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I will protect her by handling the adult responsibilities that she just can’t handle as a child.

I will be the confident and trustworthy adult that she needs me to be. I will keep standing in my truth. And I will find a way to show her she is safe when the filtered opinions seem unfair. And I will keep moving through this process of recovery. And I will stay in the public eye. And sometimes it won’t feel good. But sometimes it will. And I will stay on this purpose-filled track because it is why I am here. And over time, I will be able to accept that the projections and pain of others is part of this Earthly existence. But I am still safe. And I am still making a difference.