Quick... Think of 2-3 situations in your life where someone has REALLY triggered you. Now, pick 2-3 words to describe your impression of that person in those situations and write the words down. (Maybe it's cruel, sensitive, overbearing, rude, controlling or cold.)
Do you see a pattern? Do you see one word more than once?
Recently someone really triggered me and I thought, "Dang! I thought I was over this!" ... because I am usually the one telling my friend, client or family member "oh that person who pushed your buttons is really just a life teacher for you." So easy to say... not always easy to believe when it's at your own doorstep!
My initial reaction I must admit wasn't, "Hmmm, let me see what this wonderful person is teaching me." Instead it was "blame... blame...blame" thrown in with a few dramatic calls to a trusted friend.
All of that felt deliciously gratifying in the short term...but about a day or so later I was forced to "go there" and admit that perhaps I was not looking at this through the correct lens.
Fortunately, I too have a coach... who doesn't hold back with how she challenges me. The word I landed on was "narcissistic" when I described my "trigger person."
She then asked, "Meg, what would you say if someone called you narcissistic?"
"Ummmm... I would be seriously devastated" was my response.
Next question... "So where are you narcissistic in your life?"
Double take again..."Me??? Narcissistic? No way, not for a second, I am too nice, blah blah blah..."
Have you heard of "shadow parts?" These are parts of ourselves we push down and hide. The unfortunate part about doing this is those qualities within ourselves that we disown are exactly the ones that keep showing up in others who trigger us. It's like the universe is saying, "I am going to keep knocking until you listen!"
What I discovered was that I try to negate parts of myself that are anything but "nice, kind, generous, and sweet." The problem with that is it can lead to saying a "yes" when the situation calls for a "no," giving and not receiving, doing too much for everyone else ... in essence the "doormat syndrome."
On the flip side, when we embrace those "shadow parts" of ourselves, we not only balance things out personally, we have empathy for when other people exhibit extreme examples of that quality.
For example, when I embrace little bits of me that I view as narcissistic but in reality are simply ways to protect myself from overwhelm and overload with taking on everyone else's "stuff," I feel more balanced and also am able to let go of ruminating over the person who triggered me because I can see this behavior within myself in some form or another.
This tool was a game changer for me. I find myself less reactive and as a result, there's less drama... and for me that is heaven.
So what's the word you landed on? If you are struggling with how on earth this part of you can be of service to establishing peace in your life, feel free to shoot me an email or book a session with me.
Have a great weekend!