MY BIGGEST TRIGGER
How can I open my heart to her, and share my fuck-ups and insecurities, when I know she will use anything I say as an excuse for why she’s upset?
She’s upset – It’s not about me. She has a story going on in her head and she’s trying to beat the shit out of me with it.
My growth edge: How do I NOT be defensive when I am being attacked and wrongfully accused? And why do I get so fucking triggered?
Story of Creating Drama, circa 1997:
Admittedly, I am far from perfect, and as I am sitting on the sofa, my sweetie had just come over for the weekend.
She had walked in with a strange look on her face, barely hugged me, and quickly ran to the bathroom after a long drive to see me.
I thought she must have had to pee really badly, so I just went to sit on the couch to wait for her.
Normally, she was REALLY snuggly and pretty affectionate, but not this afternoon. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but she didn’t seem to feel good and didn’t feel good being with me, she didn’t seem to want me to touch her.
I asked what was wrong, she said, “nothing.”
She had an edge to her voice. “What have you been doing?” “Where were you?” “Were you around anyone?”
I told her I had played about 3hrs of tennis, lifted weights, and then gone to my favorite restaurant for a salad.
“Did you eat with anyone?” She asked with that edge in her voice.
“NO! I sat at the bar.” (I thought to myself) What the hell is going on? Where is all this coming from?
“Sweetie, where is all this coming from?” I asked.
“Well, someone just took a shower in your bathroom, and you still smell like you worked out. Tell me what’s going on.”
“Yeah, sorry if I reek.” I was feeling insecure because I hadn’t showered.
“No, that’s fine. I could just see that your shower was wet and you didn’t shower. So tell me what’s going on. Just tell me the truth. What’s going on?” (Still with that tone in her voice.)
I thought, Wow! How cool. My insecurity about having my “man funk” going on wasn’t a problem – maybe I can let that insecurity go.
Again she said, “Why won’t you tell me what’s going on?”
“What do you think was going on?” I could see now that this had nothing to do with me, I just wanted to draw it out of her.
She got more agitated, “Just tell me the truth. If we don’t have the kind of relationship where you can be honest with me, then I don’t know what kind of woman you think I am.”
Ouch, that stung. Did she really think that I thought so little of her? And what the fuck was she really so upset about?
Then she went ON and ON and ON! “I mean, a man should be MAN enough to tell the woman that he SAYS he loves the truth.” “You know, if two people really love each other, they should be able to talk about things, whatever it is.” “Maybe some women are OK with you not telling the truth, but I have higher standards. I have to have the truth.”
This went on for 45 minutes . . .
“Why didn’t you take me to your bed when I got here?” “We haven’t had sex in over a week and you didn’t want to take me to your bed.” “Why are we sitting on the couch? What’s going on?” “Why don’t you want to have sex with me anymore?” “If I’m not attractive to you, just tell me the truth.”
She was upset when she walked in the door! Why the fuck was she still asking me shit? All I wanted to do all week is fuck the living shit out of her! I wanted to hold her and make love with her and fuck the shit out of her RIGHT UP UNTIL SHE STARTED ALL THIS SHIT! The sex between us was awesome! What the hell is she talking about?!?!
I was already annoyed and pretty defensive – feeling like I had been accused of doing something I hadn’t done – EVEN THOUGH I KNEW THIS WASN’T ABOUT ME.
At this point, I felt like I had to make a decision. Should I tell her the truth about why the shower was wet, and give her the chance to see that her upset had nothing to do with me?
I was afraid that if I told her the simple truth and she realized she didn’t have anything to be worried about, then she would blow off her responsibility for coming in and creating a shit storm.
OR, should I try and get to the bottom of why she was making up a big story in her head and creating all this nervous energy within herself? What was really going on inside of her?
My fear was that if I told her the truth about my shower, it would send a message that her hostility and how she was talking to me, was OK.
I didn’t want her thinking it was OK to come in and act the way she was acting. I don’t want the drama in my life!
Just a couple of hours ago on the phone, she was so affectionate and sounded so in love. What happened?
Should I keep pressing her to share what was behind all her upset? Should I tell her what had happened so she could stop using my shower as the object of her fear.
What would you do?
I told her the truth that she was asking for – even though I was pissed as hell at this point. I was pissed at her for bringing so much drama, even though I didn’t recognize it as drama at the time.
“I stepped in dog shit.” I said.
“About 20 minutes before you got here, I ran out to my car barefoot and stepped in dog shit. Even though I wiped my foot off on the grass, I pretty much had to hop back in. I hopped on one foot all the way back to the shower. I washed my foot, and I know that you would be so grossed out by it that I scrubbed the whole damn bathtub with Comet before you got here. That’s why I didn’t have time to take a shower and why I stink so bad.”
She leaned into me warmly, snuggling her head into my chest. “I like the way you stink.”
I wanted to just snuggle her and I was still so pissed about everything she had said – I DIDN’T WANT HER TO TOUCH ME!
How could I trust a woman who comes in and starts laying into me like that about nothing! I wanted to see if she was going to tell me what the fuck was really going on with her.
I took a breath. Tried to make my voice as calm as possible. “So, do you want to tell me what you’ve been so upset about? It wasn’t about my fucking shower.” Damnit, the anger came out! But fuck her! She’s been busting my balls for almost an hour!
She got all offended, “You don’t have to start being mean. I was scared and just wanted to share how I was feeling. You don’t have to start cussing at me.”
After the way she had been talking to me – insulting me – How the fuck could she start acting like I didn’t have every right to be pissed at what she had done and how she had talked to me?
THE TRUTH FINALLY CAME OUT. IT WASN’T ABOUT ME AT ALL.
While she was at home, she took a shower before coming to visit. As she got out of the shower, took a long look in the mirror – she didn’t like what she saw. She felt fat.
So here’s where the drama comes in.
One thought led to another, AND SHE BELIEVED THAT EVERY ONE OF THE THOUGHTS WERE TRUE:
– She felt fat. This stoked up her fear and insecurity.
– Her fear said that she wasn’t attractive.
– If she wasn’t attractive, that meant that I MUST not be attracted to her.
– If I wasn’t attracted to her, that she must not be that pretty.
– If she wasn’t pretty, then MUST be attracted to someone else. This thought stoked up another fear.
– If I was attracted to someone else, then I was probably having sex with them and had been keeping it a secret.
– If I am keeping secrets, then she has been betrayed and she can’t trust me unless I tell the truth about it.
– If I am keeping a secret, then she has to protect her heart so she doesn’t get hurt anymore.
She felt completely justified in being suspicious because she had found “evidence” that someone had been there because my shower was wet and I didn’t smell like I had showered.
What should have happened here?
Side Note: I have made a career out of helping women who respond to their fear in inappropriate ways, and helped them to get past those to fears to recognize their true light and to begin living their highest purpose in this world. Of course I have, I developed the skills to help women see inside themselves, to take responsibility for the fear-based lies they tell themselves, so they get out of that emotional place of feeling like a “victim.” I have taught them to take responsibility for their feelings and own their power so they can love themselves and help heal others with compassion.
OK, back to the story:
My girlfriend and I spent over an hour embroiled in conflict and I had lost a massive amount of respect and trust for her. I didn’t trust her with my heart anymore.
So she has all kinds of shit going on that she needs to deal with and she won’t have peace in deep, connected relationships until she gets a handle on how she deals with how she handles her fear.
BUT THAT’S HER PROBLEM! I HAVE TO DEAL WITH MINE!
20 years later, this same cycle has continued through countless relationships. How do I keep attracting this same dynamic?
I KNOW THAT I WILL KEEP RE-CREATING THIS PATTERN OVER AND OVER UNTIL I GET TO THE SOURCE, THE HURT, OF IT.
Have you already figured it out?
When I feel wrongfully accused of things I haven’t done, I have a soul-shaking response inside and I clamp my heart down and put up all my walls. Also, if I feel like my partner is having a reaction to something I have done and her reaction is out of proportion with what I have done, as if what I have done is triggering an old, unhealed hurt, I have this same reaction.
But what is it that I am reacting to?
WHAT IS MY UNHEALED HURT THAT IS CAUSING ME TO CLAMP DOWN MY HEART?
Here it is: I was put up for adoption at birth – I felt “thrown away” AND WORTHLESS. Emotionally, I decided that I was going to get thrown away if I wasn’t good enough. AND, I also know that in the womb, I didn’t do anything wrong and I still got “thrown away.”
After meeting my birthmother, I got the impression that I got BLAMED for ruining her family. So I had to not only do things well, I had to be seen by the most important people in my life as good enough. In fact, I am an over-achiever, so I am going to MAKE SURE they have no excuse for throwing me away, so I am going to make sure they think I am perfect – because anything less than perfect will mean I am not good enough to keep.
When I truly fuck-up, I try my best to own up to it, maybe I do a good job, maybe not. And I fail miserably if I sense I am getting blamed for my beloved’s hurt from an old relationship.
So now, if I am being blamed for something I didn’t do, IT MEANS THAT I AM GOING TO BE THROWN AWAY.
That puts me in the position having to control the thinking of the people closest to me to ensure my emotional safety!
What the fuck kind of love is that? I turn into a fucking pitbull! Not many lawyers can argue as well as me!
I have to make them think I am perfect in order to not be abandoned!
That leaves no room for the other’s thoughts, feelings, and NO ROOM FOR THEM TO FEEL A HURT THAT GETS BROUGHT UP BY THE DEEP LOVE WE SHARE.
Now we all are scared that we aren’t good enough and we are all scared of being abandoned – inside every one of us there is a scared little kid who is scared to death. The more personal development work we do, the softer the edges become, and the journey to wholeness, the journey to ALIGNMENT can NEVER be made without looking within ourselves. No matter how fucked up my sweetie’s behavior was, no matter how inappropriate she was – THERE IS STILL A PIECE TO HEAL IN ME, unless I stay completely zen through the whole thing.