“Our triggers show us where we are not healed.”
Have you ever heard that?
When we have an excessive reaction to something that triggers us, it’s an indication that there is work to be done.
This can be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true.
Have you ever had an excessive reaction to a stepfamily stressor?
Have you been completely activated and overcome with emotion, then later felt shame and guilt for how you responded?
I sure as heck have.
I used to be the queen of excessive reactions, just ask my husband.
Shoes out of place at the front door?
20 minutes past bedtime?
Pants being left at the kids moms?
A schedule change that my partner didn’t let me know about ahead of time
A threat of court or legal action.
Would all send me into a spiral.
I would be consumed.
I felt like I wasn’t considered. I felt like I wasn’t respected. I felt like I had no control over my life.
The truth is I was scared.
I was scared that I wasn’t considered. I wasn’t appreciated. I wasn’t needed. I wasn’t good enough. I was scared I didn’t matter.
It’s a story I was telling myself.
A story that was deep rooted from my childhood.
My feelings didn’t matter. I wasn’t loved.
When we’re caught in these narratives, we look for proof.
But it wasn’t the case at all.
Shoes at the door wasn’t about disrespect. My girlfriend’s entrance down the street looked the same way.
My husband not telling me about the schedule change wasn’t because he didn’t respect my time. He didn’t think it was a big deal. He just forgot.
Missing bedtime didn’t mean we were crappy parents who didn’t value structure and routine. It also didn’t mean my husband didn’t want time with me.
Sometimes you just want to watch the end of the movie.
These are just minor examples, but the big message is that I was scared at the beginning of my stepmom life.
I was grasping for control and when I didn’t have it, I spiralled.
I had areas where I needed to heal. I was looking at the situation with a very narrow perspective.
Now I look have a multidimensional look at my triggers. I see them for what they are. I can challenge them when they come up.
My reactions are my responsibility, period.
When I am feeling activated, I can talk myself through and not have an excessive reaction that only makes matters worse
(well most of the time at least. We’re all human right).