“We are frequently the very last people to know what is at work within ‘us’. We pay a very high price for our self-ignorance. Feelings and desires that haven’t been examined linger and distribute their energy randomly across our lives.”
Well, this is just so fucking spot on.
I don’t know when or who it was that taught me about “things that trigger emotional responses within us.”
I’ve got an example from one of my very own personal experience.
Not so often but usually when I hear disgusting stories about horrible men, I find myself saying “Men are such pigs.”, “Men are fucking disgusting.” Something along those lines.
I actually don’t think men are disgusting or men are pigs. Well, at least not every single one I’ve encountered in my lifetime because I, myself, have/had male friends who I obviously think are great. But I know that when I say such things about men, it is coming from a place of trauma, resentment and humiliation. Having said that, men who are just assholes… well I think they’re just assholes, there’s not much else to that. And sadly enough, assholes (of both sexes) do exist.
Usually when I hear harassment stories which include a male, I often get triggered. I tend to view authorative males or males with an authorative personality as “the pigs”. Again – that is due from a horrible past experience.
I once even quit a job… it was my dream job to be honest but because my boss had started to become a resemblance of the man who caused my trauma in the past, it became so overwhelming for me. It just made me feel so weak.
I went to a strip club some time after that traumatic experience. And it turned out to be a huge turning point in my life. The women were in control and despite how near-naked the women were, the men could not lay a hand on them. Surely by know you can figure out what kind of trauma I experienced.
Anyway, so, after quitting that dream job. It took me like 6 months of contemplation but I became a stripper. And while I had no need to announce it to anyone but my sister and closest friends at the time, I never told them the reason(s) why.
Plain and simply: I wanted my control back. I wanted my power as a woman back. I wanted both those things back that I was willing to go above and beyond. I wanted to let that motherfucker know who made me feel so weak in my position, humiliated, angry and confused that I would not let it break me anymore. Having to quit my dream job because I was triggered was enough.
Sure enough, I no longer tolerate shit from men who put on a macho, authorative facade and think they can objectify me, or push the boundaries with me.
Another example is the constant jealousy I felt in my most recent relationship. The craziest thing is that while I did have feelings of jealousy in all my previous relationships – it wasn’t constant like the jealousy I felt in my last relationship.
I feel as if I could be justified for my jealousy in the past (not talking about my last relationship but the ones before it).
Like I had one ex who used to speak so highly of her previous partners. She had nothing bad to say about them. She said the most wonderful things about her exs. Like hearing your partner say, “Oh she was so funny. There was never a moment where we didn’t laugh.” Can you imagine hearing your partner say that about one of her exs?
I think my feelings of jealousy in that situation is totally valid. Cause I’m thinking… well, I’m funny too, right? Tell me I’m more funny please. (So I can feel better about myself). And because the jealousy wasn’t so constant back then, I was able to contain it.
But in my last relationship and my ex has absolutely no idea about this but jealousy was something that I had felt before we officially began our relationship.
My ex and I before we became lovers, we had spent time together as friends, usually with other mutual friends.
There is this memory that haunted me and constantly came back to my mind while we were together. It always replayed so vividly in my mind that the emotions I felt at that time would just come back to me.
It’s crazy cause I’ve forgiven my ex for anything and everything but this is the one memory that still makes me a little bit like… ok, fuck. you. Most likely due to the fact that it really set a tone for what was coming ahead. It was the one thing that for the life of me I just couldn’t let go of. Let’s dissect it.
We were at a friends house for a little gathering. We were all drinking. I had brought one of my male friends along who happened to be my sidekick at the time. Me and this friend literally spent a lot of time together.
This male friend knows I have a bit of a crush on this girl so he’s fully aware of my situation.
Anyway, my crush starts to get a little bit too close to my friend at one point even calling him handsome. At one point we were outside, she grabbed his hand and then another point she was touching his facial hair and rubbing his leg to feel the texture of his hair. Like seriously?
Of course, I am a little jealous at the time but I am able to contain it brush it off. I persist and even go as far as trying to tell her I like her later on that night to which she didn’t even bother to acknowledge what I was trying to tell her. It reminded me why I always waited for the other person because I’m scared of rejection. Well, I guess everyone is scared of being rejected. But there I was feeling rejected. Feeling humiliated by how touchy-touchy she was towards my friend.
Now the craziest thing about this night is while my friend was walking me home trying to reassure me that it’s not the end of the world, little did I know that this kid had fallen head over heels for me. Talk about an awkward situation.
I couldn’t hang out with my friend anymore. When co workers asked why we stopped hanging out, I told them well he has feelings for me but I’m interested in someone else and I’m not going to jeopardise what I have going for this girl. But that wasn’t the truth.
The truth was that my friend who liked ME funnily enough became a threat to me. I started to see him as a threat to my relationship (yeah, me and that girl crush – we eventually became lovers obviously. I mean we are talking about my ex after all.) I was scared and although I wanted to maintain a friendship with him at the time, I always thought well if he hangs out with my girlfriend and I, I’m scared she’s just gonna do the same thing that she did that night and I don’t think I could handle it again.
You know the thing about rejection is that you know that you’re good enough for someone and that there’s nothing wrong with you but when someone makes you feel rejected… you feel like you’re not good enough like there’s so many things wrong with you.
By the time my ex and I started our relationship, I felt the need to prove my worth, my intelligence, my good work ethic, my strong points, any good qualities I had. And it was probably more due to the fact that I had become a victim of my own insecurities because here we have a girl that had expressed little to no interest or attention for me before I had confessed that I liked her.
I understand maybe she’s just a bit more guarded as a person when it comes to matters of the heart but ultimately I wore my heart on my sleeve and put myself in a vulnerable place and she made me feel so humiliated that it belittled my self esteem. Sure – that’s my issue not hers.
There were times when she hung out with her male friends and drank with them and deep inside I knew they were just friends but I couldn’t stop thinking about that one night. I felt the humiliation all over again and I couldn’t contain it. It got the best of me that trust became an issue for us solely due to the fact of an underlying issue I had that I never tried to resolve.
I guess you never forget moments of strong humiliation.
I was never able to tell her why little things bothered me so much because I was embarassed to tell the truth, because that night we weren’t even in a relationship so technically she did nothing wrong but that doesn’t mean that my feelings of humiliation are invalid.
If you really like someone and you saw them flirting with another person, it’s natural to feel a little upset and humiliated in that situation. Even though my ex and I weren’t together at the time, this was someone who I really wanted to invest a lot of my time, energy and effort with.
Anyway, the whole point of these examples is if you don’t examine the root of your emotions and emotional responses especially if you’re reacting in a negative emotion, chances are there’s an underlying issue as to why you’re reacting in a negative way. Everyone can be a little passive aggressive in the sense where we say something but our convictions and what we really mean to say is the total opposite.
I think the solution to this problem is to be able to be vulnerable with people close to you and have open, honest communications where you’re not being judged for what might look like flaws but to try and understand each other in a compassionate, neutral way.
Like, “ahh I understand now why you act that way when it comes to this situation because of something that happened in the past and it brings back a baggage of emotion. Well, with this awareness, I will be of more sympathy and less judgemental when you act this way. However I do want to help you in whatever way I can and support you in getting through it so that we are able to have a more healthier relationship. However, while I’m sure you know that I don’t ill-intentionally do what I do to cause a negative reaction out of you, I will try my best to reassure you that you can trust me.”
But hey, it goes back to that saying… We live at our own level of awareness.
Chances are if you saying something along those lines which sounds a lot more comforting and reassuring instead of what my ex used to always tell me, “You can’t change.”