Working Through The Triggers of My Core Emotion

I knew this trip back home was going to reveal lots of emotions in me.  I knew it was going to be a challenge.  

And it has been.  A big one.  

Some days are really good.  Most days are flowing and easy.  And some days really, really suck.

The good days involve supportive and loving friends and family.  They tell me how good I look and are happy for me that I finally did something for myself.  We laugh together.  They encourage me and give me loving guidance when I ask.   On good days I make progress toward my goals of sorting personal belongings, getting banking issues resolved, finding retirement information or visiting with the above kinds of people.

The sucky days have all involved my in-law family.  The family that claimed me as their own for 40 years since mine was nowhere around.  Claimed to love me.  Until I upset their apple cart and left to save myself.  Until I put myself first and didn’t consult them on timetables and details.  Until I shook up their eldest boy’s world. Their comments and criticisms upset me and I ended up on the hamster wheel of self-doubt.  I spent time second guessing. myself and all my recent decisions.  I felt crappy about myself.  Sometimes I wonder at all the tears that continue to fall out of my eyes these days.  I guess it’s appropriate since I rarely cried in the last thirty years, suppression being my modus operandi.  And now all these suppressed emotions are finding their way to the surface in order to be released.  So although I have all the tools, sometimes I get stuck during these occasions and just can’t seem to get off the hamster wheel without help.

My favorite go-to source of support, encouragement and guidance is my Eloheim group. I’m going to share bits and pieces here to show how I went from tears to transformation on this very subject recently.  Some of it is re-phrased so it’s a bit more understandable. I bolded the parts where the changes inside me started to occur, where the understandings took hold.

My opening post (mine are in italics):

Went to visit the second local sister-in-law yesterday. Apparently I still have triggers available to be pushed due to how I left in April.

The subsequent discussion and replies:

  • V: ah, wanna share more?
  • She pushed my guilt button that I left so abruptly with little notice in April. And I felt like I wasn’t trusted to trust my own instincts about what I was doing. And not trusted to not screw Mark over. Even though his actions or inactions sent me down the road I was on. It’s a bit of hamster wheel and self doubts rearing up again. Ugh. I am really done with feeling crappy about myself.
  • V: Well, let’s do the first sentence:She pushed my guilt button that I left so abruptly with little notice.

    Do you ACTUALLY feel guilty about how you left or did you match energy with her discomfort?

  • That’s a good question. Part of me wished I was more courageous and been upfront the whole time, but I was afraid of these reactions. I don’t feel guilty for leaving though. It was time. She did say, they all wondered why I didn’t leave him a long time ago.
  • V: It might help to try and find the posts you made as you were deciding to leave. I recall you struggling quite a lot to get up the gumption to go. I don’t think you were capable of adding on anyone else’s energy/fears/beliefs/judgments/etc. and still be in your truth.Your last line confuses me as well. She wonders why you didn’t leave before but makes you feel guilty for actually doing so?

    I wonder if you can find a way to get her to talk about her feelings about YOUR relationship with HER. Rather than talk about your marriage.

  • She said, she figured I was sticking it out since I had stayed for so long and they kind of liked having me around and things staying the same. And she didn’t like that Mark and the kids got hurt. (Apparently it was okay for me to stay in familiar suffering).  Anyhow, they liked the status quo. My question I am asking myself is, why does it matter so much that others like me?? I need to let that go. I suppose it’s part of my core emotion going on.
  • V: Perhaps you will always be tempted to put what others think of you first. You get to decide if you will allow that to be the “loudest instrument” though. Something like, “Yep, I feel the temptation to think about what she said and second guess myself. That doesn’t serve me. No one will ever understand the totality of my internal experience. That’s my job. I can’t prove to anyone else that what I’m doing is right and I don’t need to try.
  • That is absolutely how I feel. And didn’t know how to say to her yesterday.
  • V: well, let’s pretend. how would you say it right now
  • I did the best I knew how to do at the time. I did the best I was capable of doing at the time.
  • V: ok, so let’s relanguage this whole thread. Start from the top! Pretend you are posting the first post now that you have new insights about your feelings.
  • I visited with my sister in law yesterday…. And I don’t know where to go from there actually.
  • V:  ok, how about “I was really tempted to…”
  • I was really tempted to let her feelings of dismay that things had changed so drastically and so quickly become mine.
  • V: HELL YES. That’s powerful. I feel it strongly.

So V then went and retrieved this quoted writing from a friend of hers she calls “D”

  • V: Change happens slowly then suddenly. Those not on “the inside” mostly see the sudden part. Those on the inside often feel like it’s never going to get here until after it happens and you realize how long you were actually at 11:59.  Here is D on the subject: 

    The point at which changes that build upon each other hit a paradigm shifting critical mass is often counter-intuitive and hard to predict for even the most invested of watchers. Most interestingly, that last step of change right before the critical point moves much faster and powerfully than can be appreciated except in hindsight. Even in hindsight, it is baffling.

    The analogy I like to use to illustrate this is: say bacteria in a glass jar double every minute starting 11pm such that they fill the jar exactly at 12 midnight. Now, at what point was the glass half full? the answer is 11:59pm. That last minute of change contained as much change as all the 59 minutes that came before it combined. Such is the power of compounding change.

    An example less esoteric: When the Berlin Wall fell, the experts and those invested in the status quo had no idea how soon that event was imminent a month earlier. The 11:59pm phenomenon in change that compounds is very counter-intuitive in its speed and magnitude.

    When Netflix adoption hit 11:59pm, Blockbuster was done. They could not change fast enough to catch up with the wave of change.

    Just a year and a half before Barack Obama became president, I did not think the collective consciousness of America was ready to elect a black man president perhaps even in my lifetime and then 11:59pm happened there too.

  • M: Just an observation— you’ve had a lifetime of authority figures who didn’t love you well. Foster parents, etc. So the knee jerk reaction of “bad girl” makes sense and I salute how strong you have been to unlearn that pattern. How many years you were in it and how short a time you’ve been out…..be kind to yourself as you change.
  • V: So true M that we can even look at this issue is evidence of just how much growth has happened.
  • M: Another way to look at it….Dorothy used to spend 24/7 feeling like a bad girl. Now she spends 23.67 hours a day flying free and only .33 fretting about what others think. And that’s on a bad day!
  • V:  I’m sitting here feeling into it for myself and realizing that it’s taken a LOT to get to the point where I have a “Fuck you for trying to tell me what to do/feel” reaction.I used to always think the other person knew best and I would surround myself with strong personalities to have a steady sense of that that was.

    Typically those personalities didn’t have goals and beliefs in line with mine which made a strong disconnect within me.

    It’s probably that discomfort that forced me to drop it.

  • V: There’s also something to the idea that “I did the best that I could at the time and I learned a lot from the journey.” Holding the previous version of me to the standards the current version of me is now able to offer is pretty mean.
  • M: I knew I was doing better when I stopped being mean to myself in that way and stopped trying to demo to others who saw my “old” self that I’d changed.
  • V: I try to neither apologize or be embarrassed by the truth. It’s not always possible. I know that I have handled things in ways that make me cringe now and were the absolute best I had to offer then.
  • I need more of that FU reaction. lol  Working on it. Sometimes I slip and it’s usually with those close to me. As for the jury summons, I had not bought tickets back, thankfully, because I truly wasn’t sure what date felt right yet. To me, the jury summons was a wink on the timing.
    I am sooooo much better with authority figures, so comparing me to me? I don’t feel like a victim at all with the jury summons, it just is. And it’s fine. Glad it was now and I didn’t have to manage it while in Panama.There’s so much in this thread to absorb. I can’t keep up. LOL!
  • V: These folks have been in your life for a long time Dorothy so there are established patterns that probably don’t reflect the current version of you.I remember the loudest example of this. I was with a friend and was asked what I wanted to eat. I replied, “salad.” and she said, “V doesn’t eat salad.”

    As if I wasn’t sitting right there ordering my own food! I was stretching and she wasn’t having any of it!

  • M: When we change, it forces them to change. I’ve felt that people seem angry at me or judge me “wrong” because they are now forced to be creative in response. And sometimes what I did is what they also want to do. Damn! Now they are awake …and uncomfortable.
  • Referring back to something Mary said earlier about being a “bad girl”. I distinctly remember feeling like that all the time in the foster home. Being punished for smiling or making my bed (as an 8 year old) crooked. Being forced to write a hundred to five hundred times the same sentence over and over always beginning with “I will not……” And I was a good kid who tried to stay out of trouble! But I always felt like I was a bad kid. I see the connection now.
  • M: Old Abraham Lincoln….except you can please some of the people some of the time….not all of the people all of the time. Those hoops just kept coming, Dorothy. You’re a very good jumper. Survival. Good job.
  • T: I wonder at your progress Dorothy from authorities being so mean to you to fix their fears. You did a magnificent job coming to where you are from that!!!! YAY
  • D: dorothy, for me it’s hardest to be the current version of myself when i am around family. if possible i only meet them when i feel ok and healthy and strong . it took me ages to allow myself to not hang around with them all day long when i visit them. i felt very very obliged….. i also can relate to letting the opinion of others be more valid than my own. be kind to yourself.

So much insight here, and I left out many of the replies because of the length!  But it made a huge difference in my state of mind.  This is true family. This is a loving, nonjudgmental support system.  I matter to them.  How I feel matters.  

Here is my final post on that thread, a bit paraphrased:

Coming back here, well I just knew it was going to be challenging. You know how much I was not looking forward to the drama. I did well working through the first zinger, then did well again for awhile, but yesterday I allowed it to do a number on my emotions again, causing more inside me to rise up to be seen. I felt gossiped about and judged. From people who supposedly loved me for years. Can you say, Core Emotion trigger??

Good thing I can come here for support. I wasn’t going to say a thing, but look at this thread. Amazing stuff here. Who was it that called places like this, “a soft place to fall”? Maybe Dr. Phil lol. In any case, this is my soft place to fall, the Eloheim Tribe. My gratitude is immense.

I don’t know how people who don’t have this kind of support system manage.  I couldn’t do it anymore, I was drowning inside before I found my first spiritual support groups and then the Eloheim group.  They helped me find the way to love the me I am.  Not that I always succeed, but I have come a long ways since I woke up.  Eloheim says we’ll never get it done, we’ll never be finished and there’s no wrong way to do it. I hold onto that in times like these.

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