The Ongoing Challenge of Introspection: Using Emotional Triggers to Heal Self

2019 is certainly proving to be the most challenging year for me emotionally.

In many ways, it is great because I am relieving myself of so many things that I felt held me back. But, it’s not easy work.

I’m constantly confronted with emotional triggers. The difference is when I experience them, I see them as signals to look inward and figure out the source of the emotional response. Then, I have to be brave enough to peel back the layers and discover what is bothering me and why.

I’m not always brave. Some days, I simply cope. But, other days, I stare in that mirror until the picture becomes clearer.

Recently, I experienced a trigger that upended everything and removed some serious emotional blocks.

Up until now, I have been trying to make things happen in my life only to have them fall miserably apart. I attributed it to everything from trauma to my own personal failure, but I had no real understanding of why it kept happening over and over again. I felt my resistance to moving forward even though my heart was longing for it.

My mind kept ringing the “DANGER” alarm and, here comes, self-sabotage like clockwork to tear everything back down.

This past weekend, I was emotionally battering myself for not being able to compel myself to push through my anxiety and fears and just make things happen. But, each time I thought about it, my mind would get foggy and I felt fatigued. I ended up in a vegetative state binging on another tv show and distracting myself.

But, this time, I spoke to the ether and asked for help removing my blocks.

And, the answer hit me, I started replaying memories from childhood up through adulthood.

They were all instances of me asking my parents if I could do something that was important to me but they weren’t in agreement with (which was pretty much everything I’ve wanted to do). I always went to them ready for war and it was surely a battle with me feeling frustrated, unheard and misunderstood.

The end result was the response from them: Well, if this is what you want to do, we won’t help you. 

It was a threat and a withdrawal of support but, I always took it as a challenge. And, I forged ahead with what I wanted. I went in blind and unsure of how I would accomplish but acutely aware that failure wasn’t an option because I had something to prove. I proved time and time again that I didn’t need anyone or no matter how scary or lonely I felt that I was capable of what I wanted.

The memories hit me over and over again. It was as benign as the items I wanted to buy for my high-school graduation to as important as wanting to go out of state for college. I was told they wouldn’t help and I was on my own. I was met with resistance and abandonment over and over again.

So, I learned two things from this experience: that if I wanted something there was no one who would support it and it would be difficult and I had to go it alone. 

As I got older, I just go tired of fighting for what I wanted. It was easier to deprive myself. And, the irony was, it was easy to find people to support me when I wasn’t trying to do anything. 

Now, I understand how my mind was processing these challenges which presented themselves after years of fighting the parental voice in my mind. I was still pushing against resistance except, now, it was my own. My perceived limitations.

I had no idea how to find support or how to feel supported. I attracted people who didn’t support me either. And, it seemed to me that any endeavor I pursued, I had to blindly attempt it alone. And, I was tired of proving myself that I can do everything with no help. I even struggled to ask for help with anything. I always prepared to be told no and that sinking feeling in my gut of abandonment.

I didn’t believe in unconditional love or support. It sounded like a fairytale to me. In fact, when I heard about parents who gave up their lives in support of their child’s dream, I always imagined they had a horrible relationship because I couldn’t fathom that type of support without backlash or repercussions.

How does this awareness benefit me now? 

Now, not only do I understand that I was able to accomplish so many things without the support that I thought I needed. I also understand that just because some people allowed me to feel unsupported that it’s my choice to feel that way now. It doesn’t have to be that way unless I expect it to feel that way. I can invite people in who show they can be supportive.

I can’t change the past, but I can stop the voice in my head that says, you shouldn’t want that or you don’t deserve any help with it. I can give the little girl and big girl version of myself the compassion they deserved so many years ago.

“When things are challenging, remember you are not the feelings and emotions. They are just a reaction to the situation, so accept them and try to find the root source and ease that pain – The core essence of you is a beautiful, unique, authentic spirit and you are worth of everything in life.”
― Nanette Mathews

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