I had a conversation with a friend where I was triggered, setting off a chain reaction of memories and feelings going way back to childhood. Even though I was trying to be supportive and affirming, my friend criticized my use of words, saying I was no better than her enemies who hurt her and that my gestures of past support were meaningless.
A few days later, I realized my friend was triggered too, but I decided to let her take care of herself while I sorted through my own stuff.
This conversation took me back to childhood, where no matter what I did, it was not good enough. No matter how hard I tried to please him, my father would still criticize, ridicule, or vent his wrath at me. No matter how much I tried to read his mood and say the right thing, he would become enraged in the blink of an eye. And if my work were occasionally exemplary, he would be distressed and try to find a way to belittle me—even when I was a small child.
I found many people like him in church. Something about the culture attracts bullies, and conditions people to become childish, demanding, and selfish while others, maybe most, serve as their victims.
So, the Facebook conversation triggered me, and all these memories with long-suppressed feelings exploded in me. I shouted at the top of my voice in front of Sylvia:
“I have given my WHOLE LIFE to helping others. MY WHOLE LIFE, I have tried to help people find healing. MY WHOLE LIFE, I have tried to help the vulnerable. And MY WHOLE LIFE, people have criticized me for not doing it well enough, for not saying it perfectly, for not having tried hard enough.”
I shouted until I lost my voice and was still hoarse two days later.
To those who have harmed me through their dishonest, cowardly, bullying tactics, I say:
“I am ENRAGED at you who called me friend or family. How dare you take my best efforts and toss them aside like used tissue. How dare you mock, ridicule, and gossip about me behind my back.
“I have HAD ENOUGH. I have TRIED ENOUGH! I have GIVEN ENOUGH. You can find someone else to be unhappy with because I’m done with you.
When I fell silent, Sylvia said, “You’re not mad at me, are you?”
“No. Did I scare you?”
“No,” she laughed. “The cat hid under the sofa, but I thought it was sexy.’
I know that none of the individuals I’m addressing will recognize themselves. However, some of my fellow victims will feel needlessly guilty, afraid that I’m angry toward them. Perhaps they should go easy on themselves.
While this was a trigger point, it could be a turning point where I let go of this package of guilt, obligation, rage, and fatigue.
2 thoughts on “Trigger Point”
All I can say, David, my friend, is that I have a fellowship that is like Heaven, that is in no way like anything or anyone you’ve described or experienced, and I am so grateful for those wonderful people, it makes me cry just talking about it. And I wish you had that, too. I miss you.
You are fortunate then that your experiences have not been as David’s have been!