26 Mar Triggered.
The Lord, our God, blessed me recently – and I cannot wait to tell you about it. But – before I get into the specifics, I want to talk to you about triggers.
The Lord blessed me, ya’ll!
He blessed me so, so good. But — before I could finish praising Him for the bounty He gave me, I was triggered and immediately began to think about the burden of the blessing. I was excited for all of four days before doom, gloom, and the “what-if’s” set-in. While sharing my feelings with my husband, he started to share about trauma and triggers. He explained that shadows of past traumas could resurface when triggered by stress and situations that expose the same feelings as the trauma. I did not realize that my past pain and unforgiveness had taken residence in my consciousness the way that it had.
Traumas are crazy. They are disturbing experiences that affect us. There is no ‘one size fits all’ — here. There are small, big, mediocre, and awkward traumas. Our bodies absorb them in our psyches and our bones – and we carry them with us.
Our traumas are much like bone fractures; some heal – never to be remembered, some heal, but the evidence of their existence is revealed during certain situations, and then some heal incorrectly if at all and are continuously and forever debilitating.
1. Healed, never to be remembered.
We have all been hurt or traumatized in some way, shape, and/or form. For instance, my husband tells this story when his grandfather (whom he adored), in anger, told him he would be just like his Father. This news to a young boy would usually be a banner of pride, but my husband was an insult. At the time, my father-in-law struggled with alcoholism which was a huge source of pain and shame for my husband. So for his respected and loved grandfather to sentence him to the same fate was a wound that took years to heal — but heal, it did. Before his grandfather passed, he saw the man that my husband had grown to be, and my husband was able to once again look at him with love and respect without any anger or repressed animosity. Though the pain was real in the moment, he was able to heal, and there are no lasting effects, just as some fractures heal as good-as-new.
2. Healed, until triggered.
Some traumas cause pain that requires care that we never seek, nor did we heal appropriately. These traumas surface, now and then. Although our hearts are damaged, we may not walk with a limp or show an ugly scar, but there is some evidence that the trauma was there. Maybe you have noticed that your bones ache in cold weather. Now you are wondering: “Why do my bones hurt when it’s cold?” Well, it is not uncommon for an old joint injury to ache on cold and rainy days.
These are triggers. Like your muscular pain triggered by cold and rainy days, our emotional wounds – evident or not- are triggered by similar events. When the trauma surfaces, we think it is our everyday behavior, or ‘just how I am,’ and we don’t know what happened because we forgot about the trauma.
Has someone overlooked or dismissed you, and before you knew it – you popped all the way off? Or has someone forgotten to speak to you when they entered a room, and you got very upset with them?
This behavior most likely stems from neglect of some sort.
We have to understand and recognize that some of these irrational and otherwise uncharacteristic behaviors and patterns may be the evidence of past trauma that was never really dealt with properly.
3. Healed, but still broken.
Lastly, some traumas are pretty severe and require professional care. We think that we let them heal with time, but the trauma was so monumental that we are never again the same. The trauma permanently disfigures our self-esteem, self-worth or even ignites our self-loathing. We walk through life with a psychological limp and/or operate out of a place of pain. Every time we experience pressure, it is too much for that weakened part of ourselves to bear, which often causes us to collapse. Collapse into lousy behavior, self-medicating, overspending, and pleasure-seeking.
This type of trauma affects us in such a severe way that we need a reset. Just as the bone that didn’t heal correctly, we need to seek the help of a professional, have them dig deep into the trauma to re-break it, and then walk us through it step by step for it to heal in a way that will free us from the bondage of the pain.
Women of Judah, we all carry the evidence of something that happened to us in the past. For some, the evidence is only visible with an X-ray because we have healed and moved on. For others, the weight of the pain is exposed in spurts — as outbursts and utterings. For others, still, the proof is there. It’s just below the surface. Maybe your trauma involved the pain of someone touching you inappropriately, the weight of a family secret, or the shame of a substance-dependent parent. Sis, you have limped with a load of your traumas for far too long, and it is now time to unload, reset and heal. Seek your heavenly Father, solicit counseling, and be about your wellness. Your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health are worth fighting for.