Confession, I use to be a cabinet slammer.
My husband and I have been together for 21 years (minus the 6 months we broke up when I was 21) so we’ve gotten really good at knowing just the right thing to say, in the right tone, to really piss each other off.
I use to react to everything and sometimes with so much anger I scared myself! It took me many, many years of slamming and screaming to realize I could let the words pass and I didn’t have to react anymore.
I started to recognize the pattern, everything would be good for awhile but then something would set one of us off, we’d fight, play the silent treatment game and make up, only to repeat the pattern again a few weeks later.
In Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment “ he says, the pain-body is an “accumulated pain that occupies your body and mind. Some people live almost entirely through their pain-body, while others may experience it only in certain situations. Anything can trigger it, particularly if it resonates with a pain pattern from your past. When it is ready to awaken…even a thought or an innocent remark made by someone close to you can activate it.”
Most of the time it’s a learned pattern from our childhood that we repeat in our own lives to be passed down through our children. Once I realized I had a choice to not react, I would even acknowledge out loud, “I know you’re trying to trigger me and I’m not going to let you.”
I had to look at myself as well, what were the things that I said that I knew would cause a fight? I had to catch myself, let the words sit on my tongue for a minute before saying them because I knew if I said them it would be game on.
This has made such a difference in our marriage. Obviously no marriage is perfect and these old habits are hard to break but we’ve gotten so much more aware, even our kids say “Oh you’re triggered!” Start to pay attention to the patterns in your relationships, notice what sets you and others off. Learn to think before you speak.
My main goal is to stay in alignment, a state of feeling good. Being angry and resentful isn’t aligned with me and my core values, its a terrible way to live and affects our children immensely. The good news is you are not doomed to repeat the patterns for the rest of your life but it does take some time and self-awareness. Our happiness can not depend on others acting or being a certain way, we have to find our own alignment and use it as a beacon to guide us.
Notice the next time you feel triggered about something, what were the words and tone the person used? What memories or feelings did it bring up for you? This is a good time to have your journal nearby, learn to write about your feelings instead of always reacting and repeating patterns that no longer serve you.
Have you been living in a state of reaction? Are you ready for change? Let us know in the comments.