“A trigger in psychology is a stimulus such as a smell, sound, or sight that triggers feelings of trauma“…(Unsure of source, just googled the definition.)
I’ve been experiencing a lot of triggers. It’s all the way people, namely my husband, speak to me. He takes a tone with me that triggers my memories of the first man I married.
And I hate it. I’ve brought it to his attention time after time, but it just never stops. So either he doesn’t know he is doing it, or does and thinks that after 12 years together, that my skin should be thicker and it shouldn’t bother me.
But I can’t take it anymore. It’s triggering really, really bad memories. So it all came flooding out last night. The final trigger(s) came while sitting at the High School basketball games last night and having everything I said snapped at.
I don’t know the technicalities of basketball, he does. I had a couple of questions, and every time I spoke he made me repeat myself, then responded in such a way that I felt insignificant and belittled.
I spent almost the entire boys game not speaking to him at all. I had worked myself into such emotional turmoil that I had become fearful of another response like I had been getting.
Then after the game, we wait for my daughter, who is a cheerleader, to gather her stuff and we walk out. Our youngest was with us too. Whenever our girls are around, he generally jokes around and has fun.
It was on the 15 minute ride home that I finally told him to stop with the attitude towards me. He chuckles and says he doesn’t know what I’m talking about and drops it. I say a few things under my breath, but then stay quiet.
I felt the fear creeping in again. I will never live in fear of another man the way I feared my first husband. So after we get the youngest to bed, he goes to bed. I sit on the couch a minute and hear our oldest get in the shower.
So I go talk to him. And I tell him I can’t continue to be treated and spoke to like he is doing. I ask him what I’ve done to deserve this, and he really doesn’t say much. I start bawling. I tell him that every time he speaks to me the way he does, that I’m triggered. I see the face of the ex. The more he keeps on, I tell him it’s like I can physically feel the ex’s hands around my neck.
I know he would never lay a hand on me. I’m not fearful of that. But my trauma tells me it’s coming. That’s how I always knew I was about to be in trouble with the ex. His tone would change.
I told my husband that I couldn’t be belittled any longer. That was how the ex did it. He made me feel insignificant, right before unleashing his wrath on me. Never again will I be made to feel that way.
Still, not much was being said on his part. He just kept looking at me like he could not believe what he was hearing. I took it as he was too shocked to know what to say, trauma said prepare for a blow up. Trigger.
So I went into the bathroom and told my daughter she needed to get out of the shower. She must have heard my voice shake and asked if I was alright. I had sat down by now and buried my head into my hands sobbing. She immediately asked me what was wrong, and I pointed towards our bedroom.
She is a very smart girl, she knew I had finally come to my breaking point. But as I sit there, the memories come flooding back to the night the ex almost killed me. I can’t separate the two anymore. I start shaking and rocking.
She’s had enough and goes to the bedroom to talk to him. I about got physically ill thinking if she says what I think she is going to say, he could really be pushed. She came back into the bathroom, told me what she said and that she got no real response from him.
I sent her upstairs and told her to go to bed. I gave her a hug and could see the heartbreak in her now puffy red eyes. She kept telling me that I shouldn’t be afraid of him, that he would never hurt us. I know that myself. But I couldn’t shut the trigger off.
So I went and spoke to him again. I asked him if our daughter was in trouble for whatever she may have said, and he said of course not. I acknowledged that I understand his stress from work, but that neither I nor the girls are his co-workers. We deserve respect. I explained to him that I don’t mean to “ask stupid questions”, but I get confused easily. The brain damage from 18 years ago is showing signs of returning.
I tell him that also. I just unload. By this time my chest is killing me, my eyes are super swollen, but I feel relief in knowing that I finally stood up for myself. I made it clear that I hate letting myself be fooled by my previous trauma into being scared of him.
He reassured me again that I have nothing to fear. I did go to bed instead of sleeping on the couch, and I’m pretty sure at one point in time in the middle of the night when he rolled over and hugged me that I felt the dampness of tears on his cheek.
I’m still very tense today, but probably more so because I tend to bottle things up for soooo long that when I do finally let it go, it’s months and months of feelings all streaming out at once.
So far today I’ve noticed a change in the way he speaks to me, to all of us. I just hope it continues to improve, as I can’t take another trigger like that again. It was too much.