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What are your triggers?

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #103176

    Gary R. Smith
    Participant

    How do you feel about the subject of triggers and reactions? Are you able to identify and talk (or write) about the t/r in your life? Please share whatever you feel in response. Here is some of my story.

    Triggers in the context of psychological and emotional health came to the forefront of my attention when I started an assignment as house parent to six at-risk teen-aged boys. The organization, with its culture of clinical therapists, spoke often of triggers, and the street-wise boys courageously exposed their vulnerable selves in “circle” to talk about their triggers.

    My own primary set of triggers has been rooted in a rare neurological sensitivity called misophonia, in which negative emotions (anger, fright, hatred, disgust) are triggered by specific sounds.

    Imagine that certain noises cause an involuntary reaction in your nervous system. Instantly you feel revulsion, anguish, distress and non-localized pain — all rolled into one.

    The automatic reaction tightens your muscles, constricts and contracts you physically and emotionally. When the noise passes, the tension doesn’t. It stores in muscles and body tissue, layer upon layer.
    Now imagine that the triggering sounds are not rare occurrences but common human noises like eating, drinking, sniffing, whistling, spoon clanking, paper rustling, yawning, etc. It is far more than not liking or being disturbed by the noises, it is painful in an undefined way. If you haven’t learned to manage it, the person making such sounds may get a harsh stare from you, building tension in relationships and isolating you further.

    This has been my central life challenge. I visited more than 30 traditional and alternative health practitioners in search of a resolution. A kinesiologist-chiropractor expressed frustration that when he got one muscle group to relax, another sprang tight. Several body workers were impressed with the sheaths they encountered and said my muscles were tight as iron. I was just as tight and frozen on the inside, and out of touch with my emotions and true self.

    I was easily triggered to react to stimuli and my own projected thoughts, even if I muffled the reaction to not display it. My earliest memory of having the selective sound reaction is from age four. Later in life when I asked my father if he knew of any incident at birth which could be connected with the syndrome, he wrote that from birth I screamed angrily. It seems I was just plain mad to be in a human body.

    While unconsciously storing triggered reactions to selective sounds in my body, I started closing down due to my reaction to loss and trauma. When I was age 12, my older brother died in a car accident. Nine years later my younger brother, with whom I was close, died when struck by a drunk driver.
    My heart energy shrank from the pain. I rebounded into religion and a physical relationship. By the time my mother passed unexpectedly another nine years later in open heart surgery, I was numb inside. After another nine years, my wife went into brain surgery and nine years after that we divorced. Eleven years later, my dad passed. He was a brilliant, intellectual man, a man of science and professor at Colorado State University. We loved each other but had difficulty to connect. I may also have had a touch of autism or Asperger Syndrome, though it was not diagnosed. Certainly some of the symptoms fit. Over the years, I lost all touch with feeling and my inner compass.

    In addition to the misophania challenge, I fit the profile of a Highly Sensitive Person. According to Elaine Aron, Ph.D., this innate trait is found in 15 to 20% of the population. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’. The HSP is more aware than others of subtleties, mainly because their brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply.

    Also, my astrological sign, genetic disposition and personal composition give me a strong mental force which, unguided, tend to isolate me and shut down my feelings. For years I ‘put up my shields’ to ward off pain of being around people and lived in my head.

    Yet the flame did not die out, and at a turning point I started living my truth. It has been a sixteen year journey to begin to feel again. The shift in me was perceptible when I started self-developed practices which bring my unconsciously stored triggered reactions into conscious awareness, where they naturally dissolve or at least can be observed. Merging with ‘what is’ when I can has made the difference as I balance the tendency towards intellectual arrogance with actions based on the e-qualities and higher human feelings such as humility, openness and integration.

    My neurological sensitivities turned from tormenting challenges to being a gift after I began whole human practices. They provide a barometer of my emotional and body/mind climate. When I am easily triggered and feel frustration, annoyance, disappointment, impatience, judgment, anxiety and so on, I know the inner landscape has waned pale. When I am able to get through the sounds that tortured me, with ease and grace, warmth and compassion, I know my inner landscape is richer and more vital. I am appreciative for this tool of self-awareness.

    Joyfully, this new way of experiencing the triggers comes at the same time as corresponding realizations for gently thawing the frozen suppressed emotions, shifting from emotions (triggers/reactions) to higher human feelings and enriching and strengthening the inner landscape by embodying the e-qualities — as a way to begin living as a whole human.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Gary R. Smith. Reason: To check the notify box
    #103178

    Joe
    Participant

    @emanatepresence

    There are lots of things which trigger strong emotional reactions, I guess mainly negative reactions. I watched a film a few years ago entitled “What the bleep do we know?” (it was about things like quantum physics, psychology, spirituality – the kind of stuff I love to read about) and they explored the idea of neuronets – you experience something, it creates a strong neural link with external stimuli, the more you experience that thing, the stronger the neural link becomes, the stronger the emotional reaction (what do I know, I’m not a neuroscientist!)

    Mostly my triggers just bring about memories of people I have grown to resent strongly – mainly things similar to that person or just things that the person really enjoyed. I don’t like to watch wrestling, I don’t like to watch Dr Who, I don’t like listening to particular bands, I don’t like any of these things because the people I had strong negative feelings towards were obsessed with those things. Every time I see those things, I just have a strong aversion to them – I can’t watch, look or dwell on those things for too long without the strong feelings of bitterness and resentment I hold towards that person flooding back (mostly unresolved issues) It’s the same with photographs of that particular person, I just can’t bring myself to look at them or even read their name.

    But having said that, I get some strong positive triggers from listening to music. The other month I found out about a condition known as synaesthesia – “Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia; from the Ancient Greek σύν syn, “together”, and αἴσθησις aisthēsis, “sensation”) is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.” I had grown up assuming everybody could “hear colours” – as long as I could remember I just perceived certain songs and tunes as being a particular colour, I would perceive some songs as being purple, some orange and it would trigger strong kaleidoscopes of colours and imagery in my mind. Some songs make me imagine vivid places and fantasy worlds. Some songs do trigger things I thought I had long forgotten about as well. Lately I’m trying to make more of an effort to listen to classical, ambient and world music.

    Thankyou for sharing, I have found your story most fascinating.

    Joe

    #103179

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Gary:

    Would you like my input about your personal sharing, your story? I think you asked the reader to share about his/ her triggers and reactions, not about the reader’s thoughts about your sharing about your triggers and reactions. Am I correct?

    As far as my personal triggers and reactions: most intense sensitivity to noise. Screaming, yelling, music/ TV sounds in an adjacent apartment (living in some apartments was a nightmare, excruciating, for that reason), and so much more. That has been very difficult to live with. I finally moved to a country like setting, outside the city limits of a small town, the roads around are private roads, houses not close by, and yet when I first came by the house at night and neighbors’ two beagles barked. To me, it sounded so unnaturally loud, that night, so overwhelming, that at the time I heard them, I thought I would rather be dead. I have lived here now for over two years. The beagles’ barking is not a problem. I adore one of the beagles who comes to visit. I almost feel affection when I hear the barking (if not too early in the morning) and it never sounded anywhere close to how loud it sounded that night. There is much more I can write about my noise sensitivity but I’ll stop here.

    anita

    #103238

    Gary R. Smith
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    “Would you like my input about your personal sharing, your story? I think you asked the reader to share about his/ her triggers and reactions, not about the reader’s thoughts about your sharing about your triggers and reactions. Am I correct?”

    Please write your input about my personal sharing as you feel.

    Thank you for sharing about your triggers, as it gives me another window into you and your life.

    #103240

    Gary R. Smith
    Participant

    {{There are lots of things which trigger strong emotional reactions, I guess mainly negative reactions. I watched a film a few years ago entitled “What the bleep do we know?” (it was about things like quantum physics, psychology, spirituality – the kind of stuff I love to read about) and they explored the idea of neuronets – you experience something, it creates a strong neural link with external stimuli, the more you experience that thing, the stronger the neural link becomes, the stronger the emotional reaction (what do I know, I’m not a neuroscientist!)}}

    Yes, “What the bleep do we know?” explores some fascinating areas. Have you come across “Athene’s Theory of Everything?” It is a video and PDF file.

    http://www.writings.emanatepresence.com/athenes-theory-video.html

    {{Mostly my triggers just bring about memories of people I have grown to resent strongly – mainly things similar to that person or just things that the person really enjoyed. I don’t like to watch wrestling, I don’t like to watch Dr Who, I don’t like listening to particular bands, I don’t like any of these things because the people I had strong negative feelings towards were obsessed with those things. Every time I see those things, I just have a strong aversion to them – I can’t watch, look or dwell on those things for too long without the strong feelings of bitterness and resentment I hold towards that person flooding back (mostly unresolved issues) It’s the same with photographs of that particular person, I just can’t bring myself to look at them or even read their name. }}

    Do you consider that an issue or hindrance? Or just accept that it is what it is?

    {{But having said that, I get some strong positive triggers from listening to music. The other month I found out about a condition known as synaesthesia – “Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia; from the Ancient Greek s syn, “together”, and aisthesis, “sensation”) is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.”}}

    Interesting! More than interesting really, I just don’t find another word.

    {{I had grown up assuming everybody could “hear colours” – as long as I could remember I just perceived certain songs and tunes as being a particular colour, I would perceive some songs as being purple, some orange and it would trigger strong kaleidoscopes of colours and imagery in my mind. Some songs make me imagine vivid places and fantasy worlds. Some songs do trigger things I thought I had long forgotten about as well. Lately I’m trying to make more of an effort to listen to classical, ambient and world music.}}

    This is marvelous. I would love to read more of your experiences – and to exchange bodies so I could get first-hand experience of hearing colours. But it would not be an even exchange, as mine would probably seem pretty dull to you.

    {{Thank you for sharing, I have found your story most fascinating. }}

    Joe, young people like you give me reason and evidence to feel that humankind will rise from the ashes of its chaos. From your photo I am guessing you are mid to late twenties. I was a seeking of the ‘highest truth’ from my early teens, yet even into later years was not so advanced (that is not the word, more like ‘well-unfolded’ but it sounds strange). I also avoid comparisons and just trust you to read between the lines of what I want to say. I love your ‘strong positive triggers from listening to music.’

    Putting emphasis on the positive, on what we choose, is where I am headed. Today I will un-publish much of the old thinking of the Whole Human site so the new has room to flow.

    #103244

    Gary R. Smith
    Participant

    Joe,

    I have published the above inter-action between you and me on the Whole Human site but haven’t had time to dress it up. It is at http://www.wholehuman.emanatepresence.com/realizations-blog/room-for-new-thinking-to-flow

    Still will work some of our other dialogues into blog posts and give you the links.

    At any time if you don’t feel well with my blog post including your name and writing, or would like to change or add something, please let me know.

    #103249

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Gary:

    You invited me in your above post to give you my input on what you shared regarding your personal life. Here is then my input:

    You adopted the following diagnoses/ labels as possibilities or truth about you: Misophania, Autism/ Asperger, and Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). I believe you were not born with any of these conditions. Symptoms included in these diagnoses and the label of HSP developed in your person as a result of a troubling childhood that you experienced by the age of 4 and ongoing, after that age.

    You wrote: “Later in life when I asked my father if he knew of any incident at birth which could be connected with the syndrome, he wrote that from birth I screamed angrily. It seems I was just plain mad to be in a human body.”

    I challenge your father’s answer to your question. I suggest that as a new born you cried no different than any other baby. It was not your anger that your father detected in your crying, it was his anger that he projected into the baby-Gary. I suggest he was angry watching and hearing you cry.

    I am also suggesting that your sensitivity to noises: “noises like eating, drinking, sniffing, whistling, spoon clanking, paper rustling, yawning, etc.” is not a neurological condition you were born with, but a result of trauma by the age of 4 and ongoing. Here is a scenario that I am imagining and letting my creative thinking take me, but as creative as I make it, I think it is more likely true than that you were born with the conditions you listed:

    Your father is an angry man, a quietly angry man. You can tell he is angry by the way he looks at you. Everyone in the family is afraid of his anger, walking on eggshells. The family is sitting for dinner, but there is no calm in the get together. The dinner is eerily quiet. In that tense, threatening silence, no one is talking, or the few words said, like “Please pass me the salt”, are said in curt, angry tone by your father as the others comply. In that silence the sounds of “eating, drinking… spoon clanking” are magnified in your ears. At other times in the home, you hear loudly any sound, because you are on alert. Your father’s anger is threatening, because when someone is angry, he/ she may attack, so you don’t know when that will happen.

    Alert, every sound is magnified and you are perpetually preparing yourself to protect yourself from the danger of his to-be-actualized anger.

    Alone in your fear, not adequately connected to a parent, you withdraw.

    anita

    #103251

    Joe
    Participant

    @emanatepresence

    Thankyou for the video recommendation – I will definable check that out at some point. Did you read the accompanying book that came with ‘What the bleep do we know?’ I managed to find a copy at the library a few years ago, a great read.

    {{Do you consider that an issue or hindrance? Or just accept that it is what it is?}}
    That’s a really interesting point you raise here. A few years ago I would try my utmost to deny these ugly feelings or just try and pretend they didn’t exist but I found to my cost that trying to cloak them, sugar coat them just made it even worse. I used to believe that it wasn’t okay to feel angry, ugly, dark, bitter, resentful, sometimes vengeful feelings – like I was on this seemingly impossible quest for happiness and enlightenment and that I had to carry on feeling nothing but happy, positive thoughts to perpetuate this quest. Indeed I have felt happy and positive many times, I guess feeling angry would disrupt this state of equilibrium I wanted to perpetuate and I was desperate to avoid those kinds of thoughts and feelings altogether. Thinking and feeling bad things would drag me back to square one. It wasn’t until I started reading Eckhard Tolle that I figured out that most people have ugly feelings, ugly inner dramas and it was okay to think and feel those things. I’ve finally realised I am not able to erase ugly thoughts and feelings or delete memories which trigger these strong emotional reactions.

    The people I harbour strong feelings of resentment towards – these were all toxic, one-sided friendships and I guess thinking and feeling those things reminds me that it’s for the best that I am no longer associated with those people. These people I speak of were selfish, deceitful and didn’t care about anybody else but themselves. Some were volatile alcoholics with their own problems and I literally walked on eggshells around them. Some were drug-takers who nearly tried to drag me down with them – they failed but I was still in a really dark anxious place for months afterwards. Some decided to suddenly cut off all communication without so much as a reason why. Some just needed me to feel bad about myself or put me down. These volatile relationships, these strong emotional reactions have taught me to be on the guard for other people with similar character traits so that I can avoid them. Maybe this is my hindrance – I will only strongly identify the negative traits in other people – I’m a pessimist and I guess I only see other peoples worst traits so that puts me off trying to seek the good in people.

    Yes – I am 24 years old. I really want to believe in people, to believe in the good but I’ve just mostly came across people who have let me down or put me down in some way and this has really affected my outlook on life and other people in general. Maybe these people do have a nice side to them that they haven’t shown me but I just can’t imagine or perceive them to be anything other than how badly they treated me – I seem to only remember the bad things about people. I really don’t want to carry on with this view of other people because it will only perpetuate these feelings of being the victim, and I have recently found the strength to get up out of this sandpit and decide to not be a victim any longer.

    Maybe for me, my quest for ‘highest truth’ would be to not see other people through jaded lenses. I spent most of my formative years being told by other people it wasn’t okay to have these ugly bitter twisted feelings, and reading self-help books which also discouraged this kind of thinking but I found out denial just makes things much worse. I think I’ve made a lot of progress over the past few years – I’ve identified what no longer serves me in life, I’ve identified what I truly love and value in life and I’ve set some goals to work towards. I just learn to live with these ugly bitter twisted feelings – they just are, I will just allow them to be (and I wouldn’t have much inspiration to work with for my artwork without them). They may seem overwhelming at times but they make the positive good stuff even more intense.

    Joe

    #103315

    Gary R. Smith
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    {{You adopted the following diagnoses/ labels as possibilities or truth about you: Misophania, Autism/ Asperger, and Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). I believe you were not born with any of these conditions. Symptoms included in these diagnoses and the label of HSP developed in your person as a result of a troubling childhood that you experienced by the age of 4 and ongoing, after that age.}}

    Where does your information come from, Anita? I am interested to go to that source. The importance of the diagnoses is fading fast, as I am re-creating myself and there is no diagnosis that is ‘in concrete.’ But I would like to know your source.

    {{You wrote: “Later in life when I asked my father if he knew of any incident at birth which could be connected with the syndrome, he wrote that from birth I screamed angrily. It seems I was just plain mad to be in a human body.” I challenge your father’s answer to your question. I suggest that as a new born you cried no different than any other baby. It was not your anger that your father detected in your crying, it was his anger that he projected into the baby-Gary. I suggest he was angry watching and hearing you cry.}}

    Dad wrote that as he was watching all the new-borns in the hospital ward, I was red-faced and screaming above all the other babies. A priest standing next to him point to me and said, ‘that’s an ornery one, isn’t it?’ Dad said his thought was, ‘That’s my son.’ I know that sharing this personally online may not be wise. I am going to revise the way I write in the future.

    {{I am also suggesting that your sensitivity to noises: “noises like eating, drinking, sniffing, whistling, spoon clanking, paper rustling, yawning, etc.” is not a neurological condition you were born with, but a result of trauma by the age of 4 and ongoing. Here is a scenario that I am imagining and letting my creative thinking take me, but as creative as I make it, I think it is more likely true than that you were born with the conditions you listed….Your father is an angry man, a quietly angry man. You can tell he is angry by the way he looks at you. Everyone in the family is afraid of his anger, walking on eggshells. The family is sitting for dinner, but there is no calm in the get together. The dinner is eerily quiet. In that tense, threatening silence, no one is talking, or the few words said, like “Please pass me the salt”, are said in curt, angry tone by your father as the others comply. In that silence the sounds of “eating, drinking… spoon clanking” are magnified in your ears. At other times in the home, you hear loudly any sound, because you are on alert. Your father’s anger is threatening, because when someone is angry, he/ she may attack, so you don’t know when that will happen. }}

    Sorry, this does not fit in any way with my experience. Does it come from your own life memories?

    {{Alert, every sound is magnified and you are perpetually preparing yourself to protect yourself from the danger of his to-be-actualized anger. Alone in your fear, not adequately connected to a parent, you withdraw.}}

    It is a scenario, but one that does not come from my life. My parents were both caring, loving and devoted to the family. Dad and I had difficulty connecting during my turbulent teens when I rebelled against society.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Gary R. Smith.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Gary R. Smith.
    #103373

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Gary:

    As to your question: “Where does your information come from, Anita?” My scenario was a creative scenario, as I stated in that post. The only information I had was what you shared, the rest was made up. As I wrote, it is more likely to be accurate than your proposed reality that you were born with those syndromes and conditions. As to your question: “Does it come from your own life memories?”- yes, my scenario is based on a combination of my memories and processing of information regarding my person, my life as well as other persons and their lives.

    It was interesting getting to know you, Garry. Our communication is now coming to an end. Our differences, as I learned about them over time, on this thread and the other threads, are too great to make it worthwhile for me to continue our communication.

    I will not comment on any of your existing or future threads and would appreciate if you don’t comment on my existing and future posts. Fortunately, I am only one member of hundreds of registered members to this site. I wish you any and every other members Win-Win interactions on this lovely site.

    anita

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