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June 29, 2012

Do Opposite Triggers Attract?

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 4:10 am

Blank page. Writer’s have a lot of shit to say about the blank page. And probably a lot of meta-shit to say about writers saying things about blank pages.

I don’t really have an agenda here. I think I’m just journaling. My mind is pretty blank. That’s rare. I just got out of a hot bath. Turns out that making myself physically warmer is an effective way of tempering anxiety. #self-care On the other hand, the easiest way to make myself physically warmer involves getting into hot water, and the more anxious I am, the more that being immersed in water is scary ’cause…beetles. So, yeah.

I went out to dinner with Ashi tonight. She took me to a very nice restaurant where I probably could not have afforded to eat on my own and we ate a lot of vegan dishes made with various kinds of mushrooms, including a mushroom pâté which…wow. We were having a cute metamour-y conversation about people we’re both involved with, which turned into a more processy friendy conversation about certain ways that relationships are challenging, and that transitioned into a heavier conversation about specific relationship things that I find triggering, and then somehow we were talking about my mom and childhood trauma and I was crying very visibly in the middle of this very nice restaurant and then we took our dessert to go. It was something involving chocolate and pears and we ate it when we got home and after I’d mostly stopped crying and…wow.

Here’s a thing that’s come up in a couple of conversations the past few days. It’s come up around issues ranging from casual sex to conversational tone: Something that I find empowering and healing might simultaneously be something that a person I love finds incredibly triggering and vice versa. This is hard. This also seems to be the case in not a small number of relationships. Which, it occurs to me, is in keeping with my therapist’s (and, perhaps, most therapists’) theory that we get into intimate relationships with the people we choose precisely because they trigger us — not so intensely as to re-traumatize us (not in a healthy relationship, anyway) but enough to “irritate the wounds” and scar tissues of old locked-up traumas in order to stimulate healing.

And so the complementarity of triggery/healing makes sense. Because if I got into a relationship with someone who happened to have some behavior that really triggered me, and it was a behavior they weren’t particularly invested in or got much benefit from, then the most reasonable thing to do would be to just ask them to cut it out — and, chances are, they would. But if I know that my partner’s triggering behavior, while it’s difficult for me, is something they’re doing because it’s really good and healing for them, then I’ll want to support them to continue doing it because I love them and care about their well-being and empowerment. And this will mean either having to work through my own shit around that trigger or being miserable all the time. (And, as with any process, it’s probably often a little of both…)


I think I’ll get some sleep now.


1 Comment »

  1. […] I read your Opposite Triggers Attract post. It reminded me of a theory I first read in Harville Hendrix’s Getting the Love You […]

    Pingback by Addendum: Collaborative Intimacy « Bloggity Blog Blog Blog… — June 29, 2012 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

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