Sometimes I get wrapped up in the eye of a storm called triggers. When that happens, everything I’ve learned and experienced gets lost amid the chaos of memories and emotions and sensations. If I’m lucky, I remember earlier instead of later. Then starts the process of finding my center so that I can use my resources.
Often, this means going outside of myself to get help. An objective and compassionate third party (often for me a hotline volunteer or my therapist; sometimes a friend) can help me out of the chaos. Then remind me of why I want to get out when I feel trapped and ready to give up.
As an introvert, one of my biggest triggers is being put down by extroverts who ask my opinion and then attack me when I make them stop and think with cautions and questions instead of saying, “yes, go do it. Damn the consequences.”
This trigger is on my mind a lot right now as I remember past experiences as an introvert living in a family of extroverts and then having difficulties in groups because of my refusal to keep quiet about what I believe in. Also too, I struggle to be gentle with myself and to recognize when I am being gentle with myself. Shame and guilt tend to blind me from it.
The quotes below resonate with my concept of reminders. I hope they can help others too.
“There is no one more courageous than the person who speaks with the courage of his convictions.” ~ from Quiet by Susan Cain
Many times, I and different alters who take over get into trouble for speaking out against the majority. Whether with words or silence or actions or a combination, I go my own way. I guess that’s where the high tolerance for pain was learned. And maybe I was quiet for a long time, but my internal life never gave up on the beliefs that shaped who I am today.
I don’t regret speaking out. And now, I am happy to live in a world where introversion and speaking out is valued instead of derided. Keeping secrets made me feel shame and guilt and responsibility for actions and experiences beyond my control. The monsters’ voices sometimes reverberate in my head, trying to convince me that I can’t go on. But a platform to speak my truths (in therapy, with trusted friends, on the blog, with volunteers on a hotline), helps me remember that I am not my trauma. My alters are still me, and I am the sum of my alters.
Kudos to anyone who speaks out their truths no matter the consequences. Kudos to the resilient and courageous survivors to continue to persevere with recovery and coping in spite of the challenges that come with taking a different path. May this quote bring hope and comfort when you are down.
“Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.” found through Web of Benefit
A hard lesson to learn; even harder to put into practice. My alters and I are not superhuman. We are not advanced or special or better than or empowered with unnatural gifts that allow us to go beyond limits without consequences. Learning to live within the limits of mind and body and spirit allows each of us to accomplish more and build self-confidence from small successes and positive actions. Sometimes pushing boundaries is good. Sometimes it’s necessary. And sometimes pushing boundaries is the easiest/best/fastest/only way to discover where the limits are.
For me, I have to remember that some “shoulds” and expectations in my mind are not always my or my alters’ expectations. Others are idealistic instead of realistic and require adjustments. Finally, I have to remember that I instinctively do my best (it’s almost hardwired into my mind and body) and so do my alters. The memories and trauma bring out the critical and abusive voices telling me otherwise. And no matters what, all I can do is my best.
So congratulate myself for doing the best possible with what is available and move on – my way of being gentle with myself.
Then I congratulate anyone and everyone who tries and sometimes succeeds in being gentle with themselves too because I am grateful for their existence to remind me I am not alone in this.