Trigger Happy World

Pain AngelSometimes it seems as if the entire world is in a conspiracy to make me feel what I need to feel. It is not comfortable. Sometimes it is plain awful. The world is full of triggers and button-pushers and it’s as if I’m walking through an emotional mine field.

But there are times when I really understand that what triggers me is a gift to help me to feel. And when I can take my feelings away from what or who has triggered me (not an easy task) and sit with my feelings and own them without blaming or condemning the person or event, I can get down to what needs to be acknowledged. And when I do get down to the truth, the trigger releases, and I haven’t shot anyone, even in my mind. I am even able to thank them in my heart.

How hard, hard, hard it is to get that triggers are there to point the way to what has not been felt and needs to be healed–a pain that goes back to childhood. Trying to deal with what triggers intense emotions in the present without releasing the original pain of the past is like driving the car hanging onto the dashboard.Yes, you’re in the car, but you haven’t a clue what drives it.

Actually, I have a name for the people who trigger us. I call them Pain Angels, people who seem to be the cause of your pain but who force you to face something you have been avoiding or denying. It is not easy to call someone who causes pain an angel, but it will release you from a lot of extended angst if you can do that.

Start small. Start with people or things that may merely annoy you and gradually extend the agnomen to the boss who fires you, and to the spouse who leaves you. It is possible. And when you get a better job, and a happier marriage, or your peace as a single person, you may be able to look back and see these original people as Pain Angels. That is not easy, but then, none of this is.

Excerpted from THE FOUR PRINCIPLES:  Applying the Keys of Brilliant Acting to Life available here and on Amazon



12 thoughts on “Trigger Happy World

  1. Oh Jeez! I’m afraid that I’ve been a Pain Angel and experienced some of them today,as well. At times I’m my own Pain Angel. It makes me examine the relationship my father had with his father.My grandfather was an impoverished immigrant who could not speak English very well, was the father of 7 children, some of whom received a taste of his frustrations (one of them being my dad) and who resorted to selling bootlegged whiskey during Prohibition on the Lower East Side. There were incidents that led me to believe that my father had inherited his father’s propensity for anger. What is that saying – “Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

    • Yes. Dysfunction can be passed on from generation to generation. It’s hard to break the chain, but possible. We all have anger. It’s how we deal with it that makes the difference.

  2. It really does all go back to childhood, doesn’t it? I’m back in my childhood town after 35 years of running away from it. I met plenty of Pain Angels on that path, but failed to see them as that. I really thought what I was feeling was about them. Today, I can truly see the wisdom in your words. As always, Katherine, you write exactly what I need to hear at the time I need to hear it. Thank you.

  3. Oh God this is hard. I’ve been so mugged by my feelings, so crazy reactive-to “pain angels” and events , most especially these past 4 or so years (in which there has been A LOT of them!), I have burned myself out. That’s all I can say right now is it is just fucking hard.

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