Itís been a year - new triggers

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Sidney37

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Itís been a year - new triggers
« on: May 26, 2020, 11:49:45 AM »
How long has it taken for others to stop being unexpectedly triggered by unusual memories?  I thought after getting through the year of holidays, it might be easier.  Motherís Day was the final holiday to get through and now Iím having different, really unexpected triggers. 

Yesterday I decided to make pasta salad which is a food I almost never make.  It is a food that is common at church pot-luck type events which I grew up attending and my parents still likely attend.   This was the trigger - pasta salad.   :aaauuugh: 

For the past 5+ years when we were still in contact, PDm would ask me to figure out for her a dish to take to one of several pot lucks she had at her church each year.  Sheíd ask what I would take if I was going and give me a ďcomplimentĒ about how Iím such a good cook, sheís a terrible cook, I know better, etc.    The compliments never felt like compliments even though everyone knows I love to cook and she hates it.   Iíd suggest 5 or more things that I would take and sheíd criticize each.  Itís too fancy for people here (criticism that I moved to an urban city suburb).  The ingredients are too expensive (criticism that DH and i went to college and make more money). Itís too hard to make.  On and on.   Iíd finally tell her to make the item that she always takes.  Sheíd refuse and give a list of reasons why. Then sheíd demand that I research ďon the computerĒ what she should take because I have ďso much timeĒ that she didnít.  Sheís retired, knows how to use Google, and Iím raising 2 kids.  Then if I wouldnít find the perfect dish that met her unspoken requirements, sheíd get mad, throw a tantrum, refuse to go to a church dinner 10 hours away from me and cry at me it was all my fault because I was ďrefusingĒ to tell her what to take!  Sheíd tell my dad that I refused to help her and how mean I was.

So now Iím triggered by pasta salad... pasta salad.  I never imagined that I could be triggered by something as simple as pasta salad.  I ended up not wanting to eat it and donít even want to see the leftovers in my refrigerator today. 

How and when do these things lessen?    This one hit me out of nowhere! 

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GettingOOTF

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Re: Itís been a year - new triggers
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2020, 01:12:33 PM »
Iíve found that the more time and distance I get from my family the deeper the memories are which pop up and trigger me.

I think that without them in my life i feel safer on some level so am able to see things more as they really were.

Itís really hard to start to see our parents for the flawed people they are. As children we tell ourselves all kinds of things to make our situations acceptable. Itís deep and painful work to peel away the layers we used to protect ourselves.

In terms of healing a year doesnít seem that long. For me most of the first year of NC was shock that Iíd done it. I think it takes a while for it to feel normal.

I think of triggers as things that help me see what I need to look at and that they come up now because I feel safer to address them.

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Psuedonym

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Re: Itís been a year - new triggers
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2020, 03:37:10 PM »
Hi Sidney,

I've been NC a little longer than you, about a year and a half, and I feel that way too. 1) I think that the triggers might be there to help you remember why you went NC in the first place. As time goes on its easier to think things like 'well, maybe they really weren't that bad', or 'maybe they've changed', etc. Memories like that (that one made me cringe by the way, its very similar to something Negatron would do), help you remember. 2) I think the whole corona virus situation is making things worse. Every time you turn on the TV its' 'our beloved old people are in danger and at risk and what are we doing for them' which is not super helpful, and just being cooped up in the house for long I think leads to more rumination. When you're busy running around, its easier to take your mind off things and also gives you more perspective, you realized that the world is much more than just your experiences. Right now its like all we have is our own experiences, and that includes not great memories.

It will get better!

 :bighug:

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illogical

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Re: It’s been a year - new triggers
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2020, 03:37:34 PM »
Hi Sidney37,

Maybe have the following conversation with yourself--

"This pasta salad I made doesn't really reflect what a fabulous cook I am.  Mother is a real PITA, and her nasty criticism of me was totally unwarranted.  (She was, however, right about one thing:  I AM A FABULOUS COOK!!!)  And I can cook sooooo much better than her.  Think I'll toss this pasta salad in the bin, as it's not worthy of my time.  Now I can plan a really special dinner for just my family and me.  A dinner my mother would never appreciate.  I'm going to get busy right now, planning and executing a spectacular culinary experience!"

*Treat yourself to some gourmet ingredients-- ones your mother would never buy/appreciate. 
*Maybe enlist your children or DH to help plan/execute the dinner-- something your mother could never do, as her tremendous ego and need to cut you down to size always "ruined" what could have been a very nice time together

So my humble advice to you is to use the pasta salad as a symbolic "cleansing" and throw it away and make your own special dinner, making damn sure to break all the "rules" your mother would enact if she were in charge.  But. she's. not.   :cool2:
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 04:18:21 PM by illogical »
"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

__Stewart Stafford

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Sidney37

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Re: Itís been a year - new triggers
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2020, 02:22:13 PM »
Thanks illogical.   I needed to hear that.   I just need to look at the triggers in a different way.  I certainly wonít be making pasta salad any time soon!  Iíll go back to making more complicated things that she wouldnít like, Iím sure that being cooped up in my house for months isnít helping! 

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illogical

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Re: Itís been a year - new triggers
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2020, 02:36:23 PM »
Even though my NM has passed, I still, from time to time, am haunted by her ever-so critical voice.  It helps to summon The Rebel in me, that independent thinking child that was rarely given a voice growing up.  But now I can do things my way.  When I went NC, I would frequently remind myself that NM was not paying my bills-- as she frequently tried to control me with money when I was younger.  Now, I get to play by my rules.  The Rebel is out of the closet and in high gear, lol!
"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

__Stewart Stafford

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Itís been a year - new triggers
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2020, 06:26:37 PM »
I think food triggers are very common. Food is a thrice-daily opportunity to assert control, make us feel crazy, invalidate our opinions, and play all sorts of games. Food for other people, well now letís add a larger audience to this circus.

Your motherís behavior is absurd. And so classic PD. Funny that she would refuse to grace people with her presence unless she had the perfect dish. Because she must look perfect at all times and itís your job to make that happen for her. :dramaqueen:

My mother would do something similar with thank you notes. I would have to write them for every gift received. Thatís not a problem, but they would be checked and rechecked for handwriting, spelling, and content. The tone had to be exactly effusive enough, with just the right level of formality. A thank you note may go through four or five revisions before I could do the ďgood copy.Ē So to this day I struggle with writing a simple thank you note. I analyze what Iíve written in a crazy way. What helped me was to ďchange the steps to the danceĒ as my therapist said, and maybe call instead of write a note. The ideas above about taking back your kitchen are good.

One of my food triggers was pancakes. If you donít care for pasta salad thatís fine and you totally donít have too. But my kids really love pancakes. So I taught my eldest child to make them, from scratch, the way I wish my parents had instead of making Hungry Jack be this huge production posturing as oh-so-generous when my father would portion us out four blueberries each. :stars: Now itís a fun Saturday morning ritual where I donít have to cook and I rarely get triggered by the pancakes anymore. But sometimes I still do. There are layers and layers to this stuff and it takes a while.

A year isnít a long time, really. That passed by quickly I remember your posts from when you went NC! I read somewhere (maybe someone knows?) that you can expect it to take an average of three years of good therapy and an absence of further contact to be more or less healed from an abusive childhood. More or less because we are never really ďcuredĒ much the same way an alcoholic will always be a recovering alcoholic. You havenít had that opportunity and neither have I yet. I do often get impatient with myself and feel pressure to fast-track recovery both from within and without. But this is how it happens, by working through the triggers as they come. Itís hard but please be gentle with yourself!

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Maxtrem

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Re: Itís been a year - new triggers
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2020, 07:15:30 PM »
I understand you, I'm not NC, but I've had a lot of triggers lately. Sometimes listening to TV, sometimes reading posts on this forum, even at work. A lot of little things bring back forgotten childhood memories that I wish I hadn't remembered, but they resurface at the slightest trigger.

In a humorous talk show, there was the subject of children's allowances, it reminded me of how I was treated like a servant, and criticized, denigrated and blamed at the age of 7. All this was justified for $2 a week, which I almost never had, since at the slightest wrong move, it was taken away from me. She even told me once by shouting you don't even have any qualities find you just one, I answered that I was useful and helpful, she answered I pay you for that (allowance of 2$ per week to justify that I was her servant) you are good for nothing and you are slow. In addition to attacking who I was she was attacking what I produced as work, it was a way of destroying what I did in addition to who I was.

Of course, I was sad all night after that trigger.