Day 18

We’re using a few days to discuss the nature of triggers. What, exactly, does a trigger look like?

For instance, consider a mother says to a son who is visiting home for Christmas, “Would you like me to do your laundry?” The son immediately loses his temper and calls his mother an overly controlling b-word.

Her offer, on the surface, seems sincere, even kind. But what if I told you the son is 45 years old? What if I told you that this mother regularly calls him a “disgusting slob” because he wears t-shirts when he’s not at work as opposed to the button-downs that his mother tells him “a true man wears”? What if I told you that his mother regularly tells him that he’ll never be married if he doesn’t shave off his “nasty” beard?

Context is king. The son’s response to his mother is way out of proportion considering what is happening strictly on the surface: an offer to do laundry. The son is “triggered” by what is going on beneath the surface: a lifetime of being chastised by his mother because she believes he doesn’t adequately take care of himself and has no qualms about shaming him about this.

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