Ever get triggered when your partner sits down on the couch to scroll their Facebook or Instagram feed? Or perhaps your spouse gets *really comfortable* and lays down on said couch, which makes your blood boil?
Maybe your kids are finally asleep (for the time being) but now the sink is overflowing with dishes, the floor’s still covered with rice (your toddler really tried to use a spoon), your mother in law is waiting for you to call her back and you still need to make lunches for tomorrow.
You haven’t had a chance to catch your breath, let alone go to the bathroom since the kids’ bedtime and you’re all too aware that you’ll need to muster all the energy you’ve got to get through what’s in store for tomorrow.
Sound familiar? I’ve probably heard over 20 different versions of the scenario I just described from my clients and many of my friends in the past 30 days alone.
And, I’ve been there myself. 4-5 years ago I would get powerfully triggered when my husband would head outdoors for his 2 hour training runs in the middle of the winter [a far cry from sitting on the sofa, which could have done him good - especially while functioning on less than 4 hours of sleep a night].
The truth is, my husband WAS sensitive. He would voice his intention to go running after he had cooked a meal, cleaned half the house and changed a bunch of diapers. But I STILL remember thinking:
Can’t he see that I desperately need a break too?
It’s never going to be my turn to take care of myself
I can’t even get myself to a yoga class once a month, and my husband’s training for another marathon? No clue how he does it and I live with him!!!
And secretly wishing my partner would create the PERFECT CONDITIONS to allow me to do something for myself, even if there were still endless unfinished tasks to take care of and our children were sick.
You see, I was triggered and envious because I wished he could have:
Given me permission
Helped me stay consistent & keep my promises to myself
Soothed my mommy-guilt
Fiercely protected my own self-care!
And many times he would, except I couldn’t hear it because I was too sleep-deprived, and I wasn’t giving MYSELF PERMISSION to prioritize myself and replenish my own energy, in a reliable way.
Thankfully, even back then I was aware that my husband had something I desperately wanted but couldn’t give myself. I knew I had a tendency to override my own needs, especially when everyone else’s needs were so pressing and imminent. My husband was showing me EXACTLY what I needed and he’s taught me how to be responsive to others without abandoning myself.
I believe that feeling triggered probably says more about YOU than it does about your partner.
Next time you feel your blood boil, PAUSE and ask yourself these 3 Questions:
What qualities or traits might I be criticizing or attacking in my partner, which may be exactly the things I need to offer myself more of the time?
What do I need in order to be deliberate and consistent with my own self-care?
How can I grow from this experience of being triggered? What’s missing for me and what am I secretly yearning for but not admitting to myself or expressing to my partner?
Comment below and let me know what comes up for you.