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Are You a “Triggered” Parent

Hey hey 1/3ers…

(Do you know what I mean by that? If not, are you reading this because you are part of my 1/3 tribe or does reading my blogs create a “triggered” response in you?)

If you find yourself reading my words each week secretly and never joining in on the FB conversation or even emailing me privately, I think this article may help you identify why you keep torturing yourself by reading week after week.

Triggers are physical body sensations that result from thoughts in your mind.  The thoughts are connected to a previous time in your life and that memory lies dormant in your brain…until it doesn’t.

As you read my words, old memories attach to hidden thoughts and fears and your body experiences a triggered sensation.

For example, sometimes I have triggered sensations when I listen to old songs.

Sunshine on my shoulders reminds me of a time when I was 3 or 4 yrs. old and we lived in North Carolina on a street that was a circle in a circle.  I remember being in our driveway and waiting to get out of the car because I wanted to hear the remainder of that John Denver song.  I loved it and for some reason, even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes.

My physical sensation is that Sunshine On My Shoulders makes me a little sad and nostalgic resulting in tears.  Sunshine on my shoulders is a beautiful song to me but sad too.  My brain goes back to that time period even as I’m writing this now.

When I listen to my favorite Satellite radio station, 1st Wave, and I hear Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Cure and Squeeze, my brain revisits the mid to late 80’s.

Many teenage memories come flooding back and I think of the excitement of that time pertaining mostly to all the risky things I did, that as parents, we DON’T want our teenagers doing.

I went weekend after weekend to high school parties held in public places. We paid a cover charge to hear our local high school band, drink beer from a keg, smoke cigs and experiment with recreational drugs.

Now that I’m a mom of teenagers, these songs usually bring up nostalgia coated in regret and fear.

God, I don’t want my teenagers to do half the sh!t I did.  I wanna keep them safer.

AND I also want them to have the experience of feeling independent like I did, making mistakes and learning from them.

But bad things happened…like the 2 girls that were partying pretty hard one night ending up in a terrible car accident where one died.  That could have been me.

So now, when I hear songs from that time, my body goes to the fear of my kids being involved in risky behavior and that scares the living hell out of me.

Do you know what triggers you?

Last night at my 4th grade son’s little league game, I saw dad after dad get triggered by their son’s baseball performance.

One 9 year old boy decided to lay down for a sec in the outfield.  I mean, it was 7:30p.m. and the kid had probably been going full steam ahead since 13 hours before when he woke up for school that morning.

I heard the dad go up to him in the dugout and say, “What’s the matter with you?  Were you out there picking daisies?”

You should have seen the look on his ashamed son’s face.

I had to remind my Mama Bear self that it would be crossing a boundary and not my business to interject and tell the triggered dad to knock it off.

AND, I knew that if I opened my mouth at all, it could have ended with my verbal version of punching the dude in the face.

The dad was probably triggered from something in his own childhood.  My hunch would be that he was either bullied for not being a great athlete or he witnessed the negative effects of not being a “baller” in boy world.

This dad loves his son and wants everything for him.  He doesn’t want him to get bullied for not being a “baller”.

So the loving and triggered dad goes to a bullying place himself in an effort to make his boy a “baller”…accidentally, becoming the bully himself.

His bullying behavior towards his own kid then triggered me.

Is this a game of triggered dominoes?!?!

My question for you:  When it comes to your kids, what situations bring up triggered sensations and where does it manifest in your body?

Remember, the first step toward changing a pattern rather than passing it down to your kids is to become aware of what even needs changing.

Do you give your kids a hard time in an effort to protect them from hurts that you experienced or witnessed as a kid?

Do you ask your daughter if she really “needs” that extra dessert to protect her from struggling with her weight like you have?

Do you criticize your kid’s performance right after they played a rough game on the car ride home?

If your answer is yes, don’t worry.  We all do it.  We are human.  We love our kids and want the best for them.

When you know better, you do better and becoming aware helps you to know better…and do better.

Your triggers are your little body whispers trying to make you aware of your “unfinished business” that is still hanging around from your own childhood.

Notice the triggers, shake hands with them and then breathe, calm yourself and show up as the loving and supportive parent you are in your heart.

And for those of you, triggered secret readers of my blogs, if you find yourself continuing to read, I invite you to join in the conversation or message me privately.  I would love to hear from you and connect.

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