Archive for October 26th, 2009

I got triggered at a Halloween party over the week. As I have shared before, I do not go to parties very often because I inadvertently commit some sort of faux pas that makes me look like an idiot. So, to the extent I am even invited to parties (intense people are hardly party material!), I am very careful about which ones I will even attend.

This weekend, one of my closest friends had a Halloween party. I knew most of the people there, which is always a plus. Things went very well for most of the night. I was not even triggered by the children running around in black capes, which can be a trigger for me. However, the hostess’ husband said something that triggered me, and I am happy to report that I was able to shake it off after a couple of hours.

Background – my friend offered to make four lasagnas for a different party but only owned two 9 x 13 Pyrex dishes. I loaned her my good one. When I found out that she needed a fourth, I offered my old one but warned her that it was not in good shape. Her husband made it his personal challenge to restore the dish to its original state, and he came close – I truly did not know that dish could look so go.

So, at the party he said that he wanted to “shame me” for having a dish in that condition and that I need to be more like an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) mutual friend who had already left the party for the evening. (She is OCD about germs and cleaning.) One of my best friends was sitting next to me and jumped right in with, “Oh, no she doesn’t. I don’t need to calm her down about that kind of stuff, too. She has enough to deal with,” or something to that effect. The conversation rapidly moved elsewhere, but the damage was done.

I tried reminding myself that this guy is far from perfect and that it was an @$$hole thing to say to someone who was nice enough to loan his wife two dishes. I also tried reminding myself that it did not stop his wife from borrowing my crock pot, which was sitting in the next room heating part of the dinner as he said this. However, none of that mattered in the moment. I was flooded with shame because I was triggered, so no amount of rationalization was going to make a difference.

I could have gone a number of directions, but I chose the healthy route. The party was wrapping up by this point, so I made my exit as soon as I could without drawing notice to being triggered. I went home and did some work for my job while listening to positive music. After doing that for about an hour, I noticed that I really was okay again. Yeah, me! :0)

I had an intense dream that night. My friend and her husband were making veiled comments about me being fat (something my friend would never do). I ducked out quickly, but my friend caught me and insisted that we talk it through. She was apologetic as I battled my shame, and we talked it all out until I felt better.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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