I can remember so well the moment when I stumbled across the realisation that as parents, not only can we be triggered by our sweet children, we can also trigger ourselves. That’s right, I discovered I was fully capable of activating the self-trigger. Let me explain.
I was busy in the kitchen cooking dinner and I needed my daughter to come and set the table. She was upstairs in her bedroom when I started calling out in my calm tone. After many attempts at calling out, with no encouraging sound of footsteps arriving to say “Mum, what can I do to help?’ (we can always hope, right?!), I could feel myself getting somewhat frustrated with my daughter. If my tension could be measured on a scale of 0-10, I was about an 8 when I decided I would march up the stairs with gusto. I swung open her bedroom door and was immediately confronted with how messy her room was, not to mention the fact that she had her laptop open to Netflix. Triggers everywhere and the whole scene was suddenly unacceptable. This was no longer about simply wanting to get the table set! Let’s just say it was not one of my best parenting moments. My request to help with dinner got lost under the weight of my triggered frustration, an outcome that could have been avoided.
If I’d had the chance for a replay, after calling out the first time I would have calmly popped upstairs while I was low on my tension scale and explained what I needed. The outcome and atmosphere in the home would have been different and I would have avoided self-triggering.