A good friend of mine used to joke that he could always test how much work he had done on himself the preceding year according to how much he got triggered during the holiday season.
It’s true, you can spend a whole year travelling relatively well, then your sister or brother says THAT thing, and you just lose it. And suddenly, you are the ‘crazy’ one again, the one who is so overreactive, so much hard work, and the shame comes in the rejection and all the old feelings you thought you had dealt with.
When we are with people who still treat us like we are ten years old, it is not abnormal to respond as your ten-year-old self would respond. If you find this happening to yourself, try to be gentle.
Being gentle might look like trying to:
Observe the behaviours in the other person and notice how triggering it is for you.
(This is not easy…it does take some practice, you could start by noticing your reaction and congratulating yourself if you just do this – as you become skilled at this, you can work your way through the rest of the list).
Allow yourself to feel the emotions with curiosity and not react.
Put a boundary in place, if needed, in a calm, clear way.
Give yourself some time alone to think about the boundary you need and how to express it effectively. Give yourself as much time and space as you need.
Parent your inner child.
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