Friday, August 02, 2013

Pain Triggers

*cross-posted with my other blog - edited for this blog*

A wise blogger friend of mine gently reminded me that everybody has pain triggers while we were talking about some things via email. This topic brought me back to the conversation I once had with my ex-Junior High School classmate. We got to know each other better over time and then one day, long after we first met she confided to me that she used to be envious of the fact that I had my own bedroom. Mind you, I used to sleep in a bunk bed with my brother for years until I finally moved to a makeshift room at the other side of the house (don't remember when I moved there - must've been when I was around 15 or so). Mom just put on a rail of curtains to separate it with the rest of the room. After my grandma died, I moved to her bedroom and that was when I got my own room that had an actual door (it was when I was in High School - when I was around 17).

Anyway, back to the story...I was totally surprised when I heard her say that. I mean, I never boasted about the fact that I got my own bedroom and I never really felt that it was anything too special, but for her at that time it must've been something pretty important and something she could only daydream about (FYI she had to share a room with a cousin for years). After all, it IS nice to be able to have your own space and be able to have your own privacy. And her words reminded me to be thankful about having my own bedroom and not to take it for granted.

So, even though sometimes we don't say anything that may spark someone else's pain trigger, somebody else may feel the pain just because it's something out of reach that they've daydreamed about. Sometimes when other people state their thankfulness over something, it may also spark our pain triggers when the thing that they're thankful for is something that we don't have (either yet or can't have).

I think it's just normal to feel that way, but when I try to think of this in a HUGE scale for every human being I meet online or offline, it feels like I start seeing landmines everywhere. There's NO WAY you'll be able to escape from inadvertently stepping on those landmines in your daily life, especially nowadays when it's easier to communicate with one another through the internet (read: share photos etc.) and there's no way you can avoid having your landmines stepped on, either. The only thing I want to do is recognize that place of pain and then embrace it, soothe it, love it, hug it until I feel better.

To be honest, the first time we realized we were IFers, I think I must've thought IF was a kind of insolent uninvited stranger barging into our life (additional side note: actually maybe at first I felt the stranger was bringing a curse or a punishment for us). After a while, I started to think of it as my enemy. An enemy who tried to ransack my relationships with other people as well as hubby and then mockingly laughed at our wrecked state. I battled it with all my might, trying my best not to lose (my sanity, control over my emotions, etc.). But alas, it was WAY too strong for me. I wept buckets, bled inside, and cursed it, but after a while I surrendered and that was when I started healing. And I think after I started recognizing it as a kind of guru instead of an enemy, I've been walking further along this path of healing even more as time goes by (it's like I'm experiencing a different shift in this path of healing).

Anyway, let me end this post with some quotes.
Lord, help us to accept the pains and conflicts that come to us each day as opportunities to grow as people and become more like you.
- Mother Teresa, A Gift for God
Adversity introduces one to oneself. - Unknown
"I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne'er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me."

- Robert Browning Hamilton

Quotes taken from here and here


  1. I like the way you described your landmines - recognize that place of pain and then embrace it, soothe it, love it, hug it until I feel better.
    I'll remember those words.

    A very thoughful post.

    Funnily enough I've just come back from lunch with my team in the office. They were all sharing stories about their brothers and sisters (they have no idea I lost a brother). As much as I appreciated they all had funny and warm stories to share, it was definitley one of my landmines! I instantly felt sad and envious of them, but obviously they had no idea how much their words were effecting me and how much I wanted to escape back to my desk.

    1. (((HUGS)) for you, Nikki. Ouch for the landmine during lunch. Sorry to hear that! And yeah, those landmines come unexpectedly and can really affect us so much so that we just wish to escape, but in real life it's not that easy to escape just like that, eh? May we all be given strength for those moments...