Holidays have come and gone, and perhaps with them the experience of the mixed blessing of family. These are the most important connections for most of us, and if we are honest, often the most triggering of our stress response. How is it that these two things go together?
Being with these people we love, as mature adults in the present time ~~ especially at holiday times already full of associations and memories ~~ easily activates fears of vulnerability we experienced and packed away long ago.
To our grownup conscious selves these fears are deeply hidden, yet our autonomic nervous system KNOWS, and when reminded, leaps into its protective mode. This we feel as stress.
Here is an interview with Dr. Sharp and Plum Spring Clinic coaches exploring how the very challenging experiences of our early childhood reflect in our adult experience and health.
Nothing is Wrong
You might recognize the very common other side of the triggering coin: the loud and often familiar soundtrack that Something is Terribly Wrong! (with THEM…or with ME). And I must leap into fixing it.
That is your stress reaction speaking.
Truer of your essence is:
This is not a problem.
I am not a problem.
Nothing is wrong.
Rather, there are parts of you still living ‘back then’, who don’t know that you can now handle what wasn’t tolerable back then. Our opportunity in the present moment, and our hope, is to ‘update’ the stress wiring to the relational safety now available, and thus to relieve our system of the burden of old wounding.
And we can thank our family’s holiday triggering for pointing us to this opportunity.
Wishing you a year of discovery and rewiring ahead.