Triggered by Parenting

Today began pretty normal – tired waking up, but readying my self for a new day.  The older kids went to school while the little ones stay behind.  To begin with I felt very positive.  I said morning prayers and intended to write about my experiences with angels.  Then something happened.  My daughters started fighting – not the physical fighting, but the kind of fighting that leaves you feeling unwanted and left out.

A door slams.

“She won’t play with me!”

I go in and try to bring peace and unity to siblings.  The younger girls want to be like their older sisters.  Today, one of my daughters is home sick.  So my 5 year old decided she was going to play in her sister’s room – without her 3 year old sister.  Naturally the 3 yo is upset.  I find a solution with a different set of toys she could play with in the living room.  So what happens, the two older sisters come out and start playing with the toys I set up for my 3 yo.  Emotions soar quickly in a house of girls!  My 3 year old goes 0 to 60 emotionally in half a second it seems.

The trigger strengthens.

I yelled, “NO, you have to play nicely together!”   Immediately I feel terrible about yelling and within minutes sink into complete hopelessness.  I deal with that by texting my poor husband at work.  It helps me, but can’t say its easy for him to deal with.  Just prior to this I had texted him that I was quitting potty training – It feels impossible to be consistent at anything.  Through the texting I continued to express how angry and hopeless I was, how worthless I feel as a parent, and my “Why” questions about God.

My husband is pretty used to me by now.  He responded after the flurry of emotional texts was over without reacting to my emotions.  He suggested that I was triggered.  He was correct.  So, in spite of myself I started calming down at the mere suggestion that I was being triggered.

I still do not feel safe in groups.  As a child, the other kids around always left me behind.  They left me alone to be abused.  My brothers left me behind, my parents left me behind, and groups of kids left me behind.  So, when one of my kids gets upset that someone won’t play with them – I get triggered.  The problem is, I’m not sure there is anything I can do to prevent that experience from occurring.  Knowing now this is a trigger will help.  The trouble is with calming the intensity that being triggered imposes on the mind and body.


“When you feel the assaults of passion and anger, then is the time to be silent as Jesus was silent in the midst of his ignominies and sufferings.”  — St Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)



  1. You have accomplished the first step in the process that is recognizing the trigger. Work can be done psychologically to acknowledge the trauma that has caused the trigger. Once you see what trauma has been caused by being left behind. You can feel those emotions that being left behind and acknowledge or express those emotions. That could help to minimize being triggered.


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