Let me give you a scenario:
I’m riding the bus, standing because we’re full beyond belief. A younger man is standing behind me, we keep getting jostled as the bus bounces over the lousy streets. At one point I slightly loose my balance and step back – onto his foot of course. The guy behind me gives me a soft shove forward…
“Watch your step, clumsy.”
Trigger alarms go off in my head. I stutter an apology but express in few choice words, how I wouldn’t step on him if he wasn’t right behind me. About this time the bus reaches my stop so I leave. But by this time I’m seething. My anger is “way out of proportion”, according to my “inner guilt launcher”. I get home and collapse in a chair, half-way between complete meltdown into tears and full detonation – throwing things and swearing.
And through it all? I can’t get the guy off my mind. Not because of what he said, but because of my reaction. And now every fiber of my being says I owe him an apology. I know it makes no sense, but a huge part of me wants to go out and ride the bus over and over in hopes I run across the guy and can apologize.
The above scenario is fictional, but it does demonstrate the issue. I get triggered – I react. Then I die inside of remorse over poor judgement in my actions while being triggered and how I wronged people. I can tell when I’ve lost it – people’s faces show their shock at my instant mood swing.
I’m tired of trying to explain. I really do NOT want to delve into my past and try to justify my actions. First, they’re not justifiable. Second, nobody wants to hear it. And third – I just don’t want to go there any more.
So when I get that look and someone says “What just got into you?” – – – How do I respond? “None of your business” is what comes to mind. Or “I’m sorry – just been a rough week. Forgive me, I guess I’m more tired than I thought.” That one works, sorta, but at the same time it doesn’t.
I feel guilty for being triggered. I feel guilty for reacting poorly. I feel guilty for not explaining. I feel guilty for being so humiliated by my past that I can’t even START to explain. Face it – I feel guilty.
Ok, so maybe a stranger on the bus really doesn’t need an explanation — but does anyone? Is it my responsibility to explain myself every time I get triggered? Or is it the responsibility of my friends (HAH) to accept me for who & where I am?