Fantasies and fairy stories

Posted by on September 14, 2018 • 3 minute read

Unrealistic expectations can lead to being hooked at the most unexpected times by those we love the most. These times are a gift. An opportunity to take responsibility to heal.

 

Hook me to heal me

When a person makes you mad, upsets you, frustrates you, and gets your blood pumping in a fight or flight way we call this a “hook” (also known as a “trigger”). When we get hooked we defer to the little-me — that little person from our past who has a wound. When we get hooked he or she shows up and we become childlike in our responses - shouting, fighting, having temper tantrums, sulking and so on. When we are in this space we get positional and defensive. We feel like we are under attack. There is no opportunity to be rational.

The best way to deal with emotional triggers

The best way to support an angry or hurt child is to compassionately and gently love them back to a space where they feel comforted and safe. Then a decision can be made as to what to do next.

After a week of disappointments and hurts, it occurred to me that I get hooked most by those I love and care for the deepest. When the hurts first happened, that upset child railed at the unfairness of them. Poor me, it’s not fair, blah, blah, blah. I shed a few tears, then I licked my emotional wounds, breathed deeply, did several wings of Shape of Emotion. Once I — little-me — felt better, comforted and safe, I — adult-me — was able to take stock.

The ones I love hook me the most

I wondered why it was that those I love the most put the most barbs in me. Let me state upfront that they probably don’t know that they are doing it. Really, they don’t. They just say stuff. Maybe a bit unconsciously, but they say what is on their minds at the time. It is me that feels the hook by getting hurt or being disappointed.

I realise that half the time it is because I have a fantasy about what I want to happen. Delirious ideas about two people meeting, forgiveness, softness, kindness and giving… cue the music now… tissues? Fantasy is all it is - a lovely dreamt up idea of how I think things should turn out. With everyone living happily ever after. Of course it rarely turns out the way I wish. The hook pops that bubble and I feel flat. I think I read far too many fairy stories in my childhood.

I suspect that the reason for the loved ones being the bearers of hurt hooks is because I let down my guard with them. I slip into a pattern where I feel complacent, some may call it safe. I expect nurturing and acceptance. Ha! What I get in return is a valuable opportunity to heal. Each time there is a hook, it means something is outstanding. Some wound from the past has crept up and shouted in my ear. It wants to be heard. It needs to be healed.

The gift of healing

If I choose not to attend to it, it will appear again. And again. And again. The joy in knowing that it is all about me, is that I can relinquish blame, step out of victim and take responsibility for my healing. I can let go of expectations, my dreams and fantasies of how I wish it could be. Rather, I can accept what is and work with the only person I have any control over - me. It is very empowering.

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Getting hooked or triggered gives us a chance to heal the past and reveal the gift that it offers.

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Chantal Dawtrey

Chantal loves to learn and loves to work with people who want to learn. She is the co-founder of 5th Place and co-creator of Shape of Emotion.

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