Triggers, Triggers Everywhere

“Trigger” is a word I have had to come to grips with and just get used to. Just a short time ago, the word grated on my nerves. The word itself would illicit an eye roll that started way back in my head somewhere.

So many are “triggered” so often. I thank God for the truth taught in a book I read years ago called, The Four Agreements. It isn’t a Christian book (((gasp))) but God’s wisdom is littered throughout it. I mean, the Bible does say He is all in all so… Anyway, that book helped me in enormous ways because I am a highly sensitive person. It helped me to not take everything someone else says or does to heart and as a personal affront to the entirety of my person hood.

I read an article on a friend’s page entitled Don’t Tell Me God is Good and commiserated with the author. I commented to my friend that the post reminded me of the time I cried and screamed in anger towards God because I’d lost another baby. I have lost 7 total, but 5 happened within 9 months and I was really a mess. After yelling at Him and crying, I clearly felt His presence. It was as if He got down to my level and I heard Him say, “I’m Sorry”. That floored me and helped heal me in many ways. It also brought our relationship to a greater level of intimacy.

What that post brought to mind though was triggers. As I read it, I felt the author has more healing to experience in the area mentioned in the post. Don’t we all have areas we still have yet to experience healing in? When things trigger us, it points out a sore spot in us that is in need of healing, but instead of looking to God for freedom in that area, we often want others to change. Look at how many words we are being told we shouldn’t use today because it may trigger someone. People are confronted with attempted censorship every day on social media and in real life.

There’s a massive call to remove all words that could be possible triggers and nothing is being done to aid a person in healing from those triggers that are to me, very obviously their problem. It’s a call for you to stop triggering me so I can be comfortable and ignore my responsibility to obtain healing for my issues and traumas. This reminds me of another good post I read entitled, Trauma Is Not Your Fault, But Healing Is Your Responsibility.

I suppose what I am asking is that we take a moment when triggered and consider what lies we may be believing in that moment. What are we telling ourselves? Asking others to stop saying what triggers us is handing our responsibility over. It’s akin to asking someone else to fix you. Only God can and has done that. We need help to walk in the freedom that was so preciously paid for. We need healing.

By the way, a huge trigger for me that seems to bother me to no end is whispering. If someone speaks to me in a way that is barely audible, with just the right intention (perceived by me) behind it, oh my word, it does something to my insides and infuriates me to no end. I need healing, Lord.

Jona’s Emotions

My 2 year old son Jonathan is an emotional little guy. Actually, both of my boys are, but my focus is on Jona in this moment. If something doesn’t go his way, he is liable to scream and growl and cry real tears. This guy gets upset!

Because my husband and I both have come from backgrounds that have not taught us how to effectively deal with our emotions, we don’t know what we’re doing. That being said, I am grateful that we are not merely doing what was done in our family (of origin), with our children. We are forging a different path, in hopes of breaking cycles of abuse and dysfunction, and it is hard.

I am one who looks at a thing from every angle that I can. This often makes things a bit more complicated.

Yesterday, Jona got upset and yelled and my husband quickly got angry and told him to go upstairs (to cry). This boy can scream. Here’s what I see.

For my husband, he has had whatever type of day he has had, and the boy starts yelling and crying about something that to Jermaine is minuscule. It’s frustrating to no end.

For Jona, he is 2 years old. His vocabulary and cognitive reasoning abilities are very limited. He is trying to communicate his needs and desires and is often misunderstood. I mean, the baby talks funny. We don’t know what he is saying, but he is clearly saying something because he says it the same exact way every time. (This is one of the reasons we sign with our babies, to enhance our ability to communicate during these tougher phases.) So, Jona wants something or something goes wrong, no one understands, he gets frustrated and angry and naturally, blows up. Who wouldn’t feel the way he does? The fact that it is about his kindle being dead is irrelevant, he has a problem that for him, is very serious and very real and I for one, respect and honor that. Yes, he’s a child, but he’s a person, deserving honor and respect, which unfortunately is a foreign concept for many adults. Insert eye roll here.

When I see Jonathan reach his limit and cry, it is upsetting. He is loud and I just want to help him. One thing I talk to my husband about is how we as adults need to learn to stop making the child’s behavior about us. Parents take offense, get angry and yell, curse, punish, hit, or whatever, not realizing the impact of their actions on the child long term.

Not only are you not teaching the child how to deal with their strong emotions, but when you do any of what I mentioned above and send them away, you teach them that you are not available when they need your help, something is wrong with them and their emotions (insert shame here) and so much more. Then, we wonder why so many adults have no clue about how to process their emotions. You have a grown man who, when he feels angry, stuffs his feelings because he doesn’t know what else to do with them. How long does that work, until he makes himself sick or harms someone else and ends up in prison or dead?

I’m not saying I have the answers, I don’t. I know Who does though, and I go to Him and get help on how to help my son and family with these issues when they arise. With God’s help, we can change things for the better for ourselves and future generations. The abuse and neglect has to end here. I am tired of it.

Warning Dreams

I want to apologize for my downer posts. It’s my knee jerk reaction. It’s the conditioning I received growing up. The message is that I should be careful to not get in the way, be it, physically or emotionally so. The message was that I was to care for the needs of others and not have any needs myself, because who wants to bother caring for mine? No one, I was told. I was told I wasn’t wanted by anyone. I was reminded from time to time, in front of my children, of the time when I was around 8, when I was told that my father nor mother wanted me. It was said that no one wanted me and my mother proceeded to pretend to call the police to come and get me because she was done with me.

That story did not need to be repeated. I never forgot it. I took that message in deeply, along with the many others I received before and after that time. I had no idea that the call to the police never happened. I was too young to know that, had they been called, they would have come. I had no idea that any moment I did anything at all that set her off, they wouldn’t come and take me away forever. The problem was, I didn’t have to do anything to set her off. It could happen at any given moment for reasons unknown (and unrelated) to me.

I wont’ apologize for waking up, feeling down this morning. I have feelings as everyone else does and I refuse to pretend I don’t any longer. I will deal with my feelings, pray and ask for help as needed. Just like anyone else, I deserve love and care. I had a bad dream, again.

The thing is, God gives me warning dreams. I like to call it Holy Intel. I may have just awakened from one such dream and it grieves me.

I need a hug.

What I am dealing with is so wrong. The last warning dream I had, happened a few weeks after I dreamed it. I handled it very well and feel proud about that.

I felt very prepared and loved by God for the warning. I don’t want to do this again/anymore, but I will if I have to. It’s just heartbreaking.

Another thing God is doing is bringing things to my attention that I was not aware of, concerning this situation with my mother. Things I was made fun of and ridiculed for, were totally orchestrated by her, unbeknownst to me. There were many insidious set ups.

I am surprised, but grateful that God has helped me to not succumb to it all, allowing it to change who I am at my core. I see people who are forever changed, in horrible ways from such experiences. And although it feels wrong and akin to a betrayal to speak and write about such things, I will do it anyway, for as long as God wills it.

The Singer Who Rarely Listens to Music

You know how music makes you feel things? I rarely listen to music because I don’t like to feel things. Most songs from my childhood end up having me in a state of grief. I know this isn’t a bad thing. I need to grieve what I once thought I had but never did and likely, never will. There are times that I feel led to play music that I know will lead me to grieve a bit. When I feel that nudge, I do it. Otherwise, I avoid music altogether.

The other day, someone in the house played El DeBarge’s “Love Me In A Special Way”. I sat in the kitchen and just cried uncontrollably. I remembered myself as a very little girl, singing that, not knowing what I was singing but doing so with all my heart because singing is one of my gifts and I used to love to sing.

I just felt led by the Lord to look at the lyrics because I woke up this morning with that song playing in my head. I didn’t really know the words, but part of the lyrics struck me as I read them this morning…

“Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now
Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now (love me now)

‘Cause I’m special
Not the average kind 
Who’d accept any line
That sounds good
So reach into your chain of thoughts
Try to find something new
Because what worked for you so well before
For me it just won’t do.

Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now
Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now (love me now)”

I am beginning to feel differently now, more authentic, more un-apologetically me. Manipulation tactics that worked on me before, just don’t any longer. Not because I didn’t catch them before, I caught them, I just ignored them and pushed through because I thought I was here to make others happy and comfortable. I thought I was here to take care of people and leave my own needs for some other loving soul to hopefully, prayerfully see, take pity on me, and take care of them for me. Now that I know I am responsible for taking care of my needs, not others’, I refuse to continue to let myself down.

There’s still a little girl inside of me. She is incredibly wounded and afraid. I have carried her with me all my life, yet, I have ignored her needs and wishes, in order to favor others. She couldn’t depend on anyone to meet her emotional needs. Sure, she was dressed nicely. She was fed, but she was also starving for real and unconditional love.

She needed care that just wasn’t offered. She was psychologically and emotionally beat down behind closed doors. She was lonely, and lived in survival mode, because back then, she had to. Not anymore. Now I get to care for this gem of a girl. I get to love her unconditionally. I get to accept her tears, her fears, her grief, her anger, and not just her love, her generosity and care because it feels better and suits me.

I accept her wholly. Little by little, I am gaining her trust, and whatever she does in my chest that makes it feel so uncomfortably tight, whatever she is doing that makes me feel like I am struggling to breathe at times, is lessening as I remember how to care for her.

That little girl will no longer need to sing those lyrics from a state of grief and desperation. If she sings it at all, she will sing it for the love of singing, because she has a beautiful voice. You should just hear her.

Passions And Self Betrayal

One thing I have learned about myself is how little I’ve truly known myself. Because of the conditioning I received growing up, I did quite a bit of fitting into molds prepared for me, no matter how ill fitting they were.

I only felt valuable when I was doing something others thought to be good or useful. I needed to always be ready and available, no matter what. I needed to make others feel good about me, that was where my sense of self worth came from. It was an exhausting and terrifying way to live and I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

I have lived, as long as I can remember with what I can only describe as a tightening in my chest. It would just sit there, flaring up when I was asked or told to do something that I didn’t want to do, but felt I had to do. I would ignore it and push through, thinking I needed to keep people happy with me.

What I didn’t realize was that I was betraying myself over and over again. I was putting others needs and wishes ahead of my own. The wounded little girl inside of me, who still desperately needs and craves love, compassion and care, was yet again being pushed aside, in favor of what others wanted. I refuse to continue to mistreat myself in this way. I’ve had enough of that and won’t keep abusing myself because it’s familiar.

I am having a good time learning to take better care of myself and in the process, the wounded little girl is healing and the tightness in my chest is decreasing.

I am learning, or remembering what I am passionate about. I have discovered that although I do many things well, they aren’t necessarily passions I hold. Singing for instance, is something I do well but it does not always bring me much joy. Too often, it has felt like a chore. It was something I needed to do because I could and it made others happy. I do remember times, especially in high school when I would sing arias, where I felt like I was a bird. It felt amazing. I liken it to flying higher and higher and floating and soaring. It felt wonderful at times. Other times, it was just expected of me so I did it, even when I didn’t want to. I felt selfish for not wanting to do it when it obviously makes others so happy.

I have no idea what God will do with me concerning that particular talent but I trust Him to lead me in the right direction. He always has; I know He won’t stop now.

In the meantime, I will enjoy discovering what really brings me joy. One thing I think is a passion for me is cooking and baking. I am having a blast making things for people. My niche is traditional cooking and baking. I like making things people don’t necessarily think to make themselves. Syrups, jams, butters, extracts (like vanilla), fermented foods like salsa, sauerkraut, kimchi, water kefir, sourdough, fruit leather, goat cheese, yogurt and more! I even make my own spice blends.

I am eager to see where God leads me next, especially when it comes to my passions. I have new burdens on my heart that aren’t heavy or hurtful but are for sure from Holy Spirit. I look forward to exploring them and doing something with them as well.

God bless you Dear Reader, Patrice

Getting To Know Myself

I’ve not written here in a while, and it’s not because I have nothing to say, I have lots to say; I simply don’t know where to begin at times. The topic on my mind at this moment has to do with self awareness.

I love that my relationship with God lends itself to me not being able to get away with being ignorant about who I really am and the role I play in different relationships.

I have given God a pass to show me myself, and help me to be the best Patrice I can be in this world. He has not let me down and it has not been easy at all to come face to face with myself. What I have and am learning has been nothing short of fascinating and amazing.

I am learning to process my anger very productively. Anger was one emotion among many that I was taught to stuff or shrug off because my mother was not comfortable or able to handle it. Now, I am able to process it and let it pass. I can look at what I am doing to hurt or betray myself and my findings are nothing short of amazing. I’m using this as fuel to help me change things so that I show up for myself and don’t continue to betray myself as I have in the past.

I don’t want to be more concerned about others than myself anymore. I don’t want to live my life, trying to please, or assuage another person’s feelings. That’s not my responsibility. I understand that now. I am responsible for my own feelings, that’s it, and it’s such a freeing thought.

At this time last year, I was literally shaken, terrified, confused and angry. I was enraged. I cannot say I am “all better” now, but I can say I am a lot better and getting better every day as I learn, or remember how to love myself and treat myself with compassion, kindness, respect and care.

Today, I am far more self aware than I was last year. It’s been a hard rode to travel. I have upset people. Some have expressed as much to me. Some probably won’t ever say a word, but I wouldn’t trade this journey for anyone or anything. I’ll make an effort to come and speak about things more often. For now, I bless you and pray all is well for you.

When God Changes Your Plans, Go With It

“God is good” is so much more than a catchy cliche. It’s just plain true. Not because He lets everything happen my way and I have the easiest time in life, but because He gives me what I need and walks alongside me through it all-the fun and the not so fun.

I am grateful that throughout my entire life, at least for as long as I can remember, I have had a sense of His presence. I have always been interested in Him. I’ve always wanted to know Him better. I’ve always been drawn to talk to Him, think about Him, more than what seemed “normal” for those around me.

I know that it is solely because of Him, and not some extra “God sense” I drummed up on my own. He drew me in. It is because of Him that I can share what I am now sharing about my childhood without false guilt or shame. It is because of Him that I can still belly laugh, yet cry out of compassion for a person who has caused me incomprehensible pain with no remorse. It is because of Him that I am not only free because He said so, but I am experiencing that freedom as I grow more intimate with Him and allow Him to tell me who I am, over riding all the lies I have been taught and believed about myself.

He is helping me to access parts of me that I have shoved down because I didn’t feel safe to explore them openly. He is causing exponential growth, not just in me, but others around me as I go through this healing and recovery journey. He is a serial blesser. It is beautiful to witness the growth in others simply because I became courageous enough to share as He leads.

After 23 years together, I am sharing stories with my husband that I have never even thought to tell him or anyone else for that matter, and he is doing the same. We are experiencing so much more together as we are being completely vulnerable, sharing heart wrenching tales from our pasts.

It amazes me how one can have words uttered over 30 years ago, still hurt them, and not think to do anything about it. We think it’s as simple as letting it go and forgiving, yet we unconsciously carry those scars with us as if they are beloved treasures.

I am learning that when the past interferes with the present, work must be done. Old beliefs and patterns need to be explored and changed. Truth must replace lies. Feelings must be processed. Only then can one truly forgive and let go. Even then, forgetting is not in the equation.

I hate “forgive and forget”. God has not called me to that. He is the one who forgets our sin. I don’t have that ability. When I forgive, I no longer hold anything against my transgressor, but to forget can cause a whole slew of issues I am not willing to spear head.

I have been groomed to forgive and forget but that is what kept me in a harmful pattern. With prophecy, I am trained to see the gold, see what is possible, see what God sees and wants for an individual.

In everyday life, it behooves me to pay attention to what is before me. When people show me in action, who they are, I am now intent to believe them. I refuse to just listen to mere words any longer. That has not served me well at all. The kicker is, I saw all along, but ignored what I saw in favor of what I was told.

It behooves me to see a snake as a snake, and not a cute little puppy that I want to lean in to pet. I don’t want to get bit. A snake is a snake, after all. It will do what snakes do. This is simple wisdom.

If a wolf, as in the story of Little Red Riding Hood, dons a sweet granny outfit, but “granny” is sporting a snout, fangs and a tail, I’d be a fool to simply take “granny’s” word. Look at what happened to Little Red.

No. I am not called to be a fool. I am to be wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove.

I will end here by saying, this isn’t at all what I sat down to write about. Lol, I wanted to write about food. I had another title in place and thoughts lined up, but I see God had other plans. 🙂

God bless you Dear Reader.

No More Cryptic Messages

So, we don’t do church traditionally, but for clarity, I will refer to a certain group as my church family, even though it sounds stupid, lol. I just love them and I know more than ever, they love me right back, unconditionally so.

Throughout this entire journey of healing from past wounds, they have supported me, every step of the way, in just the manner I needed. There are far too many to name so I won’t go there, but it amazes me that they have so graciously allowed me whatever I needed, as I needed, even when it wasn’t comfortable for them. This kind of love isn’t what I was accustomed to.

I now see, with greater clarity that love isn’t a thing of diametrical opposition. Words and deeds line up. They match. There’s no conflict between the two. There’s no pressure to do what someone else thinks is best. Love is freeing. It’s letting go. It’s allowing people to be where they are, and accepting them fully, as they are, right now. It is not trying to mold them into what or who we think they should be or trying to control them through tactics that are simply mean spirited and divisive.

Love connects, redeems, forgives, apologizes sincerely. Love is when one changes awful, unacceptable behavior when confronted with it. Love is honest and other centered, not self centered.

I am convinced that freedom here on Earth grows as our minds are renewed to the Truth. The truth is, we are free. Jesus paid it all. I have pressed through fears that felt insurmountable but after moving forward, even in fear, those fears vanished.

One such fear came about in doing what God was asking of me several months ago. He has kept me up many nights, giving me ideas on exactly how to go about openly sharing my recovery journey through my YouTube channel. I was afraid to do it and doubted I was hearing from Him correctly. Of course, He was patient with me and sent confirmation after confirmation so, I uploaded my first video a week ago.

The fear was almost paralyzing, but I did it. I thought for sure, I would not be sleeping at night for quite a while. I thought my blood pressure would land me into the hospital, but as God would have it, I have slept better than before and when I went to the doctor last week, my blood pressure was 118/80. It was previously 153/94. I was stressed.

If you want to go along this journey with me, I invite you to visit my YouTube Channel, there, you can see the videos I have uploaded so far, and if you care to keep up, you can subscribe and hit the notification bell to be notified when I upload new videos. As always, I send you so much love, Dear Reader.

Patrice

My Birthday Gift From You!

I really should have done this post sooner but, well, here it is now 🙂 !

At the time of me typing this, it is March 4, my birthday! I am 42 today and feeling very excited and new, even at 42.

This year (and forever more), I am all about self love. I didn’t realize I was behaving in a codependent manner all my life and (low-key) hating myself. That is changing though, and because I genuinely love people, I want you to get in on this self love.

So today (even if you see this and my birthday has passed), I want a gift from you. I want you to join me in celebrating, and I want you to celebrate you! Do at least one thing today that you enjoy and make sure it is truly something for you! If you care to, share with me what you did or plan to do.

One thing I will do today is sit and spend time with my Abba. I will have my pen and journal handy and will write whatever He says to me.

I think I’ll do a painting tutorial too! I love to paint. I find it so relaxing.

That’s it for now, but please, love yourself today and always. And, don’t forget about my birthday gift mentioned above. You owe me, lol! Just kidding, but you do owe yourself plenty of love, so get to it!

You Dropped A Bomb On Me (Baby)

In my blog post entitled, What’s On Your Plate, God basically told me I was co-dependent. I put it on the shelf so to speak, mentioning it again in my blog post To Share, Or Not, I mentioned the word, but at that time, I didn’t go too far into the subject. Now I am delving deeply into it and I am learning a ton.

While at a meeting a week ago, the table was filled with papers with various affirmations typed on them. As I sat listening to people sharing, I glanced over at some of the affirmations and started reading a few. One affirmation in particular distracted me so completely, I stopped listening to the speaker.

The affirmation read something like, “The most important person in my life is me.” I was instantly shocked and thought, “WHAT?!?! That can’t be right! This has to be one of those situations where the world says one thing and God says the opposite!” I was indignant. In my head, God comes first, then my husband then my children and on and on. I put that affirmation on the shelf, where I’d previously put codependency and paid attention to the speaker again, but that affirmation kept messing with me all week long.

It came up again after I finished writing a journal entry. Upon finishing it, I found myself starting to write it. I stopped, closed and put the journal down and said, “Ok Abba, let’s talk about this. This can’t be right can it?” I heard a very simple, “Yes.”. In my typical argue- with- Almighty God fashion, I said, “Ok, no, that’s not right. That’s selfish and wrong.” Then I heard, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” At that, I burst out crying, but I was not done arguing with God yet. I said, “Oh my God, that’s in the Bible. No, no it’s not.”. Mind you, I know full well it is, but I was majorly offended. I told my daughter to google the verse. When she read it and told me where it is, I burst out crying again.

The reason I cried is because God knows me. He knows my co-dependency is such that I tend to others and exclude myself. I’m ok if you’re ok, I will just suck up whatever I’m dealing with to make sure you’re good because you matter more, you matter most in fact.

Love your neighbor as yourself. My goodness Friend, if I treated you as I have treated myself, you would not like me at all. Not even a little bit. That hit home in a huge way. And, because God and I have a relationship that is not devoid of silliness, it was as if He put change in a jukebox somewhere because I suddenly heard the chorus to the song, “You dropped a bomb on me, baby, you dropped a bomb on me.”

At that, I could only giggle through my tears and lovingly say, “Abba, you are so stoopid.” Religious people should read “stoopid” as “silly” if that helps settle the spirit. I assure you, God can handle little ole Patrice. He is teaching me, and I love Him for it.