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I triggered last night

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little turtle posted 5/18/2013 07:49 AM

Well, as title says, I triggered last night. I thought I was done with triggers. It's been a long time since I've triggered.

SO got home from work. I gave him updates from my conversation with XH since I dropped off the kids yesterday. I try to remember to tell him everything so that it's all out in the open. Whether it's comments XH makes about me and him getting together, or drama from his relationships. I know it's unnecessary for me to converse with XH, but it doesn't bother me. If anything, perhaps I should scale back the amount that I share with SO.

Anyway, SO and I are upstairs in pjs. He's on his laptop and I'm about to play on my ipad. I told him that his friend tagged him in a picture on facebook. His profile is set up so that he has to approve any tags before they appear on timeline. He will go weeks without noticing that he has things to approve. I only saw the tag because I'm also facebook friends with his friend. SO mis-clicked and clicked on the messages tab. There it was. A recent conversation (2nd from top) with his most recent previous girlfriend. My heart immediately started racing. I felt so anxious and uncomfortable. Yet, I didn't say a word to SO. I continued to play on my ipad. Awhile later, I asked him if there was anything else new. He told me not really, and then told me a short story about work. I gave him a chance to mention the conversation, he didn't. He probably knows that I saw it...

I couldn't take it anymore. I went downstairs, logged into his facebook, and read the conversation. Of course, it was nothing, really. Apparently, she was at the orientation he went to last week for substitute teaching. She messaged him asking if he had heard from the lady in charge yet. Why didn't he tell me that he saw her? and that she messaged him? I tell him everything.

Am I wrong to expect him to tell me about this? I know nothing happened. I trust him. My body still reacts the same way as it did years ago when I discovered XH is still talking to OW. I don't get it. What should I do? How do I make the triggers stop?? Do/would you tell your partner if you saw/talked with an ex and nothing happened?

cmego posted 5/18/2013 08:07 AM

I'm sorry you triggered. They suck.

What I know about men? An innocent conversation means nothing to them. It is literally gone from their head the second it is over. From what you described, that is what it sounds like. He isn't maliciously hiding something, it just means nothing to him...therefore he doesn't get it would mean something to you.

Women communicate differently. Especially if you can recall exact conversations. Not all people, especially men, can do that.

My IC tells me just to talk myself through the triggers. You had a "panic attack" with heightened awareness, thrown back like PTSD. It sucks, that panic feeling. But, now, if I trigger, I just try to talk myself through it, or go to friends to smack some sense into me.

You might just want to let him know you SAW the conversation and it triggered you...and you worked though it. He probably has NO IDEA that something like that would affect you. (Unless, of course, you have had previous discussion about ALL contact with an ex should be reported...if that is the case...then disregard everything I just typed.)

(((little turtle)))

little turtle posted 5/18/2013 08:20 AM

Thanks, cmego. What you said makes perfect sense. I'm sure he's clueless.

Will the triggers go away eventually? Or will they always pop up from time to time?

cmego posted 5/18/2013 09:24 AM

Personally I don't think they ever really go away, we just learn to handle them better.

nowiknow23 posted 5/18/2013 10:39 AM

((((little turtle))))

persevere posted 5/18/2013 11:25 AM

(((little turtle))) I agree that it doesn't sound like it means anything to him, which is good, but the triggers still hurt.

Sad in AZ posted 5/18/2013 11:45 AM

To my mind, it depends on the relationship you have with SO and the agreements that you've made. If you've agreed to discuss certain encounters (like a conversation with an ex) and he didn't tell you, that's bad. If you have no such agreements, then I'm with the others; it was probably just a small thing to him, and that's good.

Hope you're feeling better now.

little turtle posted 5/18/2013 12:52 PM

Thanks, everyone. We don't have any agreement where we are to tell each other about encounters with people.

I told SO this afternoon that I had a hard time falling asleep last night. I told him I saw the messages on his facebook. He told me that he didn't think it was a big deal. I have nothing to worry about. I told him that I know that, but it took me back and triggered to the past. He apologized. I told him that it's not his fault. He said he feels like it is since it was on his facebook. I didn't ask for anymore information - like if they talked at the orientation. It doesn't really matter. He's with me and he's faithful to me.

I do feel better now, thanks guys.

hexed posted 5/18/2013 23:52 PM


I hate that kind of stuff. TG still does stuff that is innocent that triggers me once in a while. Its not his fault. Being able to say anything to him is what makes the difference. He never makes me feel badly for triggering and then I get over it almost instantly. I'd say you're absolutely normal

heartbroken_kk posted 5/18/2013 23:58 PM

Does your SO know what "triggering" is for you? For me it is an intensely physical experience. I have PTSD that if I'm triggered I can be really messed up for 30 minutes, and then seem like I'm "off my meds" for as long as 48 hours afterwards.

I strongly suggest that you share with him a blow-by-blow account of what happened internally.

For me it starts with a jolt. Adrenaline. Face gets hot. Chest tight. Heart racing. Start feeling sweaty. I feel my pulse rock my body. All of this is totally involuntary and without my permission. My body gets hijacked.

It does not matter what I think, what I tell myself, I cannot make it go away. I can be totally rational, talk myself through it, dismiss the initial trigger as not a valid concern, etc, and nothing will make my body settle down for at least 30 minutes. And during this time whatever the trigger was will get etched into my brain, activating old issues I thought I had moved beyond. And those issues will be at the fore of my brain for days. It is super unsettling.

If you are at all like this, let him know what it is like for you so he can support you as it wears off, and be ready to help sooner if it happens again. It's not about him. It's just your dragon getting woken.


little turtle posted 5/19/2013 11:17 AM

heartbroken, that's exactly how I was feeling when I saw that the picture in the message tab. No control at all. I was able to calm down after I read the conversation. I tried to not make that jump, but I couldn't control myself. I *had* to know what was said...

I don't think I've ever triggered like this before. I mean, I've had situations where I immediately think of the past or my perception may be off due to previous experiences. But never like this....not since I was with XH.

((hexed)) glad to know you think I'm normal.

NaiveAgain posted 5/20/2013 22:19 PM

I still trigger from time to time also. It does make a huge different if you have an SO that is willing to be patient and work thru the triggers with you.

I hate it when it happens. I feel like I am being unreasonable about things but my SO takes my concerns seriously and does whatever he can to make me feel at ease. It sounds like your SO handled it really well

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