We have that going on, too. Nearly Exh only comes a few days out of a whole month to see DD and is still making a lot of changes to things left with her and she doesn't understand it. And he has thrown boundaries to the wind and routine doesn't matter to him so he doesn't seem to remember that it still matters to a young child to have routine to cling to.
She told me recently some things that hurt my heart for her...she told me that she sleeps in front of the door when he takes her to visit so that he can't bolt without her knowing. I cried for several days and find that sometimes her pain is harder to witness than mine.
Yes...it is a massive undertaking to attempt to comfort another person when we are in agony. I can relate.
On the matter of triggers, I actually wrote a little blurb about it in the divorce/sep area because I've been studying it lately as a coping mechanism and because I've been missing more of life than I want to anymore.
Part of my theme is to work really hard on my own thinking and to work on catching my thoughts when they wander. I understand that you are in the reconciling area so that's different dimensions, but I will try to say that we can control the triggers by controlling our thoughts.
One way I learned to do this is to make my thoughts about what I can control, what's within the walls of my house, car or life and push my thoughts back to those areas.
Those are difficult topics that you mention, Mack, but can be turned around in some ways and I hope you will get to a time to be able to do so. It's empowering.
One thing I tell myself when the tears won't go away is, "I'm ok." I look around at my surroundings and take mental notes...and continually remind myself "I'm okay." And I breath and I count at the same time.
I wish you peace.
A person is a person, no matter how small. -Dr. Suess
Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.