Playing with Triggers
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.
Under a dark moon, I finished some spiritual work with a friend. In the process of saying goodnight, she pulled a very old trigger—one I wasn’t expecting and one I’m desperately trying to trace back to its origins and kill—a little like Terminators trying to kill the mother of their enemy before he was conceived.
“I really enjoyed playing with you tonight.”
Such an innocent comment, but it stopped me in my tracks. She must have sensed it because she went on to explain that doing this type of work with me feels like playing to her.
It does to me, too. I’ve used that verb quite a bit to describe how I feel about new spiritual learning experiences. They’re fun and it’s almost like being a little kid again.
Somehow the word play conjures up something else and I’m not quite sure why and why now.
Perhaps the connotation is fresh on my mind because earlier in the evening, we talked about how we both sensed that a friend of mine, whom she’s never met, is being played, that he’s going through a hard time right
now, but he’s determined to break free of it. We sensed that there is someone in his environment who is playing him, messing with him, and doing little things that would take away his dream, his livelihood, his professional li- cense, but that he will be successful in breaking free and in the flourishing of his dreams into the prosperity and abundance that will come much more quickly than he thinks.
He knows who’s playing with him. Both of them.
It is, in so many ways for him, a repeat of his previous year. He gets the harsh lessons all over again but this time, instead of running away, he will find success in yet another new beginning, in one of his own making this time. He’ll break free and take charge of his life and his future and no longer be at the beck and call of those who would use his fire to fuel their own petty dreams. He will live his dreams, and be happy again. And I will be so glad to see it happen for him at last.
And I, of course, will do what I can to light the way
for him and send him whatever extra protection will help him through this ugliness. I promised the Goddess long ago that I would. His dream affects so many lives.
But somehow with the worry and annoyance on my mind that he’s being played, the verb simply stands out in my mind and triggers old fears. I could say it’s a trust is- sue, it’s insecurity, but if I could track down its beginning, perhaps I could get rid of it.
I’m afraid of being played. There. I admit it. There’ve been too many times in my adult life when I’ve been played and played with, led on, manipulated, hurt. All for someone else’s future gain or mere entertainment. Just when I think I can trust again, here comes this niggling doubt that once again I’m going to be wrong about where I put my faith.
I can take my fear of being played with back to my teen years, back to those “mean girls” days when I was fodder for the popular kids who were bored and enjoyed activities that were the moral equivalent of pulling off the wings of a butterfly and dropping it into an ant bed to watch it writhe.
I can go further back and then I hit a veil. I was maybe six years old, no more than seven, and I can’t re- member the exactness of it but I do remember different adults playing with me, telling me my worst nightmares, inventing terrible things, traumatizing me. For fun. Not my parents but other relatives, older ones who took great pleasure in seeing me frightened and then held my fear up to each other and laughed.
When I would cry for hours, my mother would scold my torturers. All they would answer was, “We was jes’ playin’ with her.”
As a grown-up, it’s easy to look back and see how pathetic my persecutors were. It’s also easy to see how con- trolling and manipulating people are who try to play with my friend. With me, too. It’s all about power and domination. Just because I see it doesn’t make it go away.
It’s an old wound, a very old wound, and it still has an effect. I’m not a little girl anymore though. Now I slap back when people play with me or mine.
Unfortunately, the ability to squash fools after the fact does not quell my fear of being played for a fool to begin with.