I want to tell you a story, hopefully, one that will build on my last post, and clear up some misconceptions.
It’s about one of my cats. Kitty (as I called him – mainly because my landlord called him Sylvester, a name I didn’t like and didn’t have the courage to try to change), Kitty had been someone’s pet, an abused pet, one who learned to be terrified of all things human.
We discovered him living in the bushes across the back alley, wild and hungry. He could be coaxed out with food, if it was placed somewhere he considered safe, so we fed him.
I found it hard to see him in such distress and set out to woo him into trusting me. It worked, gradually his trust grew to the point that he was eating inside, then living inside – sleeping on the furniture, and finally, on my lap. His trust grew to extend beyond me to my husband, and to our landlord.
Kitty learned to trust the three of us but that was as far as it ever went. He was gone in a flash if anyone else came around, and he was like that for as long as we had him.
The thing is, he didn’t stop to make a judgement call. He had no idea if encountered humans were good or bad, and he didn’t care, he wasn’t taking any chances.
His fear was the result of what had been done to him in the past and had nothing whatever to do with anyone in the present.
That’s the spot I find myself in today. My trust issues and panic attacks are the result of what’s been done to me in the past. The present can inadvertently act as a trigger but other than that, it has no bearing on anything.
Triggers aren’t restricted to strangers, either, they often happen in the presence of people I know and trust, they can even happen when I am alone, maybe reading, thinking, listening to the news, any other activity, really. On top of all that, most of the time I have no idea why.
So, when my talk of trust issues has you worried you are being labelled as a bad guy, please, let that worry go. I don’t stop to make assessments and then act on my findings. Triggers happen when they happen, for reasons all of their own, and they create awkward moments.
Like the one that happened on a day when I was hurrying across a lobby. I spotted a man standing by the door and stopped dead in my tracks. I have no idea what that was about. I had to do some quick, and tough, self talk….don’t just stand there, keep walking.
I can tell you, there were no assessments made that day. He could have been a very good guy.