There is a lesson I learned from a relationship many years ago that has stuck with me ever since…
I regard this lesson as a contract between my partner and myself. The contract states that neither of us would ever consciously “come after” each other, which means that neither of us will EVER do or say ANYthing to the other that is intentionally designed to wound, hurt, tweak or trigger.
The contract is applied in EVERY small instance when we may be inclined to play the “tit for tat” game: you did this that time so I’m going do this right now… nuthin’ major, just enough to trigger you a li’l bit to let you know how it feels. The contract also addresses the greater instances when one or both of us are hurt, causing us to lash out at each other with irrevocable words and horrible actions, which creates an aftermath of shattered trust and scarring that the relationship may very well not survive.
Entering into Contract: By agreeing to never “come after” each other, we are agreeing to do three things…
1. We each agree to immediately check-in with ourselves the MINUTE either of us feels hurt, insulted or triggered.
The reasoning behind the check-in is to remind myself that I KNOW my partner did not trigger me on purpose. I can know this because of my trust in my partner’s adherence to the contract. Therefore, I know whatever just triggered me or registered as painful must be coming from inside of me. This is not to say that it is impossible to be hurt by something my partner has done accidentally; however, perceiving her actions/words as an accident, automatically changes my reaction to it and forces me to not resort to a fearful anger-based response. Instead, I am signaled to legitimately look into myself to find the true cause.
2. We agree that just after our internal check-in (or perhaps even during) we will verbalize that we have been “triggered,” which will signal that we are about to dive into something…
This is NOT to say that we point the finger and blame each other for wrongdoing, quite the opposite in fact; by stating “I have been triggered,” I clearly inform my partner that I have been affected while signaling that I am about to dig into myself to figure out why it had that effect and how it was related to what she said or did. Most times, it has nothing to do with what was done in the moment and everything to do with an experience I had at some point in the past; a direct association to what triggered me. Once I go back and have a look at those things, I can begin the healing process and reframe/redefine what my negative past experiences mean. Now, I have helped to create an even safer space where a lot of ordinary slights, tiffs, spats, etc. will simply not occur because of the level of integrity this contract allows us to maintain on a daily basis.
3. Because we are human, we are capable of slipping, so we agree to be honest as SOON as we realize we have violated the contract by intentionally “coming after” one another and take FULL responsibility.
This serves to strengthen the bond of trust between us, as it is recognizes and acknowledges that we will police ourselves, and therefore we will take the contract seriously- leading us to increased trust and integrity.
Because of the level of trust we established, we could voice when we felt “triggered” and allow each other a safe space to search for the true roots of our reactive feelings without pointing the finger and without feeling attacked. We also prevented instances of apologizing without knowing why we were apologizing, which prevented us from missing important building blocks for our relationship.
I must stress that I would absolutely not enter into this agreement with anyone if I did not trust myself or my partner to put forth our full effort to abide by the contract. This includes trusting that we can be honest with ourselves to a degree in which we may not always be comfortable. If I could not trust that my partner and I could put for this effort, I would ask myself why it is okay to be in a relationship with someone I can’t trust to not harm me, or who I could not trust myself not to try to harm.
Definitely something to think about at the very least…
Micah [BlackLight] Lee
This one runs amok amongst the garden valleys of Ashland, through the streets of Brooklyn, New York, and the alleyways of my own mind. After countless unintentional spurnings of the Muse, I have finally completed the steps necessary for my collective Muse to move into my chest as twin volcanoes, [beside the one already extant called my M e t a b o l i s m]. As a result, I am now fully inspired every second of every day and several million nanos between those. My enthusiasm is infectious, my laugh is flippin loud and heartfelt, my art comes from primal places that cast reverse shadows.
I am a reflection, a Dark Lightworker, an angel. I’m a hybrid human/creature/alien thing; writer, singer/mc, artist/illustrator, empowerment coach, art-maker fashion designer guy; a freelance mindblower with freek leanings and a tendency to jump over things and climb onto things and crawl under things. I am reconciled to the little boy inside me that never wants to be hurt again. I am reconciled to the warrior animal inside me that wants to cause hurt for all the times it’s been hurt, or seen hurt. I am a complete puzzle with unattached pieces. I am a lacuna-filler, and an Inspiration Engine. I am a song, living as a poem clothed in flesh brown and labeled Badass. I am a fierce, compassionate, willful, open, sometimes selfish, giving, caring, deeply feeling, channel. I am in love, and of love, and through love I. work. majik. There are many vessels for the expression of the ineffable. Of these, I am one.