Ep. 48 – ‘When triggered, don’t react. Think, process, then respond as your best self would’

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

14th August 2021, Croatia

I’ve just started a therapy session and I’m already tired of crying.

But therapy has allowed me to see myself in a clearer perspective. I now understand where my insecurities came from – a combination of childhood neglect, trauma suffered during my teenage/ adult years and growing up in a society where we’re all so hard on each other.

All of us growing up in Singapore have been conditioned to compete against each other. The education system demands for it. The capitalism system enforces it.

We have all either directly or indirectly been conditioned to be so hard on ourselves and in turn, be so hard on each other.

Why?

It’s not just the high level of competition that has fostered so much anger within all of us.

Gender, race and nationality stereotypes have all caused a divide between us. We categorize people according to color, gender, sexuality, class, nationality and age.

“You wouldn’t know anything because I’ve eaten more rice than you’ve eaten salt”

“I think women will only truly be happy if they have children. That’s why unmarried women in their 40s become so bitter.”

“If I don’t want to rent my apartment out to certain races, that’s MY prerogative, it’s just my personal preference, it’s not racism.”

“Aiya, all these Singaporean women now only want AMDK (Ang mo dua kee – loosely translated to Caucasians who are big shots), you cannot blame me for going to Vietnam to buy my wife. If not how? I am not considered attractive to Singaporean women.”


Someone who once dated Marianne approached me on Instagram and tells me this –

“I’m sorry that Marianne is treating you this way. While I only dated her for a short while, I know that she has a good heart. She comes across as vicious and mean sometimes but it’s only because she wears her heart out on her sleeves. She loves very hard and so she hates very hard as well. You just happened to be a good target since you’re her husband’s ex wife. I hope you don’t take her words to heart.” He tells me.

“I’ve never had anything against her. I don’t even know her. I don’t have to harbor any anger towards her. She’s no different from any hater I have out there. When RICE Media first wrote an article about me, my friend told me there was a hardwarezone forum full of people insulting me with personal attacks. I don’t know these people. They just have nothing else better to do.” I reply.

Every single time my parents find out something that Gideon and Marianne have done, they want to march to their parents’ place to show them all the evidence of them hurting me.

Every time Gideon feels guilty about something, it triggers him into lying to people and lying about people.

Every single time I contact Gideon about something regarding the house, it triggers him into a reaction and that in turn triggers Marianne who in turn triggers me.

Every single time Marco says something that reminds me of something that happened in my past, it triggers me.

Every single time I tell Marco not to do something, it triggers something in him.

Life is so tiring when we all just pass our triggers onto each other.

But the more we have constructive arguments with our loved ones, the more we find out about their triggers and about them – what hurt them before, who loved them before, how they love and how they want to receive love.

We learn to avoid triggering them while they work on themselves. No one person can claim to be more superior than another. We can only look at the facts in our lives and decide for ourselves what kind of people we want to be.

Do we want to become more joyful by forgiving ourselves and moving on to better things in life? Or do we want to remain bitter and let the anger eat ourselves up inside?

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