Do you sometimes catch yourself on thinking that this person or his or her behavior is just soooooo annoying? Is it your boss, parent, friend, colleague, partner, kid?
They do something and you can’t help it but to criticize them, get angry with them, argue, or even attack them somehow? Or you want to hide from them and have nothing to do with them?
These reactions are called „triggers”. It means that someone triggered something in us. What do they trigger? No surprise here – some unhealed wounds from childhood that we haven’t dealt with yet.
Another reason can be that this person activated in you something called „your shadow self”. It means, that you see in them some traits that you refuse to see in yourself. Why wouldn’t you like to see them in yourself? Well, usually these traits are not super positive.
The funny thing is that this person may annoy you, but for the other person they’re totally neutral. It happens a lot to me and my husband. I or him find someone’s behavior super annoying and the other person is like: “What’s your problem?” 🙂 Why is that?
OK, let me break it down to you.
The Little Version of You
When we are kids, we are born as whole and perfect. And we perceive ourselves as such. But then we are subjected to parenting, social programming and interaction with other people in general. Deep down, in our hearts we know there’s nothing wrong with us, but we have no capacity to defend it yet.
So if someone, especially someone important or superior to us, tells us there’s something wrong with us, we start to believe it. To please this person, we start to behave according to their expectations and during this process we create a persona (fake self) that helps us operate in our environment. It’s this voice telling us „don’t do this” or „do this” because Mommy or Daddy will be angry with you. It’s our EGO.
People criticize ego a lot these days but I think it has it’s purpose. It’s there to protect us. At least our childhood version of ourselves. But as adults, we don’t need so much protection from our ego and we can make different choices based on our current values.
The Bigger Version of You
OK, so you unconsciously operate from the place of ego for a while and you forget the real you. And the real you wants to be seen. When you mature, you don’t need this kind of protection anymore but not always you realize that. So you may still operate from the level of your 8-year-old self with automatic responses you’ve learnt as a child to protect yourself. Now, you have strength and opportunity to behave like an adult. It’s a skill to learn but believe me, it’s totally worth it.
Why You Keep Attracting the Sam Type of People or Situations?
While creating this fake persona you rejected some parts of yourself. If your parents told you it’s not good to be smart, angry, sad, self-confident, weak, or successful, you naturally suppressed these traits of character. They can be both positive and negative. And now, in your life, you attract people and situations to remind you about it.
If you attract people who are strong and powerful, it’s because you are strong and powerful as well, you just don’t see it. They are here to remind you about it. Same goes for people who are manipulative or angry or unhappy. It’s all about reminding you about these missing pieces in yourself. As humans, we possess all the traits possible. Some of them are just in the shadow because we don’t want to see them (we were thought it’s not OK to have them in childhood). That’s why we call it our shadow self.
To feel the inner peace we need to feel whole. When something is missing, we feel this emptiness and it’s just calling us to be filled in.
The Things You Don’t Want to See in Yourself
So let’s go back to annoying people. Imagine someone who’s pissing you off. I know you have this person in mind 🙂 I do too. Okay. What specific trait this person possess that triggers you so badly? Are they hateful, sissy, weak, problematic, complaining, obnoxious, immature, racist, asshole, not good enough, emotional, idiot, have no taste, weirdo/your word?
Now take a deep breath. Maybe two.
You have this trait too. And so do I. We all do, because we are all human.
To take it in, you may say it out loud: „I am…” and accept it.
When we accept the missing part in ourselves, it stops bothering us in other people. There are many exercises to truly embody this, but start with these simple questions:
- Have you ever behaved like this in the past?
- If circumstances have changes, would you be capable of behaving like this?
The Things You Admire in Others
The same goes for the people we admire. We forget we possess also all the positive aspects of being human.
Think of the person who you truly admire and bring to mind about 2-3 qualities this person has that really inspire you. Is this person strong, active, patient, intelligent, soft, risk-taker, happy, sexy? So are you! He or she is here to remind you about it and help you reclaim the missing parts of yourself. It’s your „light” and you may have it buried underneath in the same place as your shadow self.
It doesn’t mean we all express these traits in the same way. Or that we don’t have different gifts, because we do. As I said, we have all the human traits, just in different expression. For example in my case being successful may manifest as making a decision to open my coaching business and make money on what I love to do. In your case it may mean you run a marathon. Or being angry may show up as writing an angry letter that I’ll never send or in someone else’s case as smashing the opponent during a sport tournament. We all have our unique expressions of different characteristics, but we all have them inside. The point is to reclaim and own it. And to feel whole again.
The Gifts From Your Shadow
If it’s really hard for you to accept your shadow self, ask yourself this:
- When did I behave like…?
- What did I gain by behaving like…?
- Write that down.
For example if you were angry, it might have given you strength to change your situation. If you behaved inauthentic, it may revealed who you really are and who you are not. If you lacked self-confidence, you might have discovered what you need to feel strong.
Each negative aspect presents itself with a possible gift. And you task is to see it and take it in as a growth opportunity.
Why People Are So Annoying?
Well, it’s because they show you your traits that you don’t want to see in yourself. And until you accept that, they will show up in your life, reminding you about it. It’s just how it works. So do yourself a favor, reclaim your missing parts and move on to the next level of being your beautiful self 🙂
The book that will help you go deeper and that I truly recommend is „The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” by Debbie Ford.