The Trench Analogy – Dealing with Triggers

The story below, is what we were handed today in group. This is my third time reading this story. Each time we have read it, my answers seem more specific, whereas the very first time I read this, I was very overwhelmed, not even able to look even a smidge over the trench. I can see a little, which is more than I could see before. 


The path towards self-harming or self-defeating behaviors can be like a well-worn trench. It’s familiar and easy to follow. It is possible to create new pathways though. The challenge is to climb out of the familiar trench and look towards new destinations. 


At first, the muddy walls of the trench are slippery and hard to hold onto as you climb your way out. Then, you’re facing a field of tall grass and you can’t see where you’re heading. As you try to create a new pathway with each step, the grass behind you easily spring back up. 


It can be hard to imagine why you want to try this again since the trench can be followed with so little effort. The next time your triggered though, you may remember that the grassy path led you to a self-soothing behavior and away from self-harm. 


You decide to practice the new pathway and gradually pat down the grass to create a new trench. Over time, the old trench starts to grow over so that this becomes less automatic. 


Today I wrote down what my perception of the “grass behind me” meant. I see the grass behind me as although I can step out of the trench, seeing the grass behind me makes me feel that the problem(s) will bring me down again.  

I think what I mean is that I am afraid, afraid to see the positive and life changes that can happen as the grass gets stepped on and the trench grows over as it dries up.  The analogy makes me think of the the fuse, The fuse is what fires the trigger, then the bomb goes off.  By lengthening the fuse, we delay self harm, which ultimately is what we would want.

Today I am content. I’m not happy or sad…