The cats and the blinds

We have been working on Triggers weekly. Once a week, a group member can decide to work through their trigger that they have chosen. This week, I decided to work through mine.

I felt embarrassed to suggest the topic I did because my cats have been driving me nuts! Ella, has a very bad habit of  pawing the blinds in the kitchen and in the addition. She does this as a means of getting our/my attention. I often don’t respond right away, because I don’t want to get up at 4am to feed her, and I don’t like being controlled by my animals. 

I have found that since my partner has gone out-of-town, it feels like all 3 cats have been getting on my last nerve, to the point that I scream at them and I even threw something in the kitchen at them! 

I brought this trigger up in my group and the trigger sheet is an 11 x 14 sheet on the left is the negative side and the right is the positive. 

So I start naming my negative thoughts; things like pets @ home are doing it on purpose, not competent, they want to be in control & I won’t let them. I am useless, I am ineffective, I hate it when C is gone. “

Then we name what we feel Physical and Emotionally.

Physical Feelings

tight muscles, not in stomach, headaches, body aches, stiff joints, over-tired

Emotional Feelings:  Sad, Calm

Intensity: 9 out of 10

Self-Harming/Self-Defeating Behaviours:
x Yes  or  No

I have been using Self Defeating Behaviors.

At this point I am starting to see some things I hadn’t seen before. A few of my fellow group members were also helpful in their suggestions and comments.  I had begun to realize that I wasn’t really angry at the cats, I was angry and frustrated that C had gone out-of-town, and that I need him more than I am wanting to admit, because in the past I have had trust broken.

We now move to the right side of the page to these topics:

Self-Support Statements:

Understanding The Trigger: (Until I did this myself with everyone, I was having troubles figuring this one out)

The cats represent something about my relationship with C.

The cats push a button about my ineffectiveness

Understanding My Thinking Twists:

This topic is where I have to figure out if my thinking twists were Jumping to Conclusions, Catastrophizing, OverGeneralizing, Black & White Thinking. I had come to realize that my thinking twists were Jumping to Conclusion, OverGeneralizing and Black & White Thinking.

Understanding my Feelings:

It’s scary to allow myself to need C. I’ve had trust broken in the past (no wonder I feel resentful). This is the first time we’ve been apart since living together. (naming my feelings & understanding them, I notice lowers the intensity). 

Understanding Myself:

I’ve been independent in the past. With living with C, I’m need him more than I want. Allowing myself to be sad allows me to know myself better and what I need.

Physical Feelings:

Calmer, Posture better, less of a knot

Emotional Feelings:


Intensity: 4 out of 10

Life-Enhancing Behaviors:

1. Deep Breathing

2. Maybe I need to phone a friend

3. Grieve

I learned a lot from this session and the next day I found myself calmer, when it comes to Ella smacking the blinds, or when Jingles decides to deliberately knock things off the table, or when he opens the cupboards looking for his treats. I realize I could go on, but I know I get the idea.