This is a re-blog of a post that I come back to, especially in times of stress and distress. When we recognize the wounds of the heart and how righteous grievance impacts our happiness and well being, we can open our hearts once more and find Love.

In the highs and lows of life there will always be more challenging days. This can happen when a colleague lets us down at work; when our partner disappoints us or when our mother criticizes what we are wearing….

Today, I dipped into John Welwood’s book Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships.  He has such interesting and compassionate insights from a fusion of Buddhism and psychotherapy.

Photo by on

John Welwood talks about the wounding of our heart that takes place when we are very young. This is when we realize that our parent cannot love us unconditionally and cannot meet all our needs.
The time comes when we cry and noone comes, or when we want comfort and there’s noone there.
We suddenly become insecure and very fearful about not being fully loved. We feel wounded and vulnerable.

This leads to what he calls a mood of unlove, when we don’t feel fully loved and believe that there is something wrong with us.
When we don’t feel worthy, appreciated, accepted, respected, acknowledged, valued or good enough, the mood of unlove shows up. He calls this the wounding of our heart.

“The mood of unlove often shows up in the form of sudden emotional flare ups in reaction to any hint of being slighted or badly treated. It’s as if a reservoir of distrust and resentment were ready and waiting to be released, which the tiniest incident can trigger. Even caring and compassionate people often carry within them a fair share of unlove and righteous grievance, which can suddenly erupt under certain circumstances.”

To bring it into everyday life. When your boss asks you to re-write that presentation you have spent hours working on, or your spouse criticizes you for not doing it right … you may get triggered!

What John Welwood is saying, is that at these moments the wound of our own heart opens up along with the mood of unlove. We react and try to protect ourselves from this feeling of being unloved and that there is something wrong with us, so we lash out and blame or retreat and find ways to numb and soothe ourselves.

When we become defensive and lash out or withdraw or try to escape,  we may feel better, but the original hurt will be there until we acknowledge and embrace it. We will continue to be triggered until we fully accept and understand ourselves and let love blossom inside.

Could it be that simple … that all we long for is to feel fully loved?

Yes is the answer for every one of us.

By taking the time to see this in the heart of these moments, we can learn to give ourselves empathy and love and begin to heal old wounds.


29 comments on “Love, Relationships and Triggers

  1. Beautifully written dear lady, it is indeed that painful place within. The one we have marked with a red marker pen and focus on so much we don’t even realize we are doing it…and compare it to all in our lives. And we will indeed face that child, understand them, and finally set ourselves free. Great post Val, the gentleman you spoke of has indeed spoken to, and understood that child. Thank you for sharing 😀❤️🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon Lawrence

    I observed this scene with my granddaughter Claire last evening. Thanks for the words to ponder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so well expressed

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Patti Walton

    To fully accept ourselves and understand ourselves helps to love ourself but the hurt may still remain and therefore be triggered. Mercy and forgiveness is the true healer in my mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Very well said

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh! We were on a similar trajectory in our posts this time! And I think you’re right, love is what we’re all seeking. It’s hard being a child and in return, being a parent to the immensity of need in the midst of having to provide and care for one’s children. Kids are narcissistic by nature, bottomless pits of need. To me, the tragedy is when, as adults, we do not put that into perspective. My own journey has led me to discover that Being Love attracts loving interactions and problem resolutions. And, as a client once told me he heard in AA, expectations are like premeditated resentments, so best to remain open to solutions instead. We do the best we can. And I do believe that healing that inner child is parked in the middle of every conscious adult’s path. Blessings, Val. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That was very insightful! Wish I had understood that years ago. I’m wondering if we start out that way, is that the reason we keep inviting the same kind of relationships into our lives? Repeating the pattern over and over? Hmmm.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think it is a learned behavior from our own family and we don’t even realize there is any other way. It’s never too late for fresh insights. Thank you Marlene. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. Very wise and so true.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If only people knew this before they entered a relationship!

    Liked by 2 people

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  14. This is so true.

    Liked by 1 person

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