The simplest thing can Trigger a reaction within your body
When my sister was sick, before she had her operation to remove a brain tumour, she received a lot of flowers in hospital. So much so, we needed to hunt through the visitor's kitchenette of the hospital to locate more vases because she had used up all the ones the nurses originally gave her. Not so nice, experience number 1.
When my sister died, six months later, Soooooooo many flowers were sent to our home. A lovely gesture by caring family, friends and a supportive community. I still remember all the flowers in the lounge room. That was shitty experience number 2.
When my boyfriend at the time saw me for the first time after my sister died, he gave me the most beautiful little bouquet of flowers. Truly they were so pretty and he was perfect to do what he did. Nonetheless, super sad Experience number 3.
Then came the day of the funeral - flowers lay outside the church and then of course there were the flowers on the coffin...so the funeral and burial - Hideous experiences number 4 and 5
The last experiences in particular were some of the worst experiences of my life. They were highly intensive, negative, emotional experiences and I was helpless and unable to change anything that was happening in my life.
What was happening in my body was that my autonomic nervous system, outside of my conscious awareness linked flowers to horrendous emotional pain.
This is the basis of Pavlov's theory. Ring a bell, feed a dog, ring a bell, fed a dog... in time the dog connected the ringing of the bell to being fed and would salivate just upon hearing the bell even when no food was present. The bell has has nothing to do with food until it was made to mean something.
The brains job is to keep us alive and away from pain. For me, now that flowers equaled pain, every time I saw flowers, I instantly tensed up, felt sad, and to be honest hated receiving flowers because I instantly thought of my sisters death. Why would I want flowers if that's the reaction they created in me?
Fast forward a few years, I still hated getting flowers. I was always polite and courteous but as a result of those earlier experiences, I've never been a girl who got excited over getting flowers from a guy. I used to tell my boyfriends not to bother getting me flowers actually. I let them know why.
These day's I still don't love been given flowers, but I don't hate them either. The thought probably still fleetingly crosses my mind I'd say each time I receive some or see a whole bunch of flowers in a florist shop but I don't sink into the frozen, tense body anymore. I'm way more neutral and stay present to the real and current situation at hand. I even got to the point in my last relationship of enjoying receiving flowers.
No one can ever really know what is a negative trigger for someone because they aren't always obvious or make sense. For some individuals, it can range from a slight uneasy feeling to a full blown panic attack or even disassociation. Some people don't even know what triggers them and they just think something is really wrong with them.
Fortunately, it is possible to neutralise the links between two unrelated things that invoke a negative reaction within the body. Breaking the link is necessary to create change.
It takes strategically accessing the sensory system of the mind and 'scrambling' the way the brain has encoded that experience. You don't have to go from hating something to loving it. Neutral is a great place to be. Neutral, un-triggered, non reactive, I'm ok - they're all great places to be.