I'm a 43-year-old man. I consider myself one of the most laid-back people I know. I am rarely angry, and even though I may cuss at traffic now and then, I'm not emotionally invested in it, it's just a way to blow off frustration. I'm calm, cool, and collected 99% of the time. Only rarely do I ever exhibit anger. Typically, I walk away, think about things, then deal with the situation once I'm sure I'm not over-reacting.
Just a few minutes ago, I was at a friend's house. A lady I've known for close to 20 years was there. Playfully, she reached up and flicked my ear. You know, how you might flick a bug off of someone's shoulder. When she did that, I all-but lost complete control. I stood up, put on my coat, grabbed my stuff and left. I immediately called my brother who was still there and said, "You'd better tell her." He immediately said, "Ok." He knew exactly what I was talking about. He has his own trigger, too.
I'm not joking: It took about a half an hour before my hands stopped shaking. It took a bit longer before I felt I was myself, again. I am not violent. Not by a long shot. But, if she had been a guy I probably would have been in a fight. Luckily, I was able to keep it together long enough to get home.I pride myself on control. For those few minutes, I was barely holding it together.
Even after my brother explained it to her and she apologized, even after I forgave her and apologized for my actions, it was still about 45 minutes until I felt human, again.
Since I was a kid, flicking my ear has been a "trigger" that causes me to seriously lose control. I know this trigger stems from being picked on as a kid. I know it is an irrational thing. Knowing this does NOT stop me from going from laughing and having fun to instant maniac.
Is this a common thing? Can it be somehow cured? This is a situation that could have gotten completely out of control. It really, REALLY scared me.
so that I can continue to create free content and resources for psychology students and educators.