The meme strikes again.
I was amused by this slice of life kitchen scene, spread out over three panels.
The first panel has a mother slicing red peppers on a kitchen counter, with her young, blond daughter, walking, crying, and rubbing her eyes from the upset.
In the second panel, the daughter, visibly still crying, goes to her mother for comfort. Mom cradles her daughter’s face in her hands, with her fingers spread over her daughter’s eyes.
Can you anticipate the third panel?
(I think you can).
Yes, panel three captures a pain-stricken and screaming daughter, gripping her eyes with her tiny fingers. The daughter is clearly stinging from a couple of eyeballs that made direct contact with the burning Capsaicin from those fantastic red peppers on the kitchen counter.
A mother’s comfort, indeed.
How many of us can relate to this kind of pepper comfort?
It’s the toxic relational pattern in which we turn to abusive people, believing they will love, comfort, and take care of us in a nurturing way. Most of us experience this kind of dynamic with an abusive parent, a frenemy, or a significant other/spouse. These people “appear” to be the loving, safe, caring, “go-to people” we turn to when we are vulnerable.
And that’s usually when the problems begin.
So, why does this pepper comfort situation exist for us?
Here’s a few possible reasons why our psyche takes some painful hits of emotional Capsaicin.
We have identified a source of love, comfort, and safety.
It is a parent, a family member, a friend, or a trusted authority figure.
We choose some person who is that “go-to person.”
They represent someone we need, someone who will love, protect, comfort, and help us. They convince us that they are safe and trustworthy. They hold the promise that they will make a situation better for us.
Therefore, we act like the little girl, crying, running to Mom, with her pile of peppers.
After all, it’s Mommy. She’s the answer.
We decide to go to the designated source of love, comfort, and safety to get our needs met.
With our answer-person in sight, we are persuaded.
We make our decision to trust someone with our pain.
Yes, because of the overwhelming sense of blood ties, core beliefs, public opinion, and even ulterior motives and hinky agendas, we can be persuaded to believe the consensus and the lip service of others over the harmful actions we experience for ourselves.
We believe- we need and desire to believe– that a person is who we need them to be for us. Simple. Straightforward. No game playing.
Someone fire up the Capsaicin!
They touch us; they harm us.
We take the action; we take the risk.
We allow a person to have access to our vulnerabilities. We can, therefore, take an eyeful of stinging pepper touch.
People don’t always intend to harm someone else.
And sometimes, they do have an intention to cause us pain.
Sometimes, it can be a complicated mix of the two.
Some people are toxic. Their impact on our lives is toxic. They harm everything and everyone they touch. They have Capsaicin poison filling their bloodstream.
They can do that when they love us. They can achieve that pain if they lie about loving us. They can be aware of their harm. They can be ignorant and/or in blissful denial they are anything short of a wonderful, loving, kind person. They can be abusers, addicts, and disordered individuals.
Multiple factors create the pepper pain they inflict on us if we let them touch our lives.
And many of us learn the hard way what happens if we override our instincts, histories, and facts concerning them.
What happens if we run towards their Capsaicin touch?
We get hurt.
With toxic trust, hope, and belief in a harmful person, going to them for love and support, we become Humpty Dumpty. We set ourselves up for a great big fall. We move towards the increased pain, instead of further away from it.
Our life stings somehow. It stings so much, that we are hindered from moving forward effectively. Our vision is impaired. Our movement is impaired.
And our trust is impaired.
In some way, we usually beg for the soothing milk to neutralize the pepper effect. We want to wash more than our burning eyes. We want to douse our lives with any relief we can access.
We walk away from this comfort incident in more pain than when we approached the source of love, comfort, and safety.
We learn the consequences of that pepper decision.
Pain is a great teacher. And we learn something from going through it.
We want to get help.
Ah, yes. Silver lining city. Consolation prize. Wisdom?
Well, that depends.
What did we learn from the pepper contact?
Nothing? Anything? Something?
Where is “healthy” found within any of those answers?
Is it in our hands?
What is the ratio of healthy-to-Capsaicin?
Will we change those percentages?
Capsaicin is the catalyst.
We trust people who aren’t good for us. We may not believe that we want pain. We may not believe a person is harmful.
But the pain of life moves us and changes us. Capsaicin adds spice to food. Heat. Flavor. And yes, pain.
It is a change agent. It provokes.
And that provocation can change us into better versions of ourselves.
Those red peppers, touching our eyes, therefore, are NOT in vain.
Copyright © 2023 by Sheryle Cruse