I have placed a sticker “NO GUM” in my car
Today I want to bring up attention to self-care and self-love. And even though I am an advocate for working on myself, my reactions to triggers and my mindset - i m also standing up for self-love, self-care and self-respect in the process.
I believe into taking 100% responsibility on how I react when I hear someone chewing a gum or talking to me with their mouth full. I am committed to overcome these triggers one day and I do believe that it is possible. Just like it was possible with some other triggers that I worked on and got to the point of being able to tolerate them without Misophonia attacks.
However, in the process of me working on it I do ask my friends and anyone I am in contact with in my car not to chew gum or eat any kind of food.
ANY KIND. ANYONE. Adult or child. It does not matter.
There is NO FOOD ALLOWED in my car.
I do whatever it takes to be respectful and discuss it the very second I notice it about to happen. When I have someone’s children in the car I respectfully give them an option to eat their snack or candy now, right at that moment - I do let them know I will have to pull over and we all can take a snack break or they wait until we get home (or whatever distinction we are going to).
And you know what - children get it. Adults get it. People can be kind and respectful to you when you are kind and respectful to them. It is possible to create safe environment when things are not taken personally and expressed in a NON-BLAME way.
Sometimes pick up my girlfriend daughter from a dance class. At the end of the class teacher gives everyone a candy or a lollipop. Kids are very excited about these sweets. They are also excited to go home. However, when I explained to her that I do not allow gum, candies or any kind of food in the car anymore and it has nothing to do with her, it is my Misophonia trigger, it is my disorder and it is my trigger she responded in such a wise manner (some adults do not respond like that). I let her know I love her and that I understand that she might want to eat that candy right now. I respect it and will be happy to take a walk for a few minutes before we get into a car. And sometimes we do. It only takes a few minutes and she gets to eat her candy. It also gives us a quality time and an opportunity to walk and chat. To talk about the dance practice, what she likes and if there is something she doesn’t like. Just think about it – would we have a chance to talk about her feelings if we would go home right away? Most likely not that night.
While we walk I’m not trapped in a small closed space with the trigger and have an opportunity to practice to focus on other things. I find it beneficial to both of us.
Sometimes she says” it is absolutely fine and I can wait until we get home. It is better to eat candy after dinner anyways!” Yes, kids are smart like that. We just have to give them a chance to express themselves, chance to choose, and chance to live in a safe environment where they can state what they want and not to be afraid of the rules of the household.
She is only 8 years old and I do not think she understands what Misophonia is, but she does understand that no gum or candy in my car rule has nothing to do with her.
I recently had another friend on the passenger sit of my car and she did not even notice the sticker. I have asked her as gentle as I could to not chew gum in the car and show her the sticker. We did not have enough time to discuss it as our trip was not long enough and we were already in the middle of another conversation when we got into the car. I just chose to make it crazy/funny but important thing. And she politely got rid of her gum right away.
Does it work all the time with anyone? No ... unfortunately ... but for the most part it does work for me IN MY CAR.
And if I offer ride to anyone in my car - it is MY responsibility to make sure EVERYONE in this car is comfortable. Including me. ESPECIALLY ME