How to Deal with Triggers
Ever find yourself on the other end of an argument just freaking out? Yelling, name-calling? Maybe you start crying, and don’t understand why the person you love would say something like that you. Maybe you were completely offended by something and you felt it was necessary to give ‘em a piece of your mind. Most of the time you think nothing past it. Maybe you’re still upset because of your feelings etc. But, just like I was, you don’t see past the surface. Most of the time those outburst/emotions actually have nothing to do with the situation or argument. But a much deeper wound. A wound we have not healed. As my spiritual shaman likes to say, those triggers are healing opportunities.
Yes! I know! It sounds a bit deeper than we want it to. But it’s true. I have just the example to share with you.
I’m currently pregnant and not with the father of my child. This is also his first child and he’s getting advice from friends on how to handle our situation. I don’t think there is anything wrong with his support team. I think it’s important that he has that support structure in place. But the two besties were talking and it was mentioned that the friend’s wife could help me nurse my daughter, if I could not. (She will give birth 2 weeks before me.) Every time I tried to talk about it, the father of my child would tell me not to think emotionally but what’s best for our child. I honestly had no idea what to say. I totally didn’t understand why they were talking about it, why he would mention that or think I couldn’t provide for our child, and so much more. I tried to mention the bonding and other things. He kept telling me to stop emotionally thinking about it. I finally got to the point where I said, “We need to talk about something else. Or I am going to f*cking explode.” (Baby rage!) A few weeks later I had the doctor explain that it wasn’t appropriate and it’s technically not better for the child, and bonding is sacred and should only take place between a mother and the child. (I really just asked about it. And she took it from there!) And if you want more on the back story, read this blog.
Anyway, I didn’t realize I was triggered until I was texting my spiritual guru about what was said. I felt inadequate. Felt that he thought I’m unable to provide for our child. Ultimately my body was just an object for sex and not to provide as nature would have it. The trigger? Feeling inadequate. Like an object. Why? Being sexually abused as a child and an adult. I would have never realized I was triggered if I hadn’t taken time to process the information. That’s why I am so happy I didn’t freak out. No matter how stupid the comment was. (Especially after he told the doctor he was joking!) My healing from the abuse is still in process. And I hope to share more. But the point is that conversation could have turned into a huge scene. Or maybe me just cracking his head into the table. I’m not really sure! (I’m joking! It sounds good though.) Thank goodness for that pause.
I am going to share with you some techniques I’ve used that help me handle triggers. And not react just because it feels good at the moment. Don’t get wrong, I still react and have moments like everyone else. But it’s not as bad as it used to be.
I’ve learned, especially in the last few months, how easily you learn people when you’re not freaking out all the time. Even when you’re boiling inside. You let people react and say things. Whether you respond is up to you. (Picking your battles can be the hardest thing to do.) Sometimes you may decide to say something but you don’t want to say anything that causes even more problems.
This requires a pause. Just a few seconds. Ask yourself: How can I say this without making things worse? Or is this worth saying at all? This pause can save you a lot of heartache. No matter how stupid the other person is acting! If it makes you feel unpeaceful in the end, it’s not worth it. The pause gives you an opportunity to process everything. Especially if you decide not to say anything at all. Just because we have emotions doesn’t mean we are run by them.
Aware, Accept, Embrace
If you haven’t already read the blog on this, check it out here! Although I use this specifically for emotions you can easily use this concept for triggers. Essentially a trigger is an emotion. It’s just a raw hurt emotion. This what you do:
*You can journal about it, meditate on it, or do both. Do whatever will help you move through the trigger. Don’t just ignore it. *
Be aware that you’ve been triggered. How have you been triggered? What is the core emotion behind the trigger? In my case I felt shame and rejection.
Accept that you’ve been triggered. It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with it. Don’t try to make it go away. Because it won’t. I know most of us believe we’re awful people because we feel a certain way. But it’s what you do with the emotion that matters. Try to remember “you’re a bad person” because you feel a certain way is a taught behavior.
Embrace that you’ve been triggered. Just go along with it. Work it out. Let it be there and freaking love yourself anyway! The fact that you can go through these steps or just identify you’ve been triggered is a huge freaking deal. You should be proud of yourself.
Write about it until it’s out of your veins, until it’s out of your emotions, out of your thoughts. Until you’re sick of writing about it. It will help you detach. It will help you organize or like my mom says, “It helps you purge”. It really will. And it does help if you journal regularly. (Here are 3 blogs that can help you with that! Facing the Past, Self-Love, & Self-Reflection. Or if you don’t want to read the blogs and you want all of the prompts sent to you, directly, click here.)
Take some time to meditate about the trigger. Answers will come from your higher self.
A Few notes
You can combine these techniques. I do all the time. Remember to get in physical activity. It helps you stay grounded and in your right mind instead of bursting with emotions every 5 minutes. Talking about it helps too! Especially if you have great friends.
In the end it’s all about what you do with the trigger that matters. Remember to give yourself the opportunity to heal. Just like in my case, my history of sexual abuse still haunts me. Meaning I still need to heal that wound. Some of us might not even be aware we have wounds that need healed. And identifying your triggers will help you do so!
If you have questions, a story, can relate in any way, comment below. Let’s connect!