If you’ve been following me, you know this isn’t my first blog on triggers. In fact, you can check out the last trigger blog, here. I even developed a workbook almost a year ago to help with triggers. Which is actually what I’m releasing again today. (You can click here for it.) Quite honestly, I didn’t realize the impact of triggers then. I certainly do now!
If you have a traumatic background or grew up dealing with some pretty awful things, you don’t realize those things still haunt you, as adults. When they do show up in your present they show up with a different face than when you were younger. Making it a little difficult to identify you’re triggered. Even to this day, there are times I don’t realize I’m triggered. When I do realize I’m like: Omgosh! I should have freaking known!
Over the last several months, I have deep dived into my triggers. Triggers related to being sexually abused as a child, triggers related to feeling abandon, trust, control, you name it, I was probably dealing with it!
Here are some of the things I’ve learned:
Triggers have helped me heal. Because I take them head on. I don’t try to run from them. I take responsibility for my emotions and actions when I am triggered. It truly helps me get to the bottom of the problem.
Triggers really are an opportunity to heal. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not!
Triggers stop running your life, if you start addressing them one by one. Even just acknowledging you’ve been triggered changes the game. You won’t always feel crazy or have out of control outburst, anxiety, emotions etc. Dealing with triggers is just as important to healing your past as it is to your mental and emotional health.
This is not enough though! I can sit here and talk about what I learned forever. But you need more! Just like I needed more. And sometimes I still need more. Which leads me to my next topic. How do I even know if I’m being triggered? That’s a really good question. Sometimes we don’t realize it. In my case, I wouldn’t realize it until I was already flying off the handle.
This can be tricky. If you follow your instincts/gut and not your head, you will know when you’re triggered.
How to Identify You’ve been triggered
Your emotions or reaction to something someone said is out of control. Meaning your anger, your sadness, the feeling of being inadequate (which I felt a lot when my ex and I would talk about my pregnancy) is so out of control you can’t have a conversation, you can’t be consoled or calmed down enough to process further.
You won’t let go of the topic. And you find new ways to start an argument about it minutes later. Even months or years later. (I used to do this a lot! I call it pocket bombs. Where someone has triggered you and really hurt your feelings. But you don’t want to tell that person. So you put what they said in your pocket and use it against them later. To hurt them like they hurt you. I used to be so good at it, an argument or conversation could totally be shut down with one.)
What happened brings back old feelings and flashbacks. When I was dating this guy and we went out of town, we started arguing to the point where he kicked me out of the hotel for the night. (That’s seriously the short version.) When I was dating other guys and they wanted to go out of town, just hearing staying at a hotel would trigger me so bad I would start an argument and say and do weird things so I wouldn’t have to go out of town with them. It even went to the extent where I wouldn’t talk to them anymore.
You turn the conversation, argument, situation around on that person. I think we’ve all been guilty of this. I used to manipulate a conversation like this all the time. Especially if I could pocket bomb someone. Try to keep in mind doing this is actually a sign of wanting to control the situation but it is also a victim mentality you play into when doing this. If you’re healing from your past the last thing you want is to continue to play into the victim mentality. Be aware, part of control is related to being triggered or trying to prevent getting hurt. (Want more on dealing with control? Click here.)
Now you’re aware of what happens when you’re triggered. Let’s talk about how to deal. I am going to share briefly because you can read in great detail in this blog: How to Deal with Triggers.
You can stop engaging in the conversation, the situation, the argument whatever it is. You can walk away or you can pause and really decide what to do. It might be your natural reaction to engage but when you’re triggered, it’s usually not worth it. Like at all. At least I’ve always learned that.
Use the Aware, Accept, Embrace guide. Which you can read more about in the How to Deal with Triggers blog or you can read the in-depth blog specifically about the guide, here.
Journal. I always suggest journaling. You may not be able to do this right away. But if you pause. for a moment and realize it’s not worth a reaction, you can always write about it afterward. And if you want more on how journaling changed my life, you can read that blog here.
Meditate. Take some time to observe what happened. Be aware of what happened so you can do some self-reflection. This will help you heal the trigger and not get so triggered the next time.
Heal from your past. This is huge because it really does help you deal with yourself altogether. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I mean it more like a self-awareness way. If you want to learn more about finding the right healing, you can in this blog.
Now let’s get on to the juicy stuff. You now know how to identify, and deal. Let’s dig deeper! This is where the healing starts. This is where you can start living a more peaceful life. Remember you can heal triggers.
When you feel triggered or you’re working through the trigger ask yourself: When was the first time I felt like this? How has it affected your life? Remember to note who, when, where- if you can. These questions will help you realize your reactions and emotions really had nothing to do with what was said or happened. These questions really can open some doors of awareness for you! If you only do one thing, let this be it! (This has been a game changer for me.)
Observe the current situation. How is this situation different from the past situation? How is it the same? (Remember- journaling can really help here.)
Forgive. Forgive the person for causing the trigger. Forgive yourself for allowing the trigger, emotions and reaction. Forgive your past and forgive the trigger. Sounds a little crazy, I know. The more you forgive, the more power you take back.
Let it go. This doesn’t mean all of sudden you won’t be triggered in a different way or ever again. It just means you let that particular trigger go and it won’t affect you the way it did in that instance. The reality is, we will be triggered at any time. That never goes away. The way we react and handle it can change though. Because we control that.
Triggers are the ultimate way to know healing and forgiveness needs to take place. It’s not a bad thing. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Embrace that you’re aware, learn from the trigger, deal with it and let it go. Watch your world change. Watch how peaceful you become. Watch how less stressed you are. Dealing and healing triggers is an amazing journey. It’s something that will change your entire world.
Have questions, a story? Leave a comment below. Let’s connect.