I am so tired of this process!
We all know what it feels like to get triggered by a person or an event in our life: there is an emotional response that can range from irritation to frustration to full blown anger. And, in that moment, there is just that: the emotional response. It’s automatic. It feels like an unstoppable wave. It has to roll through.
Only to be followed by the damage assessment.
How come that despite our best intentions, we get waylaid by these triggers? They seem to sneak up seemingly from nowhere and bang – create a lot of upset.
Triggers are reminders of aspects in our lives where we
- have not set clear boundaries
- still carry some extra emotional baggage with us
- feel threatened
When we look at our boundaries, it often happens that we have not clearly stated them. We know that we have them, but may be a bit wishy-washy about enforcing them. That’s an unconscious invitation for others to push our button and let us know that we are not sending out clear, strong signals to others. At other times the boundary may be unconscious, and we only remember it when someone has inadvertently stepped on it and we find ourselves to be reactive.
The second reason we get triggered is that over time we have accumulated emotional baggage in our body. This baggage consists of suppressed emotions that at the time felt inappropriate or too scary to deal with and that were ignored and stuffed down. We have bags for all kinds of emotions, including sadness, guilt, shame and anger. The more we have denied the emotion, the stronger the charge becomes.
When people or events create a reminder of a similar situation we experienced in the past, we connect with the emotion and access the accumulated charge of that particular feeling. Often the result is a much stronger response than the momentary event warrants. Explosive anger and depression/withdrawal are common polarities that are triggered. When you notice this happen regularly, it’s time to do find some ways of discharging these stuck energetic accumulations.
The third reason we get triggered into automatic reactions is our inherent fight/ flight mechanism. When there is a perceived threat, the amygdala in our brain will fire a response in about 30 milliseconds. The thinking response takes closer to 250 milliseconds. This is built into our body as a way to keep us safe, so we react first and then the logical brain can step in to analyze the situation and determine the next step. There is nothing we can change about this trigger.
The challenge is that when we get triggered with respect to our boundaries or emotions, our response is automatic. There is no thinking and decision making involved, so we often do not act in our best interest and then have to deal with the fallout from the situation.
How can you change this for yourself?
One important step is to have clear boundaries. Understand what is non-negotiable and work on establishing clear “nos”. They will actually strengthen the signal of your “yeses” and offer more respect and a feeling of energetically having more personal space.
When you have your buttons pushed around boundaries, it’s good time to reflect, notice why this aspect is important to you and then start to communicate it to the world around you.
Another supportive option is to reduce the accumulation of emotional charges through personal energy clearing. Creating an energetic space in which there is recognition of the issue and unconditional acceptance allows the emotional charges to be released. Learning to recognize feelings as as they move through you and disentangling them from habitual stories will all serve you in experiencing more freedom and choice in your day-to-day decision-making. The more compassion you can have for yourself and the ongoing life challenges and the more you can accept, embrace and integrate, the less you get triggered.
I don’t believe we will ever be trigger free.
However, you can move a long way towards
- establishing and communicating your boundaries and creating clear
“no’s” and clear “yes’es” and
- reducing your emotional reactivity so you can feel more and more in charge of your life. The life challenges will not disappear, but you can change your reaction to them.
The first step is to notice when you are in automatic!
Then you have a choice…
So, what have you noticed that is triggering you and that you are tired of? Feel free to share below.
P.S. If you have any challenges managing your boundaries or your emotional baggage, click here to book a time with me to have a conversation around this. So often we experience some helplessness or resignation around these issues. In our call we can explore if there is a way I can support you in reducing the triggers that currently show up in your life.