Saturday, February 18, 2017
Triggers - Flashes of Emotion or Opportunities for Insight?
Human interactions can sometimes be so difficult. We sometimes beat ourselves up after certain interactions thinking, “Why didn’t I say this or say that or why did I say anything at all!” You need to understand something about us humans. Environmental psychology and, well, the stuff we just come in here with leaves us with trigger points. These are those little internal flash points we people do or say that one thing or many things in just that special way that pushes our buttons. It is so easy to look back in hindsight when calm and un-triggered and see clearly what someone said or did wasn’t about us at all.
But wow those triggers, huh?! If you realize that the thing that gets your goat is a trigger and you learn to own your triggers, the impact starts to lessen a bit. Sometimes it is good enough to get to the point where you recognize you have been triggered and then in those moments following, just breathe forgiving yourself for being triggered. It is okay to be triggered, its okay to find you’ve got goats for someone to get. What’s not okay is living in denial and blaming everyone else for your triggers. Here is a very harsh reality, triggers are not the fault of the person pushing your buttons. There, I said it. It’s the truth and I know all too well how much it hurts. There is a part of us that becomes so angry that we’ve been triggered at all and we just want to blame someone, something…anything for the terrible toxic energy that seems to be the instant result. But, that only damages our relationships and makes it harder for us to establish new ones.
So, what do we do with these triggers? How do we make them go away? More harsh news, I don’t know that everyone can make them go away. Sometimes I think the best we can hope for is understanding and maybe even some compassion. If someone makes a joke at your expense trying to aggrandize themselves while terribly minimizing you or your efforts and you have a trigger point around this, terrible things can begin to happen in your mind in a split second. If you do not learn to recognize this anger, or this toxic emotion being generated by you seemingly as a result of someone else’s words or actions, this trigger point can really be damaging for you. But, if over time you can learn to see the trend of the types of things that trigger you and you begin to understand this is about fear that you hold and that the interaction truly only serves to give you a chance to understand the trigger point is there, you will have made great strides towards recovery.
There are wounds we all carry and you can spend a life time trying to figure out why something is there and maybe some of us should – maybe through therapy. But, sometimes we just have to understand, accept ourselves, wounds – trigger points – and all and just learn to take a breath, disengage and get peaceful again. Whether someone meant to trigger you or not isn’t really the point at all. The point is you recognizing you have a trigger point. Living with them isn’t so hard if you can understand that they exist and you don’t have to beat yourself or others up because you became triggered. You really don’t.
This is a whole new way of living with love and understanding towards yourself first and then others in a more healthy way. Revenge is a message. Anger is a message. Sadness is a message. What is that message? Simply put, it is that there is a wound. No matter how it got there, there is a wound and wounds need care and healing time not thrashing, bashing, avenging and threatening yourself or others. In a calm and cooler mind, you can acknowledge that you’ve been triggered, get some space for yourself to recover from the moment and then just be with the trigger. Looking deeply and fearlessly within, you can do this. It doesn’t mean you did something wrong or that something is wrong with you. We all have our triggers and their levels of severity vary. But, the realization of our own body’s messaging system through emotion and energy can truly be your saving grace. We don’t need to internalize our anger. We just need to understand that its there for whatever reason and give it space in non-action (other than awareness) for the intensity of a moment to shift. That is damn hard! But there are positive actions you can take. If there are people who continually trigger you, do your best to spend less time with them – get some counseling to help you deal with your own emotions about what these people do that triggers you or even go the no contact route if need be. Every person deserves the right to set boundaries to protect themselves but we must always remember to also protect ourselves from our own negative thoughts.
There are so many tools available that can help us learn to be with emotion rather than running from, stuffing, projecting or transferring our emotion onto others psychologically. Some of this stuff happens so quickly we don’t even know its happening consciously. But we can learn to become consciously aware by listening to our emotion, knowing emotion isn’t always fact but it is a message. Clearly and rationally and also, very safely exploring is paramount.
We’ve all got our triggers and flashpoints and we may not ever be able to stop them. But we can learn different behavior that better supports us while we learn to accept ourselves wounds and all. No matter what you’ve been through, you are worth the effort of understanding, awareness, breathing and peace. But in the end, it’s all about what you want to do and how you choose to live your life. If you wish to live it blindly being triggered, that’s okay. If you want to live it with more peace, serenity and support, you may have to learn better coping strategies for those times you become triggered. We sometimes think this stuff is the end of the world in a heated moment but it doesn’t have to be.
It just doesn’t have to be horrible or result in terrible things said or done in a moment of emotion. We can learn if we want to, we can become more aware if we want to. I guess we just have to get to the point that we can’t live with our own toxic emotion. These are great opportunities to learn from. We just have to be willing to do the learning. Just some food for thought today. Blessings of great awareness, love, healing and understanding to you all.
© 2017, Jaie Hart (photo/words)