What does being triggered tell you?

June 15, 2022

A trigger tells you that something in you is being provoked. That whatever was said or happened, triggered a response in you that feels unpleasant (to say the least).

Chances are your reaction to what happened is out of proportion.

You are either very angry, hurt, frustrated, annoyed or sad. These emotions are not an invitation to start yelling at the person or situation that pushed the button!

No matter how good that may feel in the short run, it won’t take away the underlying reason why you’re so upset.

First, being triggered is an invitation to look inside yourself to see what in you is being touched. You can get clarity on that by journaling this question:

What painful, unhealed element or past experience is awakened by this trigger?

Simply write down whatever comes to mind and write stream of consciousness (as in: don’t overthink it and trust what you’re ‘getting’).

You may stumble upon earlier, similar situations where you felt the same. Getting clear on what it is that you’re feeling might be helpful as well.

If you feel hurt, is it because:

Getting clear on the underlying emotion is a great first step towards healing that scar.

Because triggers are always tied to scars. Something that isn’t yet (fully) healed. Because if it were healed, you might simply notice someone overstepping your boundary without getting all worked up about it.

Step two: once you feel calmer (grounding might help here as well!), only then do I recommend communicating what you would like to see done differently or how the situation impacted you.

Because if you’ve taken the time to dive deeper and start the healing work, then you’ll be less emotional in your response. Not only will that yield better results, but there is no point dumping your emotional baggage on someone else. That only leads to (yucky) vicious circles.

And I’m sure you know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of someone else spouting their anguish all over the place. Never a fun experience—not for anyone.

So next time you feel triggered, allow yourself to pause and do some inner work before you respond!

Have a day full of energy and inspiration 🙂

PS If you want to dive deeper into the effect of your emotions then my book Radiant might be great for you.

 

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