How to Recognize and Address Triggers in Relationships

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triggers in relationships

It can be challenging to address triggers in relationships. My podcast guest, Life Coach Judy Lair, helps you recognize triggers and nip them in the bud!

Judy Lair is a clinical counselor and certified coach with a successful 14 year private practice as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Ohio. She offered my radio audience a system to recognize and address triggers from past wounds. Listeners were given actionable steps to process and move past their old wounds. She also shared tools to communicate with your date or partner when you see their triggers popping up.  

Below, you’ll find highlights of our interview on How to Recognize and Address Triggers in Relationships.


How to Recognize and Address Triggers in Relationships

How do you know if a concern with your partner is due to a past trigger or a present issue?

If it’s a current problem, it could be a red flag. The questions you ask are valuable to discern the difference. Ask how they’ve dealt with that trigger. 

EXAMPLE: If you hear someone say, “I don’t want to get hurt again”, that’s a statement that could be from past hurt, and they’re just expressing a fear. Or it could mean they might shut down emotionally. How do you know the difference? Ask, “What have you learned from your past hurtful relationships?” If he/she puts down their past partner or is very negative, it’s a sign that the pain/hurt is still in the present. If they tell you how they processed it and learned and how they’ve moved on, that’s a great sign. 

You want to hear that they went through a process. 

Dating is a learning experience about you. When you’re on a date and first getting to know someone, and they start bashing their ex, or they don’t ask questions about you, ask yourself, “Are they sharing or dumping?” If the line is crossed to dumping, you need to kindly put a stop to the conversation. 

How do you identify your own baggage?

Ask yourself some of the same types of questions that you would ask your partner:

1. How do you handle disappointments and failures?

2. How have I grown past that?

3. Can I critique my self-limiting statements or distortions or black and white thinking?

What steps can you take to heal and move forward?

Love yourself first. The law of attraction states that you attract the type of relationships that are a mirror of where you are. Do activities that you love, and you will attract those who love what you do, too.

What’s an effective way to approach your partner about their baggage?

You can ask, “How do you handle disappointment?” Learn how they process through disappointment. Even if they haven’t yet processed, it shows them that there is a process. It’s a great learning opportunity. See if they take advantage of this opportunity and grow.


How can you support your partner to heal from past triggers and strengthen your current relationship?

I like to have folks share with each other, “I know this is my weakness or trigger. I immediately get defensive when ________ happens. Here’s my plan to work on it. Here’s how you can be helpful to me.” 

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