Recognizing and Healing Your Emotional Triggers

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healing your emotional triggers

Healing your emotional triggers is crucial in creating a healthy relationship — with yourself and others. In this video, learn how.

Relationships are fertile ground for emotional triggers, and it’s so important to heal them. In this video, you’ll learn: What triggers are, where they originate, and how healing your emotional triggers will improve your life and all your relationships.

Recognizing and Healing Your Emotional Triggers

What are emotional triggers?

As children, when we experience pain or suffering, our parents or caretakers are supposed to keep us safe, and they don’t always do a great job. As we get older, when we are in relationships that are unhealthy in any way, such as having a partner cheat or abuse you in any way, those experiences can stay with us for many years.

As adults, we can become triggered by experiences that remind us of those old painful feelings from childhood or past relationships. If we don’t learn how to identify and heal our triggers, we try to manage our painful feelings in unhealthy ways, like numbing ourselves by shopping, overeating, overexercising, or scrolling endlessly on social media. Some of us shut down or yell when triggered. 

The first step in healing your emotional triggers is to identify what they are. 

Do any of the following situations trigger you? 

  • Feeling rejected
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling unvalued or ignored
  • When someone is unavailable
  • Receiving a disapproving look
  • Feeling blamed or shamed
  • Feeling judged or criticized
  • When someone is too busy to make time for you
  • When someone doesn’t seem happy to see you
  • When someone comes on to you sexually in a needy or forceful way
  • Feeling controlled
  • Feeling smothered

You may identify with one or more.

Now that you’ve identified some of your triggers, take some time to think about and perhaps even journal about the first time you felt that way. This may bring up some painful memories, so please be kind and compassionate to yourself as you do this exercise. 

A common way that most of us deal with triggers is to NOT deal with them at all. It’s natural to want to avoid past pain. That’s why we use avoidance techniques.

Which of the following avoidance techniques have you participated in when you’ve been triggered?

  • Get angry
  • Feel needy
  • Become a people-pleaser
  • Shut down and withdraw
  • Blame someone else for your pain
  • Turn to an addiction such as food, drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, shopping, work, gambling and so on

If you can relate to any of these avoidance techniques, how do you feel when you participate in them? You may feel good momentarily, but in the long run, you will feel empty, upset, and depleted. The pain will linger and not go away unless you do the deeper work of healing your triggers.

That’s why it’s important to be very honest with yourself about where your triggers started and your responses to your triggers. This inner work will help you process and heal your triggers. Otherwise, we end up taking it out on the people we love.

Awareness is key to healing your emotional triggers

To begin healing, notice when a trigger occurs. Then, take a step back and observe yourself from outside yourself, as if you were a journalist. 

Saying something like, “Oh, there goes my trigger again” will help you see the trigger as something outside of you. It doesn’t define you anymore. When you give it less power, it begins to stop triggering you. 

Heal your triggers, change your life!

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