Don’t Fear the Triggers, Learn How to Overcome Them

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

When we get triggered we may feel sad, upset, angry, and overwhelmed. We are unable to see the situation in any way but painful. What if we could learn something from our triggers? What if our triggers were seen as opportunities? 

When we are triggered things usually get out of hand. The issue is that most of the time when we are triggered, nothing positive comes out of the situation. We find ourselves in the same argument that we have with our significant other repeatably. As a result , nothing ever gets resolved.  

Many things can trigger us. Getting something in the mail can trigger us. Something in the news can trigger us. Usually, someone, we are close to can trigger us. The next time we become triggered in a disagreement, we need to find out how to turn it into an opportunity rather than a pain point. Often we go into the cycle pattern of being triggered, arguing, defending, and then we just start all over again. Nothing ever comes out of it.

The first thing that happens when we are triggered is that we get angry, offended, irritated, and overwhelmed. Next, our heart begins to race, the anger builds inside of us. We may find it hard to hold back our tears. We may get so angry we begin to yell. The yelling escalates between you and your significant other. What happens is that we do not resolve anything. It appears the same things remain our triggers. It’s as if they just continue to “push our buttons” over and over. 

To stop someone from pushing our buttons, we must get rid of the buttons. We need to eliminate the things that trigger 

When your significant other says something to you that triggers you the first thing you need to do is take a physical step back. This will give you some room. If they continue to get closer to you, continue to back away. When someone is yelling in your face it is a very stressful situation and can trigger you very quickly. The best thing about being able to take that step back is that it will help you remember everything that you need to be doing. 

The next thing to do, instead of getting angry and overwhelmed, you need to take some deep breaths. Focusing on breathing will help you calm down. This allows us to not give all of our power to the other person as well as allows us to hear what the other person is saying. Once we can hear what the other person is saying, we realize that what they are saying holds very little significance. Instead of arguing, the best thing to do is take that step back and take a break if possible. 

A lot of times when someone is triggering you, it is because they want something from you. When they trigger you and a fight occurs, we are giving them the supply that they want. You are validating the problem. When you respond in an argumentative way, you are giving them what they were looking for. Doing this, plays right into their narrative. 

When we deal with people that are close to us, it can be very challenging to handle the situation as described above. However, this can be the piece to the puzzle to end these triggering fights. We may end the fight but still the problem in the relationship, but at least the other person is no longer getting our supply. 

The patterns of these arguments are usually a series of power that the other person has over you. They will not stop unless you create another pathway. They will not stop until someone takes the leadership role. As of now, they have triggered you, and they have taken the leadership role and you have followed them down the primrose path. 

When we can think about the opportunity the trigger has, we need to ask ourselves why are they able to trigger us and what is it within us that makes them able to trigger us. Do we not trust something or believe in ourselves? Why do we continue to walk down this path with them when there is not any validation or proving a point?  The biggest caveat is why we need to prove our value to this person especially when they are taking us down, and they are taking our supply.  

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