How to deal with your "triggers"?
A trigger is a stimulus that elicits a reaction. When it comes to mental health a trigger can be anything that causes an adverse effect or brings on or worsens symptoms. We do not necessarily have to have serious addiction or mental health issues in order to get triggered but as someone who has dealt with CPTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder) I know how triggers can come on fast and intensely. A trigger can show up as immediate resistance or reactive feelings, thoughts, words and actions in relation to someone or something. A trigger is often based in ingrained beliefs and past (sometimes traumatic) experiences. A trigger can bring out fight, flight, freeze or fawn responses in people who have prior trauma reminiscent of triggering circumstances and situations. The body's fight, flight, freeze response gets triggered by psychological fears. Do you know what triggers you? Are you well aware of your fears and traumas?
What triggers YOU?
Understanding and accepting our triggers can be very empowering although it may not get rid of our triggers in an instance. Our triggers point us to all the unhealed parts of ourselves and show us where we need to protect ourselves and create stronger limits and boundaries. No matter the "work" I have done on my Self, still to this day I sense how I can get triggered by another. Sometimes even more than I did before in Life as over time I have come to a point of literally having zero tolerance and zero patience for negativity or disrespect of any kind. Knowing how "hard I had to work" to get to where I am today in terms of Ownership Mentality I can sense how my ego can get triggered when in the presence of someone who appears to be stuck in Victim Mentality. Why does this trigger me so? Because it is exactly the "thing" I wish to escape from. I find my Self not wanting to be near such perspectives and wanting to disengage, disconnect and preferably leave! (Flight).
So rather than fight with another's limited perception or fixed mindset I choose to remove my attention from it and no longer engage as I become more and more aware of my Self and my Spirit. Removing your Self from "negativity" is a natural response as we are to lean towards "what feels good". Being "triggered" does not feel good.
Many mannerisms and behaviours I once overlooked, and seemed to happily hum it all away, but now I feel that I can get ticked in an instance! It is almost as if my energy field shuts down and says "NO THANK YOU" Not that I necessarily act on my triggers with words nor actions but I can sense them in my body and in my mind. In my case, I sense how I just want to leave! And, "I" who thought I had grown and evolved and I do not have a better response than that?!
Flight is a more natural and authentic response to me nowadays than getting into Fight mode or having to Freeze in another's vibration of powerlessness, which consequently would make me feel even more powerless. Misery loves company but it does not have to be my company.
Victim mentality is a perspective I tend to spot quickly and inauthenticity "triggers me" so I have a tendency to "check out" when it comes to such vibrations. Fawning would not be a choice I would ever want to consider nowadays as it is a response I recognise too well from childhood. Fawning never results in anything other than being "used" by others for your kindness. The fawn response is based in developing people-pleasing behaviours to avoid conflict and establish safety. Today, "checking out" is a far greater response to me that fight or fawn although this response definitely does relate to the freeze and flight responses.
What else are we to do when something does not even feel worth fighting for or fighting against? When you do not like something the best thing you can do is "remove your attention" away from it.
So knowing what triggers me... how can I deal with these triggers when these triggers will inevitably show up? Hmmm.... yes, some triggering situations are impossible for us to avoid, all together.
Do not engage!
I choose to not engage deeply with people who overall feel negative nor do I try to fix them or rescue them or rescue the situation. The “old”, co-dependent me might have done just this but nowadays I choose to remove myself from all negative communication as quickly as possible rather than let it trigger adverse responses in me. Is entirely our choice to not engage or participate in fighting with another’s negativity. Who people are is their choice and how they show up in the world is also their choice. YOU do YOU!
I have learned that I do not have to get triggered by another's negativity nor do I have to get sucked into "the darkness" as I always have a choice in whether or not to engage.
If someone wants to be a negative person, complaining, whining or otherwise... than that is on them! Having people in my Life who developed a trait for negative thinking and victim mentality triggered a rebellion within me to learn to do the opposite. I know my triggers point me to my old Self and to who I do not want to be. I know where they come from.
Still, I can not entirely avoid experiencing or witnessing another’s negative outlook on Life or poor life choices. But, am I going to get triggered by it? Do I have to get triggered? It may seem inevitable to experience such situations but I know that I can choose how I respond to what triggers me by connect with my Spirit and choosing whether or not I allow another’s words or actions to “trigger me" into states of fight, flight, freeze or fawn.
I remind my Self regularly that I have a choice and how I respond is my choice!
Heal your "younger Self"
Removing oneself from “triggering” communication patterns and circumstances is healthy and YOU are 100% allowed to! Lingering in unhealthy dynamics, wishing and hoping for change is not a healthy choice to be made if you are intent on honouring your Self.
When you experience triggers and triggering circumstances, choose to create a place of safety for you, whether it means physically "leaving" the situation or mentally "checking out" of it to observe it from afar. Sigh and release the tension you may feel in your body. Focus on your breathing. Come back to Self and breathe deeply. Try holding one hand on your heart and the other on your belly as you breathe. Try tapping rhythmically with one hand and one finger at a time just below your collar bones as you focus on your breathing. Try splashing some cold water onto your face and/or on the back and front of your neck. Go on a mindful walk. Notice your thoughts. Notice your surroundings. Notice things to be grateful for. Listen to something that calms you and brings you "back home to YOU". Journal your thoughts. Accept your feelings. However far you make it in performing calming actions just make sure to lean into whatever works for you and accept your humanness and your human feelings.
There are many ways in which we can learn to self-soothe and "come back home to Self".
A mantra I have used to calm my co-dependent triggers (which show up in wanting to fix a person or a situation) is this;
I am not YOU.
You are not ME.
We are separate yet parts of ONE and the same.
I accept YOU as YOU.
I accept ME as ME.
YOU are YOU.
I am ME.
I accept ME for ME.
I am WHOLE.
I am FREE.
Healing the parts of yourself that got used to allowing negativity and poor behaviour from the people in your life is even more important than removing oneself from such situations. When you “befriend your triggers” and start to notice them you will see how those triggers point you to your own healing and guiding system. Whatever you once allowed in your Life by living in or with enduring negativity or narcissism is obviously no longer "for you"!
This is what my triggers tell ME. I am done being who I used to be.
Your triggers are also here to tell you that YOU will take NO more!
Your triggers are here to tell you that there are limits!
When you start to sense that you are no longer able to respond in the calmest or most logical manner and start feeling “out of alignment” with your Self it may mean your triggers are starting to take over. Removing one Self from intensity of triggers is a healthy response.
But, then what?
Louise Hay used to affirm to her mind in times of inner duress the following mantra:
All is well.
Everything is working out for my highest good.
Out of this situation only good will come.
I am SAFE.
There is genuine proof to the fact that alongside from breath-work and physical movement, affirmations and mantras can truly work wonders. Do you have anything to lose by trying out some breathing and mantras?
Getting triggered is a perfectly normal human response to some situations and quite common for many. When triggering situations occur make sure to choose to come back home to your Self.
Another's happiness or misery does not define you nor need your response. Your own reactivity need not take over your entire being. Removing oneself from unhealthy circumstances is often the easiest and healthiest response. We are all meant to lean towards what feels good.
Continually feeling triggered definitely does not feel good!
Warning: Louise Hay's mantra may have the power to calm the most hectic of minds.
Remind yourself that a trigger is a temporary response to ingrained beliefs and past experiences. Choose to get curious about how you can "choose to come back home to Self" and remind your Self that YOU ARE YOU & YOU ARE SAFE.