Do You Have Emotional Triggers?
Why do we get bothered by what others say and do?
Metaphysical Message / Fall 2020
By: Susan Hansen
What is it about the human condition that leaves us feeling raw when someone says or does something that hurts us? Whether our reaction is anger, confusion, or sadness, it comes from a place of hurt and therefore a place of fear.
When someone says, “you have pushed my buttons” what they are doing is picking at a wound that you have. If you grew up with a family that gave you a lot of compliments you would react differently than to someone who never received a nice compliment or worse, was put down or criticized and this becomes a “wound”. Criticism for some means there must be something wrong with me or needs fixing or I am not good enough. Can it be that the person who is saying or doing something hurtful is the one who is hurting, and we are just in the direct path of the hurt? And we react because something is festering within us? Yes, yes, and yes.
So, do you react? What is “in” you that responds to the action or words? Every memory that we have is encoded in us and when we “accept” a harsh word or look or attitude, we go and “retrieve” the hurt memory that still lives in our subconscious mind. For instance, as a child someone such as a teacher or a parent tells us we have not done as well as we should have or could have, and this leaves us feeling unworthy. Fast forward to a current boss or spouse who tells us that the assignment is not good enough or the meal you prepared is not that great. It is not the current situation that causes us to react but instead we “retrieve” a memory of when we felt unworthy and we bring this into present day and respond from that trigger point. Do you see how much power we give over to something that happened years ago? It does not matter the way in which the situation presents itself, it matters how you respond to it. If something ‘triggers’ within you, then you have junk that needs to be purged. Much like a splinter that once embedded must find a way out of your body or an infection that must run its course and be released.
Where we go wrong
Conflict needs an identity to thrive. When we engage with someone who has opened a wound, we are reactivating the old memory and it comes to the surface and stays raw until some time has passed or we cover it up with more hurt or sometimes even use laughter to diffuse a situation. We can also engage in activities that cause us to ‘cover’ up the pain, such as any addictive behaviors. I knew someone who when they were feeling hurt, would go shopping to fill the space of the hurt.
Who are you in conflict with? Your boss, a family member? It usually is with someone who has a place in your life, otherwise it would not be that important. Of course, there are situations where we are offended by someone in the grocery line who gives us a dirty look or someone who yells at us in traffic. Do you react to those situations? If yes, then you have been triggered by a memory that caused you to feel unsettled.
I remember years ago when I pulled slightly into the street to see around some cars, this man in a convertible came around me and told me to roll my window down (I was thinking that he was warning me of something in the road) and he proceeded to ask me when I received my driver’s license, and did I know how to drive? I was so startled by his verbal assault that I apologized and rolled up my window but that did not stop him from trying to talk to me. I just drove on, but I must be honest that I “felt” chastised and I had to go back into a memory to see when the last time I felt that way and how it made me feel. Once I did that, I was able to release the anxiety where I “allowed” this man to cause me to doubt myself. Of course, with a lot of perspective, I can see how this man’s energy was filled with the need to control things around him and how silly he was acting. Really silly.
“You need to be different or act different, so I can feel better”
This is what is happening when someone berates us or criticizes us. ‘Until you act or do something a different way, I will not feel good.’ This is a common and mistaken way at looking at things. Why should anyone have to be different, so WE can FEEL better? It is not their job to be different for you. It is not your job to be different for them. Our job is to be considerate and kind and to live our truth the best way possible.
So, ask yourself, have you been the person who needs others to be different, so you can feel like you are ok? It goes both ways, as sometimes we are the receiver and at other times, we are the deliverer. Remember that life is all about contrast, so we can see different perspectives and be challenged to make changes and to grow.
How to heal and the steps to take
Suffering is a psychological (mind) and physical (body) state of being which involves the Me and keeps us in our head and thought structures. When we stay within heart energy (soul or emotion) it involves US, and a true relationship can occur and awaken the power we all have as humans.
It is imperative that you learn to recognize the hurt in the first place. This can show itself in many ways such as, being defensive; feeling angry; feeling disconnected; a sense of wanting to explain ourselves; wanting to get away and diffuse; laughing or making jokes; walking away or being passive aggressive. It can also show up with pain or disease in our bodies.
You must remember that the past has NO power over you and the only power a memory has is what you give to it.
So, let us take that boss who was not happy with your assignment or a spouse who was not crazy about a meal you prepared. Well, is there any truth to their complaints? Could you have done better at your job or taken more time with the meal? It is Ok if this is the case. This is how we learn and grow and let us be honest, not everyone will like our job performance or the meat loaf you decided to make. So, what? Pause and recognize the ‘truth’ of the situation from their perspective and then decide how you will respond but without being defensive or argumentative. This is how you will know you do not have junk that needs to be purged. You may say to your boss, “Thank you for your feedback, let me rework the assignment and get back to you”. Or to your spouse, “I really like my meat loaf but it you do not, why don’t you offer some suggestions because meal time is really important to me and I strive to make it as good as I can”. This is responding in a healthy and non-reactive way that will allow peace on both sides.
When you stay in your heart you become free from conflict and this takes you into a higher consciousness. Anything else comes from our ego. Often staying in your heart energy is much like watching a movie. You can feel and react but from a safe space and one of proper perspective.
1. Ask your Inner Being
What does Higher Source energy think about them and the situation? Your inner-being or centered heart or Higher Power sees only love and not negativity. They see their human weakness and pain and not the chaos. They sense their back story and not the current mess. They see the beauty when it is not pleasant. This is a heart-to-heart way of looking at a person or situation and not a battle of the egos.
2. Be Inspired by their Differences
Justice vs Well- Being: Justice will say, ‘they need to own their responsibility for my pain’ but this itself is a trigger moment for you because you want them to pay for your pain, when what you are really wanting is to be safe and in peace and having a sense of well-being.
Hate vs Love: Your ego is challenging your heart in a showdown when we have conflict with someone or engage in a negative situation. The ego will always want control and your heart always wants to surrender. Love is in the surrender. This is not to be confused with letting someone walk over or abuse us; surrender is getting out of the way and taking the peaceful path. Surrender is always in your truth.
Confusion vs Clarity: Change your perspective and you change the outcome of the struggle, because what you truly want is an understanding as to why someone said something to you unkindly and why you reacted the way you did. Perhaps you may never find out why they said or did something to you, what is more important is your clarity to why you responded in the way that you did.
Condemnation vs the Best in You: Our ego’s will strive to condemn others so that we can feel better, however, your true inner being will want others to do well because we are all interconnected to one another. When you cheerlead for someone, whether to congratulate or simply give a compliment, you are saying, ‘I want the best for you’ and this process allows you to become your very best.
3. The Next Time
Let us be honest, of course there will be a next time. A time when we challenge ourselves when unpleasantness hits the fan. A time when you may be the source of pain or you are in the line of fire from someone. So next time you have a trigger moment by something someone has said or done, pause (remember the 10 second rule ) and reset your perspective and this gives you the true awareness of who you are and not to identify with past mistakes, guilt or trauma that was done to you or that you did to another. When we take a break from ourselves and walk in someone else’s shoes it allows us to really see where their pain is coming from and we can learn to sympathize instead of condemning. Same holds true if you are the one responsible for some drama; pause and reset your perspective and find where the trigger is coming from and why you feel the need to act or speak out unkindly.
4. Your move
Happiness is a choice; being joyful or joy filled is a choice; how we treat others is a choice; how we respond to others is a choice. When we choose, we are in control (not controlling) of what we think and how we react. We have the power to create peace or chaos. We have the power to heal or hurt. Simply put, we have the power.
Final thought: You may have already been going through a lot of this by now between the COVID lockdown, job changes, layoffs, school disruptions, illness, and political unrest. We are having to choose a different way we look at our relationships, whether in our own family, work or in our communities. Now moving into the Holiday Season along with the political temperature, we may catch ourselves being challenged with certain triggers.
How you know when you no longer have emotional triggers and are free from emotional pain is when you do NOT react to someone’s comment or criticism; you stay in neutral and do not absorb negative energy; you remain detached as if watching a movie; you don’t have physical pain and when you think about the person or situation, you have peace. This is not to be confused with someone who becomes ‘numb’ to the verbal pain and shoves how they are feeling beneath the surface. True freedom from emotional triggers happen authentically and will give you a sense of peace and well-being, both in mind and body.
If you need help in this area, please call or contact me for a personal reading. I am here for you.
Blessings to you and yours this Holiday Season!