What Is A Trigger?

I talk about triggers a lot.


There are a lot of ways to be triggered. A trigger is a stimulus like an event, smell, place, phrase, etc that prompts a sensation, a memory, or a feeling from past trauma. For example, I often feel triggered when a masculine person says something in a very matter-of-fact way as if his experience or opinion is the only truth. This reminds me of when I was small and my dad and other male authority figures did not give me much space for being heard or seen. When I feel triggered in this way, I get defensive and argumentative. I sometimes feel like the opportunity for me to share vulnerably has been lost. Because it is very likely that my partner does not intend to make me feel that way, it's important that I own and share this trigger. Sharing does not mean that they have done something wrong or that they will change, but I can identify when the feeling is coming up for me. From there, we know it's time for me to take a break or for them to try saying it in a different way if they want me to really hear them.


This example is just one way.


Sometimes I’m also triggered when I feel jealous or not enough and I have to get down to the bottom of what I desire and what feels like it’s missing.


The key is noticing, asking ourselves why, and learning how to respond.

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