How To Stop Being Triggered By Life
“Not this again,” I’d catch myself saying. It was usually after a triggering event like someone parking my car in the driveway or when I felt unseen or excluded. I’d feel really pissed about it. I mean, how dare they! How could they be so rude? So inconsiderate?
This reaction may seem pretty intense and I’m not going to sugar coat it, recovery from trauma is intense. Once that can of worms is opened, it can be a relentless barrage of triggers followed by volatile responses and essentially a sinking realisation that you are not in any way good enough for this life and your place in it.
My never ending trigger pattern looked something like this:
1. Triggering event occurred
2. Emotional response erupted (usually anger)
3. The recoil, rant, rave and possibly lashing out at a piece of furniture
4. Complain and blame
My life followed this pattern for many years. I could hang on to the anger I felt about a parked in car for days. I had little awareness at that time of my life. With awareness comes choice and my choices felt very limited. They were buried under years of abuse, pain, anger, fear and unworthiness.
Soon enough, I began to notice just how often the same trigger would arise and that it seemed as though a greater force was at play. A Universal force that was generating same theme learnings. The same trigger, the same feelings and the same response from me. Over and over again.
This was about me, not other people
Yes, this was about me and the work that I needed to do to minimise the charge of the trigger.Most of our triggers occur in childhood. My triggers are a direct result of having my boundaries violated as a child. When someone is inconsiderate or disrespectful of my feelings I immediately feel this uncoiling unease in my being.
I began to mull over this new discovery.
Soon after a path was opened to engage in some deep soul searching, inner reflection and emotional excavation. Gradually, I began to feel a shift. With each layer of my emotional onion shed, I gained clarity. I could see my patterns and became more aware. As my awareness deepened, so too did the choices available to me. I began to see patterns, themes and a like thread that passed through each of my triggering experiences.
Triggers were not punishments
I could see that my triggers were not punishments as a result of something bad I did or karmic consequence. They weren’t happening to me but for me. I was being led to discovering a lighter, more aware and enlightened version of myself. Along the way, I’ve recognised consistencies which have formed. This has been and continues to be my process of recovery:
- Identifying the trigger: Once I discovered the underlying feeling behind my trigger and found a common theme, I was able to meet with it and investigate its root origin.
- Noticing the trigger response: I pinpointed exactly where the trigger response was in my body and how it felt.
- Meeting the trigger with a compassionate accepting and curiosity: I greeted my trigger. I thanked it for the insight it provided to my inner psyche and welcomed it in for a chat.
- Validating the feelings associated with the trigger: As I interacted with my trigger, I allowed it to share all that it had experienced and seen. This took me some time to master and I still have days where I want to blame it and shoo it away because I know the pain that it brings with it and meeting that pain can be excruciating. If I resist it will only persist and stubbornly reappear in other ways. I speak to my trigger. Something along the lines of, “That must have been really hard for you. I can see how (enter feeling…mine is usually angry) that has made you feel. I’m sorry you had to experience that.” This validation process is super powerful. It has moved mountains in my process of breaking through blocked emotions and accessing deeper levels of healing.
- Releasing the feelings associated with the trigger: It is usually at this time that my flood gates open and makes way for deeply suppressed emotions to come to the surface and release. Some of them like tsunami waves and others like small ripples in a lake after a pebble breaks the surface. I let it rise with gratitude and set it free.
- Nurturing the part of you that has experienced the trigger: This process can be emotionally exhausting and requires a gentle accepting to help process what has been presented. This is an opportunity for me to nurture my Inner Child with a hug. I soothe her with a hot chocolate and rub essential oils into the soles of her feet. “There, there,” I say. “It’s ok. You are safe. I’m here with you. I love you.” The remainder of the day sees me snug and warm on the lounge with my fluffy socks and hot water bottle watching feel good movies.
Buckle Up It’s A Wild Ride!
My recovery hasn’t occurred overnight and it continues in every moment of every day. I liken it to an emotional roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, twists and turns. But not everyone likes to ride the roller coaster. Some like the merry go round, some the Ferris Wheel. These are the rides that see people coast along, without questioning or challenging. They’ve opted for a smoother ride. One that feels safe and predictable….and that’s ok.
I’ve decided, however, that the only coasting I will ever do is roller coasting. I will always take the ride that has its rickety climbs to the top where you can’t possibly know what is awaiting on the other side. The sheer exhilaration of making it to the top and whizzing downhill with both hands in the air and the wind tousling your hair. I’ve taken many roller coaster rides in my life. I’ve faced many of my emotional triggers and I’ve felt the sense of accomplishing something truly amazing at the other end and I have no regrets.
Oh, and did I mention that when you take the roller coaster ride you get issued that golden ticket from the Universe? My golden ticket has awarded me with deeper levels of self-love, respect and understanding. You too can receive your golden ticket. Buckle up, it’s a wild ride! A ride that will lead you on the bumpy but beautiful road of recovery to self-discovery.
BIO: Michelle Pietroboni currently works in the field of Child Life Therapy. She has a degree in Early Childhood and has worked in a variety of roles which have allowed her to facilitate emotional healing with young children and their families. She is passionate about living a joy-full, fun-filled, authentic life. Her path to healing has encompassed a variety of modalities including Inner Child work, self-love rituals and practises of holistic self-care. She facilitates creative Playshops which focus on using the healing properties of art to lift life blocks and support positive change. She offers intuitive messages from Source and creates love infused artwork through her business ‘Love Crush Joy Bliss’. Be sure to also join her love treasure hunt adventures on Instagram.