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The Curiosity of Being Triggered

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According to Dr. Judith Orloff, author of The Empath's Survival Guide, being emotionally triggered means "coming from a super reactive place inside you that becomes activated by someone else behaviors or comments. When triggered you may either withdraw emotionally or simply feel hurt or angry or respond in an aggressive way that you will probably regret later".

Often, people get triggered around certain experiences that other's may experience as neutral. This often has to do with our own past history as a child and young adult. For example, some people are tremendously triggered when they experience something that unconsciously or consciously reminds them of interactions or experiences they had as a child.

For example, your boss calls you on the phone and says they need to speak to you immediately. By the tone and words you suddenly become fearful that you have made an error and feel certain there may be consequences including the possibility of losing your job. The experience is so intense that it is difficult to image other possibilities. Looking deeper, for a possible trigger, you may realize that when you were in trouble as a child, your mother had the same intense tone of voice. Although it may be true that you made an error, it is more likely that you boss has a certain way of communicating that doesn't adequately reflect their intentions.

Some of the most common triggers involve our need to be understood; respected; liked/ loved; valued; in control; accepted and to be right. Once we know what our triggers are in certain situations, we are more likely to identify them when they are triggered thus allowing us to work through these feelings before we unintentionally and inappropriately take them out on someone else.

Being in a place of "noticing" yourself and your reactions is the absolute more efficient manner in which to understand the things that trigger you and ways of resolving them. When we can hold that place of noticing that our emotions are highly activated, and we use our consciousness to ask what could have transpired that may have triggered something old, we have the potential to grow and react appropriately in that moment.


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