Are you feeling triggered AF?
Listen babe, I get it.
Despite how hard we try- sometimes there isn’t enough meditation in the world to get us through those tough emotions that seem to come out of nowhere.
Have you ever experienced a time where you had a really busy, chaotic day, and then later that evening you ‘blew your top off’ at your partner for something ridiculously small that wasn’t even their fault?
Or perhaps things were going really well for you, and then all of a sudden they took a turn for the worse and for some reason, you just couldn’t get off the struggle bus and stop those self-sabotaging habits?
These are examples of being triggered, and are just a few of the many ways it can happen.
However, ultimately, when and why we are triggered shows us that there is underlying trauma that has not been fully healed– and is a sign that there is more inner work that needs to be done.
Today we will be diving into exactly what being triggered means, how it can show up in your own life, and what you can do to move forward.
Plus, I’ll be sharing how even I was triggered last week- and what I did to move forward.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
What being triggered means…
Being and feeling triggered is a sign we have healing left to do in regards to a past traumatic experience- but what does that mean?
Throughout our lifetime, we go through a lot of different experiences- some good, some bad.
Trauma, (otherwise known as the things that have impacted us negatively in any way, shape or form) often makes up a large percent (if not all) of the bad.
This trauma can be big, life-threatening things, like major injuries, illness, abuse, or sudden-losses. Or, it can be smaller, usually unrecognizable things, like being bullied, a bad break up, or an unresolved argument.
In either scenario, trauma can impact us greatly in the moment it happens- but also later on in life. And whenever a traumatic experience has occurred, there is always a certain emotion that is tied to that event that can be ‘pocketed inside of us‘.
This emotion, if left untouched, unresolved and unhealed, can rise to the surface (often suddenly and unexpectedly) whenever we experience something in our current reality that reminds us of our past trauma (ie: being triggered).
Thus, feeling and being triggered, is ultimately a sign that there is healing that still needs to be done in relation to that trauma.
Now a couple of things to note:
- In any given lifetime, a person experiences multiple traumas of varying degrees, meaning that there can be a lot of different emotions buried inside of us.
- Each trauma could be related to a different emotion, or they could have similar emotions.
- Being triggered isn’t a bad thing, but rather it is an opportunity to raise our awareness and turn inward, reflecting on how we can take the next step forward.
- What ‘being triggered’ looks like is different for each individual person, and the amount of healing that is required to be done will also be unique to each person.
And finally, just because you find yourself being triggered, does not mean that you haven’t done any work on yourself. In fact, you could have done a ton of work already, but just might have some lingering emotions left inside that need to be targeted.
How it can show up…
What triggers look like and how they can show up can be drastically different from one person to the next, and all depends on their past traumatic history and how well they have coped up until this point.
Here are some ways triggers can show up:
- Experiencing different emotions/feelings, similar to the emotion experienced during the trauma: like anger, anxiety, overwhelm, abandonment, vulnerability, fear, feeling out of control, sadness, pain, loneliness, etc.
- A movie, television show, or news article that reminds you of the experience
- A memory of the experience or something that lead up to the experience
- A person connected to the experience
- Arguing with a friend, spouse, or partner
- A specific time of day
- Certain sounds that remind you of the experience
- Changes to relationships or ending a relationship
- Significant dates (such as birthdays, holidays or anniversaries)
- Going to a specific location that reminds you of the experience
- Smells associated with the experience
And in some scenarios, the trigger can simply be sliding into old habits or other self-sabotaging behaviors that were once a ‘coping mechanism’ used for your old trauma.
That’s exactly how it showed up for me.
When I was younger and attempting to cope with some of the traumas that I had went through, my favourite thing to do was distract and numb.
I did this by overloading my plate with so many things that I didn’t even have time to breathe (let alone think), and I did it for many years, all while refusing to go ‘inwards’.
Eventually, I found my way onto my healing journey, I realized what I was doing, and I started taking steps to improve this. Instead of saying yes to everything, I began only saying yes to the things that I wanted to do.
I also made a conscious effort to turn inwards, pay attention to the intention I was using during my ‘busy’ times and my ‘rest’ times, and also make a strict boundary with ‘play time’.
I healed this part of me. Or, so I thought.
As it turns out, I hadn’t healed it fully and there was still some work left I needed to do. I discovered this just last week in fact, as it came up for me again.
The same self-sabotaging behaviour I had used before with these not-so-great habits, had crept back in.
Suddenly I was working 12-14 hours a day, multitasking and frantically reminding myself that I didn’t have enough time. I was saying yes to everything– even the things that did not serve me, and I was anything but present throughout my days and evenings.
During this time I wasn’t actively seeking play/rest time, and instead I was more concerned with the hustle. I was working too hard, too strict and too long. And it certainly wasn’t sustainable.
The moment I realized that I was being triggered and stepping back into old habits- I realized there was work that needed to be done there, and I made the decision to change things immediately.
Below are some of the things that I personally did, that just might work for you too.
What you can do…
The actual healing for past trauma’s is something that can take a long time and require commitment. The suggestions/techniques I have for doing so are endless, and couldn’t possibly fit in one blog post.
Therefore for today’s purpose, I am instead covering a few simple things that you can do immediately in the moment to release any negative thoughts or feelings, and feel better instantly.
Here they are:
1. Acknowledge what it is that you are doing/feeling, and try to pinpoint its origin. What caused this trigger to happen, and why does that trigger cause you to feel/think/do ____?
Was your trigger caused by your chaotic day and feeling like everything was ‘out of control’, which reminded you of a similar feeling in your childhood? Or was it really from your spouse who you just yelled at when they asked how your day was?
For me, it was acknowledging that I was feeling off and didn’t know why, and that I was scared to turn inward and figure out why- so instead I distracted myself in the same way that unhealed Brianne did.
Sometimes journaling on this can help. Try pulling out a piece of paper and a pen and seeing where that takes you!
2. Give yourself some grace. We are human, and ultimately, healing is a lifelong journey. We are going to struggle sometimes, and that is okay.
Truthfully, healing is the hardest thing we will ever do, so it’s not wonder why a lot of people just simply aren’t doing it. The fact that you are even attempting to change and heal is a BIG freaking win, and for that you should be proud of yourself.
Remind yourself that it’s okay that whatever happened, happened. What is important now, is that you are going to do something better or different to change this in the future for yourself.
3. Make a plan to get back on course. How can you shift your energy, thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviours to ones that serve you instead? What can you do feel better and take responsibility?
For me, this was setting boundaries with myself. I realized that I needed to work less, and rest more. And most importantly, that I needed to spend quality time with my family where I was present in the moment.
I also needed to check-in with myself and assess whether the things I was doing were because I wanted too, or because I felt like I had too. For me, anything that was not a HELL YES was ultimately a hell no, and that meant it had to be removed from my list.
Doing these things removed all triggers I was experiencing and further contributed to my healing journey. It left me happier, healthier, and less irritated and overwhelmed.
4. Do the things you have laid out for yourself to heal these triggers and keep moving forward.
Remember that although we cannot control what happens to us in our lifetime, we are ultimately responsible for healing ourselves and what our lives look like after.
We can lessen triggers, heal past traumas and shift our energy, thoughts, emotions and mindset on a daily basis. It’s not easy, but we can do it. And more importantly, we need to do it for ourselves.
We owe that much to ourselves. Make a plan, implement shifting tools to help, reach out to your support system, and invest in your own healing journey. You can get there. <3
There you have it babe! I hope this post helps give you some ideas for healing any triggers that might be coming up for you, and what you can do to lessen the impact in your day-to-day life.
Best of luck incorporating these tips!