Trigger warning. Trigger sensitivity. Trigger disclaimer. Caution: May ignite triggers.
More and more I see one of these phrases as a buffer ahead of some deeply detailed or potentially controversial discussion. It has become sort of the ‘viewer’s discretion advised’ of words and thoughts.
Recently I overheard a man and woman having an intense argument. The man blurted out at the woman, “You need to stop yelling at me, it’s a trigger from childhood and I don’t like that.” To which the woman replied, “Okay, okay…my bad.”
So what’s the deal with “triggers”?
By definition, an emotional trigger is anything that causes a heightened, intense emotional reaction. It can be a word, a memory, an experience or an event.
Managing and addressing emotional triggers is a personal responsibility and it can be accomplished with the help of a team or village of people.
We all have had experiences and memories that tie in to some emotional feeling, whether it be positive or negative. Of course, the negative emotional reactions are typically the ones that indicate some level of healing that needs to take place.
Unless you were born yesterday, right now at this very moment, it’s very likely that you have some emotional trigger just waiting to be engaged. Here’s the key: it’s not someone else’s job to have foresight on your emotional triggers.
Yes, you read that right.
It simply is not enough to tell someone about your emotional trigger, if you are not also doing the due diligence to properly address that trigger and truly heal. Healing is the goal here.
It’s not someone else’s fault or issue for doing or saying something that sets you on edge because of a negative emotional experience or memory. At best, and when appropriate, we can explain our situation in hopes that person will become an ally to our healing. But the real work starts within.
Take the time to manage your triggers. Happy healing!