I’m going on a brief detour here from the “Why Knowing What to Do is Not Enough” blog series … to talk about an important and related topic that came up on a women’s forum where I’ve been participating:
How to Use Emotional Triggers to Solve All Your Problems and Heal Your Life Top to Bottom
This is a very, very important piece of my coaching system, Holistic Belief Reprogramming.
First off, what do I mean by an “emotional trigger”?
Basically, I mean any stimulus in your life that “triggers” you to have a negative reaction … so, if you suddenly find yourself angry, or yelling at someone, slamming the door on someone, disconnecting from someone, gossiping about someone, or … more subtly but just as insidious … JUDGING someone else or yourself … you have been TRIGGERED.
Triggering is ANY form of negative emotional reactivity to ANY situation.
Now, what is the typical culturally conditioned response to triggers?
Mostly, it’s the sort of thing I mentioned above … many people engage in some sort of “strategy” to avoid the discomfort of the trigger, and these strategies range from judging, accusing, gossiping, disconnecting, explosive rage, emotional numbness, self-medication (alcohol, television, internet, drugs), and EVERY other form of disconnection from feelings.
Because what a trigger really does is bring up very PAINFUL feelings. And those feelings are not about what is happening in the present moment. Those feelings are unprocessed baggage from the PAST, and that baggage is interfering with the person’s ability to be FULLY PRESENT in the HERE/NOW.
Because our culture doesn’t provide a lot of ways for people to address those painful feelings, people revert to strategies for disconnection from the painful feelings instead of staying connected.
Now, here’s the problem with reverting to disconnection strategies such as judgment or anger …
Disconnection will NEVER solve the underlying problem, which is some sort of trigger and trauma from the PAST. Disconnection ensures that the trigger remains buried in your nervous or energetic system, which means YOU HAVE A BUTTON INSIDE YOU THAT ANYONE CAN PUSH AT ANY TIME.
And if you have a button that anyone can push at any time, and you don’t have a proven method for addressing and erasing such buttons, you are very likely going to start engaging in AVOIDANCE strategies. Meaning, things like avoiding conflict. Or avoiding certain people. Or sabotaging your relationships. Or sabotaging your successes. Or walking on eggshells around other people, hoping not to awaken the sleeping dragon. Or becoming a bitter and cynical person who always assumes the worst so that he or she will not be disappointed by “setbacks.”
All to AVOID THE FEELINGS THAT ARE BEING TRIGGERED …
Do you see where I am going with this? Avoiding the feelings by lapsing into a “strategy” DOES NOT WORK and WILL NEVER WORK to solve the core issue.
Let me give you a couple of examples to make this more clear …
First, an example from my own life. A year and a half ago, I was in a relationship where certain of my “buttons” started to get pushed. It felt so scary to me, and the feelings were so overwhelming, that I went into “shut down” mode and dumped him. Looking back, I see I wasn’t really dumping him, I was attempting … in a very ineffective way … to dump my feelings. And guess what? It didn’t work. All the feelings were still there, and I felt HORRIBLE. This, unfortunately, ended up in a situation where both he and I, triggered to the point of overwhelm, said and did a lot of things to each other that really messed up what had been — for six months before that — a very promising and enjoyable relationship.
Now, as I have spent a lot of time identifying and healing the dozens of triggers that were being activated in that situation, I realize that I was reacting TO THE PAST and not to the man I was in a relationship with … I had a CORE BELIEF that it was not safe to trust men that was built on top of a bunch of painful memories that had never been fully processed … Here are some of the painful memories that were activated by our relationship situation:
- My dad saying my kitten would be okay so we didn’t have to find him and bring him home, and finding my kitten dead on the road the next morning (huge trauma for a four-year old)
- My mother criticizing my dad constantly, and him not standing up for himself
- My dad standing by and doing nothing while his boss beat my cat (a different cat) with a leash
- My dad promising to do things and not following through, which resulted in disappointment and mistrust
- And so on …
I had so many of these traumatic experience stored in my nervous system that would get touched by a little thing my ex would say or do, that the pain coming up was overwhelming, and I dumped my ex because of it … only to regret my reactivity later …
NOT HELPFUL, RIGHT?
Okay, here’s another example, this time a client I’m working with right now:
My client has a pattern of LEAVING situations … and even if she hasn’t left yet … she always FEELS like leaving … she never feels fully happy or satisfied where she is.
Exploring into this, we have discovered that she has a bunch of very painful memories from her past that get triggered in the present, constantly, and the feelings are so painful she just wants to disconnect.
She does not yet have the communication skills to stay in the connection and communicate her feelings. In fact, she’s not even feeling her feelings, because she’s going straight into OVERWHELM and DISCONNECTION.
This leads her to end relationships and quit jobs, in a very predictable emotional cycle, over and over again, without ever solving the core issue.
NOT HELPFUL, RIGHT?
What is the answer here … what is the way out of this mess?
Well, that’s what my coaching system, Holistic Belief Reprogramming, is designed to address. I have developed methods of delving into the past, not for the sake of rehashing it, but to HEAL IT FOREVER so that the past is no longer intruding upon the present moment. I have developed methods for going inside an emotional trigger and unwinding the tightly wound emotional coil that is causing a person to live out the same old horrible, frustrating, self-sabotaging pattern OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
In its essence, instead of AVOIDING triggers, we are going inside the triggers and doing two things: first, opening them up and exploring them, bringing the underlying negative beliefs and memories to conscious awareness; and second, releasing and erasing the negative emotional energy that is causing these triggers to play out repeatedly, seemingly beyond the control of the person in whose life they are wreaking havoc.
After this process has been completed, the old destructive patterns STOP. My client feels happier and more empowered, and is able to start living his or her life FULLY without walking on eggshells anymore around other people and around his or her own triggers. Each time a person clears out a trigger through my method, they have taken some of their power back. There is one less button there for other people to push.
That’s why I no longer run away from triggers. I prefer to get curious about them and move toward them. Move inside them. Open them up. Get present with all the uncomfortable feelings, until it starts feeling COMFORTABLE to get triggered. I’m still safe. I know what to do with a trigger to erase that button so it can’t be pushed anymore. What part of my self am I still disowning (Debbie Ford Shadow self style) that this feels triggering to me? What hateful belief or self-judgment am I holding on to that has created this pain in me? Why am I still emotionally reactive to what’s going on in this situation — what does it remind me of from the ancient past?
Hooray, I have been liberated a little bit more today because someone triggered me.
Once you’ve learned my entire method, you may even start looking forward to getting triggered, instead of avoiding it. So many people walk around avoiding or reacting to their triggers! My intention is to reframe triggering. In my mind, getting triggered is a GOOD thing. It’s bringing conscious awareness to something in me that still needs healing, and now that someone has given me the GIFT of triggering me, I can identify yet another area of emotional debris and limiting beliefs.
I am now empowered to release the negative emotions and to erase the limiting beliefs that support those emotions. I am now free to take my power back in yet another area of my life where I had given my power away.
Thank you for triggering :)
If you’d like to sign up for a session with me, so we can explore your triggers and erase the out of your subconscious mind SO NOBODY CAN PUSH YOUR BUTTONS ANYMORE, please email me at Erika@ErikaAwakening.com, or sign up on my coaching page here.
To learn my entire coaching method top to bottom, so you can be empowered to address and erase your own triggers, please check out my 15-week Course in Miracles here.
About the Author:
Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening
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