Taming Triggers Solution – Step 1: Name Your Triggers
If you want to take charge of your triggers, you need to begin by knowing what they are — naming them — and writing them down.
Why naming your triggers is important:
- Helps you gain clarity
- Knowledge is power
- When you don’t have conscious awareness of your triggers, you’re more vulnerable when they happen
- You’ll know how to anticipate them and plan accordingly
- You’re better able to manage them, or better yet, eliminate them completely!
Triggers are distressing and can create anxiety and even panic episodes. You may avoid situations, activities, or people because of the intensity of your triggers.
Of course, in the early stages of discovery, it’s completely normal (and advisable) to avoid situations that create intense triggers. But in the long term, avoiding triggers altogether can create isolation, depression, elevated levels of anxiety, and have the unintended consequence of limiting you — your goals and dreams for the future.
As discussed in last week’s post, taming triggers . . . take 2, triggers are highly individualized. That means that what is triggering for one partner may not be triggering at all to another.
Here are some of the most common triggers for partners:
- Seeing a sexually oriented business
- Seeing your partner on the phone or computer
- Watching TV programs, movies, or other media with sexually explicit content
- Your partner’s defensiveness
- Unaccounted for cash spent by your partner
- Your partner breaking agreements or being unaccountable
- Being told you’re over-reacting or too sensitive
If you’d like to get started now with taming your triggers, get out a sheet of paper or your journal and spend some time writing down all of your triggers. Don’t second-guess or censor yourself. Get it all down.
If you find that you’re judging yourself or your triggers, imagine that you’re listening to a close friend share her deepest vulnerabilities with you. You deserve this kind of compassion and attention.
Writing down your triggers may — in itself — be triggering for you. Be gentle with yourself. If you get emotionally flooded or overwhelmed, take a break and come back when you’re ready. There’s no rush.
In next week’s post I’ll cover Step 2 of the Taming Triggers Solution – Rate Your Triggers.
© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2016)
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