Taming Triggers Solution Step 2: Rate Your Triggers

(This post is part 3 of an 8-part series on Taming Triggers Solution for partners of sex addicts and survivors of infidelity. If you haven’t already read posts 1 & 2, I highly recommend you read each of these posts and complete the assignment in Step 1 before proceeding to Step 2.)

Step 2 of the 7-step Taming Triggers Solution process — Rate Your Triggers — is designed to help you understand at a deeper level how your triggers are impacting you so that you can reduce or completely eliminate triggers from your everyday life.

Why rate your triggers?

There are 4 powerful reasons to rate your triggers:

  1. You will get more clarity from knowing the intensity of each trigger, individually, rather than experiencing triggers as one assault (or barrage) after another.
  2. You will have a better understanding of why some triggers have so much power over you, while others don’t.
  3. When you know which triggers are the most intense for you, you can choose wisely which triggers you want to “tame” first. For example, you may want to start with the least intense triggers and then gradually address those that are more intense. On the other hand, you may want to start working immediately on triggers that are very distressing, or even debilitating. There’s no right or wrong — whatever works best for you.

To rate your triggers, go back to the list of triggers you identified in Step 1. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most intense), assign a number to each trigger. Go through the triggers quickly and use “first thought, best thought” as you’re assigning the numbers. Whatever comes to mind first is the right number for you.

Remember that triggers are highly individualized. That means that what is extremely triggering to you may not be triggering at all to someone else.

For some partners, seeing sexually explicit content on TV or other media may not be very triggering (a 2 on a scale of 1-10, for example), while another partner may be severely distressed by the same material. If you find that standing in the grocery line with all of the magazine covers facing you has an intensity of 10, don’t judge yourself. (By the way, you can always turn them around so you don’t have to look at them!)

Take some time now to look at the list of triggers you identified in Step 1 of Taming Triggers Solution. Next to each triggers, write a number between 1-10 (10 being the most intense) to rate your triggers. You will use this information in later steps to make decisions about how to proceed with each trigger. For some partners, just writing them down and rating each one provides important information and learning.

Next week I’ll present Taming Triggers Solution Step 3 – Identifying Toxic Thoughts. If you’re not aware of toxic thoughts (about yourself and others) related to your triggers you will experience unnecessary pain, shame, and anger.


© Victoria Priya, LCSW [formerly Vicki Tidwell Palmer] (2016)

Radiant Threefold Path articles are protected by U.S. copyright laws, and may not be reproduced, distributed, or re-published without written permission of the author.
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