Taming Triggers Solution Step 6: Tame Triggers With Requests

(This post is part 7 of an 8-part series on Taming Triggers Solution for partners of sex addicts and survivors of infidelity. If you haven’t already read the first six posts, I highly recommend you begin here with Step 1 and complete the first five steps before proceeding to Step 6.)

Step 6 of the 7-step Taming Triggers Solution process — Tame Triggers With Requests — offers you the opportunity to reduce or eliminate triggers by making a request of another person, when you don’t have the power to tame a trigger on your own.

Keep in mind that sometimes triggers signal the need to set a boundary. Requests are one method for establishing boundaries with your partner or others.

Examples of using requests to tame triggers

Trigger:
The addict using a computer in an isolated area of your home.

Possible Request:
I feel anxious and worried when you use the computer in the bedroom. Would you be willing to use the computer only in public areas in our home?

Trigger:
Discovering, after the fact, that your partner had lunch with a female co-worker.

Possible Request:
When I find out after the fact that you had lunch with a female co-worker I feel fearful and angry. I would like to know in advance when you’re having lunch with a female co-worker or supervisor. Are you willing to do that?

Trigger:
Your partner traveling out of town for business.

Possible Request:
Because you’ve acted out sexually in the past when you traveled for business, I would like you to call me every night when you get to your hotel room when you’re traveling for business. Will you do that for me?

Requests Dos & Don’ts

DO

  • Make requests in the form of a question:
 Would you be willing to . . . . .? 
Is that something you’re willing to do?
  • Be willing to negotiate a solution if your partner doesn’t offer an immediate “yes.”
  • Make requests clear, specific, and measurable:
 Would you call me every night by 9 pm when you’re traveling out of town for business? Rather than: I would like you to call me when you’re out of town.

DON’T

  • Make demands or issue ultimatums.
  • Refuse to take “No” for an answer. If you can’t accept a no, a yes won’t have much meaning.
  • Be vague or unclear.

Best practices for making requests

  • Before making a request, you may want to discuss it with a friend, mentor, sponsor or therapist to get feedback and guidance.
  • When you’re ready to make a request, find a time when you and the other person are conflict-free.
  • Begin the conversation by telling the other person you would like to talk to them about something and ask if they’re available to talk.
  • If making a request is difficult or a challenge for you, set a deadline, or put some accountability in place to support you.

Do you have triggers that could be reduced or eliminated by making a request of another person?

If so, make a list of requests you’d like to make, to whom, and a deadline — if needed.

Get Taming Triggers Solution Step 7 here.


© 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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