Triggers Are Truthtellers
Triggers get a bad rap, but there is a way to harness their power and transform them into trusted allies
We talk about triggers a lot in our coaching program. Hey, let’s face it — divorce is a treasure trove for triggers.
We can get triggered by the upheaval and uncertainty, our exes, the unsolicited opinions of others like family members, friends, co-workers — and of course, our own unhealed wounded emotions, not to mention our unrealistic expectations of others.
Bring it on! Divorce invites them all to the table for a good time.
But there is an important distinction that I want to make. Triggers aren’t meant to be fixed, shoved aside, hidden or ignored.
You are not failing because you are triggered. No...you are paying attention.
Let that sink in a moment. We can’t heal what we aren’t ready to admit and see.
Recently on a call with one of my mamas, she recounted a story about being triggered. “Is it bad?” she asked. Hell No!
First off, let’s start with the fact that this mama had done enough self-reflective work to recognize that she was triggered. It starts there. I know that sounds obvious, but more often than not when we deny our emotions, they eventually find a way out — usually in an irrational-seeming eruption.
Been there done that more times than I’d like to admit.
But when we catch ourselves by admitting, oh, that triggered me — we can do something with it before it takes over. We can interrupt the spiral down. We can decide how to use it rather than be dragged behind it.
That in itself is huge progress.
Imagine just hitting the pause button on whatever is unfolding. You are the director of this film...so scream out, “Cut! Let’s take a break here.” Then regroup. Consider what is going on before responding, reacting, unraveling.
Triggers are teachers that provide us with information and often times are the missing links we have ignored. They are also truthtellers, the whistleblowers and informers. They are alerting you to something that will no longer remain unseen. They are also friends.
Hey, do you want friends that tell you what you want...or what you need?
If you feel triggered, it’s time to get underneath the hood.
Ask yourself, what’s the source of this?
What else is this connected to?
Is this a pattern playing out on repeat?
And then declare, I need to deal with this once and for all so I can move beyond it. I’m done with this. Now the caveat to that is, you might say, yeah but...my ex is triggering me. I can’t exactly be ‘done’ with him as we have to co-parent, etc.
I’m not suggesting that you can be ‘done’ with the ex, especially when there are children involved. I’m reminding you that you have the power to break old patterns, patch old energy leaks, reclaim your control and navigate your relationship from a new stance — on a grounded foundation that is protected by boundaries and aligned with your heart and intuition.
Yep, it’s possible. It’s also possible to recognize that this person (or scenario) triggers me, so I’m going to rescript my interactions, erect some new boundaries and protect myself because the old ways are no longer serving me. You get to decide how you want to show up.
For most of us, divorce with children isn’t as simple as signing on the dotted line and walking off into the sunset. No, the source of your trigger is likely going to be in your life for decades to come, if not forever. So, what are you going to do with it?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your healthy communication. While co-parenting, you don’t have the luxury of taking a break from dealing with the badly behaved ex, but you do have the right to renegotiate the terms of engagement.
Even the most well-intended parents must allow for new ways of engaging to emerge in time.
We all want a crystal ball that can predict the future, right?
Well, what if I told you that you already have one that is built in? Your gut — your internal GPS, your intuitive self. So, maybe it’s time to lean into trusting yourself? Remember, your intuition is a direct line of communication with your triggers — they are working together to wake you up, mama!
You’ll get triggered along the way (maybe even multiple times), but perhaps we could even consider, as Best Selfer and author of the book, Tea and Cake with Demons: A Buddhist Guide to Feeling Worthy, Adreanna Limbach says, “Maybe relaxing the urge to fix ourselves is the path to becoming really good friends with who we are.”
Adreanna’s perspective is a much-needed breath of fresh air guiding us all to take a look at those parts of ourselves that well…we’d rather not look at. I was reminded of this article in Best Self Magazine and thought you might relate — you can read it here.
Triggers are teachers and truthtellers if you let them be.
Are you ready to harness the power of yours? Perhaps it’s time to grab a cup of tea (preferably with cake), sit quietly and allow yourself to honor your own crystal ball.
What is she whispering to you?
And remember, mama, this is about you, what you can do and control — what you want, not about what has been done to you, what you have ignored, allowed, pretended to see.
Your needs are center stage and the spotlight’s on you.
— Kristen Noel, Certified Divorce Coach & Founder, Best Self Intuitive Divorce
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