Nisha returned home late with a frowny face after finishing long day at work. Her husband made a comment “Hey, you look tired”. She said “yes! Just had a bad day at work. Actually, I felt little upset because…”. Before she continued, her husband cut her off and said, “Oh that’s not a big deal” just to lighten up the situation (as per him). Nisha suddenly turned furious, went into her room and banged the door! Her husband was wondering what was wrong with her as this was not usual her. On the other side, Nisha was inside her room, after some time, she started feeling bad for her earlier reaction towards her husband. The only question in her head was “Why did I behave like this? Why I got so angry? I am not like this at work! I have handled many critical tasks well. But why did I behaved like this with my husband whom I consider the most loved person in my life” Nisha started watching TV with loud voice just to cope up with her ‘something’ that has caused this behavior. That something is nothing but a ‘Trigger’.
We all have emotional triggers that are related to something specific. It could be a past event, a topic, a person, a place, a comment etc. In most of the cases, the trigger is related to past event especially during our childhood or during our adolescence stage. The trigger and reaction associated with it is so quick, that we won’t even recognize why all this happened at the first place.
In Nisha’s case, during her school days, her mother used to have similar reactions to everything when she was expressing what happened in school. The only feeling she used to get was ‘No matter what upsets me, It’s not a big deal’. So, for Nisha, when her mother, being the most lovable person for her, wasn’t emotionally available for her when she needed, she used to express anger in aggressive reactions to get her mother’s attention.
What she believed was, when our emotions are not valued by your loved ones, the only way to get attention is through aggressive reactions.
We all come across people who develop some coping mechanisms to deal with such triggers. For e.g., running away, complete mental shutdown for some time, blaming everyone, get addicted to food, shopping etc. we need to realize that unless we identify and deal with reason for triggers, any surface level solution is not going to help.
Here are few quick steps to deal with triggers
Step 1: Accept responsibility for your reactions.
When you accept that only you are responsible for your triggers, you initiate the process of seeking the reason behind it.
Step 2: Identify the cause
You need to identify what is causing trigger. What is it that is making me behave or react in a way that is not usual me.
Step 3: Deal with the root cause first
Once you identify the root cause, you are almost done! If you address the root cause and figure out mechanisms to get aware of your trigger in that moment, you can easily deal with it differently and you won’t have unusual reactions.
Remember! Awareness is the first step of self-discovery. Discover your triggers and deal with it!