When we look around the world right now, we see a lot of anger, frustration, personal attacks and condemnation, division and separation. Left and right, people are being triggered by the values, beliefs, and ideas of others. Buttons are being pushed as people lash out at one another to defend their views and make themselves right and the other person wrong. What the heck is going on? Emotional triggers explained…

What Is A Trigger?

A trigger is anything that helps you bring to the surface or recall a traumatic memory from your past. It can be a word, object, person, behaviour or action, sensation, face, place, or any situation or thing that causes you to feel unsettled or fearful. You might feel anxious, nervous, sick, hurt, uneasy and unsure why. But your subconscious mind knows, and it is trying to help you.

When a trigger is experienced, it may prompt irrational and unexplained behaviours and actions. The trigger starts an automatic reaction only to the trigger, and all other sensory information is ignored.

When triggered, we cannot see or hear logic or objectively consider other perspectives, views, or information.

We know we feel triggered by something or someone when we feel agitated, anxious or frustrated. We hold onto the situation and refuse to let it go. We react automatically with thoughts, emotions, words, actions or behaviours that we feel we cannot control.

When someone is triggered, the response can be viewed by others as irrational and even insane.

Unresolved Trauma

To understand why triggers occur, we need to understand trauma and the resolution of trauma.

Trauma results from an unresolved incident caused by overwhelming physical, mental, emotional, relational or spiritual stress. The stress exceeds the ability to cope with the distress.

To resolve is to solve a problem, end a difficulty or make a decision formally or with determination.

When we experience something we cannot resolve physically, mentally or emotionally, this creates trauma. Trauma is held in the body as energy with the frequency of unresolved, conflicting and trapped emotions and thoughts.

Trauma can be created by an external event, situation, person, or condition that creates stress or distress. The tolerance of stress and distress and the ability to handle stress are different for everyone. What is enjoyable for one person, such as a roller coaster ride, might be terrifying for another. No wound or trauma is more or less valid or legitimate than another.

What is trauma to one may or may not be trauma to another.

Trauma is often created in childhood and can range from being born into the world, being yelled at for making a mess, or being bullied or physically or sexually abused. Trauma is what exists and is experienced by an individual and what is missing, such as neglect and the absence of physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual support.

Separation From Trauma

Incidents of trauma can occur dozens or hundreds of times in childhood. Trauma comes from confused and conflicting thoughts and our needs not being met.

Learn more… ”7 Essential Human Needs That Must Be Met To Thrive”

A child cannot understand why a parent supposed to love them would hit them or hurt them. If a child deserves to be hit or hurt, how can they be loved? Does it mean someone loves you if they hit or hurt you?

A child is told to be quiet when they speak up about want they need or want. They are told to be quiet, to be seen or not heard. Does this mean they are not worthy or deserving of having what they need? Does this mean their thoughts and needs are not important? Does this mean they should be quiet even when they need to say something?

In these situations, the confusing and conflicting thoughts and emotions are not expressed externally and resolved. They remain within us, waiting for an opportunity to rise to the surface and express themselves so we can properly process and understand them and let them go. They remain within us, waiting for a trigger to help them emerge.

When we are triggered, whatever need was not met at the trauma fights to be met. Whatever part of us we discarded, punished, hid or ignored fights to be seen, heard, valued, acknowledged or loved.

Healing Trauma Through Triggers

A trigger brings the energy of trauma to the surface along with the associated thoughts and emotions for it to be resolved.

A trigger is an opportunity to heal trauma and a wound and resolve conflicting and confusing thoughts and emotions.

A trigger is a messenger for the unhealed parts of our soul.

We heal our traumas when we are conscious and aware. We heal our traumas when we know we are being triggered and choose to hold back from an unconscious, emotional and irrational reaction and behaviour – just for a moment. We heal our traumas by considering the emotions and thoughts that arise in response to a trigger and why we think and feel that way. We heal our traumas when we consider the unmet need arising from the trigger and how we can meet it now. We heal our traumas when we face them front on and see, hear and accept them for what they are. We heal our traumas when we choose to pay attention.

Learn more… ”What Are Emotions And Where Do They Come From?”

We perpetuate our traumas when we allow our childish thoughts and emotions to run unchecked.

We perpetuate our traumas when we are unconscious, unaware and deny they even exist.

Collective Trauma

Planet Earth is in a time of great turmoil and change. Never have we seen such separation and divide triggered by opposing values, ideals and beliefs. Never before have we seen so many people so easily abuse, criticize and name-call others with no thought or regret. Never before have we seen such anger, fear, frustration, intolerance, malice, hate and division.

What is happening on planet Earth is a mass eruption of collective shadow and trauma.

What is happening on planet Earth is the opportunity both individually and collectively to heal old trauma and wounds that are coming to the surface.

What is happening on Earth is an opportunity for significant change.

Instead, we see the perpetuation of anger, frustration, separation and division.

We are seeing individual trauma and unresolved emotions arising and expressed collectively.

We are seeing human beings who, at their core, are traumatised children, acting out in response to the triggers of fear, separation, and division.

What Can You Do?

When someone says or does something stupid that makes you angry, frustrated or mad, you are being triggered and allowed to heal, and they are a gift.

When someone says or does something hurtful or hateful to you or someone else, do not react with angry or frustrated words, violent action or irrational behaviour… Do not try to make them wrong, see your way or view, have the last word, or be right. Do not shut them down, shame, humiliate, deny, disown or discard them.

Instead, consider the trauma and wound you feel and what you need. Consider the trauma, what they feel and need instead. Consider how you can be the one to give yourself and them what they need and attempt to heal one more wound and resolve one more trauma in the world.

When someone says or does something that offends, imposes or intrudes and triggers you, stand up for yourself for sure. But choose to do so in a way that heals and meets your needs without triggering them right back.

Choose to be more conscious and aware, shift and make a change, or choose to perpetuate and poke the wound.

The choice is yours…

…Liz Watt