Emotional Triggers: How to Deal with Emotional Triggers After Abuse

Emotional Triggers: How to Deal with Emotional Triggers After Abuse emotional triggers: how to deal with emotional triggers after abuse
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A trigger is anything that reminds you of or connects you to a past painful experience. When triggered, you may respond involuntarily in a way that contradicts how you think you should respond to a situation.

A trigger can cause you to perceive danger in something that doesn’t pose an immediate threat in your life. For instance, seeing the color yellow might remind you of an ex or a parent who caused turmoil in your life if yellow was their favorite color. This can evoke feelings of anger or emotional overwhelm.

Typically, your response when triggered mirrors how you reacted during the original traumatic event. The “fight, flight, freeze, fawn” trauma response takes over when triggered or reminded of a past traumatic memory. It’s like reliving the traumatic experience in the present moment. You can identify being triggered when a sudden wave of negative emotions engulfs you, seemingly out of nowhere.


How Do You Temporarily Cope with Triggers?

I’ve used the term “temporary” because it doesn’t address the root cause but can assist when you haven’t dealt with triggers on a deeper level or need a momentary way out when triggered. To cope, you must first acknowledge you’re triggered, then pause (or take a deep breath) and avoid reacting immediately to the triggering situation.

It’s about being mindful of the trigger and preventing it from involuntarily prompting undesirable behavior or actions. You can also take a journal and deeply inquire into why you’re feeling that way. When you observe your triggers without letting them overwhelm you, you give yourself time to respond rather than letting them flood you with false worst-case scenarios.

It’s about discerning if you’re genuinely in danger or if your mind is conjuring an illusion, exaggerating or fabricating consequences. Awareness empowers you to respond rather than merely react.

Another common advice for dealing with triggers is avoiding events, situations, or people that remind you of your past or trigger you. Avoidance may work temporarily, especially when the trigger is overt (like contacting your ex). You could compile a list of known triggers — such as certain restaurants, times of day, watching TV, or any circumstance that triggered you before — and devise coping strategies to remain composed in those moments. While this approach offers temporary relief, it shouldn’t be a permanent solution. It’s challenging to always find time to breathe, return to mindfulness, or apply coping mechanisms, especially when triggers strike unexpectedly (like while driving on a busy highway).

Why Is Avoidance of Triggers Not the Solution?

The problem with avoidance is that you miss out on the richness of life. Focusing excessively on external triggers leads to a life where you’re preoccupied with external factors that remind you of your past, causing you to neglect activities you once enjoyed (hobbies, restaurants, etc.).


On the other hand, addressing the internal aspects (your inner world) allows you to live without constant trigger vigilance. Relying solely on avoidance affects your life’s quality and implies your past still influences your present choices. It’s akin to a “false sense of freedom.” Changing the external environment entirely to eliminate triggers is impractical due to numerous variables, making triggers abundant and insurmountable. Triggers also reside in the subconscious, beyond conscious awareness.

So, What’s the Best Way to Deal with Triggers?

Encountering unavoidable triggers reveals deeper perceptions and beliefs about yourself in relation to external factors. Triggers are internal, indicating unresolved wounds. Triggering situations and people are like guides that bring unconscious wounds to your attention, enabling you to acknowledge, feel, and heal them.

The ultimate way to address triggers is by healing the wounds and rectifying subconscious beliefs developed from past experiences. The more painful the trigger, the more it exposes hidden wounds waiting for external stimuli to surface.

Working on wounds is challenging as we’re conditioned to avoid pain. However, this work brings profound inner shifts. Healing liberates you from the past’s grip on your present life. When healed, an event that once triggered you won’t prompt the same reaction because you’ve addressed the subconscious beliefs stemming from the past pain. You’ll view new events, situations, and people from your authentic perspective rather than through the lens of past trauma.

Constantly altering your environment to shield against triggers only conceals wounds with superficial solutions, cementing an identity linked to avoidance. Avoidance and time-based solutions align with avoidance tendencies and hinder emotional growth.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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