Triggers are moments, words, actions or events that cause a mental or physical response; causing someone to do something positive in some instances, but in this case it can cause a distress response, typically as a result of arousing feelings or memories associated with a particular traumatic experience.
Why do trigger disclosures exist?
Trigger alerts are supposed to assist and alert people who might be affected by difficult conversations or events. Using trigger alerts doesn’t require a lot of effort, once you begin it can, in many ways, have an positive effect on the experience of various people.
Giving a trigger notification can be as basic as a simple sentence at the beginning of an interview “please note that this talk can contain a speech communication of sexual assault” for example or “the following incorporates images of physical violence.”
What needs a trigger notification?
There is no ideal answer but basic trigger notifications should be needed if any of the following are mentioned, referred to or explicitly included :
Physical violence, sexual violence, abuse, slurs or violent language, medication, substance or alcohol misuse, medical, physical and psychological disorders, and self harm.
In the event that you identify something might need a trigger admonition,it is important that you are clear about what and where this trigger may be, in whatever form this warning my be. On the off chance that someone has expressly mentioned that you caution for a specific topic or theme, this also has to be regarded.
Holding up till someone requests a warning might mean that someone has already been triggered. Consider that some people may well be uncomfortable requesting a trigger warning. You might feel guilty that something you have said, done or made has triggered someone, and sometimes this guilt can make you lash out or claim that someone is being oversensitive, but this isn’t the cause. Including a trigger warning will not detract from your work, but it can help and protect other people.
Guilt is a dangerous thing, and often if people have underlying guilt it can be triggered whenever that guilt is manipulated. A classic example of this might be a parent ‘guilting’ you to do or behave in a way they feel would be better. A Mom might urge their kids to have another bowl of soup (“I toiled for 3 hours for you to have just one matzah ball?”) or a Dad might say this to children to get them to comply (“Fine, don’t to this family party. I guess your family don’t matter to you anymore.”). Both of these are commonly known as ‘guilt trips’.
Why Guilt trips typically succeed?
Guilt trips can be the bread and butter of some families’ interactions, however they’re not always the selfish and cruel action we would suspect. While they might “succeed”, one cannot blame the instigator completely: guilt trips are often the result of the instigators own guilt or trauma. The one being guilt-tripped may not realise it, but the instigator will have their own feelings of blame or guilt from those who guilt tripped them. It’s a vicious cycle.
What allows guilt trips to seemingly work, no matter the disdain they cause, is the connection that generally exists between those involved. One carries a desire to please those who we are closest to, as well as wanting to protect and care for those we feel responsible for. The effectiveness of the guilt trip comes from the desire to make people proud. To achieve something that is worth of others recognition.
How Guilt trips poison Our nearest Relationships
People who initiate guilt trips often feel complex emotions and have some memory or regret of something they did or didn’t do. As it were, people who use guilt trips are usually wholly focused around obtaining their ideal goal or result through another’s life, oblivious to the damage their methods might cause their loved one. In their own, mistaken way, those who guilt trip are trying to protect their loved one from the pain they feel.
But this misguided attempt can simply pass on those feelings of pain rather than preventing them. Guilt trips can trigger resentment, guilt, secrecy and repression. Which, in turn, can lead to other more destructive and dangerous after effects like addictive habits, stress, anxiety and depression. Guilt trips themselves can be a trigger, and might in turn lead to more significant reactions.
A trigger is a reminder of a past trauma. This reminder can cause a person to feel overwhelming sadness, anxiety, or panic. It may also cause someone to have flashbacks in some cases. As a result, it can feel sometimes that triggers are difficult to manage or are uncontrollable. This is not the case. Here are 5 tips to help you to manage triggers, whether they come with a warning, or if they come unexpectedly:
1st accept responsibility for your reactions.
Accept yourself as powerful instead of as victim. When you seek to identify what is triggering how you feel in the moment, you give yourself the chance to feel differently if you want to. You will also have more clarity on what you need to do or what you need to ask for to change your circumstances.
2nd recognise that you are having an emotional reaction as soon as it begins to appear in your body.
According to neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, at any moment, your rate of breathing, blood flow, tension in your muscles and constriction in your gut represents a pattern you can identify as a feeling. The sooner you recognise that you are breathing quickly or not at all, that certain muscles in your body tightened, or that you feel pressure in your gut or heart, stop and ask yourself what you are feeling and why.
Don’t judge or fear your emotions. No matter what you learned about the evils of emotions, if you don’t recognise your feelings, you can’t change them, negatively impacting your relationships, job performance, and overall happiness.
3rd If the emotion is related to fear, anger, or sadness, determine what triggered the emotion.
The strengths that have helped in life are also your greatest emotional triggers when you feel someone is not honouring one of them. When your brain perceives that someone has taken or plans to take one of these important things away from you, your emotions are triggered.The following list includes some of the most common emotional triggers, meaning you react when you feel as though you aren’t getting or will not get one of these needs met.
be in control
be treated fairly
Some of these needs will be important to you. Others will hold no emotional charge for you. Some seem to overlap; choose the words you feel strongly about and begin to notice when your reactions are tied to unmet needs. Be honest with yourself. Which three needs, when not met, will likely trigger a reaction in you? Identify the needs that you hold most dear.
Needs are not bad. You have these needs because at some point in your life, the need served you. For example, your experiences may have taught you that success in life depends on maintaining control, establishing a safe environment, and having people around you who appreciate your intelligence. However, the more you are attached to having control, safety and being seen as smart, the more your brain will be on the lookout for circumstances that deny you your needs. The unmet need or threat becomes an emotional trigger.
4th Choose what you want to feel and what you want to do.
With practice, the reaction to your emotional triggers could subside, but they may never go away. The best you can do is to quickly identify when an emotion is triggered and then choose what to say or do next.
Ask yourself: Are you really losing this need or not? Is the person actively denying your need or are you taking the situation too personally? If it’s true that someone is ignoring your need or blocking you from achieving it, can you either ask for what you need or, if it doesn’t really matter, can you let the need go for now?
Choose to ask for what you need, let it go if you honestly feel that asking for what you need will have no value, or do something else to get your need met.
5th actively shift your emotional state.
You can practice this step at any time, even when you first notice a reaction to help you think through your triggers and responses. When you determine what you want to do next, shift into the emotion that will help you get the best results.
Relax – breathe and release the tension in your body.
Detach – clear your mind of all thoughts.
Centre – drop your awareness to the centre of your body just below your navel.
Focus – choose one keyword that represents how you want to feel in this moment. Breathe in the word and allow yourself to feel the shift.