Triggers of Your Past

16 Jun Triggers of Your Past

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” ~ Bernard Meltzer

One of the things that can prevent you from being in a loving relationship and deepening existing relationships is the ability to let go of the past. Our past tends to haunt us more than we would like, creeping in like an ant at a picnic, soon overtaking the entire area.

Early on my path to self-discovery, my boyfriend and I were driving down the road on a Saturday afternoon. I sat in the passenger seat, just chatting about everyday things together. At one point in our conversation, he patted his hand on my knee and said “Don’t worry princess, I’ve got that covered.”

Suddenly, my blood immediately began to boil and steam flew from my ears! I was pissed beyond words and I proceeded to share each and every thought, intertwining cuss word after cuss word! I unleashed on him! Quite literally!

When there was nothing left for me to say, I looked over and noticed he was just staring at me as if I had two heads. I didn’t say a word, nor did he. I just turned away and stared out the window, trying to figure out what just happened. How did I just go from 0-60 in 1.1 seconds I wondered? Why did I feel so out of control and enraged?

Within moments I connected the dots.

Growing up, my mom and step-dad, who was verbally abusive would often fight and more often than not, it was about me. Sometimes I would unintentionally overhear them, other times I would listen in over the built-in intercom system. It was like a train wreck, although I hated hearing what I heard, I couldn’t help but listen. I’d hear my step-dad say things like “You and your princess bitch daughter…” or “Your princess bitch daughter is…” Sometimes, I wouldn’t even have to overhear him, instead, he’d say things like “Excuse me princess…” as he reached for a glass in the cabinet.

Needless to say, as I got older and began dating, I made it very clear to each and every boyfriend that under no circumstances were they ever allowed to call me a princess, whether it was an expression of love or they were joking. That word was 100% “OFF LIMITS”! Hearing the word, quite literally, made my skin crawl; no matter what context it was used.

In my coaching practice, I call words and phrases like these, triggers. The same way certain smells may remind you of your childhood summer vacations by the beach, words can also act like a trigger…igniting certain emotions deep within you, causing you to react a certain way; for the good or for the bad.

This happens so often in relationships, especially when there are things left undone from the past. Unhealed parts of yourself can impact the way you view and react to your relationships in the past, present or the future.

Pay attention to your triggers. They may be words or phrases, but they will always bring up a great deal of emotion; negative or positive ones.

4 Keys To Releasing Triggers:

  1. Become aware – Simply recognizing your negative thoughts and perceptions will help to eliminate them. Notice the things that set you off. Pay attention to those words and/or phrases that bring up those strong emotions.
  2. Challenge and Explore – Ask yourself why you don’t like a certain word, phrases or actions. What age were you when you began hearing it and when did you begin disliking it?
  3. Release – You could connect the dots all day long, but if you continue to allow the words to control you, they will forever have power over you. Ultimately, in order to improve not only your own well-being, but your relationships, you have to be willing to simply let them go. Today.
  4. Be vulnerable – A big part of moving forward and healing the “ugly” parts of your past is your willingness to be honest not only with yourself, but with your loved one(s). If you find yourself reacting to things that have nothing to do with your partner, be open and honest and share this with your partner.

Triggers are merely a part of the “baggage” we carry. Refuse to let them get inside of you and your current relationships. Let more love in and set yourself free!

Big hugs,

~Jody

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