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Are you Trigger Happy?: How to Decrease Your Over Sensitivity

Updated: Jun 24, 2021

Do you find you get triggered easily? You feel “overly sensitive” or easily upset. You wear your emotions on your sleeve. You cry when you’re happy, sad, angry and mad. Or maybe you blow up for no real reason at all. Well….. of course, there’s a reason, but your reaction is bigger than it needs to be.

If this sounds true, your triggers are very sensitive. You are Trigger Happy.

So what makes you so Trigger Happy?

You know that if you don’t sleep well or exercise, if you don’t meditate or if you haven’t eaten and you’re hangry…. this makes you Trigger Happy.

But did you know that all of these things poke a CORE Belief which lies at the base of your trigger?

That’s what a trigger is. A trigger is when an old injury or core belief has been poked.

In my 20’s, I was celebrating New Years at the Genny (a rockin’ dance bar, in my small community). Someone stepped on my toe with their stiletto heal. Holy Cow, did it ever sting. My toe was bruised for a good decade. Anytime I stubbed it, that toe would throb for days. Any other toe…. no problem.

Well, your feelings are the same way. Your triggers are deep seated, original hurts or injuries. Like the bruised toe. If it wasn’t previously injured, it wouldn’t hurt so much.

If you felt pressure as a child by a parent who put adult responsibility on you while you were young, or a sibling who insisted on telling you every opportunity they got, that they were better or smarter than you, or a bully in school who tormented or teased you……

These hurts will be triggered every time a similar FEELING event occurs in adulthood.

If your partner doesn’t pull their weight with the chores, you might feel the heavy burden of responsibility again. If a colleague or family member likes to insult you or brag that they’re smarter or better than you, it’ll likely trigger old feelings from your sibling in childhood. And, if you have a frenemy who likes to pick and tease you mean-spiritedly, you might feel helpless the way you did with that school yard bully.

Triggers are old injuries that get poked by similar situations in adulthood.

The same internal narrative from childhood, will get triggered again in the present moment. You might feel like it’s your responsibility to care for the home, chores and everyone else’s feelings and you come last. Or you might feel like you’re not good enough, the way you did with your sibling. Or you might feel small, helpless and maybe think that you deserve the bullying, since it keeps happening over and over and over again.

And, do you know what happens when an old injury gets triggered?

You’ll react in the same way that you did when the original pain of the trigger was formed. It will look as if, you’re having a child-like temper tantrum.

Raise your hand if you know what I’m talkin’ about. Crying, yelling, screaming, protesting, defiance, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty thinking straight, shutting down, withdrawing, avoiding, numbing out. You get the picture.

And, I KNOW that you know what I’m talkin’ about. Because for 30 years, people have been telling me in counselling sessions that they feel embarrassed and angry with themselves for child-like outbursts and infantile behaviours and withdrawal.

Please don’t beat yourself up over this. This is normal. When triggered, everyone reacts the way they did at the time of the original hurt. And, of course this is normal and typical, otherwise, why would I be writing about it.

To get to the root Core Belief that is triggered, you’ll have to do some soul searching, emotional intimacy with yourself, and validate all of what you’re feeling and experiencing. If you beat yourself up, judge, and drown in expectations that you “shouldn’t” be so sensitive, the more you’ll shut down and miss the opportunity to discover where your trigger is coming from. And, judgement only makes you feel worse.

Here’s how you get to the Core Belief.

You can use a validation strategy.

Or, you can meet with a counsellor to help unpack what happened in the current situation that triggered the original stubbed toe.

Drop a note and let me know how helpful this info was for you.

And, of course, feel free to reach out if you’d like to unpack your own Core Beliefs to become less Trigger Happy.

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