Ever call up your girlfriend and start off with these words “Oh my Gaah, you are never going to believe what he did?”

Chances are you've been in or you're in a relationship now where you get triggered. It's actually rather challenging to not be triggered when you're in a relationship, as we've all got some sensitive issues or buttons and when they're pressed, all of our personal development techniques that we thought we had nailed down go out the window. There we are engaging in some sort of emotional battle with our partner as an angry, hurt, or wounded little boy or girl.

What are triggers?

What do I mean by triggers? I think of my triggers as my wounds. They're those little buttons that when my partner presses them, I tend to take it personal. I don't have to, but there are just times that I do.

Co-dependents are well known for taking things personal. We tend to react in somewhat a dramatic way when our buttons get pressed. We're hyper sensitive and can get hurt easy.

If you've ever gone to Al-Anon meetings, one slogan that they use is “Q-tip”, which means, “Quit taking it personal”. We oftentimes think that when people are talking about something, that is about us. My partner could say, “Oh, the garbage man comes tomorrow” and I could take it personal and think that she's upset because I didn't take the garbage out yet. But she just could have been speaking the reality that the garbage man come tomorrow.

We also tend to react in a defensive manner often because we think that anytime someone is struggling with something, somehow it's our fault.

That's one of my big ones right there. Thinking that when someone is upset, somehow it's my fault or I did something wrong. That's one of my triggers.

How can we define a trigger?

What makes you angry? What sends you in a tailspin? Into depression? What causes you to flip out? What causes you to shut down? What causes you to walk out the door and slam it?

A trigger is simply an old wound. See, what you're experiencing now, that negative emotion that you're experiencing while you're in the midst of this argument with your partner, it isn’t really about you and your partner. It's about an old wound that probably was formed somewhere in your childhood. Maybe your dad used to get on you all the time because you weren't doing something right, and so you picked up the belief that everything you do is wrong. That you can never do enough to please people. That wound started as a child and now as an adult, that button is being pressed in your current relationship.

Triggers as internal wounds

If you are struggling with codependent characteristics, chances are you picked up some dysfunctional beliefs about yourself while growing up. Maybe you grew up with an addicted parent or you were verbally or sexually abused. Maybe one of your parents was a narcissist or an emotional manipulator.

In many homes, there's wounded parents trying to parent their children. In some instances, such as children in homes where alcoholism is present, the children pick up some beliefs that don't serve them well as adults. They also create faulty defense mechanisms or coping skills, especially when they're dealing with something traumatic, because children don't know how to process such traumas in a healthy way.

This is why you may stuff all of your feelings or scream at the top of your lungs like the world is coming to an end when your partner uses a tone with you. This is why you feel like death has knocked at your door when your partner threatens to leave you. And this fear of abandonment like you've never experienced pops up and you’re begging him to stay, even if he's nothing more than an A-hole.

Let's take shame, for instance. Maybe your parents weren't there for you emotionally, or maybe they told you that you were acting like a baby if you were sad. They told you to suck it up and be a man or be a woman. And now, in your current relationships you can become triggered when your partner doesn't want to be supportive when you're going through a tough time. Or maybe you're trying to talk to your partner and he isn't really engaging with you. He's avoidant. Or maybe he just doesn't even want to bother hearing your struggles. So, you feel ashamed again, and this can become repetitive in a relationship.

So how do you deal with triggers?

The first thing is to realize that your triggers or your wounds can be incredible opportunities to heal and get yourself free from being triggered. You’ve got to deal to heal, dear one.

Being able to recognize that when crap hits the fan in your relationship, can you refrain from pointing fingers at your partner and instead evaluate what's going on inside you? Can you ask yourself, “I wonder why I'm feeling so angry right now? What wound is this? Is this really about my partner or is this really about something that has happened in the past that is asking to be healed?”

Now, healing may involve you going back and talking about that issue or your childhood and actually grieving what has occurred back then. Granted, the grieving will be temporary, but the grieving and acceptance of what happened and just putting voice to it, can help you to heal it. It can help that blocked energy to start flowing, and when your energy can flow freely, life just goes so much better.

I want you to begin to thank about what triggers you. Begin to write about it. Identify perhaps how your childhood could be related to this trigger that you're experiencing now.

For codependents, common triggers (wounds) are feeling abandoned, taking things personally, shame, loneliness, not feeling heard, fear of saying no to others, being told you’re hyper sensitive, and more.

It’s easy to react abruptly when you feel that contrast within you, so I want you to start pausing before you react. Before you speak or point your finger or anything. Take several deep breaths and connect with your Higher Power. Connect with your true self. Have a conversation with yourself and see if there’s opportunity for you to heal something.

For me, when I can pause when I feel like reacting, and connect with the heart of God, I will remember that my biggest opportunities to heal my wounds requires me to offer patience and compassion when conversing with my partner. That means not letting anger or fear control me. That means not taking my partner’s emotions on, and that means not shutting down.

Oh, always room for improvement dear ones.

Hope this helps you continue to grow and evolve on this beautiful life journey.

Author's Bio: 

Dominica Applegate is an author, spiritual counslor, and recovery advocate dedicated to helping others journey toward wholeness. Merging a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Counseling, she spends a great deal of time studying alternative approaches to healing emotional pain and trauma.

Combining the science of neuro-biology, transpersonal psychology, and spiritual growth techniques, she helps others identify and re-program self-defeating beliefs.

Dominica is the author of Recycle Your Pain: It Has a Purpose and Codependency Freedom eCourse. She is an expert in codependency, relationships, spirituality, addiction, and alternative healing.

She provides spiritual counseling in Lafayette, LA, and internationally via Skype. For more information, visit https://dominicaapplegate.com/

You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dominicaapplegate2257/