Confined by Triggers

“We can become confined by the stories we tell ourselves, which can overpower our reality.”

When we feel triggered by others or an external circumstance, our central nervous system becomes activated. This can be a “fight or flight” response and it is very emotional. This means that we can intellectualize and even consciously justify why this is irrational, but in our BODIES we feel intensely that something is “off.” First, it is important to observe the thoughts or feelings as they occur.

What are the feelings? (emotional)

  • anger
  • annoyed
  • sad
  • frustrated
  • panicked
  • uneasy
  • confused
  • lonely

How may these feelings manifest in the body? (physiological)

  • racing heart
  • chest tension
  • sweaty palms
  • lump in throat
  • stomach distress

What are the thoughts? (cognitive)

  • Am I safe?
  • Am I good enough?
  • Am I lovable?


An individual or outside circumstance may trigger our core fear around worthiness and how others or ourselves perceive our competence, intelligence, performance, accomplishments, etc. Once we observe our emotions, body’s response, and thoughts, we can better understand and identify the trigger as separate from our actual experience. A lot of times it is an external circumstance triggering this fear WITHIN us, rather than it being about the external “thing.”

This feeling may be inferiority, rejection, and lead to behaviors of comparing to others as a way to cope with the discomfort. It is important to remember that this feeling is really coming from WITHIN us. Are we rejecting ourselves for who we truly are for fear that this will not be okay for someone else? Then this leads to working toward accepting yourself for all of what you are and embracing the parts that you compare to others. What are you trying to prove to YOURSELF?

This is a process and it won’t change over night, but it CAN change and it CAN be worked through.

What do you notice happens when you become triggered and how have you coped?

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