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?

Controlling Ambivalence

When we first start dating someone new it can be easy to fall into the familiar trap of being blinded to the things we do not want to hear. Maybe the person says they do not want a relationship, maybe they say they do not know what they want, maybe they have a fear of commitment, but whatever the case may be, you need to HEAR IT. Rather than choosing to ignore a statement, it is important to hear it, listen to it, and remain mindful of our actions moving forward. It may feel as if the other person is now taking control of the outcome of your love life, but really you are the empowered one. Remember, that if you stay true to yourself, state what you want, and accept nothing less, you are the one in control of your own destiny. Do not let another person’s fears bring you down or get in the way of you having what your heart desires because it is really up to you. You have the power and you need to remain self-empowered to walk away from a situation that does not serve your highest good.

Lets back track…. What really is the fear of commitment?

Is the fear of commitment fundamentally the same as the fear of abandonment? I think they are similar variations of a deep-rooted fear of intimacy and vulnerability, but a fear of commitment may involve a fear of sacrifice or loss of freedom of self, whereas a fear of abandonment may come after a commitment has been made. For those with a fear of abandonment, the whole idea of commitment falls on shaky ground. Commitment does not ever feel secure enough to fulfill the deep-rooted desire to be loved unconditionally and accepted for our authentic selves.

Ask yourself these questions to assess and explore how to control your own ambivalence:

  1. What are the ways you make inappropriate or unrealistic commitments?
  2. What is the point in a relationship at which you are most likely to panic and run?
  3. What ways do you scare yourself by moving ahead too quickly?
  4. What are some expectations you have that will ultimately make you want to bolt and run away?
  5. What are your commitment fantasies?
  6. How do you respond to someone else’s fantasies?
  7. What ways are your responses so immediate and so intense that they might make a potential mate feel trapped?
  8. In what ways might you distance partners by constructing boundaries?
  9. How do you fail to erect reasonable boundaries?
  10. What are the ways your ambivalence may be acted out in the non-romantic areas of your life?

Let me know how the fear of commitment shows up for you in your life!

Stand your ground! YOU are good enough

Do you sometimes notice that when you are with the man or woman you feel romantically and sexually about you put them on a pedestal?

You may think at first you are doing this because of how special they are to you. You may think you admire another person or “look up” to them. This is just not the case when we choose to place someone on a pedestal. In this case, by placing another person above us, we are literally and automatically putting ourselves below them in a much lower position with much less power. Not only is this a very vulnerable position, but also a very unhealthy one. If we want to find and seek healthy relationships we must not knowingly put others above us leaving us feeling worthless and not good enough to be valued and wanted.

What is wrong with us when we do this?

Why do we feel worthless and yet, still long for and pray that our “partner” will want us just as badly as we want them?

We are seeking validation for our feelings and seeking a reciprocation that will keep us in our pattern of denial and avoidance. We don’t want to face the issues we are actually fighting to overcome. Instead of playing into this negative pattern, we must allow ourselves to find a partner with whom we feel equally and mutually connected to. In a relationship, neither person is better than the other, and if there is an understanding where both see each other as special that is a healthy connection. After all, we are not in relationships to feel miserable and not good enough. If that is the case, we have ourselves to blame and can willingly experience that once we walk away from the situation. It is important to rid of those self-destructive thoughts and feel confident with our unique selves. This is a process, one that starts with awareness. Once you are aware you can continue to teach yourself every day until you finally reach the point of feeling worth it and good enough.