What does it mean to become triggered?

My understanding is to become activated by a triggering event or situation. Or like the triggerfish with its two sets of moveable locking spines. When the larger forward spine is upright, the smaller one behind it (the trigger) can drop down, securing the first in place. Intended to secure the fish in place as a defense mechanism when it locks itself in a hole. That being the case, it is safe to say that triggers are relative to the interests we try to protect.

I'm betting you already knew this to be the case. Right? With so many articles on the subject, what benefit can I possibly hope offer by adding to the fray?

Have you ever considered your triggers and what makes them so? Is it the utter lack of self-awareness by others and their complete disregard for the world around them? Or is it those soul sucking black holes that believe they do no wrong? What about those that react to everything in fits greater than what lead to their volatile response? How about passive aggressive laziness full of complaints and problems? The list is endless and triggers are a dime a dozen.

For me, as you already guessed, it's all of the above. My monkey mind rages out of control. Why? Because I feel unsafe and unable to trust that my best interests are held in regard. People will do as they do. Right? Then why does it trigger me so?

My story

To unearth to some answers, I wish to share truths about my story. For example, the level of emotional neglect I've been subjected to as a child was real. Not physical or emotional abuse like so many others have experienced, but real nonetheless. The countless causes (choices) that led to the resulting effects (mistakes) in my youth as a result of poor modeling still has me scratching my head over how I survived my twenties.

My parents are kind loving people, truly. My siblings, amazing adults. My childhood, however, sucked ass regardless the loving intentions my adoring mom sincerely tried to demonstrate. Her extremely fear-based impulsive nature and emotionally volatile demeanor was the norm. A norm in which I somehow knew was not right, not healthy, and offered little in bolstering safety as a child. She did the best the could with what she experienced in her story, which was far worse than mine.

My desire for peace and harmony forced me to seek safety in relationships outside my family. Adding to it were the constant ups and downs between my sister and I that left me with no hope for any potential of a healthy relationship with women. I know I'm not the only one who's childhood was fraught with dysfunctional BS. It's par for the course. Right?

Triggers have a plus side too. They contributed to the man I've become. A double-edged sword, if you will. It's what shaped my desire for a better life. My insatiable desire for growth. My drive for more. My resilience, to adapt as quickly as possible to constantly shifting environments. My perfectionist nature was also a side-effect of my early years.

We all have baggage

What I share is nothing new nor is it particularly special. How many understand the cause for their triggers though? The reasoning behind their choices in response? In truth, I share all this not to whine or complain "Poor me." I share my story to enlighten others to theirs. I am well aware of my triggers, and yet they trigger me still.

The more I speak of them and clarify their origin, the less power they hold over me. At least that's the goal. The more I can forgive my own transgression upon myself in reaction to these triggers, the better I am able to consciously respond through kindness instead of ugly emotions. The greater chance I stand in not cutting a mofo.

Okay, so how to negate the effects triggers

Distance is the best solution, in my skewed opinion. Let's not get it twisted though. No where in the this bloody universe is it stated that anyone must put up with the shenanigans of another. You can still love and support from afar those choosing mindlessness over mindfulness. Support does not always require direct or sustained engagement. Running away from our problems or binding agreements is a not always the best answer. So take this with a grain of salt.

Not engaging is another great way to maintain your sense of power against the forces of idiocy. Better than straight-up punching them in the throat only to watch them gasp for air, no matter how gratifying it would feel. By not engaging, I mean to acknowledge they exist with respect and kindness whilst not fueling or feeding their irrational nonsense of being.

Then there's the awkward and unnerving hug. I've yet to try this but it just came to me while thinking of possible solutions for staying out of jail. Yeah, the next time someone you know chooses insanity over reason simply walk up to them without saying a word, hug them, and then walk away into another room. I bet if I did it often enough it would creep them out and kill all desire for acting a fool. Shit, I experience plenty opportunities to try this one out. I'll have to remember to post an update as to my findings. Be sure to stay tuned.

In the end

It is nothing new that we all carry stuff inside. Feelings buried deep deep down, long denied, repressed, or forgotten, it really makes no difference. Choice in awareness or lack therein is differentiation. It's all choice. How we respond, or react, to situations that have the potential to activate us is like that emotional "Slack line" we must walk every day. Otherwise we risk losing face or any chance of parole for a crime we didn't intend to commit.

The reality of my story is that I still have wounds imperceivable to the eye. Scars deep below the surface. None fully healed despite all the work and growth I've invested. Tender spots that require my attention and compassion. Acknowledging their existence within my being, my psyche, is how I maintain my sense of power. Ultimately my acceptance to the power they also provided me. 

Because in the end, I will always prefer love over anger despite my quirky pesky triggers. In the end, love is all I choose to share. May the light always guide you through dark waters. May you choose to embrace what triggers you and, with enough practice, learn to respond with love. Be well lovely souls.