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Getting triggered by your ex?

Got a text from my co-parent this morning and felt a stream of energy and heat, tingling through my arms and face. Oh no,,, Trigger alert!

What are triggers? Why are they happening and how to deal with them?

Every time I’m triggered, I’m feeling a charge in my body. It’s like a warm rush flowing up my veins.

My co-parent (ex) is the one person that triggers me the most. I got to know this feeling, be aware of it and deal with it.

What are triggers?

A trigger is a distress signal that affects my emotional state. It is influencing my ability to think clearly and rationally. It may bring up specific thoughts, habits, trauma and start behaviour patterns like “fight or flight”.

Why are they happening?

The body is known to store memories from traumatic events. As separation is a traumatic event, my body is storing this and reacting when my co-parent is talking, asking me things, or calling me.

Sometimes I can feel my body stiffen a little when I see her name coming up on my phone. This is a fear reaction as my body tries to protect itself from what’s coming. Wow, even writing this now is challenging!

How to deal with triggers?

My first reaction is to fight back! Act! Protect myself by going on the offence OR getting defensive, being apologetic, over explaining etc.

Here’s what I’m working on doing instead:

1. Stop and take a deep breath

2. Acknowledge the sensation in my body

3. Acknowledge what I’m feeling – unsafe, rushed, angry, reactive

4. Sit with it and understand it – by doing nothing, letting it go, feeling safe again, acknowledging I was triggered and that’s ok

5. Take control by taking responsibility for my feelings (No victim here)

6. Decide on the preferred action

7. Communicate it clearly and honestly

Are you triggered by your ex? Are you rushing to react from a place of trauma?

You’ll feel better just by sharing it with a safe person.

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