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How to Stop Being Triggered in Relationships | Someone recently asked me, “Do you have any advice on how to stop being triggered in relationships?” Learn how to stay calm and enjoy fulfilling connections.

Someone recently asked me, “Do you have any advice on how to stop being triggered in relationships?”

She often found herself in this typical scenario:

Her partner calls to invite her to a hike or an art show. 

Immediately, her body tenses up and her stomach feels nauseous. The words, “Yes, I’d love to go!”, spurt out of her mouth before she realizes what’s happening.

After hanging up the phone, she takes a few deep breaths and recenters herself. “How did this happen again?”, she wonders.

Horrified, she snatches her agenda, “Am I even available the day of the outing?!”

The emotional trigger—her partner’s invitation—sparked anxiety within 2 seconds, creating a cascade of actions: ignoring her own needs, saying yes, beating herself up and eventually feeling resentful in the relationship.

Have you experienced something similar?

It’s extremely frustrating. No one likes to feel like a hostage to their emotions.

So, how do we stop being triggered in relationships, so that we can be true to ourselves and enjoy fulfilling connections?   

1) Acknowledge your emotions in your body

It’s too easy to brush our painful emotions aside.

Most of us live busy lives, pouncing on one task after another. Our modern society certainly makes it hard to slow down

And facing our negative emotions can be intimidating.

But if we don’t acknowledge them, they get stored in our subconscious and make themselves known in other (sometimes destructive) ways.

In the story above, the obligation to say yes came from the childhood habit of people-pleasing to gain a mother’s love.

It’s helpful to have an excellent understanding of how our old wounds affect us today. Becoming aware of our difficult emotions and their ties to the past gives us a bigger perspective.

We can take a step back and gift ourselves some grace.

Yet my inquirer felt perplexed that despite years of talk therapy, she couldn’t shake off her self-sacrificing tendencies. 

That’s because our intellectual understanding isn’t enough. We need to acknowledge and release these feelings from our subconscious mind and body if we want to move forward with ease. 

So the first thing is to get into the habit of checking in with our bodies throughout the day. 

Before you start a new task, take a moment and ask yourself: “How am I feeling right now? What physical tension am I experiencing?” (That tension is stress manifesting in your body.)

Breathe deeply through any tension.

If you’d like, cross your hands over your heart while breathing deeply to feel extra grounded.  

2) Identify your triggers

For years, I observed a strange recurring event…

A friend and I agree on a date for our next hangout. Oftentimes, they arrive practically out of breath, which gives me the impression our hangout isn’t important to them. 

But my friend is on time, more or less. They manage to collect their thoughts and we enjoy a nourishing conversation over Earl Grey tea as usual.

One day, they forgot about our hangout. They apologized… Later on, they forgot again. I couldn’t help but feel abandoned.

This has happened with other friends too. I couldn’t understand. Each friend reassured me that our friendship mattered. Yet my rational tendencies invalidated my feelings.

So instead, I stayed curious, “What’s happening right before I feel bad in relationships, in general?” I started a brief list of my own emotional triggers:

  • A friend stands me up
  • A friend calls me only when they need help
  • My husband complains about something
  • Mom doesn’t ask me how I’m doing
  • My in-laws criticize my decisions  

Note that the type of relationship can influence our triggers. For example, my heart pounds when my husband complains. But I stay rather calm when a friend complains. 

Learning what bothers me in relationships gives me a little more control, even though others’ behaviors haven’t changed.

Now that I’m more aware of my emotions in my body (step #1 above), I can stay grounded and better navigate these sticky situations.

3) Trace the emotional trigger

When we get triggered, we often blame the other person.

Their words or actions made us feel awful. They should apologize and make amends. 

End of story… right? Not quite.

If we want to find peace of mind, we must realize that waiting for others to change disempowers us. We can’t control others’ behaviors, but we can manage our reactions.

Instead of looking outwards, we can contemplate, “When have I felt this way in my body before? What conclusions have I made about myself when this happens?”  

A current issue often mirrors past trauma, unhealed wounds, insecurities or unmet needs.

We definitely don’t want to blame ourselves for others’ harmful actions. People who hurt us should obviously apologize and commit to doing the right thing.

At the same time, we can learn how to stop being triggered in relationships by identifying specific past events that echo the current issue. Then, we can use EFT Tapping to release the original pain associated with the trigger from our bodies.

This is essential to liberate ourselves from the emotional trigger.

The feelings of abandonment that hit my chest when my friend forgot our hangouts also emerged when my mom “forgot” me at school.

(Actually, my 5 year-old self didn’t know that my mom was running late. The agony was the same.)

In this case, I could use these EFT statements:

  • Even though I felt abandoned when my mom was late, I accept how I feel.
  • Even though I feel this abandonment in my chest, I accept how I feel.
  • Even though I believed that I wasn’t lovable, I accept how I feel.

What statements could you use for your own trigger?

If you’re new to EFT or need a refresher, check out my free guide here.

How to stop being triggered in relationships

Once we release the pain from past events, we can breathe a little easier in our relationships.

The self-awareness that we’ve cultivated, mixed with the power of EFT Tapping, helps us stay calmer and more present, improve communication with loved ones and foster gratifying connections.

If you still get triggered often, there may be deeper layers to clear. I guide brave souls in one-to-one sessions to release hidden subconscious blocks that are holding them back.

Above all, emotional triggers invite us to come home to ourselves first—to better understand who we are and validate our own emotions and needs.

And in turn, the compassion we develop for ourselves nourishes our relationships with others.

Want some free support?

I’m offering free EFT Tapping sessions in exchange for a short interview via Zoom.

I enjoy connecting with other women and learning about their challenges related to confidence, boundaries and relationships.

In the first 15 minutes, I’ll ask questions like “How did you discover me?” for new content ideas. In the last 15 minutes, you’ll get an EFT session to feel calm and clear. (Yes, things can shift that quickly.)

This offer isn’t a discovery call, where we discuss my paid services. It’s a fun opportunity to connect and support each other!

If you feel inspired to work with me, we can book a free call to make sure we’re a good fit.

I look forward to connecting with you!

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