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When you're triggered

Dec 12, 2022

We’ve all been there - that triggered feeling.

Your brain perceives a threat in your environment. It’s activated. You shift into fight, flight, freeze or fawn and you try to survive the threat. 

This is an amazing part of your brain, particularly if there's a real threat to your safety (like that moose you bumped into on the trail). 

But you know when it's not so useful?

When you're running late to a meeting. 

Or when she doesn't respond to your text.

Or when your kid spills milkshake all over your car.

Or when your partner gets you a glass of chardonnay from the bar at the party and you hate chardonnay (how can he NOT know this, you’ve been married for 14 years!).

In these situations there's no need to be triggered - you’re sitting safe, under a roof, in your suburban home/place of work/car/holiday party. 

But unmanaged, your brain doesn't understand this. These circumstances are coded as threats and your brain starts to brain: 

OMG you’re basically allergic to chardonnay. He knows this, he just doesn't care. He doesn’t care about you! You do so much, it’s an invisible load. And nothing would get done if you didn’t do it. Take tonight: The sitter. The dry cleaning. The uber. The gift. You just want a glass of wine and even THAT is impossible for him! You’ll just rage quietly and avoid him for the rest of the night. Maybe longer.

The real problem here? When emotions are high, our intelligence drops. We react without engaging the executive functioning part of our brain - our curiosity, inner compass and CEO. 

It seems like the feeling of irritation comes from your partner at the holiday party but that’s never true. The feeling always comes from your interpretation of what your partner did - it comes from your brain. 

Chardonnay is annoying, don’t get us wrong. But is there another way to look at the situation that makes you feel a little less irritated? Maybe even enjoy the party?

He’s been killing it with the Elf the past few days. And, he’s a pro wrapper, total GOAT. Maybe he just asked the bartender for a glass of white? Maybe this is all they’re serving….

He is half mess and half amazing and it’s ok that he does things differently than you. [Like fact check the wine with the bartender.]

The edgy uber ride home can be avoided by doing this inner work. Give it a try. This is where connection begins. 

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