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What are some of your triggers?

Old 04-29-2011, 12:04 AM
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What are some of your triggers?

I've been thinking a lot the last few days about triggers, and finding myself keenly aware when it happens to me - the reaction I get when I am triggered by something, and that split second between awareness and action...

I have found some threads to be a trigger here, and that I am better off closing them out instead of allowing myself to post something on them that may be controversial.

I have found myself really annoyed twice now by one of my colleagues...she and I have a history of butting heads in the past and this week has been especially challenging.

My sister - sheesh - she triggers me in ways I struggle to manage, even after all of these years of expecting and getting the very behaviors that trigger me.

Today's experience: I took my truck in to have the studded tires taken off and the summer tires put on this morning. Because my new house is about 2 miles from the shop, I took my bike to ride home. Well, somehow the chain got very snagged in the sprocket and was completely cranked up - and of course I didn't have any tools with me because I can't find my bike bag at the moment, so I ended up taking the bike for a walk instead of riding it home. I had a couple minutes of sheer anger at my RAH - damnit he did bring the bike over a few days ago and he BROKE IT and now I am walking and its cold and then...the sun broke over the ridgeline and was so beautiful that I laughed...and thanked my HP for putting me in a place to stop and enjoy the sunrise. And it helped me to realize that maybe it wasn't my RAH who broke my bike. Maybe it was me... I could have done that to the chain, ya know?! And I didn't call him to tell him how pissed I was. Instead I had a nice walk in the frosty but sunny morning. And the RAH - well - he stopped by on his lunch hour and managed to pry the chain out with only a few bent spots, making it rideable again, for the trip back to the shop this afternoon.

I've learned this week that I don't have to react to every little thing that comes at me. I've learned to take that split second of awareness of my emotions and do something different than react. I am not perfect...but I am learning.

What are your triggers? Do you think about them and find ways to do something different next time? Is it working for you?

All opinions welcome!
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Old 04-29-2011, 07:17 AM
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I've learned this week that I don't have to react to every little thing that comes at me. I've learned to take that split second of awareness of my emotions and do something different than react.
Thank you for that! I'll come back to the rest.
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Old 04-29-2011, 07:28 AM
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I need to head out for a get together at D3s preschool but wanted to thank you for this thread and will most definitely be back to share.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:34 AM
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People telling me I'm wrong when I'm certain I'm not.

I don't mean technical things, like at work - because sometimes I am wrong, sometimes there's a misunderstanding, sometimes they're just trying to get my department to sign off on the easy solution because they don't want to put the work into the hard-but-right solution.

I mean anything that reeks of gaslighting - telling me I'm interpreting things wrong, or remember things wrong, or that I made up something in my personal life. Sometimes I am the one in the wrong, but it gets me all worked up anyway, because in that case even if the person is trying to help me move past something I'm having problems with, it feels like my entire belief system is being attacked. My mother did it to me all the time, my father backed her side of the story, and then XABF started in on it as well. It's just too raw a wound right now, and I think I need to fix a lot of other things before I will feel confident enough to tackle this.


People who need to be the center of attention. Not as strong a trigger as it once was, but that said, I do try to avoid them. My parents invited someone over for Easter lunch, and he had to literally shout a comment to anything anybody said, and it made me feel really uncomfortable - and this is someone I knew since I was little, and I used to love talking to him about things. But my skin would crawl every time he opened his mouth. Even a simple question to my brother, "Could you please help me by counting the spoons for setting the table?" resulted in a "UH-OH, GOTTA WATCH OUT, OR SHE'LL COME AFTER YOU FOR NOT HELPING!" They weren't even witty comments, they made no sense.


My sister's boyfriend triggers me. I don't know if I'm picking up on something that's there, or I just have a problem with my sister dating someone who enjoys drinking wine with lunch if it's offered, but I felt very triggered. (I generally do not mind people drinking, especially in public, especially since XABF was always a private drinker.)


There's also a guy at work who triggers me, big time. He thinks he's joking and teasing, but I do feel harassed sometimes, and attempts to say anything to him are brushed off because he assumes I'm joking.
He knows the sorts of things I like, so he'll forward me fliers for discount tickets to airshows or coupons off at restaurants he thinks I'd enjoy, and I appreciate them...
But then he'll come down and make a big show of shouting "Where's my tiger pen??? You stole my tiger pen!!!" when the pen is mine, and always has been. He'll take things off my desk that he likes and pretend to steal them, they always come back placed in exactly the spot they were in before because he thinks it's a big joke, but I started giving away the things he keeps picking up, because it's no fun having a decorated desk anymore if he's going to wander off with half of it.
He also leaves random notes on my white board when he comes by when I'm not here, so I have just stopped erasing it because it will just come back the next day. I have to talk to someone about him, because he doesn't listen to me.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:44 AM
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People who start sentences with "I know you think..." and believe that they know me better than I know myself. BPD mom and AH have done that for years and it's a HUGE trigger for me when people do that.

Gaslighting as Star Cat described it perfectly. Another favorite of my FOO and AH. Didn't know it had a name until I started to question that what they told me might not be fact.

Passive aggressive behavior that is so obvious and having the person behaving in that way deny its existance when called on it.

When confronting unacceptable behavior, being told to look for the grain of truth in insulting words. I did do this for years. I looked so much at myself to find the flaws my FOO and AH told me I had that I failed to see that the issue was them and that they were abusive. I'm pretty aware of my flaws and there are many. I am honest about those. I've decided that any "advice" to look at myself that is couched between insults and my mother and AH are the masters at this, is not advice no matter how much they claim it to be so. For a long time I pointed this out to them and it made things much worse so now I try and let it go and it has certainly lessened how often it occurs.

Oh, and "jokes" that are really slams-- don't like those either... again, passive aggressiveness. Very triggering.

Solutions? When people do any of the above, strive to remind myself that people who are healthy and focussed on their own issues don't do these things and try to not let it define me or get under my skin. Some days are better than others for being able to do this.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:48 AM
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On here there are some threads that trigger me. Mostly surrounding mothers, children, etc. I try to wait a day to post.

IRL two of my kids trigger me something terrible. They are extremely mouthy and have an attitude of condescension and disrespect. I have no idea if they actually feel that way or if they have learned my buttons and push them from habit but it makes it very hard for me. I am really struggling with how to change that dynamic because honestly I would not allow another person that spoke to me like that to stay in my house for 5 minutes. I have a low tolerance for that kind of thing anyway, as most parents do, but the huge volcano of emotions that come bubbling up are out of sync and result in actual physical sensations even and that makes it hard for me. I then start going over the ledge worrying about what my life will be like when they are teenagers and I get panicky to make.them.stop.right.now.

The other two don't do it at all. Thank the heavens.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:06 AM
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Hearing that mutual friends of XH's and mine are doing something with him, and not me.

Learning from a friend of XHs that they used substances when they were together, while I have been suspicious for years, and now we are divorced, and it shouldn't matter. But the confirmation (unsolicited, I don't talk about him) triggered me.

Being lied to.

Being yelled at.

Being accused of having ulterior motives.

Ungrateful children.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:43 AM
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Some of my triggers - no doubt I've missed a few. More work needs to be done I guess!

Hearing someone open a beer can - I still flinch. Not as bad with this as I used to be but I haven't heard it in a while!

People working on assumption that they have about me without finding out if they are true - irritates the heck out of me!

Gotta agree with the passive-aggressive triggers and gaslighting - they really irritate me still. Backhanded compliments also have to go in here. Letting go of the irritation, realising it has more to do with the other person than me, rising above the pettiness are all things I'm still struggling with (particularly at work).

Seeing someone walk past that slightly resemble XAH - I get a flash of dread, that cold feeling in the pit of my stomach. It's less than before though, over in a second when it used to paralyse me till I was sure it wasn't him.

Being around people who are drinking. I get increasingly nervous (unless I know them, drunk and sober, really well - a really short list of people!) and need to go. I still can't just relax like everyone else and shrug off drunk behaviour. I'm always waiting for the nastiness to start. How do I deal with this? I don't! I try and avoid these situations like the plague.

I also hate hearing people talk about how drunk they were the night before. It makes me really uncomfortable. I need to learn to let go in these situations. It's their business, why should I care?
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bookwyrm View Post
Seeing someone walk past that slightly resemble XAH - I get a flash of dread, that cold feeling in the pit of my stomach. It's less than before though, over in a second when it used to paralyse me till I was sure it wasn't him.
This reminds me, I have to add Silver SUV's, and Black Ford Escapes, to my list of triggers. Especially Silver Toyota SUV's. I start checking my rear view mirror constantly, and analyzing my options for evasive maneuvers, debating if I should wind down all my windows and start blasting rap "music" so he won't think it's me in my car...

And XABF doesn't even know what car I drive anymore.
And I won't put any distinct markings on it anywhere, either - no bumper stickers, window stickers, vanity plates, things hanging from the rear view mirror, anything sitting on the seats that he might recognize...

And I got special insurance on the car, from the dealer, to protect against slashed tires, because that was another fear of mine.

I don't want to live like this anymore.
I just want to be left alone.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:06 AM
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Seeing his Ipod when I was cleaning out the SUV. I wanted to fling it onto the ground and break it into pieces.

I used to like listening to my music at least kind of loud, but now I can't stand it. I have found that loud music triggers reactions in the kids too.
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:09 AM
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Silly thing that triggered me yesterday:

Wednesday was admin professionals' day. Bossman forgot. So yesterday, he made up for it by having these huge flower arrangements sent in for his assistant and his secretary. I cried when I saw them because I realized I spent 20 years with a man who never got me even a bouquet of tired carnations. And it wasn't even the flowers, it was what they symbolized -- that he never bothered to find out how much fresh flowers do for me, just as he never bothered to find out who I was in other ways. What mattered was always only what I could do for him.

But that was a good thing.

What usually triggers me is when AXH does/says something that shows how much he underestimates me and how much of an idiot he thinks I am.
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:57 AM
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  • Yelling/Screaming (even if it's my 2 year old)
  • The sound of a beer being cracked open
  • The sight of empties piled together
  • BBO (Bad Body Odor)
  • The smell of urine (we're potty training so it's common these days)
  • Hearing about friends eyeballs deep in abusive relationships
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Old 04-29-2011, 03:42 PM
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Well shoot, after this week...

I have to say::: Lawnmowers & 2 Beers!

OMG...I crack myself up!!!
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Old 04-29-2011, 04:03 PM
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I didn't know this was a trigger til tonight. Ran to Rite Aid while neighbor watched the girls to get D3 Pedialyte etc... And I nearly ran into a display of Budweiser cases. I suspect a display much like it if not that exact one has always been there and I've never noticed it (don't really go to Rite Aid that much either so maybe that's it).

In any event, I felt my chest tighten and felt the panicky feeling I have felt when I see empties or find hidden cans. Then in line I waited behind a guy holding 2 cases and all I could think was, I wonder if he's an alcoholic, I wonder if he's going to hide that beer from anyone, I wonder if he's going to drink them all tonight (at his peak AH was drinking at least a case of beer a night- 18- that's a case right?).

That is a trigger for me and if I don't see another Budweiser can in this lifetime that will be too soon...
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Old 04-29-2011, 05:49 PM
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I am laughing and nodding my head here - a lot of what everyone wrote are my triggers too. The gaslighting - my sister does this constantly. I consider it lying. But I am beginning to think she may very well believe these delusions of hers that keep her a perpetual victim of the big, mean world.

My mouthy teenager - the 14 yr old - she and I had some words last night about being disrespectful and again, I had to remind her of who I actually am in her life, and it isn't a peer...

There are two women in my office who can't stand each other, and I have become that neutral 3rd party they come and bitch to about the other. How did I get in the middle of that? Now they both kind of trigger me a little...

My SIL - the RAH's sister - had triggered me a lot early in our marriage. She is passive-aggressive and competitive and territorial and its awkward to be around her. The shame is, like my own sister, I don't think this woman is really consciously aware of her behavior. I think her emotions drive her, versus being rational and thoughtful of her emotions, if that makes sense. As I work through the 12 steps, I am learning to be more aware of my emotions and my own triggers and how annoying I must have been toward the end of living with an active A to be out of control and triggered by everything! Now, I am calmer and more aware and far less apt to react.

But I still get triggered - I just make a conscious choice to deal with it differently. I guess that's all part of recovery - learning how much control we actually have...over ourselves!
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:38 PM
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Easy triggers:

- a certain 'friend's' bicycle in the drive
- people telling me I don't know how to relax
- people saying 'it's all so-and-so's fault'
- the empty PBR can on top of my new mailbox! It's not even good beer, people!
- discussions about emotions... I get lost easily, and it can quickly degenerate into a gaslighting session. Ick.

- Sylvie
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:55 PM
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When the ABF blares the music out in the shed out back. I've been a hair's breath away from taking my pump action 12 gauge and just blasting the living beejeezus out of that stereo until blessed silence returns. I don't even care that it's my stereo.
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:55 PM
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I know what you mean about the friend of your XH. My exabf's best drinking buddy is in AA now, and he told me about all the times they did cocaine behind my back, after I'd already told exabf it was a dealbreaker.

Originally Posted by stella27 View Post
Hearing that mutual friends of XH's and mine are doing something with him, and not me.

Learning from a friend of XHs that they used substances when they were together, while I have been suspicious for years, and now we are divorced, and it shouldn't matter. But the confirmation (unsolicited, I don't talk about him) triggered me.

Being lied to.

Being yelled at.

Being accused of having ulterior motives.

Ungrateful children.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:01 PM
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this was marijuana. I had told him I would not be married to a drug-user. So he hid it from me. For no telling how long. How stupid was I to think he hung around dope-smokers regularly but abstained because he knew I was opposed. You hang around dopers when you are a doper.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:03 PM
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The sound of the beer can opening
The sound of the cabinet where we keep the liquor
I could not listen to any music for a while because it all reminded me of him. Then I started listening to country music which I have learned to like but of course it is the worst thing for a broken heart.
Beer cans in the bathroom and on the counter
The sight of a Black Jeep Wrangler-I see his car a lot on the road, at the bar, on my walks, at the FD.
Grocery shopping-I don't know why lately I have broken down reaching for a can of soup. I keep thinking about what he would like to eat and then remember I am not buying for him anymore.
Certain movies and TV shows
Scrapbooking- I just can't look at my old scrapbooks or try to update any. It just makes me too sad.
Holidays
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