Emotional Triggers


By Ali Mariani

One minute you feel like yourself and the next, someone takes a three-foot sword to you chest, twists it, and leaves it there to rest, leaves it there to become saturated with blood, unrecognizable. The blade hits you with one clean-swoop, a sudden, sharp pang, but leaves a mess in its wake, spreading throughout all parts of your body.


The “someone” that does it is a “someone” you know and hold dear. It’s not a stranger or an enemy. It’s a lover, a best friend, a father…a friend.


First, the pain hits you like a thousand tiny needles, pricking your insides. You feel the initial insertion of the sharp blade right below your collarbone, right in the bulls-eye of your left-side body, right in your heart.


Then, your met with shock: a wave of pain washes over your entire body, spreading all the way down to your toes, and all the way up to the crown of your head. The pain paralyzes you, stops you dead in your tracks. You stop breathing, not because you are dying, but because you have the wind knocked out of you, which, at the moment, feels worse than dying.


A few moments after the paralysis begins to wear off, the pain begins to spread to your brain. It sends clear messages up the spine to the brain: “DANGER! DANGER! RUN” is now the message that your brain is telling you. Or maybe the message says: “You are no good.”


The message can say a thousand different things; it’s your trigger, your story.




Emotional triggers churn and mash our parts; they disguise the things that we thought we knew and held so close. They can turn lovers into strangers, friends into enemies, and love into fear.


This emotional trigger, this three-foot sword, told me the age-old message that I am more than accustomed to hearing: “You are not important.”


It came from someone near and dear to me heart, someone that would not want to intentionally give me this message. This is the catch-22 of emotional triggers: they can come from anyone.  All that matters is that some old wound inside of your soul was re-opened. A tone of voice, a smell, a similar situation, all of these things are privy to re-opening old wounds.


And what happens when old wounds are re-opened? Well, they hurt as badly as they did when you first felt them. Use this example: if you bruise your knee in the same place twice, no matter how lightly you bruise it the second time, that knee is going to hurt like heck.


And when the initial pain sets in, our insides revolt, begging for something different, something to ease the discomfort. They scream loudly, but we can’t understand what they are saying or why they are saying it.


There are several different ways we can identify what our insides are saying. Meditation or quiet time can help us to decipher what our insides are saying. Therapy is another way to help us to identify the yucky feelings. Sometimes, even talking to a friend or a trusted individual can also help us to figure out why we reacted so strongly to something.


If we don’t take the time to understand what they are saying, we turn to something that will provide instant relief from the pain. Instant relief is never a cure, but rather a cause for more discomfort. We must face the triggers here and now, or later. It’s always our choice.



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