Emotional triggers are surprises we get when a person or a situation causes us to have an unexpected reaction, which is usually an unprocessed old wound.
Emotional triggers can be prevalent in new and budding relationships and can rear their heads in many different ways. Almost everyone has old wounds from past relationships or childhood. While some may have done the work to leave those events in the past, many still carry the unprocessed trauma with them every day. Most people may not even realise the profound effect a past event has had on them until something triggers it in the present day. For example, if you have been cheated on in the past, you may become hypersensitive when your new beau plans a lads night out or be extraordinarily on-edge and insecure about the girl he works with.
Emotional triggers, unfortunately, cause us to have a heightened response to an otherwise innocent situation, and we can find that our emotional reaction is intense and out of proportion to what has caused it. As expected, these triggers can damage a budding relationship before it even has a chance to get off the ground. To build healthy relationships, we first need to try and process these triggers and put in the work required to leave them in the past. Whether you are in a relationship or not, it’s never anyone else’s job to take care of us emotionally; it’s entirely up to ourselves.
Identify your old wounds
If you find that you are experiencing recurring emotional reactions in your relationship, it’s time to figure out why this is happening. When you find yourself having a heightened response to something your partner has said or done, take a moment to breathe before you reply. Ask yourself, why are you feeling this way, and if your intense emotional response is justified. Finally, ask yourself, is there a time in your life that this reminds you of, such as are they displaying similar behaviour to an ex. The more times you do this, you will start to increase your self-awareness, and your old wounds won’t have such a hold on you.
Learn the Lesson
I always think that everything happens for a reason, even bad relationships. If you have been hurt in a past relationship, it’s easy to dwell on this for years to come. However, instead, why don’t you try learning the lesson the universe was trying to teach you from a failed relationship? Try putting pen to paper and pick 2-3 things that you learned from a previous relationship. This exercise will turn past failures into life lessons and reframe the experience as a positive in your mind, allowing you to let go of any negative energy surrounded it.
As Ru Paul says, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”. A lot of shame and insecurities can come with emotional triggers, which should never be considered the norm. Everyone had experienced bad things in the past at some stage or another, and we should never let these experiences define us. Look after number one at all times and treat yourself like the amazing person you are. Indulging in self-care, taking yourself on dates and getting comfortable with your own company will all help to increase your self-worth and love. Holding yourself to high regard will help you to deal with emotional triggers, as well as being essential to having a healthy relationship with a new partner.
If you have been hurt in the past, it can be challenging to open up and be vulnerable with a new partner. However, don’t let past hurts stop your relationship from developing. Being vulnerable means allowing your significant other to know you fully, from your deepest thoughts and feelings to your weaknesses. Once you share these sides of you with someone, you are more open to being hurt, but that’s a risk worth taking. Real intimacy can only be achieved with vulnerability, and when we share our authentic and whole selves with our partner. If you are struggling with opening up, chat to your boyfriend or girlfriend about it and work on it together.