What Gets You Triggered?


Triggered seems to be the new buzz word, these days; meaning taken from Google dictionary – (of a response) caused by particular action, process, or situation; “a triggered memory of his/her childhood.” I had my Manifesting Me book launch the other day, and nothing triggers people like a memoir.

Everything was going great. I felt more love and support that day like no other. After it was all over, my husband was carrying things to the car, when he noticed the car was not there.  He forgot to move it from the loading zone, therefor it was towed.  At  whopping $455.00 later, he felt like a loser for letting this happen.  Completely owning his responsibility, we went to pick up the car. I wasn’t going to let this get to me, after a wonderful day. What was the real issue? Was it the inconvenience of having to get the car or was it about the money?

Triggers Come From the Past

Situations or topics that trigger us are coming from the past.  Nothing helped shine light on that more than writing my memoir; and having to read it over and over in the editing process, to see patterns.  When I was 5 years old, my mother was assaulted by our neighbor.  My mother had complained to the police that their music was too loud. They cranked up the bass to where our house would shake.  To this day, hearing the bass in someone else’s car irritates me.

I love loud music and never get mad at my son’s hard rock band for rehearsing. You could say they’re pretty loud. The bass coming from other sources, other than mine, triggers anxiety in me stemming from my 5-year-old-self that saw a woman attack my mother. Now that I know where this tenseness comes from, I can address it in my brain.  I can come back to the now and not live in the past.  I can look at the fact people are enjoying music.  It’s not to annoy me.

Road Rage

When I figured out why I had road rage, it was truly freeing.  Learning from therapy, I have had a long history of emotional neglect.  I was always trying to win over my mother. My mother was in her own world, which didn’t include much of me in it.  In my subconscious mind, I felt like I was unimportant and ignored. When someone cuts you off driving or drives ridiculously slowly; the trigger is, you are insignificant. How could they put your life in danger? Or make you late?

The reality of others driving like idiots or crazy, has nothing to do with you.  It’s your old triggers from the past that has you all jumbled up inside.  It’s not up to you to control others. You can’t. What you can control, are your reactions to any situation.  Do you get triggered while driving? Ask yourself, why?  You might be surprised where the anger comes from.

Triggered to Freedom

Understanding where your triggers come from leads to freedom.  No longer are you imprisoned from the past.  It’s not to say some triggers won’t get to you, before you recognize it’s only a trigger.  Stop and live in the now.  Really be honest with yourself about where the feelings are coming from.  Is it what is happening in this very moment? Or is it an accumulation of disappointments, rejections, feelings of not mattering, etc.,  from the past?

Most anxiety, anger, high blood pressure, or some sort of negative feeling, is brought on by some trigger or another. Wouldn’t you rather get to the bottom of where your these comes from?  Negative feelings are like a fever to the body. It lets you know something needs attention.

We all will inevitably get triggered at times, but the negative emotions don’t have to last as long as they did in the past.  Once I realized where my triggers came from, I felt a sense of peace.  I had a wonderful and exhilarating day at my book launch.  I wasn’t mad my car was towed.  No one was purposefully out to get me.  It was an accident.  Life isn’t always perfect, as we all know.  At first, I was a little upset over the money, only because I have an underlying self-talk regarding lack of money.  Why get mad and ruin my blissful day?

There will always be contrast in life.  That’s how we evolve.  It may very well be triggering, but can, and will, you look deeply into your thought patterns to see what exactly you are reacting to?

“We are not a victim of our emotions or thoughts. We can understand our triggers and use them as tools to help us respond more objectively.” –  Elizabeth Thornton

Emotions In The Process of Memoir Writing


Today I listened to Spring Forward Your Writing webinar with the speakers being Mark Nepo, Dani Shapiro, Linda Joy Meyers, and Brooke Warner. Each speaker had their unique way of addressing their emotions and process of memoir writing. I found myself with tears filling my eyes while listening.

I wasn’t quite sure where or why these emotions popped up. Questioning, if this was a normal experience, it was suggested that the answer could be found through journaling.

My answer was found in my journaling. We had a writing exercise with these topics: My suffering comes from… My joy comes from…. My work going forward is, what do they have to do with each other?  After writing, it was no wonder why I was emotional.

The one thing that stood out to me, was when Mark Nepo said, “Don’t try to be important.” Our ego can get our emotions in a tizzy, if we let it.

Don’t Let Your Ego Rule

Mark’s advice resonated with me beyond measurable. I took the message as, “Don’t let your ego rule this experience.” I know it is due to the fact that my memoir, Manifesting Me, is going to be public next month.  Once something is in writing, there is no turning back. Sometimes my ego chatter gets the best of me.  I feel extremely vulnerable and possibly exposed, leaving me anxious.

Your ego has a way of feeding your brain every negative thought; from the “what if’s?” and the “who do you think you are’s?” Thank God, I am not always listening to it. I find focusing on writing, gets me connect with my spirit side. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, live life from love. It produces a more desirable outcome.

Love, Compassion, and Encouragement

Panic and anxiety weren’t the only emotions I experienced. I felt deep love, compassion, and encouragement energy from all of the speakers; which also, brought me tears of joys.  It was a gift to hear how much we are alike, from our fears to our desires to get our stories out into the world. And mostly to make a difference, by being of service.

Multiple Memoirs, Multiple Emotions

Dani addressed the issue of multiple memoirs. She has many memoirs and never thought she’d ever have one after being a novelist. A memoir only tells a moment in your life, not your autobiography. So it’s likely you’ll have more than one story which will likely lead to another set of emotions.

She also mentioned the fact that most memoirists didn’t have the best childhood. Although, some memoirs are about travel and have nothing to do with a tragic upbringing. Regardless of what your story is, or how many others may have the same story, they will never be exactly the same. You want your audience to feel your experiences as if it’s their own. Dani said, “They aren’t reading your memoir because of you, they’re reading your memoir, because of them.”

Don’t Make It About You

The biggest mistake you can make being a memoir author is making it about you. I know that sounds hypocritical in the fact that, a memoir is about you and your story. What memoir is really about, is inspiring others through your journey and letting others know they are not alone.  Sometimes it’s an emotional journey or an adventurous journey, but it’s something that will stir emotions in the reader.

It’s your story they are interested in not you which is one of the biggest compliment of all.  If I can reach one person, I’m sure I’ll be emotional over that, too. I guess all and all, memoir can be very emotional and raw. It’s okay to be sensitive, and it’s very normal, when writing or reading a memoir. It means the writer has touched you and has made an emotional connection. Isn’t that what good writing does?

My Emotions When Writing

It takes courage to write your story. Taking risks feels uncomfortable, but it’s well worth it. Be fierce like the lion. Face your fears and feel the power in it. Nothing is better than overcoming fear or  challenging yourself .

My emotions have been all over the place when I’m writing. Sometimes I’m laughing. Sometimes I get angry, other times I’m in tears of great sadness or joy, and other times, melancholy. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality or fantasy. In turn writing a memoir is as if you’re reliving your experience. That’s why it’s so emotional! What emotions will your story evoke? Would you be willing to share your story? Or is it too emotional?

“Rational thoughts never drive people’s creativity the way emotions do.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson