Triggered! & Dr. Matt Is Coming

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Dr. Matt will be giving three talks in Santa Cruz, CA November 4th. Click here for more details!

Ever been triggered?

What happened? Who did it to you? What did you do about it?

So many people are being triggered these days. Some are triggered when they hear someone being politically incorrect. Others are triggered by political correctness or when you point out to them that they’re not being politically correct.

Donald trump is triggered by the media and then he Tweets and people are triggered by his Tweets.

When did we become such a triggered society?

Perhaps we have been for generations, but now we have a fun word like trigger to refer to it. It probably also has something to do with how much we’ve become a “push button” society. We can do almost anything by pushing virtual buttons on our smartphones for example.

I was triggered the other day by some kids who were screaming their heads off in my neighborhood. They were probably eight or nine years old and since I didn’t hear any sirens they were probably just having a good time.

Fortunately they weren’t close enough to where I live to blow my eardrums out, but after about 15 minutes I felt TRIGGERED!

How do such young vocal cords sustain such intense screaming for so long and what does it have to do with playing and having fun? Can’t they run around and have a good time without reaching glass shattering decibels?

I got really irritable, which didn’t stop them from screaming. They just kept on and I kept getting more irritated until finally I reached a point where I was either going to throw a chair out the window (seemed logical at the time) or I was going to have to reach into my NLP toolkit and unpack this irritation.

The first thing I did was realize that no one and nothing triggers you(me in this case). There is no science based evidence that the screams of a child induce irritation in all living things. I’m sure it’s being studied though.

In other words me being triggered by children screaming doesn’t happen like a leaf falling from a tree, also known as gravity.

Me being triggered was about me. I’m responsible for the triggering; no one else. This is not about blaming myself. It’s just acknowledging a fact.

No one and nothing can trigger you unless you allow it.

Proceeding forward I asked myself if being triggered was a useful response. After thinking about throwing a chair through the window for several minutes I concluded that being triggered was not a useful response.

If being triggered is not a fact and I’m responsible for being triggered and it’s not a useful response, what else do I need to know?

What is the positive intent of the response to be triggered (of course)?

This took me through a journey into my past and into my childhood at about the age of the kids who’s inexhaustible windpipes had started this whole mess.

Suddenly memories came up of being a kid, screaming my head off, and then being scolded by an adult for screaming. Everything started to make sense.

The part of me that was irritated was a very young part of me who was told not to scream. The irritation had little to do with the sound and a lot to do with this immature part of myself that felt it was unfair that those kids could scream all they wanted to and I couldn’t.

That may sound really strange. Yes, it’s very strange, but the unconscious often doesn’t make much sense. Just think about your dreams to know how true that is.

How did I fix this?

In these cases you have to grow the part up. You have to let it know how old you are now and sometimes the part will need a resource you now have that it didn’t have back then.

I put the chair down instead of throwing it through the window and went outside and screamed until my vocal cords gave out and my lungs had nothing left.

My neighbors looked at me strangely but it’s Santa Cruz. We keep it weird here.

The next time you’re triggered, take responsibility for it being your response, not something someone is doing to you. Own it.

Ask yourself if it’s a useful response. Chances are it’s not. In some cases it might be or it might be somewhat useful so you might need to modify it so you have conscious control over it instead of being TRIGGERED!

Find out its positive intent. Often this alone is enough. Preserving the positive intent, find a useful response for that positive intent to express. While you’re at it, give it 3 useful responses that the positive intent can realistically be expressed by.

The more control you have over your responses the better off you will be and the better off society will be.

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