Getting emotionally triggered is not an enjoyable experience, as it can release an onslaught of negative emotions, including anger. And though it is reasonable to experience anger when someone does something hurtful, anger is often a secondary emotion.
This means that instead of feeling the primary emotion, which is typically shame or grief, we jump to anger.
On the scale of emotions, shame is the worst emotion to feel, and grief is right alongside shame.
But anger feels a little better. Anger can make us feel powerful. Anger can make us feel righteous. Anger can help us avoid feelings of shame and grief, which are more painful to feel.
Anger is a valid emotion. It tells us when our boundaries have been violated or when an injustice has occurred.
But anger is also a signal that we have unhealed wounds and unresolved pain. It is a sign that we have inner work to do to process through issues we are unaware of or that we have been avoiding.
The thing about triggers, is that we can only be triggered if there is something there to trigger.
And that something is an unhealed wound.
We know we have been triggered if our reaction is disproportionate to the situation. Some situations do warrant a strong emotional reaction. If we experience a traumatic event, we are going to have a strong emotional reaction, and we will have to do a lot of work to heal.
But sometimes we have a strong emotional reaction to a situation because the situation hit on one of our prior wounds. It could be a prior trauma that we did not fully process, or that we may not have realized was a trauma. Or it could be any number of prior experiences where at the time of the wounding, we pushed down and repressed the pain instead of feeling it.
Society does not encourage us to feel our negative emotions. There is a widely held belief that it is weak to feel emotions like grief, and therefore we believe that if we suppress our negative emotions, they will go away.
But the opposite is true. Our negative emotions need to be felt in order to be released. If we do…