Ep.09 Listening with Love: Pay Attention to Emotional Triggers

(Podcast available on 7/29/2022)

What’s interesting about this process is that every week I’m presented with challenges that keep me from listening with love. This week, I got to experience how having an emotional trigger not only kept me from listening with love, but I got to see how I projected my fears out onto my son, friend, and boyfriend in the process. Awareness is an incredible tool, but it definitely brings up all those things we try to shove down. Since I actually want to get better, focusing on listening with love is a truly eye-opening experience.

Most of us have emotional triggers, which come from shoved down feelings that we didn’t effectively process at the time of a particular incident from the past. Many of these are suppressed from a time when we didn’t have the words, mental, or emotional maturity to deal with the situation. All those unresolved feelings get stored inside of us like a grenade waiting to explode, but this grenade has the ability to explode over and over again. Then we ask, “Why does this keep happening to me?” Ouch, I’ve been there and said that very statement countless times in the past.

Our unresolved feelings keep us from listening and absorbing information from a loving place. We are processing the information that comes in through a damaged filter. You know that garden we talked about last week, these unresolved feelings are what not only contributes to our own toxic soil, but we also become attracted to toxic seeds from others because the energies of our soil and their seeds match up. This is the foundation of many toxic patterns that feed into adulthood. The great news is we are with the one person that has the ability to change any pattern that isn’t serving us.

I have a MAJOR emotional trigger that is still coming up. I didn’t even realize I was still carrying it until a situation with my son came up this week. When I was a teenager this emotional trigger led me planning how to commit suicide. I’m telling you this because it’s important you know how intense emotional triggers can be and how they shift and change over time.

My trigger of being blamed for something I didn’t do has morphed into FEELING LIKE I’m going to be blamed or that my kids will be blamed. Now remember, blame is different than taking responsibility and accountability for our actions. Blame comes from the energy of fear, lack, and separation and it’s toxic to our systems whether we are pointing our finger at others or ourselves, but we will talk about that more next week. For now, I want to share with you just how unhealthy this trigger was for me in this situation with my son.

When the emotional trigger emerged, I no longer could hear or process information through a clear channel. I started playing stories in my head that fed the energy of fear, lack, and separation in detrimental ways. The things I was saying to my son weren’t facts; they were projections of my fears. I was tapping into those unresolved feelings that have been plaguing my life since childhood. I engaged in stories and fed them to my son, boyfriend, and friend. I even told her, I was scared that she wouldn’t want to be my friend because of it. Thankfully, this friend has seen this trigger come up for me before, so she automatically assured me she’s not going anywhere.

What was so interesting about this particular experience was that because I focused on listening with love, I was able to spot just how the trigger prevented me from listening and processing information because of the stories playing in my head. After I gave myself the space to see the situation clearly and used Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Afterwards, I went back to my son and friend and could take accountability and responsibility for my words and how I was processing the situation. Then I told my boyfriend he was right, lol.

I definitely don’t want my son carrying on this unhealthy pattern, so it was important that I explain how the trigger affected my processing ability in this situation. Sharing this information gives him a seed. Whether he decides to plant it or not is up to him. Since the emotional trigger has been a toxic plant in my garden for a long time, I know I passed that seed onto him. Thinking back, I’ve heard it in the way he’s talked about situations to me. He will have to decide to work on uprooting the toxic plant from his garden and cleaning up the soil around it, just like I do if I want to plant a healthier seed in it’s place.

After I was able to see and take responsibility for this trigger, I felt a sense of lightness. There is so much weight that comes with the stories we play perpetuating the energy of fear, lack, and separation. When we find ways to move ourselves out of them, we feel a sense of freedom. That is the beauty of the energy of love, abundance, and peace. There is no ONE right path to it, but our awareness is what will open our eyes to seeing and hearing wisdom that will give us seeds to try out. Some will work for us and others won’t, but staying open is what matters.

Emotional triggers are gateways to either toxic patterns or emotional growth. It all depends on our willingness to see them. If we don’t want to see them, they will keep us from having healthy relationships because we will blame the trigger on others and spray poison onto anyone the energy touches, just like it did in my recent experience. It was only when I could see it and take responsibility for my stories that it created growth potential.

It was hard to see how my stories affected the people I loved, but I’m so glad I could see it so CLEARLY! Now, I can continue to work on integrating the feelings as they come up, so that I don’t have to continue this unhealthy pattern.

There are a few clear signs for me when I’m being emotionally triggered:

  • Physically, I feel a rising heat and tightness building inside of me usually in my head, chest, and/or abdomen. My actions are a reaction to my fears, not a response to the actual situation at hand. Sometimes I will notice my fight, flight, or freeze responses being triggered: I might feel my hands ball into a fist ready for a fight; my legs tingling ready to run; or my limbs numbing causing me to freeze in my tracks. My body shows me where I am if I’m willing to listen.
  • Emotionally, I experience heightened feelings that come from the energy of fear, lack, and separation.  For instance, instead of feeling anger, I might feel hostile, resentful, hateful, jealous, infuriated, or enraged. The feeling of disgust, may turn into feeling judgmental, revolted, or loathing. I will often feel victimized, even when the situation doesn’t merit it. Those are just a few examples. Getting to know how many levels of feelings there are has really helped me see the difference in having healthy natural feelings and when my reactive feelings are being fueled from past experiences that I haven’t yet processed.  
  • Mentally, I’m telling myself stories that are filled with the energy of fear, lack, and separation. I’m only seeing worst case scenarios. I used self-abuse in my stories, but thankfully I stopped doing that some time ago. The stories are fed by my unprocessed feelings from the past. There are no stories that come from the energy of love, abundance, and peace when I’m reacting to an emotional trigger.

If I’m experiencing any of this, the best thing I can do is walk away and come back when I can see clearly. This way the people I love don’t have to face any of the consequences of the unhealthy seeds I’m producing in that moment. Right now, I’m building my tool kit on processing these emotional triggers in the healthiest way I can, and that’s the best I can do—and it’s enough!

Thank you for joining me for another episode of “Listening with Love.” I’ve really enjoyed reading people’s comments across the different platforms. Thank you to all the people who keep coming back.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

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