Identifying Triggers Image
Trauma Healing

Identifying triggers and breaking free from the past

I’m realising I’ve been a prisoner of my past. More or less, everyone of us is. Until the time we decide we’re not and we break free.

I am seeing how experiences from my past determine the way I act on daily basis, or more accurately – re-act

Doing the inner child work opens a lot of closed doors – you start seeing and understanding why and how. You see your present self as a projection of your past – you’re nothing more but a shadow of a past self but you’re not your self.

But it’s not really meant to be like this. Although we are connected to our past experiences, we don’t need to be defined by them. Yes, they happened but we don’t need to be held prisoners of them and let them shape our present life choices and behaviours.

When you dig in the past, you do get understanding and you have the opportunity to say no more. We use the past to heal but we prevent it from constructing our present.

I’ve been thinking a lot about triggers – trying to understand their nature and how do they play out in my life. I am learning to identify them.

Triggers are just normal everyday situations that bring about behaviours, thoughts and emotions that define the way we are in these situation. And those situations, and the way we respond to them, form our life experiences and how we see ourselves.

And often, that isn’t pleasant. More often, we’re not even conscious of these processes.

But when we start seeing the bigger picture i.e. that our actions are dictated by certain beliefs we’ve formed at a certain stage, we realise we do have control over our behaviours, our feelings and ultimately our lives.

Working with my inner child has revealed to me many roles and also principles and characteristics that I’ve developed when I was a child and a young woman. They define the way I see myself and others, and the way I judge the world in general.

Thus, the feeling of being a prisoner.

These roles play themselves unconsciously so we’ve no idea that our reality could be different – that we could be different. That when certain triggering situations happen we can respond differently, not in the pre-learnt way.

In my life right now there are certain things I’m not happy with – I get triggered by other people and their actions. I wish they change their behaviour towards me for many reasons – I feel unappreciated, taken for granted, not respected, criticised, etc. At times I feel I’m failing with raising my child, with my relationship, with having a supportive family.

There’re constant challenges, every single day. That drains all my energy and I feel I can’t handle it. There are all sorts of feelings such as self-pity and blaming others, anger and powerlessness, and many more. And the worst is that it’s a cycle that I seem unable to escape. 

Little by little though, I’m staring to identify the triggers – the things that I want to be different and to change. And I also know that I can’t change others. Wanting to change yourself is also not the right direction to go.

But understanding yourself and why you don’t like or accept certain things is good.

I understand that many of these things are qualities I’ve developed in order to survive my family situation – I had to be a certain person, I was expected to, I was raised in a certain way, I was criticised about other things, and all that forms a certain personality. 

I see that not all of this is really me – it’s a role. But that role, that I had to play at the time, still is the main character in my present life, and that is causing suffering.

The steps to take in order to free ourselves are those:

  • identifying triggers – situations that bring up an emotion, thought or reaction that you dislike and wish it was different (that’s how I feel usually)
  • identifying the people that trigger you and understanding what roles they have in your life – they’re here for a purpose and often that is to open your eyes to certain realisations
  • making the conscious decision to not react, stopping yourself from any action, inner or outer talk, step back and breathe etc. – allowing for a new way of response to form up and thus build a new pathway in your brain
  • think about boundaries – decide how much you’re going to allow these people to affect your wellbeing – yes, these are usually your closest people but you do have power over how much of what they do or say you take in personally

Put yourself in the centre of this complex system – picture yourself as a circle of energy and outline your boundaries, then visualise them as separate circles of energies much smaller than you and further away from your centre. They are close but they’re not touching you and they’re much smaller and weaker.

They don’t have power over you – yes they can cause a wave or two in your energy field but they don’t have the power to control or define you. You keep them at a safe distance – not too far to brake the relationship but far enough to keep yourself whole and untouched by their actions or words.

When you spot e certain eruption coming from their side you let that go through you, without affecting you – you know this isn’t you. You wait for a new response to emerge by which you’re changing the relationship. New pathways form and a new connection is build – a healthy one.

This is how imagine it. And I need to practice it everyday. But I do believe that after not so long the scenarios will be rewritten and this time truthful roles and characters will emerge.

Have you ever felt like a prisoner? How willing are you to look in your past and break free? Let me know in the comments.


Vilina Christoph is a spiritual writer and uses the power of words to help others on their journey of healing and recovery. She distills challenging life experiences into meaningful lessons and practical wisdom. She believes that finding our voices and speaking our truth empowers us to transform our lives and reach long-lasting fulfillment.


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