[Updated Post from Tame Your Triggers in 6 Steps]
Sometimes I get ahead of myself.
In my October 2015 post Tame Your Triggers in 6 Steps, I outlined 6 steps for you to use when dealing with the inevitable triggers partners experience due to the painful consequences of discovery, disclosure, addiction, and deception.
They were good steps . . . . . but on further reflection (and with a little help from several of the partners I work with in my private practice) I’ve made some course corrections that I’m excited to share with you.
Over the next 7 weeks, I will introduce you to a new 7-step process for dealing with triggers that I’ve created for partners called the Taming Triggers Solution.
And as a bonus, in week 6 (Monday, February 22), I’ll be a guest on Carol Juergensen Sheets’ (Carol the Coach) BlogTalkRadio Show (Hope-Strength-Recovery Show). Carol will be interviewing me about how partners of sex addicts and survivors of infidelity can manage triggers. The show will include time for answering listeners’ questions. Click here for more info about Carol’s show and mark your calendar for Monday, February 22,  at 8:00 pm CST. (Access the show recording here.)
Before we get started with the 7 steps of the Taming Triggers Solution, here are some important facts to know about triggers:
- Anything can be a trigger — a person, place, article of clothing, or even a facial expression.
- Triggers are determined by the person having the trigger, rather than the trigger itself. That means triggers are highly individualized. What triggers one partner may not affect another partner at all.
- Triggers range in intensity from very mild to severe. When triggers are severe, they’re experienced very much like the flashbacks of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Why triggers are a problem for partners:
- They’re distressing, unpleasant, and sometimes strike without warning.
- You may begin to avoid activities, situations, or people to protect yourself from painful feelings.
- Triggers are sometimes debilitating and interfere with a partner’s ability to take care of her responsibilities, or to realize her goals and dreams for the future.
- Triggers may develop into severe depression or isolation.
- A partner may become dangerous to herself or others if her triggers aren’t attended to.
Here are the 7 steps of the Taming Triggers Solution:
- Name Your Triggers
- Rate Your Triggers
- Identify Toxic Thoughts (and Create Healing Truths)
- Identify Triggers with Familiar Themes
- Tame Triggers Where You Have the Power
- Tame Triggers with Requests
- How to Handle Unavoidable Triggers
In next week’s blog post I’ll introduce you to the first step — Name Your Triggers.
If you want to get started right away, take out a piece of paper or your journal now and spend some time writing down your triggers.
Some partners identify as many as 60 different triggers when they take the time to sit down and write their list, so don’t hold back! Naming your triggers will help you begin the process of shining a light on them and creating clarity. From there you can take steps to either reduce or completely eliminate them.
© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2016)
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