If you’ve completed the 7 steps of the Taming Triggers Solution process, congratulations!
If you’ve just arrived here and you’re not sure where to start — but want to know more about how to manage the triggers that are an unavoidable consequence of sexual betrayal, active addiction, and deception — start here with Step 1 of Taming Triggers Solution (TTS).
Now that you’ve completed the 7 steps of the TTS process and have a better understanding of your triggers, along with tools and strategies for managing, reducing, and eliminating them, it’s time to address the reality that . . .
Sometimes despite your best effort, triggers don’t get better.
So here are my recommendations if you find that you’ve followed the 7 Steps of the TTS process and you’re still not seeing progress:
- Review each step of the TTS process
- Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I taken action around triggers I have power over? If you haven’t, that’s a good place to start. The quickest results come from taking action around situations you have power over. This is especially true if there’s a boundary you need to set for your safety or self-care.
- Am I struggling to turn Toxic Thoughts into Healing Truths? (Step 3). This may be a simple — yet not easy — matter of continuing to make efforts to replace old, unwanted beliefs with new life-affirming ones. If this is the case for you, return to Step 3 and make sure your Healing Truths resonate with you. If they do, make a habit of writing them down on a daily basis, or find other ways to keep these new thoughts/beliefs in the “front and center” of you awareness.
- Have I made requests, where appropriate? This can be a tough one. You may be feeling discouraged or despondent, and making a request — especially to your partner — is the last thing you want to do. You don’t want to feel disappointed again. I get it. On the other hand, what you don’t ask for you typically don’t get. Have you ever noticed how children will ask for the same thing over and over until they get what they want? I’m not encouraging you to become a pest. I just want you to notice that when you don’t ask for what you want, you’re giving up on you before you give the other person the opportunity to say yes, no, or maybe. Who knows, you may get exactly — or more — than you wanted! If you know you need to make a request and you’re struggling, consider setting a deadline and getting some support from a friend or mentor.
- Have I truly “let go” of what I don’t have power over? Again, this is a tough one. There are few things in life that cause as much frustration as trying to control, manage, or manipulate people or situations you’re powerless over.
If, despite your best efforts and all of the suggestions above, you’re still struggling with triggers, you may need to explore some of the following options for further work:
- Individual Therapy
- Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR – www.emdria.org)
- Somatic Experiencing (SE – www.traumahealing.org)
- Sensorimotor Therapy (www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT – www.behavioraltech.org)
- Art (or other Expressive Arts) Therapy
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT – www.emofree.com)
In my next post I’ll talk about where to go from here.
The good news is that triggers DO go away! And in the meantime, you’ll feel better faster by knowing the best practices for the “care and maintenance” of triggers that are still a problem for you, as well as taking time to make note of, and celebrate!, when you can cross a trigger off your list.
By being aware of your triggers, knowing the power they have, and learning strategies and tools to manage them, I guarantee you will feel safer, calmer, and more empowered as you navigate through your journey of healing.
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2016)
All submitted comments are subject to editing to protect confidentiality and maintain anonymity.
My husband and I have had a disclosure of his acting out in August of this year. He is in SA therapy with a CSAT and he has initiated all visibility for me. I have only made a few requests that he has been more than willing to do. We have not had our formal disclosure yet. I am in no hurry for I am aware he still has things to discover about himself. My triggers are mainly pictures in my head. His acting out mostly took place out of state when he traveled for work. Im working on my methods of taming them with your help. I so appreciate this course. It brings me to a place of safety and power I didn’t know I had. Thank you again
Vicki Tidwell Palmer says
Hi Teresa, it is so heart-warming to hear how you and your husband are navigating through the discovery and disclosure process. With commitment to recovery along with guidance, support, and boundaries, healing and relationship restoration is absolutely possible.
[Readers: if you’re curious about the Course Teresa is referring to in her post, click here to learn more about Taming Triggers Solution Online Course.)