When you are triggered, be curious about why you are reacting that way.

Do you get triggered? Dr. Gabor Mate describes it like this: Think of an explosive device – there’s the explosives and ammunition, and then also the trigger. When you are triggered by something said or done, the explosives were already in you from before – just waiting to be set off.

The question shouldn’t be about the trigger (the people or situation that evoked those reactions, “they said or did that”). Rather, the questions should be about the explosives in you.

When you are activated and triggered, that’s a great time to compassionately inquire within yourself. Stay with the emotion and work it through. With curiosity and self-compassion, look at yourself: “I reacted that way (ex: with despair, with rage). Why did I react that way? What’s all this about for me? What difficult or painful events in the past does this bring up for me? How long have I been carrying this?”

Very often, present pain is really past pain coming up again.

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