Imagine the Life You’ll Enjoy When You Heal Intolerable Family Emotional Triggers
There you are at a family gathering and it is happening. Someone said something and now you are lost down the proverbial emotional rabbit hole.
You told yourself you wouldn’t let this happen, but you are in it before you even realize it.
“Why didn’t I see this coming,” you ask yourself.
Maybe you even regret participating in another family gathering.
And then you wonder, “Do I just have to either live with this forever or stop seeing my family?”
What you are really looking for is a way to take care of yourself. If you were to look at this trigger very carefully, you’d probably discover that it also comes up outside of family situations. It’s just more apparent when you are with family.
If you observe a little more deeply, you might even discover that you trigger yourself with the thoughts and feelings going on inside you.
It’s a pattern that exists within your energetic body and in order to release the trigger, you need to release the pattern.
You might find it helpful to think of emotions as energy that comes and goes. Remember that while you might feel any emotion rather intensely, it is not a permanent state.
Feelings change with time and so can responses to any given stimulus, because you can train yourself to have new responses. But those new responses have to be authentic, which means getting to the real reason you feel triggered and creating a new relationship—first with yourself, then with others.
To be clear, there can be layers of emotions that accompany a trigger. Family patterns, karmic patterns, and empathic or reactive impulses can be complex and run deep. So be aware that you may need to work through several layers. That said, there are some things you can do to shift your inner experience so that triggers don’t disrupt your peace anymore.
Two Ways You Can Finally Release Family Emotional Triggers
1. Observe how the emotional pattern works, name it, and plan an intervention for yourself.
The first place to address the trigger is inside of you because that’s where you have the most influence. As you change the pattern internally, you will see reflections of that change in your external world.
I recommend you begin by listening to your self-talk. You might even want to keep a journal of how you talk silently talk to yourself. Notice how your inner voice criticizes you as not being good enough or worthy enough. Don’t let that voice hide in the shadows anymore.
Some of my clients like to create a behavioral chart (discussed in Chapter One of my book, The Root of All Healing). You can create one for your self-talk, where you outline the behavior (limiting thought or feeling), as well as the antecedent and consequence around that thought or feeling. Here’s an example:
Antecedent – I’m getting ready to start a new project. I’m excited and ready to go.
Behavior – I start doubting myself. I decide I don’t know enough and ask myself who I think I am? I tell myself I’ve never been really successful, so why do I think I would be successful at this. I judge myself and I feel depressed. I’ve got more evidence of failure in my life than I do of success so I believe this judgmental voice.
Consequence – I just barely get started with the project and quit.
Perhaps you name this behavior pattern: Judge Myself Before I Even Get Started. Notice how it looses power just by naming it?
Now that you understand the pattern, you make a plan and write out an intervention. It might look like this:
As soon as I get an idea for something I want to do, I’m going to write down why it is so important to me. I’m going to write down all the qualities, talents and successes that qualify me to fulfill this project. Then I’m going to write down every question I can think of that I’ll need an answer to in order to take the project from a thought to completion. I’m going to say a prayer of thanks for all the fun and serendipitous ways those questions are going to be answered. Every time my judgmental voice comes up, I’m going to thank it for trying to protect me from the pain of failure, and then I’m going to thank myself for sticking with my idea and trusting in Divine guidance. Woody Allen said “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” and I’m showing up!
By planning your intervention ahead of time, you’ll be ready when your limiting thought or feeling comes to mind. You’ll be ready to coach yourself toward a new thought, feeling and behavior.
As you become better with intervening with your internal triggers, you may be delightfully surprised to discover you feel less triggered by your family. Plus, with your family members, you’ll see the trigger coming before it happens, and you’ll have your intervention strategy ready to use before, during or after the triggering event.
Another way to heal emotional triggers is by recreating your childhood—spiritually.
2. Consider healing the emotional trigger at its root through inner child work.
When you heal your inner child, you are filling in the gaps of your childhood. You fulfill the unmet needs that occurred as you were growing up. Regardless of how skilled or unskilled your parents or guardians actually were, it is impossible for adults to meet every need of their child.
But you are intimately aware of what emotional and spiritual needs were left hanging. The good news is that the spirit child inside you is accessible and perfectly capable of being healed.
One of my elders taught me that the spirit child within is the one that fearlessly leads us into the unknown realms of the Mystery. I later discovered it is this same spirit child that knows and leads us to our destinies.
Yet another elder taught me that if the child spirit was wounded in childhood he/she is unable of leading us to our destiny until those wounds are healed. Further, she explained that you can’t meet the needs of the spirit child in the physical world, because that is not where she/he resides. You’ve got to do the inner child work in the spiritual realms.
Those wounds, or unmet needs, are where your triggers live. As the emotional and spiritual needs are met in creative ways in the spirit world, the wounds dissolve, and the triggers dissolve as well. That’s why I created my Healing the Inner Child program—so that those important unmet needs would finally have a way to be truly met.
As you master the art of Holding and fulfilling your most pressing emotional needs, you become able to do the same for your family. You become the voice of calm, compassion, boundaries and reason within your family. You more easily anticipate when intense moments could occur and you are able to navigate yourself, and sometimes even your family, into more peaceful and harmonious interactions.
With Inner Child Healing, You Are Changing the Family Pattern
In fact, healing your inner child shifts a significant dynamic within the family pattern. That means that your healing naturally reverberates energetically throughout the family. Sometimes the affect of dissolving emotional triggers is visible immediately; sometimes you see its positive affects over time.
Your commitment to self-love is a powerful gift that creates an opening for greater love within your life and your the family’s.
Of course, you can apply both of these steps at the same time in order heal the emotional triggers you experience now and the inner child that still hurts from the past.