Triggers

I have a general rule that when I am dating a guy, that I don’t follow them on social media. Actually that extends to most men that I like, date, talk to, or in any way consider a potential. If we end up in a relationship, that’s different. But up until then…probably not.

Now the question is… what’s the big deal? The answer is one I’m a little bit ashamed to admit. And that is:  I don’t follow them because I know myself, and I can get jealous. And that happens even when I have no reason to be. It’s irrational. (I said I was ashamed.) I know the average guy is gonna have girls all in his comments even if he says something like “have a nice day.” (Not exaggerating here either. This literally happened with a guy I was seeing. That man could post something like that and chicks would be all in his comments trying to kick off a full blown conversation. ) Ultimately I know it’s mostly about control issues on my part and not about not trusting him (because any guy I don’t trust I don’t bother with.) And yes I know you can’t control someone else and it’s unhealthy to even desire to. But in the meantime while I deal with that issue with myself, I still have to admit that is a trigger for me.

Now I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know how I can get when I get triggered —and she’s not pretty. My verbal venom still is a fallback defense mechanism for when I’m triggered. We’re talking Queen Petty from Petty Island who thinks shade is the spice of life attitude. Like seriously- the attitude and verbal venom come out, and I can end up in situations looking back like “damn, why did I say that?” Not pretty.

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So because I know the result of this trigger and I don’t want the drama, I do what I can to avoid them. So I choose to just not follow.

Obviously this is one type of situation and may not be one everyone relates to. But the fact of the matter is, there are always going to be things that trigger us. We can’t control the actions of others and therefore we can’t control or predict when and/or where a trigger is going to pop up in our life. Eventually we should all confront and handle them. But in the meantime what we can do is come up with coping methods (healthy ones that is), so that when one does pop up it doesn’t throw us off kilter. Different triggers produce different reactions too, so it helps to have an arsenal of tools we can refer to. Here are some that have worked for me:

  • Music Having a playlist to reset or counter my mood. Music not only can set a tone and an atmosphere, but it also can change one. I’ve been in situations, often in the workplace, where I found myself having to brace myself and play a song on repeat to get my mind right to get out the car and go in the building to deal with that place of employment. T.I.’s “Motivation” got me through many a day at a former job I had. In the same way, if you come across something you’re sensitive to that hasn’t been healed, music can be a quick way to help right before you have to get yourself together and face a situation. Maybe you need a Bad Bitch playlist like I have for those times when you’re in your feelings and you need to remind yourself of the Queen you are. Maybe you just need to remind yourself of how much you better you are without someone and need a little Beyoncé to remind you that he’s not “Irreplaceable” and he’s in fact the “Best Thing (you) Never Had” (sorry if you for some reason don’t like Bey, but she is the Queen of anthems to make you remember who tf you are and walk away from the man that doesn’t deserve you). Whatever the feeling is that you need to bounce back from, find those songs in your music library that do it for you, and and put them on repeat when the need comes.
  • Affirmations. Now I don’t keep it as a secret that I’m a big believer in affirmations. I get them sent to me multiple times a day from an app I’m signed up to. I write them in my planner each day. I keep them around my bathroom so I see them every morning as I’m getting ready to start my day. I basically surround myself with affirmations on purpose. Just like songs, sometimes you need to just see (and say) words that reaffirm who you are, where you’re going, and what you know for sure, to kick out those negative voices that triggers sometimes bring up. It’s like giving yourself a pep talk of positivity. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Mute/filter/block. Now while the other triggers deal with ways to help you shake off the energy from triggers, this is a tool I suggest to help prevent getting triggered in the first place. At least online, that is. When your trigger comes on social media, sometimes the answer is pretty simple. A lot of us are on social media all the time, and run into triggering posts or news. But what’s dope, is that social media has tools you can use to help you keep certain things at bay. You can filter hashtags corresponding with what triggers you. And of course you can always un.follow the problematic page/person.  But let’s be honest, sometimes your triggers are a little complicated, and unfollowing someone can create a problem you didn’t intend. Like I said before, I try to not follow men I like/date/etc on social media to prevent this in the first place. But lately, I’ve taken the route of using the mute button.

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    I mean it’s one thing if you truly are ready to cut toxic people out of your life and removing them from social media is the first step. It’s another if it’s just that you care about someone but some of the things they post are triggering to you. Like if you just broke up with someone while a friend of yours is happy and in love and posting pictures of her with her boyfriend all the time. It’s not like you are trying to be jealous, but that can be triggering to see someone else happy & in love when you’re knee-deep in break-up-ville. Or maybe you have feelings for someone that you don’t want known and seeing them with other women/men stirs up negative feelings that you don’t want to have. You don’t want to cut off the person, but at the same time, who wants to see that shit, lol? So eliminating the trigger from your sight may just be the easiest option. Self preservation, right?

Now in the end, all of these are ways of dealing with your triggers so you can control your reactions when faced with them. But ultimately, you’re going to have to address these triggers or they will always have power over you. Maybe you have jealous tendencies. Ask yourself why that is? What is going on with you that you feel a certain way just seeing the object of your desire with someone else even if it’s innocent? Maybe you get angry seeing certain posts. Question why a simple post can take you to a place of having full-blown anger. Now I’m not saying you’re going to question and interrogate yourself to a place of acceptance and peace overnight. I’m not even saying that in time the trigger will ever completely go away. But you can’t just affirm and mute it away. You will have to deal with it eventually.

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(Personally I’m a proponent of including therapy in that self-work journey, but do what works for you.)

But in the meantime, hopefully some of these tips can be helpful or at least give you some ideas of how to handle your own triggers. Best of luck. I’m pulling for you.  ❤️

 

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