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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Clay

Triggers and buttons

This article will help you identify triggers, explain what they are, how they relate to the ego, and how awareness (presence) is the solution. When I was a child, my father would often not show up and not be reachable on days he was supposed to pick me up. Sometimes, my mother shielded me from knowing he was supposed to come, and other nights were spent watching the clock and looking down the road from the porch (upstairs), hoping the next pair of headlights would be his. One minute late became two, which became five, became ten, became an hour, and eventually became a night he didn’t show. I held on to hope for as long as I could, and it was a terrible feeling to have reached my limit. This created a major trigger that I did everything in my power to suppress. Suppressing was all I could do until I learned deeply about the ego, awareness, and forgiveness. In the meantime, I became "good" at suppressing and repressing, aka coping.

Every time a friend, family member, or anyone would be late with anything, it triggered a terrible feeling; I relived that feeling countless times. At times, I would have adverse reactions to people close to me because of something that was done years ago by someone else. I spent more time than I would have liked getting mad and even not speaking to friends and family at times just because they were late to show up or unresponsive to calls/texts.

We all have a story, some more severe, some less, which means we all have triggers that developed from such moments turned stories. Some of your triggers/buttons may be revealing themselves to you at this moment while you read this post. We can spend our lives reacting to others for something they had nothing to do with. All of this emotional reactiveness is due to an event or series of events that we hold on to within our mind and nervous system. 


When we go deep enough, we eventually see that these triggers/buttons are developed from a place of survival and protection. When we go deep enough to release them (if we want to) we will see that we always had the power to do so. The way we go about dissolving these triggers is by creating awareness of them, forgiving ourselves for creating them and bringing that part of our psyche that has been frozen in "time" back into the present moment where the trigger/button doesn't exist.  


Being consciously aware of our triggers/buttons, and understanding their root cause dissolves them like sunlight vaporizing a cloud in the sky. Practicing activities like journaling, meditation, therapy, and coaching can have a significant impact on building one's understanding and removing triggers.

Trigger - button
Trigger - button

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