Have you ever noticed that your partner is the one person that can push your button and in a split second your set off? Maybe it’s that one wrong look, that tone, or even just a simple comment that can trigger something deep down and the dreaded “we need to talk” phrase inevitably comes up.
Often times, that discussion revolves around the event that triggered you and doesn’t get much deeper than that. Thus nothing changes, mostly because we think it’s our partners who need to change and stop doing whatever it is they are doing that makes us feel bad.
Last week, we chatted about the Paraphrasing technique and really engaging in listening with the intent to understand each other. If you and your partner gave this some practice, you may have discovered that through open listening, you uncovered some deeper issues other than the surface level topic. That’s exactly what I’m talking about here.
How Do My “Triggers” Work?
Our “triggers” or “buttons” are somewhere deep down and it takes a lot of curiosity and openness to be willing to check them out. When we finally realize that the way we live each moment is up to us, we become empowered to stop reacting to our triggers, stop blaming the button pusher, and start getting real with ourselves.
Relationships are meant to push our buttons so that we can then be exposed to areas within us that need some attention. But those are scary areas to even acknowledge, let alone attempt to heal, so instead we act out and blame our partners for even daring to touch that part of us.
We spend so much time focused on what our partners could be doing differently to make us happier, when the real shift towards happiness can only come from within. We have to learn to be vulnerable, feel pain, shame, fear, and then trust ourselves enough to make it to the other side.
So, next time you get bothered by something your partner has done ask yourself:
- What am I projecting?
- What unpleasant feeling am I trying to avoid by being mad/upset?
- What am I not taking responsibility for?
- How could I see/handle this situation differently?
- Where is my opportunity for growth here?
How has being mindful of your triggers helped you and your partner? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!