Tag: emotional triggers

The Secret Key to Cultivating a Healthy Relationship


I have found through coaching many couples that there is a hidden aspect to relationships that many people have no idea exists.

After the initial awe and lust phase of the relationship, many couples begin frequent fighting over what appears to be ridiculous and resolution seems ever elusive as a cycle begins to take form.

Love and attraction is still present in this phase, but if the secret key I’m about to reveal is not known or dealt with in a conscious and healthy way, the relationship will inevitably end or leave one or both partners unfulfilled and unhappy.

The secret key I am referring to is:

Recognizing and understanding your partner’s hidden pain.

I venture to say there is no one walking around on earth who has not been hurt in some way, shape or form. It’s inevitable and evident in everyone’s life.

However, a good majority of people feel they have overcome or healed their issues and continue on through life.

Little do they know their shadow (the unhealed aspects of their heart) continue to show up in ways that one might not connect back to their betrayals, losses and/or emotional or physical abuse.

At some point, the close proximity of a partner will trip an emotional trigger and cause us to act in ways that can damage the relationship. If our triggers are not recognized and we don’t seek to heal our underlying wounds, we end up in difficult, unruly and disconnected unions.

So how do we know when our partner has been triggered?

A great way to tell when our partner’s wound (or ours) has been triggered is they will either:

  • Strike out verbally or physically
  • Get silent and/or retreat
  • Withhold love
  • Cry
  • Or any other seemingly random display of emotion

I can always tell when one particular friend of mine gets triggered because her mood will change drastically on a dime. Her easy going, fun nature transforms in an instant to sarcastic and rude. A-ha! There’s that little bugger again.

So What Can You Do to Help?

  1. Share the pattern you are seeing – Let your partner know you notice an abrupt change in his/her mood and calmly ask them what your words or behavior touched in them.
  2. Give them a safe place to share – Judgment does not work here, friends. It may seem stupid or insignificant to you, but this is not about you. Your person has a past that hurt them. It’s their story and very real to them.
  3. Ask how you can help – At this point, your person may still be unconscious to why they are acting out or how you can help them. Encourage them to dig a little deeper into their heart and share with you. Tap into your own inner knowing and wisdom to help them recognize what’s happening.
  4. Talk about it often as needed – Relationships are designed to show us ourselves. And that stands for both parties involved. Wounds are not healed overnight. They need light to heal! Talking about it as often as needed brings light to the darkness.
  5. Take ego out of it – It can be difficult to be the recipient of your partner’s attack especially when it is unfounded or based on a wound being touched that has nothing to do with you. Our ego will always want to fight and defend. By removing your ego’s nudge to fight, you are clearing space for compassion.
  6. Encourage your person to seek professional help – You will not be able to “fix” your partner. Leave that to a professional. Your job is to hold sacred, loving space for them while they do the work to heal. Healing does not happen overnight, so your “work” as their partner will be an important piece to their healing.

Through all of this, it is vitally important to remember…

Love heals – ego wounds.

When we can clearly see what is going on behind the scenes of our partner’s psyche, we are better equipped to handle their trigger moments (love) and not take them personally (ego). Understanding brings healing. It may not happen immediately, but with love and patience nothing is insurmountable.

And lastly, if your partner is unwilling to work on his/her wounds and triggers and their behavior elicits a need for a firm boundary, be willing to set one. Healthy boundaries are rooted in love and what is rooted in love will serve the highest good for both parties involved always.


Your thoughts?

Caring for Yourself While Single- By Guest Author & Life Coach Sue Markovitch

Sue-Markovitch Sue Markovitch is the owner of Clear Rock Fitness in Westerville, OH.  She is the author of I Know What To Do, I Just Don’t Do It.  You can find Sue at:  www.clearrockfitness.com

I was married for seven years, and as I look back, I wish my wedding vows would have been radically honest. If they had been, here’s what they would have said.

Do you, Sue, understand that all your wounds are going to be brought to light as you and this man step into the sacred space of intimacy, vulnerability and commitment? Do you accept this Divine invitation to serve the larger process of healing, both yours and his? Do you promise to glorify the Divine healer, the Holy Spirit, in the process? Do you vow not to blame your partner for your pain, but instead to thank him for the gift of triggering it to the surface so perfectly? Will you own your fear and wounds, and take your pain to God?

I didn’t.

As I left my marriage in a shit-storm of blame, infidelity and drama, I was certain that he was awful and I was the victim. How could he treat me like I mattered so very little, all the time, day after day? I put him out of my mind and focused on my new relationship. He got me, he saw me. This guy understood.

Until my old wounds started coming to light again. Trigger, trigger, trigger!! What? I thought I left this horrific feeling behind me with the ex. Yet, here I was in pain, feeling like I didn’t matter, having a self-worth meltdown. Oh my God. It’s not them. It’s not him. It’s me. This crap came with me. It was ME.

When I experienced that empowering but horrifying epiphany on my bedroom floor one night, it did not feel like the greatest gift I could ever have been given. It felt more like getting kicked in the stomach several times. I saw myself clearly for the first time. I saw my brokenness without the projection of blame onto someone else. Ouch.

But I also saw a little glimmer of hope. If it was me, I could change. I never succeeded in changing them. But I could change me.

I made a new promise, new wedding vows. This time, to myself.

Do you, Sue, understand that your wounds have been brought to light for your healing? Do you accept this Divine invitation to serve the larger process of healing, for yourself and everyone around you? Do you promise to call on the Holy Spirit for help, and not rely on your own mind? [You cannot solve the problem with the same mind that created it.] Do you vow to own your projections, be grateful for your triggers, and commit to authenticity and healing in partnership with God for the rest of your life?

I do!

Once I had the bedroom floor epiphany, single life became this whole other thing. It is no longer a search for the next relationship. It is my sweet time with the Divine healer. It is learning who I am without the awful pull of trying to be someone else so that I could be loved and accepted. I turned fifty this year, and this is by far the best time of my life. I believe this is because I focus on these things, instead of continuing to search for another relationship.

  1. I got to know myself on the deepest level. I did things like re-read books I loved as a child, played piano for the first time in 30 years, and spent lots of time alone. I learned things about myself, such as what time I like to go to bed, what temperature I like the room, what music I love. And I grieved. A lot.
  2. I understood and owned my wounds. The night my father died, when I was 13, I was alone in my room. I could hear adults in the house, but they were not with me. A voice said to me, “You don’t matter to them.” I didn’t know any better, so I believed it, and translated it even further to, “I don’t matter at all. I am worthless.” That was my deepest wound. I understand now and I do not blame that 13 year old girl. She didn’t know any better. She was in pain.
  3. I created and committed to healing daily practices. I used to fill my days with every escape imaginable. I was an equal opportunity user. Drugs, cigarettes, shopping, work, alcohol, bad boys, food, approval addiction, people pleasing, you name it. If it got me away from me, I did it. Now, I invite daily practices that allow me to be WITH ME. Meditation, prayer, freestyle living room dancing, walks in the woods, journaling, blogging, running, etc. Find yours and commit to them.
  4. I keep believing in love. I know there are cynics and I understand why. Love seems like a pretty painful thing for some of us. But the truth is I am made for relationship, and the more I heal, the more hope I have that, although I haven’t experienced a healthy relationship yet, it’s probably because God’s not quite done healing my kind, incredibly handsome man yet. (Or perhaps me, too.) But let’s keep going, because I can’t wait to meet him.

6 Steps To Discover What’s Really Bothering You

Yesterday I was feeling angst. I didn’t know why, I couldn’t explain it, I just knew it was there. When I had a moment to have a conversation with a good friend, I started right smack in the middle. “I’m feeling grrrr today and I don’t know why. Have you noticed I’m off my game?” She agreed without judgment and asked me to explain further so I did.

As I recalled events of the previous few days, I was able to locate the cause of the grrrr and I could feel myself wanting to blame someone. However, knowing what I know, we blame when we are attempting to give away our power by putting the focus on another. Even though my ego was fighting me hard, I consciously knew it wasn’t the other person’s fault and there was something inside of me that needed my attention.

As we talked, I began to uncover the trigger my loved one had touched. A-ha! There it is… I was then able to discover the root belief/fear that was causing all the chaos and with even more certainty, I knew my person had really done nothing wrong. All this emotional chaos was about me.

Years ago when I went through “My Tsunami”, I was left fairly destitute. I say fairly because fortunately for me, I had family who swept us up and loved us back to healing. However, the foundation rocking that occurred had left a deep wound. My life has completely turned around; however, the wound has not been fully healed. My loved one’s fear had reopened my wound and unbeknownst to me, I was floating around in the unconscious space of fear, insecurity and lack once again. My wound had been touched and I was allowing it take over my well-being and emotions.

My fear had manifested as frustration and anger as it often does for us. Being a person who resonates centeredness the majority of the time, I recognized my grrrrr as unusual and fought my finger-pointing-blaming ego so I could take the steps to locate the cause and hopefully feel better!

As all empowerment work, it is our duty to keep close tabs on ourselves by recognizing our dis-ease and doing what it takes to move through it. In Chapter 5 of my book, From Doormat to Sweet Empowerment, I discuss the importance of Building A Supportive Community and this story exemplifies this perfectly.

In order to discover/uncover what is subconsciously bothering you, follow the outline below.

6 Steps to Discover the Cause of Angst:

  1. Recognize your angst! Give yourself grace and space to feel off-center. Be willing to own your mood and know there is a root thought causing the problem.


  1. Take it to a mighty companion. If you cannot seem to locate the root of your mood, be willing to ask for help. Talk therapy with someone who knows you and your story can speed up the discovery.


  1. Sit with the discovery. Revel in the miracle of discovery. Allow yourself to truly feel and understand why you were triggered. Let it sink in.


  1. Turn your fear around. Find statements that support your healing. As in: This belief is simply not true. I am grateful I was shown this wound so I can heal it further. Amplify your discovery with three or more additional, postitive statements as to why your fear is not true.


  1. Take ownership of your healing. Be willing to own anything you wrongfully said to your triggering person in attempt to blame outwardly. Share your discovery – give your person a glimpse into your soul. Most often we will find our discovery becomes healing ground for both parties.


  1. Return to joy. Believe in your turn around statements. Allow your joy to return. You’ve done well!

Oftentimes in life, we don’t take the time to pay attention to ourselves. We allow ourselves to move from one mood to the next without much recognition and continually complain or point outward, thus, never moving through what is really causing all the upheaval. And unfortunately, a large piece of the world operates this way so it’s not often someone will stop us and say, “Hey, what’s going on with you? I’m sensing you’re not yourself, do you need some help?”

When we surround ourselves with truth seekers, healers and awareness chasers, we position ourselves for victory. We no longer have band-wagoners (people who agree with us no matter what) as friends. We have mighty companions who care about our well-being as much as their own.  They are beloved souls who are willing to sit in the bog with us as we wade through the muck and uncover/discover the truth all the while loving (not judging) us through it.

Your community matters. YOU matter.

Thank you, Lisa, for being my safe place yesterday. I appreciate and love you.

The Momentum of Self-Worth Recovery

At first, the path to empowerment and self-worth recovery can be quite a bumpy road! We are not yet sure what we are doing or where we are actually going. We haven’t received the benefits of a recovered self-worth and setbacks can feel monstrous. We may gain five steps forward and begin to feel great only to be catapulted backward when something triggers our unworthiness and shame. Whammo! Although it may be a little setback, it can feel as big as the planet Jupiter! Oftentimes, this mechanism will make us feel depressed, deflated and hopeless. We feel like nothing will ever change and we want to give up on ourselves before we have even really begun.

STOP. You are not alone, my friend. I understand, because I’ve been there…

Cultivating our self-worth takes time. Time and momentum. Our unworthiness didn’t happen overnight and much like losing weight, it’s not going to drop off overnight. However, once we begin forward movement, momentum comes. Our “good” days become our driving force and we become inspired to keep moving. We begin to recognize what is working for us and start to crave even more!


Empowerment takes tenacity. It’s the inner calling of our soul to continue our drive forward that will bring us to our destination. Oftentimes, on our journey, we will experience a plethora of triggers and false beliefs that need our attention and fortunately for us, they don’t all come storming in at once! If they did, we would become massively overwhelmed and most likely stop the journey.

Instead, our triggers pop up here and pop up there during interpersonal relations and situations. We have to become conscious of our triggers and be willing to do the work as they arise. When each false belief or trigger happens, we can choose a better perception and act from that place rather than the false ones we’ve historically been reacting too. It becomes similar to the game, “Whack-a-mole” where keenly watch for the little bugger to pop up and then deal with each one accordingly.

I frequently hear from clients, that it just wasn’t the right time. What is the “right time?” If we “wait for a better time”, we will always be putting our healing into the future. It’s the processing of triggers/emotions as they come that leads us through the turmoil and into a better serving awareness.


Unfortunately, we cannot have healing and empowerment if we are not aware of where we going wrong. Aligning our spirit and minds for conscious awareness is key. As I stated earlier, upon entry, self-worth recovery can be a bumpy road. It’s brand new terrain never before been challenged in our psyche. We will get jostled about a bit, but that doesn’t mean the road will stay that way. In fact, consider how all new roads are rough, bumpy, pothole-filled surfaces that once traveled enough, become smoothly paved.

This is the path of empowerment.

It’s about committing to the bumpy road first while fully knowing it will get better!

My friend and fellow coach, Sue Markovitch, uses the metaphor, “Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.” With this, she is expressing the need to keep moving forward no matter what. Don’t let setbacks stop you! You are in control of your life and by continually moving forward, you will indeed receive all that you have been striving for.

It’s time to believe in yourself and give yourself grace in the process.  YOU matter!

Your thoughts?

For more about Sue Markovitch, please visit her website at: