11 Ways to Successfully Navigate Triggers in Your Relationship

To safely navigate emotional minefields, one must possess exceptional mindfulness and pay attention to internal, external, and microcosmic impacts. Conscious and unconscious preferences, needs, and desires can interact in ways that activate what I like to refer to as “dueling sympathetic nervous systems.” Couples may become enmeshed in a cycle of competing trigger-happiness and opposing entitlements.

It is possible to see and train the physiology of co-regulation because our limbic systems are fine instruments that require constant fine-tuning. We can learn to play like musicians by listening to our fellow musicians’ answers, keys, and timing, and by purposefully and cooperatively striking notes!

In this piece, we’ll talk about that, helping you identify the activation patterns that you and your spouse exhibit and providing you with tools and techniques to help you avoid, manage, resolve, and rebalance disruptive disputes!

Let’s begin with a review:

1. How solid, stable, and long-lasting is your relationship?

2. How do you react when someone you love is harmed or insulted?

3. How do you deal with your wounds and weaknesses?

4. Is your partnership a “safe haven” where you can hide your scars?

5. How can telling the truth and being honest work in your main relationship?

We can go crazy when our wound-distress patterns are triggered; our presence, kindness, humor, compassion, patience, and graciousness are all put to the test. When defensive, avoidance, and retaliation tendencies are triggered, one is frequently thrust into the blame/shame/fight/flight/fight zone! These upsetting incidents have the power to spoil a pleasant evening or early morning, interfere with our stability and sense of wellbeing, and create a challenging environment that requires care and healing.

I’ve been in and out of marriage. I have plenty of experience with failed relationships and am well aware of what may go wrong in them. We can learn from experience as well as from others at times. Occasionally, one lets the other know. As a practicing marriage and couples therapist for more than thirty years, I have assisted many dysfunctional couples who were on the verge of divorce as well as highly functional couples who just needed maintenance. As I’ve seasoned in the romantic frying pan, I’ve burned and been burned, and I’ve learnt a few things!

We develop relational security, confidence, and trust when we are able to transform those wild, limbic-brain co-activation moments into inquiry, understanding, integrity, and intimacy! Positively resolving disagreement is the sign of a strong partnership! It is more crucial to solve the issue at hand and rebuild a safe relationship than it is to solve the problem or advance a plan of action. Similar to baseball, home base needs to be secure—not by averting conflict, but with cunning tactics!

Which keys and techniques are useful?

Creating “a culture of candor” or making disagreement safe is an excellent place to start. We give permission and boundaries to our disagreements—boundaries that, like in sports, provide fair and foul territory—rules for interaction, and an overall sense of security if we have an established procedure for clearing the air and airing grievances.

First, let’s establish ground rules for how to resolve conflicts. Determining your own needs, warning signals of distress, growth curves, and conflict-resolution strategies is beneficial for both partners.

How do we create a space where our partner feels comfortable voicing their opinions and disclosing maybe contradicting information? We can be polite and wait for them to finish speaking. Allow the other person to communicate their wants and emotions. Be attentive, inquisitive, center and control your own nervous system* (how? ), and show empathy for their situation without attaching a personal label, justifying, elaborating, dissecting, mending, or diagnosing. Half the fight is won here. Recognize the roles you played in the disagreement. Accept responsibility and extend regret. Hold off and merit your turn!

Said to be easier than done? What obstructs your ability to listen and comprehend? Worried? Furious? In defense? This is due to the fact that it is easier to plan than to execute. These are the kinds of abilities that we frequently pick up through introspection, reconciliation, and post-fight rehabilitation! That’s why the secret is to be ready for prevention and escalation prevention!

How to deal with grievances and triggers effectively:

When you feel triggered, acknowledge it and follow your interest.

Launching your tale post-phone. Obtain “consent to vent” and ask to “clear the air” beforehand. Extra credit (best non-sarcastic): express gratitude to your partner for igniting you and providing a chance for some truly profound closeness and healing. If your spouse is willing and able to watch you, ask them. If they are also activated, then follow these instructions separately and then get back together once you have completed your own job and are able to see one another.

Instead of dumping everything automatically and presumedly, set a time and location. The majority of individuals, including your husband, prefer to have an option when it comes to hearing complaints. Timing and respect have an impact on the procedure and outcomes. Additionally, the procedure is important! It’s very polite to let them go first (as in orgasms). demands self-control and self-discipline in order to develop into the kind of listener and understander you want. Give what you desire!

It’s best to wait to try persuading someone else or attempting to satisfy your own demands until you have heard your partner’s side of the story and are satisfied with it. Not only is the speaker responsible (i.e., should they expect a specific type of listening), but the listener is as well. We can develop the ability to be empathetic and ask for it voluntarily rather than forcing it. Instead of presenting your complaint or grievance as a demand or an entitlement, frame it as a constructive need.

Allow your partner to have their own experiences, perceptions, traumas, and triggers. Take a step back, listen, and avoid personalizing what isn’t yours.

An excellent generalization from attribution theory is to attempt to identify the negative attribute you are attributing to your partner by looking in the mirror. Consider a partner’s favorable attributes while attributing them to yourself. What dreams do you and your partner have underneath this conflict?

Determine the stories you are narrating and their age (repeatedness). If it keeps happening, you may be holding onto anything from past traumas, threats, or upsets. Take a step back to locate the sentimental stamp.* Since it’s high art, you might need expert assistance.

Take responsibility for the cycles that you and your partner have created. That will break the cycle of turbulence. It’s known as “The Power of Admission” by me. Acknowledging and taking responsibility for our role in the theater is a powerful experience that transforms us from victims into the sovereign rulers of our own story.

“Deeper Insight” Go back to the beginning of your narrative. When did you initially have that feeling? What is the pattern’s chain, or the order it follows? How was your trust and/or sense of security undermined there? Which myths or beliefs shaped who you are? How did you feel at the time? What are your current physical feelings, emotions, wants, and urges as they relate to your memory?

Observe how you project and apply known patterns to your relationship. Honor its authority. Give yourself over to the chance for personal development that the Gate of Awareness is offering you. While you locate and extract the diamonds, pardon the messenger.

Express your gratitude to your spouse for being there for you during this time and for their support and love.

The sooner you forgive, the better. It’s sexy! There will be disruptions: conflict deepens into incredible intimacy, love, a sense of seeing and being seen, and a depth of aliveness that would otherwise be suppressed by the typical avoidance of conflict and candor that can typify stuck relationships. Instead, conflict is brought to bear by us bringing curiosity, respect, kindness, compassion, and a willingness to listen, allow, and forgive.

There are numerous ways to increase your intimacy. These paths demand a high degree of willingness, courage, competence, and mindfulness. We possess those attributes and may utilize those assets to foster an environment of openness! I hope you found this useful.