What to Do about Triggers

Sometimes is can be hard to recognize when we are having triggers in the first place, so it can be difficult to do anything about it. But if you find yourself thinking about memories of abuse there are some things you can do.

First, I find it helps to share with your spouse and closest friends so they can support & pray for you through these difficult times. I have found also that it is important to identify what your triggers are because they often occur at the worst of times and sometimes it can be awkward & embarrassing to experience triggers while in public places or while being intimate with your spouse.  I believe it is also very important to come up with a specific plan of what to do the next time it happens.



 According to the Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivor Network, the following guidelines can help a person stop having triggers:

1. STOP and become aware

2. CALM yourself

3. AFFIRM your present reality

4. CHOOSE a new response.

As soon as you find yourself reacting in a sudden, upsetting irrational way that feels out of control, stop.

Calm your body. Tell yourself something reassuring, such as “I’m safe, no one can hurt me now.”

Affirm your present reality, remind yourself that what you are doing and experiencing now is different from what happened during the abuse.

Choose a new response. Stop and realize what’s happening, calm yourself and affirm your present reality. And remember, practice makes perfect!

Other ways to manage triggers are:

1.) Have a notepad or a journal handy to write your thoughts and feelings down.

2.) Make sure that you are in a comfortable place.

3.) Sometimes it helps to remind yourself of the goals and aspirations you seek in life and the outcome they will bring in the long run and to remind you that you have a new life now and it can exist without the pain of the past.

5.) Learn to process your triggers, instead of getting angry at them or fearing them…find out what significance they have.  Learning to address those feelings help you heal so that you can begin to look at life in a new light without the fear tied to your past.

6.) Honor and comfort your pain. Trust your feelings; and learn to trust your perceptions in order to validate your experience.


If you have other techniques or have found steps to help you deal with triggers I would really like to hear about them and invite you to share them with us here.



2 thoughts on “What to Do about Triggers

  1. “Choose a new response” – that is a very good one. I like to say, “Change your routine.” Whatever you are doing at the moment, change it. If you are alone, go see someone encouraging. If you are driving passed an old “hangout,” and you feel a tug, change directions immediately. This isn’t the only approach, but I think it helps a lot.


  2. Warren, thank you for adding “change your routine”…you are so right, changing one’s routine really does work. After I read your response I realized that I’ve done that at times but never consciously thought about it. I think I just did it subconsciously and probably more out of fear than anything, so to consciously think about it and make that choice to change routine or direction allows one to not feel so powerless!!
    Thank you!!


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