Navigating through triggers

Have you ever heard a statement that is quite triggering?

Everyone’s triggers are different and vary based upon the person. When an individual makes a triggering statement to someone in recovery it can be a test for our recovered self to fight through it. Unfortunately, we live in a society that bombards us with triggering statements and messages. Diet culture is a huge factor into knowing our triggers, but also personal experience and various other life experiences can apply to triggers as well.

For me personally, when I have experienced a triggering statement, I ask myself why that may have triggered me in that moment. Then, I recognize my own potential response to that statement. A statement I have heard in recovery that stuck with me is, “You cannot control other people’s actions, only your response to those actions.” Now, I choose to either politely let the person know that was triggering to hear (if they are safe and a supportive person) or recognize my own potential response I may have to the statement. 

Sometimes the initial response to a triggering statement is to use behaviors, shut down, become agitated or angry, and more. However, there are healthier coping mechanisms. 

Here are some ideas to help deal with triggering statements:

  1. Develop an awareness of your triggers

This can include making a list of triggers. Exploring what a person’s triggers are can help identify where the person is with certain subjects, statements, and more. Writing a list of triggers can help someone in recovery respond to triggers.

  • Reach out to your support network

When feeling triggered, reach out to support. It can feel nerve-racking to reach out to support. However, eating disorders thrive in isolation, so it’s essential to talk to family, friends, or your therapist when feeling triggered. 

  • Self-care

Self-care is awesome! When someone is hard on themselves especially after hearing a triggering statement it can be hard to remember the value of self-care. Self-care looks different for everyone. Taking a bath, taking a day off from work, going on a drive to a spot that makes you happy, and more are all examples of self-care. Try some self-care next time you are struggling and reflect on the impact it had when dealing with a trigger. 


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