Dear Therapist: I get triggered easily

Making sense of the world we inhabit



By Prateeksha Shetty

Published: Thu 3 Feb 2022, 11:34 PM

I get triggered very easily and go down into a rabbit hole of emotions that end up making me upset. But later I realise that maybe I shouldn’t have felt so bad or triggered by the situation. It’s causing problem in my relationships. — Smita T.

Dear Smita, it is quite possible that you are either high on interpersonal sensitivity or have certain schemas that are activated during conversations. Schemas are fundamental beliefs that we have about ourselves which influences relationships. Some of the important (and maladaptive) ones are those that state that you are un-likeable/unlovable, belief that you are inadequate (which makes you feel insecure), or the idea that you do not fit in anywhere or maybe even mistrust. You may be filtering out information that confirms such ideas about yourself and the world, leading to distress.

What can help you overcome and challenge such beliefs is to become aware of your patterns of thinking. Monitoring distressing interactions by journaling or engaging in therapy can help you recognise the roots of such flawed ideas. Another strategy that is recommended is to become more adept at challenging such thinking using proof or evidence; this would also help you regulate your emotions and improve quality of relationships. Questioning your thoughts rather than accepting them as the truth can help you in the long run.


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