OUR TRIGGERS REVEAL US


You can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry (Dale Carnegie). What I perceive as deliberate disrespect is one of my biggest triggers.  Waves of anger wash over me and I struggle to keep myself in control.  I’ve learned not to lash out or act on my anger.  I’ve realized it is something triggered from the past and my reaction, being so strong, is a defense against some form of helplessness I experienced in the past.  On the other hand, it sometimes is pride or ego being threatened.  I have been treated in a way that is belittling or degrading.  I don’t like being ignored or disregarded (which is the same to me).  This, again, is still a form of disrespect and reacting to perceived disrespect still has its root in pride.  Who am I that people should stop what they are doing and acknowledge me?  Do I expect people to hang on my every word?  I would be sadly disappointed if I did.  I think hard about Mr. Carnegie’s statement and do accept the truth in it.  I don’t think it’s what angers us that reveals our true natures.  Rather I believe it’s the way we act on our anger that does so.  I’m not sure we can help what triggers our anger.  Much of it is tangled in a web of unconscious reactions to things long past.  Sometimes our reactions are from a time we don’t even remember.  Regardless, we do have a responsibility to control our anger and not to inflict it on others.  Often when I step back and delay responding to a trigger I find I can see more clearly that it’s an overreaction to something from the past.  While anger is a legitimate emotion and often has valuable information contained within it, it can also be a defensive response to something buried deep inside and has its roots in hurt, fear, and sadness.

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