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Friday, November 18, 2016

My Ex Still Triggers Me!

Feeling emotionally triggered or anxious about interacting with your ex-partner is a sign that you may be in an Everlasting Divorce, or a relationship that continues to be stressful long after the break-up.

Margaret Paul wrote a great piece for Mind Body Green that points out a lot of the reasons you may get triggered (hint: most have to do with painful experiences in your life). In it, she notes that there are many common triggers for people. From her list, these five seem to resonate most with people who are experiencing post-divorce issues:

  • Someone rejecting you.
    • Divorce, by its nature, involves a rejection. If you're the one who wanted and initiated the divorce, you may have inadvertently triggered your partner to feel defensive because that deep-seated fear of rejection came true. If they initiated the divorce, the feeling of rejection you felt at the time can come roaring back when you least expect it.
  • Someone giving you a disapproving look.
    • Your ex knows exactly which shady eyes to throw at you to make you come unglued, right? How many times, post-divorce, have you felt your stress escalate because of a simple look?
  • Someone blaming or shaming you.
    • Depending on the reason for your break-up, you may feel some blame or shame and an ex can be good at pointing that out for you. However, even if they aren't pointing it out, you may think they are because of a nonverbal or verbal joust.
  • Someone being judgmental or critical of you.
    • It was hard enough to be criticized during the relationship. Feeling criticized after the relationship is over can be very triggering, especially if you don't have any way to "prove" your ex wrong.
  • Someone trying to control you.
    • When you have financial attachment to your ex-partner, it can feel like he or she is trying to control you through money. That can take the form of questioning your financial decisions, withholding money for non-negotiated expenses, or causing damage to your credit.
Understanding our emotional triggers can go a long way toward figuring out how to temper them and reduce their power in a post-divorce relationship.

For more information, please feel free to email me at or check out our TouchingTrees website. If you're in the greater Twin Cities area, I'm available to chat by phone or meet with you for a free consultation.

Excerpts taken from: 

What Are Emotional Triggers + Why You Need To Understand Them, Margaret Paul, 4/17/15, Mind Body Green

#jennifermcbridemcnamara #therapy #divorce #relationship #trauma #touchingtrees

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