The Power of Emotional Triggers

Feelings are emotion. They are energy in motion. What you feel on the inside represents what is happening on the outside. If you feel uncomfortable with something, if it just doesn’t feel good, it is probably because on some level you already know there is something in this person or situation that isn’t right for you. Sometimes people send us a subtle signal without using words. Other times they give off a vibe that can’t quite be put into words, but the vibe feels wrong because in the past, a person just like that gave off that same vibe. That is our intuition warning us to pay attention.


I ignored my feelings and emotions for decades. I was taught they just aren’t accurate, that a feeling cannot be trusted, to use my brain, use my logic, look for physical evidence. I am probably one of the most logical people I know, I test very high on reasoning skills, so ignoring my intuition seemed easy and quite right for me. That was until I started to notice energy more, and understand how energy “talks”.


Getting in tune with energy came unexpectedly after I started to meditate on a regular basis. Without going into details, meditation taught me how to tune out of my immediate reality, cancel out the noise, and see what was previously unseen, feel what I thought was impossible, perceive with senses I never knew I had. The energy of others became more obvious, then readable, visible, knowable. When it was so obvious that energy “talks”, I noticed how people give off a perceptible vibe and how I can read this vibe to gather important information I had previously ignored.


It turned out that certain signals men gave off were my triggers to be instantly attracted to them but when I paid attention to the signal, I realized that the signal was exactly that characteristic that always caused me so much relationship pain. The relationships kept repeating in my life like patterns, and I wondered how come all men are the same, why am I repeating past hurts, will they ever end? I never realized that I was subconsciously attracted to men who give off signals of untrustworthiness, grandiosity, self-importance, machismo, disrespect, and selfishness- all those qualities we equate with narcissism.


We all meet people and process their signals. We ignore a lot of alarming signals that we should be paying attention to simply because we are not in tune with our feelings and emotions. Many of us come from cultures where we have been taught to suppress emotions entirely. But each signal is like a spark of recognition- I know you, I met a douche like you before, here’s another compulsive liar, etc. You just have to pay attention. No, you don’t have to be into energy, spirituality, nor meditate for years to understand your emotions. You just have to accept that your mind or your higher self will send you a signal when it recognizes a situation or a person who subtly gives off a vibe of something you experienced emotionally before.


Why was I so attracted to narcissists like a magnet? The first narcissist I knew, my dad imprinted me with the energies of instability, irrationality, unbalanced emotions, angry outbursts, unpredictability, emotional manipulation and rollercoasters, then each time I met a man who gave off one of these signals, I was attracted to him like a moth to a flame. I am sure that men are attracted to women who match the energy their mother imprinted them with.  Each time there was an emotional response from me to something he said inadvertently, the response felt like a butterfly in my stomach. Except behind the butterfly, there was a slight tightening in my heart, a twinge of pain I once felt before. Recognition.


When you ignore your emotions, you are ignoring that pinch that feels wrong, so you are ignoring a very important clue about this person. But what happens when you tune into that pain? If you are good at reading energy, it is like being able to see through a person in an instant. Imagine being able to see with your x-ray vision what the person is emitting from the inside. You can also read yourself, that pang of negative emotion and tune into that energy field as well. I do this better in a deep meditative state or even asleep. I read others and I read my responses as I relate to them.


I grew up with the knack to instantly see through people, see their motives before anyone else, feel the anger they feel, feel their pain, even understand the source of their pain was something they were actually not in touch with at all. I could see how a person uses his/her condition to extract compassion or caring from other people. I could see when someone’s physical pain was actually pointing to a life problem that seemingly had nothing to do with it. And I always ignored what I saw, I suppressed it so that I could get along, not expose them, give them a chance. I paid a heavy price for ignoring my own feelings and the alarm bells sent to me as warnings by my own brain.


We are all born with intuition and senses we have been ignoring since childhood. Textbooks say they do not exist, so we ignore them. But we can train ourselves to become better tuned into our own warning signals.


About ten years ago I met a guy at a party. At first, I wasn’t attracted to him at all. We later shook hands and in that instant, in his handshake I knew something wasn’t right. Yes, that handshake felt bad to me, but I didn’t know why. Later he texted me, and as we exchanged a few texts I remember wondering what exactly didn’t feel right. He was very handsome, clearly well educated, articulate, polished, well-mannered, respectful. From the outside it was easy to see his parents raised him right. But that handshake made me feel uneasy. I kept thinking about that handshake for days until I got in touch with exactly how it made me feel: manipulated. How? He didn’t actually do anything manipulative. What was it about that handshake that made me feel like he might be a controller?


I ignored this feeling. Eventually he started calling, we hit it off right away, he was a 100%-er in my book, and pretty soon we were in a relationship. Fast forward a year, we are planning to move in together in NYC. I love him, my parents think he is god, my friends are sure he is prince charming, and by every reasonable and logical measure, he ads up to a decent, stable, solid human being, marriage material. Except the thought of this move gives me a mild panic attack. No, it isn’t the logistics of moving, nor looking for a job in a new city. The idea of sharing space and responsibilities with him didn’t feel right. For some odd reason this apartment felt like an airtight bottle and as soon as I entered the door behind me would be permanently shut. I would wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, and he would tell me to see a doctor about those panic attacks. I paid no attention at all to the nightmare, nor the repeating feeling of suffocation, entrapment, no way out.


I tried backing out of the move, and that’s when things got really unpleasant. He never tried to get in touch with my feelings, nor understand my hesitance, instead he showed me a side of him I hadn’t seen before. Passive aggression, silent treatment, unexplained disappearances, suggestive posts on social media, not talking to me for days, an emotional roller coaster. Logically, I knew I was being emotionally manipulated, but intuitively I was being triggered by something new every day. He started creating little dramas, tests to see if I would get up and rush to see him, little emergencies, followed by long periods of ignoring me. This went on for months, and I was stuck in a daily stop and go- we are in a relationship, we are not in a relationship. We are moving in, we are not moving in. I love you, I hate you, I love you, I can’t live without you, I never want to see you again. Sounds familiar? Needless to say the relationship ended in disaster, and luckily we never saw each other again.


Years later I thought back to that handshake and realized that the uncomfortable, red flag feeling I got from the handshake, the sense that I was being manipulated, actually matched the feeling of the relationship itself. The entire relationship was about manipulation, and me freeing myself from it. But that’s not all.


ALL my relationships up to a certain point in my life were about me escaping from control and manipulation. The men were different, the situations were different, but they followed the same pattern. I was willfully ignorant of signals that all of these men were emitting because I didn’t believe in feelings and emotions as being important indicators.


What’s more, I realized that if a man did not emit any of those signals, I was not interested in him at all. No trigger, no attraction. How many healthy human beings did I ignore simply because they did not trigger me?  I couldn’t explain it, they were just not that attractive. Some of my craziest relationships were with monsters who triggered me the most. And some of the best men were the ones I perceived as useless, unattractive, and unmanly because they had no power to trigger me, so I kept walking.


This is laughable now. I look back at all the buttons emotional manipulators pushed, and I fell for them every time. I believed in those relationships because they felt familiar to me- like dad. Even though I always knew my dad was not healthy relationship material at all, his imprint was there the whole time. And I had to work on myself to erase that imprint.


So, how did I finally become a better perceiver of energy? I wrote about meditation many times, so I won’t repeat it here. You really don’t have to meditate, you just have to honor your feelings and accept that emotions are powerful indicators of what is standing right in front of us. For some intuitive people this comes naturally, but for others, who have been suppressing feelings all their life, we actually have to reconnect and relearn.  Pay attention to the physical sensations of each feeling in your body throughout the day and night. Don’t avoid that uncomfortable sensation, get in touch with it. Energy moves throughout the body, and in any given minute you might feel tension in your throat, belly, heart etc. You are being triggerd by what you see on TV, opinions of your friends, even advertisements.


But, energy also moves throughout your body as feelings and those energies get lodged in specific places in your body, to show you what aspect of you isn’t feeling right. If you learn how to mentally tune into each feeling of energy, you might notice with some practice that each energy field communicates with you and clearly describes the feeling that it emits.


I am also a better reader of other people now. If I can’t read a person, I know not to try to get to know him, instead, the fact that he is unreadable tells me that he is blocking his energy, or not wanting to be read. He is wearing a mask he doesn’t want me to look behind. I won’t, I keep walking. People who wear masks are not dating material anymore.


Today I trust my feelings more than I trust facts. We live in an age where we all can make up facts. We invent our entire personas just for Facebook. Sometimes I study people for days, months, sometimes it takes me a whole year. I am good at seeing through people whose outside does not match their inside, or people whose words do not match their energy. They are the easiest to spot, and I don’t engage them at all. I know I will piss them off because once I see his/her ugly insides, I will treat them as such, and neither of us will like the outcome of that interaction.


I am not a perfect reader. I still ignore some subtle cues, but when something isn’t right, I observe in a more detached way. I don’t jump into a relationship to engage this person, I pay attention from a distance.


I hear a lot of dating stories from both men and women. At that first meeting, a lot of subtle information is exchanged. When a relationship goes sour, I always ask what was it in that first meeting that alerted you to what this person would be like? Usually, it is that subtle cue we ignored that proves to be the indicator of exactly what this person ended up being.


If you find yourself constantly triggered by the same cues, you can deprogram yourself. The key to doing this is mapping out your triggers. List each trigger, like a white lie, then pay attention to how someone’s white lie feels to you in this moment. Find that energy in your body then get in touch with it. It will feel uncomfortable at first. Your mind might reject it and you may not be able to focus into it because it is uncomfortable. Ruminate on it anyway until you understand what this feeling means to you. When in your past, did you feel that feeling? You may recall a few similar situations or people whose white lies hurt you. Go back as far as you can remember to your childhood, and remember the very first time you felt this way. For me it was a white lie dad told each week, that he will be back right away, and then he wouldn’t be back for a whole week. Dad worked in another country, and he commuted by plane, not coming home for dinner until Friday. I knew it was a lie, I believed it anyway, it hurt just a little, but I loved dad very much.


Now, every time someone handsome tells a little white lie, there is a tiny reminder of my love for my dad, accompanied by a tiny twinge of discomfort. When I observe myself getting turned on by this, I know my brain is signaling recognition. No it is not love, no it is not healthy attraction, it is just my automatic response to a little white lie from someone undeniably handsome. Down girl.


Like I always say, knowledge is power, and self-knowledge is the most important superpower you can have. Know your triggers, your weakness, your attraction points, and know how bad it feels when you ignore them. Pain is the most powerful teacher, so why not learn from pain?


When you were a kid you put your tiny hand on the hot stove. It burned, you cried, but you never did that again. You got your finger stuck in the kitchen door, you screamed in agony, and you never stuck your finger where it doesn’t belong again. Each pain was an important life lesson. Where would you be as an adult if you kept forgetting not to rest your hand on the hot stove anymore? It sounds stupid, but here we are grown adults who fall for the hot stove every time and we call that love. When it burns every single day, we call that a relationship. And when the body gets used to the pain and is covered in deep scars, we call those scars proof of commitment.


Some people chase pain for a lifetime. Wouldn’t it do you good to get in touch with your feelings?




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