How To Handle Trauma Triggers

Triggers are a natural result of betrayal trauma. Learn how to use them to your benefit.

After betrayal, most victims experience triggers: moments when they feel the full effect of the trauma, triggered by just about anything. The unpredictability, severity, and frustration of triggers can leave many victims feeling powerless and afraid.

Kathy Kinghorn, LCSW, SAP, and CSAT supervisor, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to offer empowering tips to victims of betrayal. Tune in to the free BTR podcast for more.

Trust Your Gut: Triggers Can Be Helpful Tools

Having a plan in place beforehand for handling triggers is so important. It will become second nature after enough practice, but at first it can be difficult learn how to handle those triggers when they happen.

Kathy Kinghorn

As you create a plan for dealing with triggers, remember that triggers may be indicators that something isn’t right. By listening to your body, trusting your mind, and processing what you are feeling and thinking, you may be able to protect yourself from further betrayal and abuse.

Utilize Triggers As Boundary Catalysts

One way that triggers can be extremely helpful is in setting boundaries.

When women are able to identify what made them feel triggered, how they felt, and what they can do to protect themselves from further harm, they are to set a boundary.

A huge part of recovery involves doing things that feel unsafe, like setting a boundary.

Kathy Kinghorn

Boundaries are not statements, requests, or ultimatums. They are courageous actions that women take to separate themselves from abuse and harm.

Taking Care Of Yourself During/After Triggers

When women feel triggered, it’s important that they invest time in self-care.

Whether your trigger led to a full-on panic attack or a momentary and fleeting feeling of fear, taking some time to assess your safety levels, your comfort, and your health are important.

Some ways that women can practice self-care when triggered:

  • Journal your feelings
  • Process your trauma with someone safe
  • Do something to relax: take a bath, take a nap, take a walk
  • Make sure you are adequately nourished and hydrated

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Betrayal and Emotional Abuse

Triggers can be annoying, heartbreaking, and terrifying, but they are an important part of your recovery. They help you know when something is off and are a gauge of your personal safety.

Listen to yourself.

The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily in every time zone and offers victims the unique opportunity to process trauma, express hard feelings, talk through triggers, and connect in meaningful ways with other victims. Join today and receive the validation and support that you deserve.

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  1. Bev

    I wish my benefit plan covered BTR

    • Anne Blythe

      We are coded as medical – so your HSA card (if you have one) may work. Many women have used their HSA cards:).

      • Kim

        What is a HSA card?

        • Anne Blythe

          A health savings account. Some people use an HSA card for their medical insurance.


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