The 4 Ways We Respond to Triggers and What They Mean

and How to Heal Them

Jason Henry
5 min readAug 27, 2021


Photo by Akshar Dave 🍉 on Unsplash

A trigger is an event that provokes a strong emotional response in you. Events range from a mean comment to a lack of acknowledgment to an overstepped boundary to someone saying I love you. Rejection, betrayal, insecurity and criticism are extremely common things that elicit a triggered reaction.

It is possible for virtually any event to trigger someone, but the reason one gets triggered is dependent on one’s earlier experiences.

In addition to eliciting emotional responses, being triggered causes one thinking to get distorted, which then causes bodily changes and changes in behavior.

But what are these emotional responses and what can we do to deal with them?

1. Resentment

As I mentioned earlier, any event could cause one to get triggered but the events that trigger you will depend on the experiences you had earlier in your life. Some of these events may cause you to respond with resentment.

We all know what resentment is. It’s anger, bitterness and indignation. Something happened in one’s past that caused one to feel these emotions and because it was never addressed and healed, it continues to live on ready to erupt at a moment’s notice.

To be more specific, resentment shows us how our boundaries were violated. When someone treats you unfairly, you get tense and are ready to defend yourself even if it means lashing out at the other person. The same occurs when we violate our own boundaries and do things we don’t value or don’t want to do.

2. Guilt

We’ve all made mistakes and it is important for us to forgive others and ourselves. But when that doesn’t happen and an event occurs to remind us of how we continue to hold ourselves in contempt, we get triggered and feel guilt.

Moreover, if we believe we are supposed to live in accordance to someone else’s idea of how to live, it is natural for guilt to arise here as well. For example, if you were raised to follow religious or societal practices but you don’t, guilt would be a natural response.



Jason Henry

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”