Why You Get Triggered

You may notice yourself being triggered by experiences you encounter or by things people do. You will know this effects you because you will find yourself feeling angry, fearful, frustrated, irritable or anxious. If you pay attention long enough, you might even begin to notice a pattern amongst what it is that causes you to feel this way. These are not random occurrences. What triggers you is going to be different from what triggers your neighbor, friend or another family member. Personal triggers are a result of unresolved emotion.


When you experience a situation as an adult that emotionally reminds you how you felt sometime in the past, and that past emotion remained unresolved, this will trigger you to feel and respond in much the same way you did at that earlier time. Various defense mechanisms will surface as a result to protect you. You might project your feelings onto others, misinterpret communication, become defensive in behavior, become passive aggressive, or even chronically avoid environments or situations that you might otherwise wish you felt more comfortable in. Emotions in need of resolution bring you into a fight or flight state.

Perceptions Matter

For example, if another child made a comment to little Jim in the school cafeteria that embarrassed Jim, this emotion was likely held onto and carried in the subconscious. The subconscious mind holds onto all of the memories you experience in your lifetime, while the conscious mind only filters what you most need to know in this current moment. However, the subconscious is like a cup. Once that cup is full of liquid, it will find a way to seep out. When your internal bucket of unresolved emotion is full, emotions will pour out into other areas of your life through behavior. If as an adult, Jim has to present in front of others for work and finds himself feeling flushed and nervous, to the point of physically feeling sick or finding ways to avoid presenting, it is likely that his current adult feelings relate to past experience(s) that remain emotionally unresolved. In a hypnosis session, the memory of the cafeteria may arise and Jim suddenly remembers how embarrassed he felt at the time, and how embarrassing it is to feel himself being watched now while giving presentations. His past self, as a child, needed something in that moment that was not achieved and so the emotion became stored and held onto.   It is very important to know that how you as an adult assess a past situation from your current conscious mind state has little to no bearing on the effect it has on you. Adult Jim may feel in his conscious mind that the cafeteria incident was “no big deal”. However, to little Jim as a child, his perception at the time was that of embarrassment and it mattered. The situation itself is less important than the perception of the situation at the time of its occurrence.


Other examples I have seen are:

  • Death of a loved one early on resulting in feelings of abandonment and resulting in avoidance of intimate relationships
  • Feeling of loss of control earlier in life resulting in a fear of flying in airplanes
  • Feelings of unworthiness earlier in life resulting in a fear of public speaking
  • Past hurts resulting in a distrust and avoidance of establishing friendships and meaningful relationships
  • Irritability and impatience with self or others caused by the need for an inner critic earlier in life
  • Lack of self confidence resulting in avoidance of desired goals 


I have seen this over and over again in my practice. When I talk to clients about how emotions work, I often hear how it makes sense to them, but that they cannot remember anything that would relate to what they currently experience. However, it is not about the specific situation experienced. When looking at various life experiences, we might not find the commonality between them that would drive human behavior but that is because what drives it cannot be seen by the eye.  It is all about the underlying emotional connection those experiences hold. How you feel now subconsciously reminds you of how you felt at a time earlier in your life and sometimes, multiple times that must all be processed.

You Can Thrive!


Once experienced in a hypnotherapy session, clients are frequently shocked at the realization of how much impact a prior event had on them. They very often are also surprised at how once that event is processed and the underlying emotion resolved, the fear or other strong emotional reactions to current events and undesired behaviors (reacting or avoiding) disappears.  This is where true freedom lies. Events that would have once triggered a strong emotional reaction and resulting behavior now become neutral and individuals find themselves moving from a place of existing to one of thriving. You can thrive too.


Jennifer Catlin, M.S., C.Ht, C.I

Jennifer holds her Master’s Degree in School Psychology and is a certified hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy certification instructor. She believes that all individuals hold the answers to achieve inner peace and freedom within. She holds sessions in her Cary, NC office and also virtually for clients around the world.  For more information and to contact Jennifer, please visit: 



How to Free Yourself From Fear


Fear is experienced as an unwelcome visitor knocking at your door in the most inconvenient moments. It slowly steals your confidence, success and ability to reason with logic. Fear knows no bounds. It creeps up from the darkest of shadows within you.

The Many Faces of Fear

Fear shows up in a multitude of costumes with a voice that demands pause. It might be the visitor who tells you not to get on that airplane because flying is unsafe, or the one who tells you everything there is to worry about the future rather than being in the moment. It loves to replay old stories in your mind. Fear might show itself as a discomfort with heights, medical procedures or public speaking. Fear wants you to stay small.

What Happened To Reason and Logic?

You try all you can to talk it away. Surely, it will leave when you employ logic? When those attempts fail, you try to distract yourself from feeling it. You try with all of your might to think positive thoughts, to will it away but it remains. It becomes a nagging voice you begin to identify with, as it slowly reinforces what you feel you must avoid. It feels like fear becomes who you are, sometimes only in particular situations and it sometimes consumes your whole being in the form of persistent worry. It feels like an enemy.


“In Order to Rise Above Your Fear, You Must First Nurture The Wounds That Reside Beneath It.”  – Jennifer Catlin


The thing is, fear is a friend. It wants to help. Relating to it as something unwanted only causes it to grow and become stuck. It intensifies and presents more frequently. Emotions are energy. When an unpleasant emotion like fear shows up within your awareness, the most common way to be with it is to engage in an automatic subconscious fight or flight reaction. You either attempt to will it away or you gain flight by distracting yourself in hopes you will no longer feel it.


Fear is the voice that says, “Pay attention. If you stay alert, you will be OK.”


Fear is a response to what feels unsafe. The fear that shows up now as an adult is the same fear that showed up at an earlier time in your life – perhaps a time you remember or not at all. It can even be a time that you do not feel is a big deal now, but as a child, it mattered. Perception is everything when it comes to the subconscious. Fear is the voice that says, “pay attention. If you stay alert, you will be safe. You will be OK”. It is not a conscious thought. It arrives when you are younger as your protector during a time when you knew no other way of being. It was a healthy coping mechanism for fear to arrive during a time when you felt a loss of control or lack of emotional safety. The event that first caused the fear may make no logical sense in relation to how or when it shows up in your life now. It doesn’t have to. The subconscious is driven by unresolved emotion. That is all it knows. Transformation requires accessing the unresolved emotion within and empowering that part of you so it can step out of the old story.

How To Free Yourself From Fear

  1. The first step is awareness. You cannot free yourself from fear unless you first get to know it. Become familiar with it. Ask yourself, “If my fear looked like something, what would that be?”  Give it its own identity. This makes it easier to gain some separation from it so you can begin to shift your relationship with it.

2. Once you are able to envision it as something separate from yourself, imagine having a conversation with it. Approach it gently. Remember, fear is simply a protector. It does not want to hurt you. It only knows what it knows from an earlier time in your life. Thank it for showing up, for trying to help you. Let it know that its protection is greatly needed in your life, but help it to understand that how it is protecting you is actually causing stress now in your life because you are not a child anymore. Ask it if it is willing to work with you in a new way.

3. After having an internal conversation with the fear, begin to cultivate a friendship with it. Accept it with your whole being. Let it in. Give it a space to rest so it can rejuvenate and work with you in a new way. It will transform. When you take the battle away, there is nothing left to fight.


The opposite of fear is love. As ironic as it sounds, you get fear to go away by loving it. Of course, it’s not always as simple or easy as it sounds but continue reading for a more in depth, personalized approach.


Going Deeper With Hypnotherapy and Emotions Coaching

Sometimes guidance is helpful. If you find you are ready to go deeper, experiencing this process in a client-centered, transpersonal hypnotherapy session can assist you with establishing direct access to the part of yourself you internally battle with. These sessions are experiential and designed to help you move beyond the blocks. These types of sessions can be experienced in person or if long distance, via Zoom (after a free, initial consultation to determine if this is an appropriate service for you). Sometimes, clinical regression is used to help you identify the source. Additional techniques can be utilized in session to go even deeper, discovering the very deepest roots of where this comes from, what you may be holding onto and carrying that isn’t even yours, and transforming it all so you can live with a sense of freedom, peace and joy.

Contact me for your free consultation today!

* Hypnotherapy is not a substitute for psychotherapy. It can be an excellent adjunct or tool for those who experienced therapy and are ready to safely go a little deeper to explore a method that creates effective behavioral change.