Does This Happen to You?

    Life gives us countless opportunities to feel stressed, afraid, or insecure. In this week’s posts, we’ll explore common inner defenses that are triggered when we feel pressured. We’ll discuss how to recognize them and how to move through them to more conscious and healthier responses.

    The slippery thing about our inner defenses is that they are triggered beneath our awareness. They are subconscious. We “slip into” them without seeing them coming. They seem to just “come over us” without our conscious invitation. Because of that, we find ourselves caught up in them and acting them out, even if they aren’t what we’d “like to be doing” in a situation.

    For example, someone makes a small comment and we feel an intense feeling come over us. Or a small action, like leaving a sock on the floor, becomes a symbol of something much bigger that puts us on “high alert.” When these things happen, a more dramatic event from our past has been triggered by a small association in the present.

    This is one of the ways that you can recognize a subconscious trigger and a pattern of inner defense associated with it—your response is much bigger than is warranted by what is currently happening.

    Another way that you can recognize when you’ve been triggered is that it feels like an inner switch has been suddenly flipped ON! “All of a sudden” you feel dramatically differently than you did a moment before, without anything dramatic happening in your present environment.

    So, as an entry to this week’s exploration, notice times when your feeling is out of proportion to a current situation and/or times when you flip quickly from one feeling to another. Just notice. It’s O.K. to notice these things. We ALL do this. It’s a part of our coping process. Our inner defenses serve a purpose and we can learn and grow by becoming more aware of them.


    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. Spiritual Growth Monthly is a supportive online community where we explore insights and practices to help us discover our defenses and realize our higher potential.

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