7 Common Trigger Points That Make People Prickly

trigger points

In another post, called Confession: I Am a Porcupine, I shared how I can be a real porcupine, especially with my family and at work. Maybe you read it and realized someone you love, or even you, can sometimes be a porcupine too. Porcupines do have a tender side, but these temperamental creatures have trigger points that cause them to lash out. Well, just like a porcupine, wouldn’t you know it—I, too, have those trigger points that put me into “rear-end out, quills out, lash out” mode.

Especially in my younger years, I’d easily get irritated when things didn’t go my way, my expectations weren’t met, I felt disrespected, or I’d been lied to. We all have our trigger points. Being aware of them can help us guard against automatically shooting quills at our family members or colleagues. And being able to see them in others can help us deal more graciously with those prickly porcupines. So let’s look at 7 common trigger points.

1. Having Unmet Expectations

I’m the kind of person who expects a lot from himself, and I expect a lot from others. So, when people don’t do what I expect them to do, I can get a bit frustrated. If the vacation doesn’t go smoothly, the dinner date ends in an argument, the kids don’t behave, or the movie disappoints, I find myself feeling prickly.

2. Being Tired or Sick

My wife, Susan, never complains when she’s sick. But when I have even a minor cold, watch out! Porcupine city! Knowing this to be true helps me and my family to be more guarded and more gracious. Keeping the “quills” under control is tough when you don’t feel normal, but it’s important, especially when others are trying to help.

3. Not Being Heard

It’s a common human desire to be heard and understood. When someone I’m trying to communicate with isn’t really hearing what I’m saying, that can drive me crazy. But it can be worse to be heard and not understood. Prioritizing good listening skills and communication is important for avoiding those defensive outbursts.

4. Not Being Appreciated

When people don’t feel appreciated, they usually don’t feel valued. And when they don’t feel valued, they question what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. They think, “What’s the point?” If no one notices all their hard work, don’t be surprised if some sharp barbs make their presence felt.

5. Feeling Disrespected

It’s one thing to challenge me about an issue or a decision. But if someone questions my judgment, ability, or integrity, I can get quite irritated. While this can be a trigger point for both men and women, I hear of it more often in men.

6. Being Treated Rudely

It seems we are living in an increasingly rude society—rude drivers, rude moviegoers, rude cashiers, rude coworkers. The list goes on. And I know I’ve been rude at times in my life as well. But when I’m treated rudely, it can knock me for a loop. Because I’m not often with the rude people long enough, those who are nearest to me—my family members—are usually on the receiving end of my frustration. It’s good to remember that the family and friends and co-workers around us shouldn’t have to be picking the quills out of their noses because of someone who cut us off in traffic four hours ago.

7. Being Lied To

This is a big one for me. If someone lies to me, all quills are up. So watch out!

What are your trigger points? Share in a comment below.

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