In Confession: I Am a Porcupine, I shared with you how I can be a real porcupine at times, especially with my family and at work. Maybe you read that blog and realized that 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. Sometimes, especially in my younger years, I have gotten easily irritated or lashed out when things haven’t gone my way, when my expectations have not been met, when I’ve felt disrespected, or when I’ve been lied to.
We all have our trigger points. Being aware of them can help us guard against automatically shooting those quills at our family members or team at work. And being able to see them in others can help us deal more graciously with those prickly porcupines. So let’s look at seven 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, but not understood. Prioritizing good listening skills and communication is important to avoiding those defensive outbursts.
4. Not Being Appreciated.
When someone doesn’t feel appreciated, they don’t usually feel valued. And when they don’t feel valued, they question what they’re doing, why they’re doing it. They think…“What’s the point?” If no one is noticing 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, my 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 at times. 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. And because I’m often not with the rude people long enough, those who are nearest to me, my family, 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? Please leave a comment with your thoughts on what causes your quills to raise up.