Imagine, if you would, holding a jack-in-the-box and gradually turning the crank. At some point, the latch disengages and triggers the spring inside. Suddenly, there’s a burst of activity and the clown pops out in an unexpectedly jarring manner. This is very similar to the many triggers you experience upon your grieving journey. The trigger makes you explode in spiraling emotions of grief. There is no such thing as a particular stage of grief, but grief triggers exist and can cause deeper suffering. Your grief is an explosion caused by a grief trigger. The holiday season and those anniversaries we have are often the times when most of our triggers fire.
What Are Grief Triggers?
No one person’s grief is the same, and everyone grieves in their own way. The only common thread that we share is the journey; a journey of grief. Grief is one journey that we all must go on at some point in our lives. It is our unique journey with which we can share experiences, but each experience is unique.
There are many mountains and different scenery to experience on this journey, some beautiful and other’s absolutely terrifying. Light and dark follow you like your shadow that only exists when the light gives it life. During this journey, there can be moments when certain situations, memories, or even aspects of the psyche can activate the intense emotions associated with profound grief. These are the grief triggers we experience, and they can come upon you like a thief in the night. Essentially, any grief trigger is a memory or experience that is the catalyst to feeling the sense of loss and deepening your grief. These triggers cause continued suffering within, and all suffering is self-created.
Types of Grief Triggers
The grief triggers you experience can be anything that causes the memory to surface from your unconscious mind. It brings the memory front and center where we experience the pain of loss once again. This continuing catalyst from the particular trigger often causes a deeper sense of suffering. One find’s it too intense to easily pull themselves away from the emotion or to stop them pulling the trigger and causing that destructive explosion in the psyche.
The types of grief triggers are varied, and each one is just as much a trigger as any other. They cause the explosion of suffering within the mind. In fact, these same triggers could also be the same as signs from the afterlife that bring comfort. A bit of a paradox it would seem, but equally viable.
The Smoking Guns
The following grief triggers are just a few of the ones that can cause a deeper sense of grief. However, as mentioned, they are also the ones that can bring comfort. This all depends on your place within your journey, and of course your influences, no matter if it is a religious connection or the people around you. It must be understood that it is not the trigger that is the causation of the suffering, but the memory that is ignited. Whilst it can be positive. The memory can enhance the feeling of loss and abandonment in a more profound and deeper way.
- Smells: Someone who has experienced loss can often be faced with a particular smell that is the catalyst to the memory of the loved one. This can be anything from a cologne or even the local environment or a particular smell from a favorite food.
- Music: Whether it is a song or a particular piece of music, it has the power to ignite memories of your loved one, and that memory can of course bring further upset.
- Nature: This is a bit more unusual, but being in nature or witnessing aspects of nature can also trigger memories, especially if the loved one had a fondness for nature.
- Visual Stimuli: You could see a picture or an object or even experience witnessing someone that looks like your loved one and that can bring about your feelings of grief once more.
- Relations: Meeting a friend, colleague or acquaintance of your loved one can be another grief trigger. Often this type of trigger is totally unexpected and yet can cause an explosion of grief within very quickly.
- Special Occasions: Now this particular grief trigger is one that is actually expected and attachments to the anniversary or occasion have an expectation of grief.
- Reading: You may read something that will cause the memories to come flooding in and that can also be another double-edged sword.
There are so many more triggers of grief, but to learn them you must try and remember them and accept them. Often the people around you have no idea that you have been triggered.
The Ignorance of Grief Triggers
Perhaps one of the most upsetting aspects of experiencing these triggers is the ignorance from the people around you. Whilst you are on tender hooks. Those around you fail to recognize that certain triggers can cause you deep sadness, longing and feelings or abandonment. As an example, this could be as simple as someone you know deliberately bringing up a memory to help you “get through it by facing up to it.” or “Your grief is only temporary, you will get through this” or “your strong, chin up.” These platitudes are about as welcome as a dose of the flu or an angry animal who turns on you because you interrupted them. The truth is they have no awareness of the suffering they may be causing, and in their ignorance – think they are helping you.
Ignorance of the triggers of your grief is very much like a Trojan horse. Inside there are dangers waiting, ready to storm the gates of the castle. In their ignorance, they cannot see the hidden dangers. In all honesty, they have little to no experience of loss. How can they really comprehend your loss? They can’t, because your loss is yours, and it is unique. They need a lesson in awareness and that starts with education.
Becoming Aware of your Triggers of Grief That Cause Suffering
How then, can we change the pattern of suffering that is caused by these grief triggers? Quite simply, the answer is learning to become aware of your inner engineering. Learning to focus upon the awareness of a trigger and not the pervasiveness of those triggers. Understanding how those feelings arise in you is the catalyst to real transformation of your grief.
Awareness is a word that is thrown about randomly. It becomes a cool thing to espouse, but many people do not really understand what real awareness truly is. You can become aware that you are sitting and in your mind you will focus upon the sitting. This is an inner realization that you are sitting. However, being aware and becoming aware takes a great deal of work to be able to grow that seed of awareness within you. It starts with the seed of compassion for the self.
To become aware, you must know yourself and who you truly are. You are spirit, and you are animated by the spiritual force that gives life. This force intertwines all life in one harmonic vibration. Try to move toward realization of the self and allow yourself to be an observer of the grief rather than a participant. As a consequence, you will then become more aware of the triggers that cause an energetic change within your being.
How to control the trigger finger of grief
When you have become aware of the trigger. You can then take action upon your awareness. Know that you have the power to be able to choose whether you suffer or whether you change the energy of that particular trigger.
Journal about your triggers. Write them down and how they effect you. Then, when you experience a particular trigger, you can make the choice to change its energy. Perhaps a song comes on and gets you going. Then you feel sad because you just remembered your loved one. You begin to cry and those grieving emotions come back full circle. Your awareness will let you become realized to the sense of loss, and how the emotion of the song makes you feel. At that moment, you can immediately change the thoughts in your mind to a more positive point of attraction.
Choose to think about how you both loved the song and how much fun you had when you shared the joy of that song. There are so many ways that you can change the energy of the trigger when you become aware of it. The secret is knowing you have the power to make the choice and transform that energy. Perhaps, you can talk to your loved one about the trigger and choose to flip switch the trigger from the negative to the positive.
Signs and Triggers – The Relationship
As mentioned before, the relationship between the signs of your loved ones around you, and the triggers that cause deeper grief, is inexorably linked. The problem of relying on constant signs can become troublesome. It can also have the effect of causing the deeper experience of grief, especially when those signs stop or get less.
It is important to understand how much energy it takes for a loved one to give you a sign. Furthermore, to have an appreciation of what mechanics are involved. Furthermore, you become used to the signs and begin to expect them. You create an unhealthy attachment to receiving signs, and you cannot go on without them. In reality, you see everything as a sign. Consequently, you create a relationship to the thing that gave you the sign. As a consequence of this, you have forgotten that your loved ones are still alive, and they have jobs to do and spiritual growth to go through. They will not always be sending you signs. When they do, you miss them because you are attached to the signs you self created.
The Neediness In Your Grief
Becoming attached to your needs and the signs is an aspect of the selfishness of your grief journey. When you become attached to the expectation of your needs and not considering the need of your loved one, you create your own inner trigger. In essence, the sign has then become the trigger that causes deeper roots of grief that grow within. Instead of being the sign of deep comfort, it becomes the catalyst to further suffering. Real signs of your loved ones are unique and meaningful with a story attached. If you continue to create signs around you consistently, you then create them from your own need and desire and when you don’t get them, you are left in a trigger trap.
This is another grief trigger that can cause further deepened grief. What is important is to work on your deep inner awareness. Learn to celebrate your real signs without being attached to the outcomes of more. Remember, not every sign was from them, that is a potential trigger. You may have heard a song on the radio and on that day, it meant something deep and meaningful. Perhaps it was on the anniversary and the song was for you.
The danger is now that every time you hear it now wherever you are, you think it’s a sign. Another example would be the flash of a light that has a phenomenon or story attached to it. Whilst in reality it is an Amazing sign of our loved ones around us, you create an attachment. Then, when it happens again, there’s no pattern or story. The flashing light you take as a sign instead of a power surge has caused a trigger of grief.
Change Your Triggers to Connections and Ditch the Signs Attachments
The signs that were once phenomenal connections of love, now become your nemesis and cause further suffering. So what do we do? We have to work on being unattached to signs and triggers and work on the connection we know that we have with our loved ones. You can still have a relationship with your loved one if you so choose. You have the power. You can talk to them, you can still make them a part of your life if you so choose.