Navigating Trigger Moments after divorce or breakup: A Guide to Emotional Resilience

Jan 23, 2024
Woman with short white hair holding a tissue to her face, she looks like she is crying

 Life is a series of unpredictable moments, and sometimes, certain situations can unexpectedly trigger intense emotional reactions. When  you have been through a painful divorce or breakup those moments can take you right back to a time which feels intensely painful. It could be a song on the radio that reminds you of your wedding, a painful memory, or a challenging circumstance, learning how to deal with trigger moments after divorce or breakup is crucial for maintaining your emotional well-being.

Here are my tips to help you navigate these moments with resilience.

1. Identify Your Triggers:

Understanding what triggers you is the first step toward effective coping. Take the time to reflect on past experiences and recognise the patterns that provoke strong emotional responses. For example, are there places that are a painful reminder of your ex partner? This self-awareness is the foundation for building resilience. 

2. Practice Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a powerful tool to stay present and manage overwhelming emotions. When you feel triggered, focus on your breath and bring your attention to the current moment. Ground yourself by observing your surroundings and sensations, helping to break the cycle of distress. This is really helpful if you have been caught off guard. For example, I was triggered recently by a TV programme. I had no idea it would cause such a reaction in me and  focusing on mt breathing really helped me calm down.

3. Create a Safety Plan:

Develop a safety plan to implement when triggers arise. This may include having a list of calming activities, a supportive friend to reach out to, or a designated safe space. Having a plan in place empowers you to take control of your emotional response.

4. Engage in Self-Compassion:

Be kind to yourself during trigger moments. Understand that it's okay to feel the way you do. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging your emotions without judgment. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer to a friend facing a similar situation. 

5. Establish Healthy Coping Mechanisms:

Replace unhealthy coping mechanisms with positive alternatives. Whether it's practicing deep breathing, engaging in creative activities, or physical exercise, having a toolbox of healthy coping strategies is really important for managing triggers effectively.

6. Seek Professional Support:

If triggers consistently disrupt your daily life, seeking professional support can be invaluable. A coach or a therapist can provide guidance, help you explore the root causes of triggers, and assist in developing coping strategies tailored to your unique needs.

7. Build a Support System:

Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family who understand and respect your triggers. Communicate openly with them about your experiences and let them know how they can assist you during challenging moments.

8. Establish Boundaries:

Set clear boundaries to protect your emotional well-being. Communicate your limits to others and prioritise self-care. Learning to say no when needed is a powerful way to maintain balance and prevent unnecessary triggers. For example, if you know that a particular restaurant reminds you too much of your ex, decline invitations for dinners there. 

Empowerment through Resilience

Dealing with trigger moments is a journey that requires patience, self-reflection, and resilience. By incorporating these strategies into your life, you empower yourself to respond to triggers with strength. Remember that healing is a gradual process, and each step you take towards understanding and managing your triggers brings you closer to emotional well-being and personal growth. 


As time passes, so will many of your triggers as memories become less painful.

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