In previous posts, I discussed how to expose narcissistic abuse and how shame and trauma keep us in bad habits. In this post, I’ll share how to respond rationally to abuse and corruption by understanding our emotional triggers. This will be very important during the 2nd impeachment trial of President Trump. Accusations will flow, and social media will be a hellscape.

In the following video by Stephanie Lyn Coaching, we learn the steps we can take when we’re emotionally charged. Stephanie’s channel is dedicated to personal relationships, but I feel most of her principles can be carried over to public discourse. The first step is to identify our emotional wounds. What happened in our past that hurt us, and made us think other people don’t care about our needs? It might be a blatant lie, abandonment, or just a misunderstanding. Whatever it is, it activates the fight-or-flight impulse and restricts our rational thinking in our brains’ cortex regions.

The second step is what Stephanie calls “changing the story.” When you have time to yourself, or with a sympathetic friend, consider the past injury from other points of view. Allow the possibility that the person who hurt you didn’t intend to do so; give them the benefit of the doubt. When we’re hurt, we tend to take it personally. We don’t consider that the other person has their own hangups.

The third step in understanding emotional triggers is spotting patterns of behavior in the other person. This is when we determine whether someone is truly malicious. We’ve given them the chance to make amends, but if they don’t change their ways, we know they’re not a friend.

I’m reminded of my martial arts training. In the practice routines called forms, the first technique is always defensive. The saying goes, “there is no first punch in Karate.” In a violent confrontation, you should defend yourself with blocks or dodges, but give the opponent the chance to de-escalate. Only after it’s clear they won’t relent is when you should counterattack.

In online political discussion, we’re primed to have arguments. We should be very polite in offering our points of view and give links to our sources. If the opponent attacks those opinions in bad faith, screenshot that attack and share it to alert others, then cut yourself off from that negativity. I’ve argued that the way we fight the current corruption in our society is to starve it.