Triggers (Part 5)

This week we will continue to talk about core patterns and how we can begin to heal these present day conflicts as well as begin the healing process for the old wounds (“pain”) that form the triggers. We discussed healing steps 1 and 2 in the last two newsletters.

Step 1:  Recognize and own your part in the core pattern.
Without ownership, we blame.

Step 2:  Release the other person from the severity of your emotions.
“I know it’s unfair to punish you so severely for my childhood injuries caused by others.”  “I will try to not take all my anger out on you when I am hurt.”

Our third step for healing?

Step 3: Reconcile the past.

New Life Live is the nationally syndicated radio show on which I am a co-host ( Last weekend, I was at a New Life Weekend as a group counselor for couples.  New Life founder Steve Arterburn conducts group lectures throughout the weekend with six group counseling intensives between the lectures.

Steve called me to the stage at the end of one of the sessions so that the two of us could conduct an eight minute “Team speed” counseling session with a couple who volunteered from the audience.   There names were Bill and Nancy.

The goal?

Get to the bottom of what was going on and help them get unstuck.

The four of us sat on tall stools and we engaged in dialogue:

Steve:  “Why are you here and what is the problem that you are struggling with?”

Bill:  “Seven years ago, anger welled up inside me and I haven’t been able to control it.”

Steve:  “What are you angry at?”

Bill:  “I’m angry and impatient with everyone.”

Milan:  “Nancy, are you the lightening rod for Bill’s anger?”

Nancy:  “No, he gets most angry at himself and he is even abusive to himself.”

Milan:  “ I’ve seen several angry clients in my office who victimize and punish themselves with their own anger.”

As Steve was asking another question or two, I instinctively knew what I needed to do and while Steve was talking with Bill, I got up out of my seat and stood behind Bill’s stool and patiently waited for Steve to finish.

Steve gave me a quizzical look and said, “I have no idea why Milan is standing behind your seat Bill.”

Steve: “Milan, what are you thinking and why are you standing behind Bill?”

Milan:  “Bill, I want you to stay in your seat and look at me over your left shoulder at me.  I represent someone from the past who hurt you.  Look at me and tell me who I am and what I did to you to make you so angry.”

(You could have heard a pin drop as 300 people sat silently in their chairs.)

Bill looked at me a bit surprised and when our eyes locked, he drifted off  into a deep contemplation.

Bill:  “ You represent two people.  A guy named Paul and my mother.

Milan:  “What did they do to hurt you?”

Bill:  “Paul (voice cracking and tears welling up) sexually abused me and my mother did nothing to stop it.”

Milan:  (Whispering) “I’m so sorry Bill…that is so sad.  That should have never happened to you as a little boy.  I’m so very sorry.”
Milan:  “Bill, these are the people you need to be angry at… not yourself or others.”

I put my hand on Bill’s shoulder and Steve wrapped up the discussion and we prayed for Bill and Nancy with our arms around them.   Nancy gave me a hug that lasted for a long while.  Bill hugged us and thanked us deeply with tears in his eyes.

Little did Steve and I know realize how impactful “that hug” and “that intervention” of Bill speaking into his past would be to the counseling groups and counselors throughout the evening and the next day.  A whole host of hurts and triggers were allowed to come to the surface in many people’s lives.

The effects?


Steve received an e-mail from Nancy the next day telling him that for the first time in seven years, Bill wanted to live.

They were grateful.

We were humbled and honored.

We reconcile the past when we…

  • recognize that our triggers are caused by some hurt and wound from someone in the past.
  • learn to grieve the loss and comfort ourselves and let ourselves be comforted for the loss.
  •  be angry, have tears, mourn, languish, and be infuriated at those who hurt you in your early years.
  • embrace the hurt child within.
  • forgive them and let them go.

This all takes time.

It is a process.

Perhaps months… perhaps years.

It is gradual, it is a process.  God wishes for you to be free from the pain of the past.

These are three steps that will help each of us “grow up” in Christ (Ephesians 4:15).

Thanks and blessings,


Milan & Kay

Next week: More relationship building help.