I’m triggered


lisa fabrega

For as long as I’ve had a business, I’ve repeatedly heard a particular thing from people who choose to work with me:

“You used to trigger me so much, but for some reason I stayed following you. Now I realize it’s because back then I wasn’t ready to face my stuff. Now I am.” 

Then they sign up to work with me. Funny enough, those are usually my BEST clients. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said this to me…

Growing up in a dictatorship, I learned quickly what it does to your soul to have your freedom of speech taken away. And I saw with my own eyes what happens when people don’t speak up for what’s right. When you’re too busy being “socially acceptable and polite” so people don’t get “mad” at you, a dictator can rise and harm millions of people.

Whether the dictator is a literal one, a metaphorical one in your own mind, or a detractor or instigator in your comments, the same rules apply. “Being polite” only makes a nice soft bed for tyranny.

Ten years ago, when I heard the “you used to trigger me” feedback for the first time, I had a tiny moment where I allowed such feedback to make me feel like I did something wrong. I let it temporarily shrink my power.

I saw other coaches with safe, mainstream brands posting about vanilla self help topics which offend no one, never having to deal with people telling them they were “so triggered” by them. For a split second I thought maybe I was doing it wrong.

But I remembered what I learned as a child: pointing out the things people don’t want to face, being willing to be the only person in the room pointing out the emperor is wearing no clothes, triggers people who are terrified of SEEING. 

And not everyone is ready to SEE. Everyone has their pace and their process. When they’re ready, they’ll come to you. If they’re not ready, they’re not your ideal client, friend or relationship. So why would you allow someone who isn’t in ideal alignment with you to dictate how you express? See the logical blip there? 

I was speaking with a mentor recently about this phenomenon. Two amazing women who signed up to work with me last month said the “you used to trigger me” thing and we were laughing about it because she’s also a loving, fierce, truthspeaker and she puts up with zero fuckery. That’s why she’s a great mentor.

She told me “I hear the same thing all the time too. It means we’re doing our purpose. We’re doing our job well.” 

I couldn’t agree more. I care DEEPLY about every single one of my clients and everyone in my community (including you.) I’m not going to blow puppy n’ rainbow flavored smoke in your ear, when that’s exactly what’s been holding you back. 

I care way too much about you to make “me being liked by you” or my egoic concerns more important than you achieving every single one of your dreams and becoming the high-capacity leader you were born to be. Only self-serving egomaniac mentors would prioritize their need to be liked by you above you flourishing. 

If I see something in you or the collective blindspot, I’m going to point it out. Yes, even if it’s uncomfortable AF to talk about and even if it triggers you. Because the only way OUT is THROUGH.

I often use a “working out” metaphor with clients to explain how capacity to go to our next level is actually built. 

Let’s say you want to run 50 miles one day. Well, if you haven’t even learned how to first run 3 miles, then 10, then 20, then 30 AND gone through all the physical discomfort and emotional discomfort it takes to do that, you can’t get to 50 miles. You can’t just walk out of your house in the equivalent of your pj’s and some flimsy flip-flops and complete a 50 mile marathon with no training or discomfort leading up to it. You won’t even make it one mile.

Same goes for your capacity to do the BIG things you dream of. It requires stretching. It requires facing the places where you lie to yourself. It requires getting uncomfortable sometimes. 

When you’re not yet ready, you’ll think you “don’t need” capacity work. You’ll buy some more books, sign up for a dozen more “crystal healing” courses, yoga retreats and maybe some certification programs to tell yourself you’re “doing the work.” You’ll tell yourself you “just need some time to integrate” or “go over some old course materials first”. 

But really it’s just an act you’re putting on for yourself to make it look like you’re doing the work, when you’re not. Because you’re afraid. (If you just got triggered reading that, you’re probably doing this.)

It’s okay. It’s part of the process. And I’m not saying crystals and yoga are BS or they don’t help. They just don’t help when you’re using them as a distraction from doing the real work you know you need to do. 

So when someone is triggering you a lot, ask yourself– could it be they’re just showing me the ways I’m lying to myself and it’s making me angry because they refuse to let me hide every time they post or speak?

When you’re ready, you’ll drop those performances with yourself and take radical responsibility for yourself and your life. You’ll dive in deep to look at all the ugly bits. You’ll be willing to feel a little overwhelmed over “how many capacity issues you need to fix” and show up anyway. 

You might be a strong medicine giver yourself, like me. You may have been tempted to listen to the voices of people who can’t handle your medicine right now and aren’t ready to receive it. You might hear them saying things like “say it nicer” or “you need to be more compassionate”. And you might bend yourself like a pretzel to appease them.

That’s a capacity issue (particularly Visibility Capacity). 

Many times when people say things like this to you when you’re speaking open-hearted, non-sugar coated truth, it’s them trying to tone police you. It’s them needing you to “say it nicer” aka “please coddle my fragility”. They’re triggered. And they want you to shut up or tone it down because it’s too painful for them to face what you’re pointing out. They don’t have the CAPACITY yet to face the truth. 

They need you to deliver it to them in a soft, cute little package in colors they picked out, when it’s the very need to have things delivered in soft packages which holds them back in the first place.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to learn how to use your Discernment in situations like this. It’s why Discernment is one of the pillars of Capacity Work™. It’s crucial to know what is true and what isn’t. What is you projecting your frustration and being emotionally irresponsible vs. what is you simply speaking uncomfortable truth. When you work on your capacity with a good mentor, you know if your “come from” is “clean” or not. 

(But trust me, even when you know it’s clean, people who are mad you pointed out the truth will accuse you of “not coming from an energetically clean place”, or trying to “shame” them or not being “compassionate enough” towards their fragility. Again, that’s their stuff to deal with, not yours.)

Ten years into my work, I don’t really if I trigger people anymore. I watch them get triggered and know, I’m not for everyone. As my therapist always reminds me, I don’t need anyone’s vote. 

I tell most of my clients when they start working with me “at one point you might be mad at me. Expect it. And if you do get triggered, let me know, because THAT’S when we get to do the juicy work and find your breakthrough under the trigger.”

I trust people who are willing to give me scathing uncomfortable, yet deeply loving, direct truth.

I don’t trust people who’re always trying to sugarcoat something for me and coddle my fragility.

Fragility is the enemy of capacity. Fragility is a capacity issue.

Fragility is why people say things like “All Lives Matter”. Fragility is why white women call the cops on black men asking them nicely to keep their dog on a leash in accordance with park rules. Fragility is why leaders stick their head in the sand during times of pandemics and racial upheaval when people need them to lead.

Fragility is what holds you back from reaching ALL of your highest goals. Break up with your fragility. And don’t let people slime you with theirs.

Capacity is the antidote.

If you’re saying “hell yes” to this post and are READY to do this work, fill out the Capacity Discover form here. I’ll review it myself and we can discuss options for how to do this work and expand your capacity to go to your next level. I have programs starting at only $375 a month and have a VERY rare spot open for private coaching as well.