SYPM 013: Triggered all the time to emotional safety

When we’re having a hard time interacting with our family members, it’s pretty common for our first reaction to be: “I need this person (or these people!) to change their behavior” – especially when this person (or these people!) are children.  After all, we’ve been around for longer and we know what we’re doing and we were fine before our children started misbehaving, right?


My guest today, parent-of-three Chrystal, had encountered this mentality not just about her children, but also about her husband.  In fact, when she went to couple’s therapy with her husband it was with a sense of relief: “Finally, I’m going to find out what’s wrong with him, because there’s nothing wrong with me!”


She always figured: “If that person didn’t act like that then I wouldn’t need to react the way I’m reacting…and I legitimately thought that everyone else was responsible for my behavior.”


Then she realized that her husband wasn’t responsible for how she was feeling…she was.


Now she was ready to make the same leap related to her relationship with her spirited children, but needed new tools.  They would melt down over every tiny issue (not enough honey on the oatmeal!  Now not enough cream!  I don’t WANT to get dressed!), and Chrystal found herself constantly scrambling to placate them.


Join us for a conversation about the new ideas she’s learned, and how her children now don’t cooperate blindly because she’s forcing them, but express their agency while finding ways to collaborate that also meet their needs.  They have real agency in her family (they know she’ll hear them and respect their ideas) and because of this, the little issues that used to provoke regular meltdowns are easily solved.  And Chrystal is learning how to set boundaries so she doesn’t get walked all over – by her children, or by other members of her family.


Want to make a similar shift in your own interactions with your children?  My Taming Your Triggers workshop will help – doors open July 31, and sliding scale pricing is available!  Click the picture below to learn more and join the wait list…




Jump to highlights:

  • (01:00) Inviting listeners to join the Taming Your Triggers workshop
  • (04:43) A little bit about Chrystal
  • (11:06) Chrystal’s journey as a parent
  • (13:58) How Chrystal found it difficult to build lasting relationships with parents who were raising their children the same way they were raised and how she found her people in the Taming Your Triggers community.
  • (16:32) The fight, flight, freeze, and fawn responses and how Chrystal resonated to the fawn response.
  • (18:22) The first time Chrystal was able to connect what she’s feeling in her body with her belief systems
  • (20:36) As the eldest of eight children, Chrystal felt that it was her responsibility to make sure everyone is happy when her mother couldn’t cope due to severe postnatal depression, and this has continued on with her character now that they’ve grown up
  • (24:51)  When Chrystal decided to set boundaries and have it respected, she found out that her family’s issues can resolve themselves without her getting involved
  • (28:14) The profound shift with for Chrystal in terms of what changed in her family after going through the Taming Your Triggers workshop is that she is now able to see situations as more than a win-lose situation
  • (32:20) With two strong-willed daughters and a son who is also energetic, breakfast has been a challenge in Chrystal’s home. She’s learned to apply problem solving to find solutions, but the biggest revelation for her has been that it is okay for her children to have these big feelings
  • (38:15) Chrystal explores the question, “Why should our children listen to us?” as she discovers extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
  • (38:55) A beautiful moment when Chrystal was having a hard time getting her daughter ready for school, and another instance when she was having some friend over their house
  • (47:08) Having the tools is great but it is just better to have a framework to implement it and really being intentional
  • (51:20) Wrapping up with a sense of compassion.


Resources mentioned in this episode:



About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (, which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

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