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Ask a Therapist: "I keep lashing out at my partner and I don't know why. Can you help me understand?"

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If you find yourself lashing out at your partner on a regular basis, it’s likely that you’re running into a personal emotional trigger within the relationship. An emotional trigger is anything - including a memory, an experience, or an event - that sparks an intense emotional reaction inside you. Emotional triggers are often associated with past difficult experiences (often in our childhood) or past traumas.

We all have emotional triggers, however, these might look a little different from person to person. Being familiar with your specific triggers (and how to deal with them) is an important aspect of maintaining good emotional health and relationships.

Emotional triggers may include reminders of unwanted memories, uncomfortable topics, another person’s words or actions, and sometimes even your own behaviors. Common situations within relationships that trigger intense emotions include rejection, betrayal, disapproval, unjust treatment, or feeling misunderstood.

In general, if you find yourself lashing out, it is important to take a look at some of your emotional triggers. Doing so with a professional can be helpful. 

If you're struggling in relationships, MindBeacon is here to help with a variety of supports available in our Virtual Mental Health Therapy Clinic. If you are part of our Workplace Mental Health Program, please visit your company page for access to services covered by your workplace.

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Stronger Minds content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to establish a standard of care with a reader, you should always seek the advice of your mental health professional, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call emergency services immediately. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained herein. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information herein should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.