Self-defense>Mental aspects>Trigger behaviors

↩ Back

Trigger behaviors


Trigger behaviors are verbal or non-verbal behaviors that usually precede and precipitate a violent outburst. The following is a list of some trigger behaviors that tend to precede or escalate confrontations.

Verbal behaviors

  • Giving advice. "You should not drive; you are too drunk."
  • Global labeling:. "All you women are alike …"
  • Criticism. "That's not a good parking job, you almost hit my car."
  • Blaming. "If it weren't for you, I would not have hit the car."
  • Abrupt limit setting. "That's it, I've had it." "Forget it." "Stop this instant!"
  • Threatening. "If you don't shut up right now, I will…"
  • Using expletives. "Dammit!" "Shit!"
  • Complaining. "The whole town is against me."
  • Stonewalling. "There is nothing more to talk about."
  • Mind reading or assuming. "I know what you people think about me."
  • "Innocent" observations. "I notice that your wife was flirting with me."
  • Teasing. "Hey, four-eyes!"
  • Humiliating statements. "You are too old to be dressed that way."
  • Dismissing comments. "Your opinion does not matter."
  • Put-downs. "My little sister shoots better pool than you do."
  • Profanity. "You son of a …"
  • Sarcasm. "I thought you were a good driver."
  • Accusations. "You went out with my girl, didn't you?"
  • Guilt. "You should know better than to …"
  • Ultimatums. "This is your last chance to make things right!"

Nonverbal sounds

  • Sighing. I'm tired of this.
  • Groaning. I'm even more tired of this.
  • Tsk, tsk. Disapproval or annoyance.

Voice quality/tone/volume

  • Whiny. Trying to irritate or gain sympathy.
  • Flatness. Implies "I'm don't' care."
  • Cold, frosty tone. In a way that implies "I'm here, but you'll never be able to convince me."
  • Throaty, constricted. Suggesting controlled fury.
  • Loud, harsh. Attempting to intimidate.
  • Mocking. Contemptuous tone, trying to make you mad.
  • Mumbling. Making a person guess what you said.
  • Snickering. Demeaning, putting down.
  • Snarling. Back off!

Arm and hand gestures

  • Pointing a finger. As an accusation.
  • Shaking a fist. Trying to intimidate.
  • Flipping the bird. Making an obscene gesture.
  • Folded arms. Indicating “You can't get to me."
  • Waving away. A dismissal.
  • Chopping motion. Cutting you off.

Facial expressions

  • Looking away. looking at the floor. Ignoring you.
  • Rolling eyes. Here we go again.
  • Narrowing eyes. Threatening.
  • Eyes wide. Wow, that’s a surprise.
  • Grimacing. I don't like that.
  • Sneering. Disparaging.
  • Frowning. Disapproving.
  • Tightening lips. Suppressing anger.
  • Raising an eyebrow. I doubt that.
  • Scowling. Annoyance.

Body movements

  • Shaking head. No, no, no!
  • Shrugging shoulders. I give up.
  • Tapping a foot or a finger. Impatience or annoyance.
  • Moving or leaning toward. Intimidation.
  • Moving or turning away. Abandonment.
  • Hands on hips. Exasperation.
  • Quick movements or pacing . Increased agitation.
  • Kicking or throwing objects. Anger getting out of control.
  • Pushing or grabbing. Angry physical contact.

No comments: