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