What is the Emotion Cycle?

one woman comforting another woman as she experiences some powerful emotions.

Have you ever experienced a time when your emotions were so strong that you thought they would surely take you out? Or, have you ever just thought that your feelings are an utter inconvenience? Maybe you’ve even been trained to feel the feelings of everyone else so much that you can no longer feel your own.

If this is you, I get it. But guess what? Did you know that all your feelings have a cycle? That’s right… The business of emotions can be a messy one. They can even keep us from feeling centered.

Maybe you’re on a mission to only feel certain emotions. Or maybe you are only capable of feeling “okay” if someone else is feeling okay first. Can you relate?

By exploring your own emotion cycle, you’ll get to know yourself better. You’ll even find out what motivates you! So get ready to take some notes…

Tripwire Emotions

Are you familiar with “tripwire emotions”? These are the emotions that are deep, long embedded, and rooted to your past. Your tripwire emotions are the ones caused by your faulty wiring or your false self. This is one of the main reasons that you will create and keep secrets.

Have you ever heard of the saying, “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical.”? This is a great way to sum up the definition of a tripwire. Think of it as an emotion that isn’t tied to what is actually happening right now, but rather is tied to something that happened in your past.

When this particular emotion is so strong, it will cause you to “check out” and leave your present circumstances. It can even be so powerful as to make you react to something that has happened in the past as if it were happening right now. In most cases, this reaction is huge and inappropriate for your current situation.

Faulty Wiring

The next phase in your emotion cycle is about faulty wiring. To put this into terms you’re likely already familiar with, think of this as your defense mechanism.

This is a defective piece of your brain’s communication system that will pick up and distort signals from your outside world.

Whenever you create a belief that becomes a mismanaged need, it becomes your new navigation tool for survival. When this happens, your life will begin to run by your false self.

When you begin to look at the faulty messages that you’ve begun to believe, you’ll be able to unravel the reasons you create and keep secrets in the first place!


So how do you change this “faulty wiring”? You can start by taking a piece of paper and answering this question, “Whenever you find yourself in conflict, what are 2-3 tripwire emotions that you tend to feel?”

Do you tend to feel betrayed? Insignificant? Devalued? Alone or helpless? Maybe the emotion that you tend to feel in these moments are unappreciated? Misunderstood? Or judged?

Now, identify what it is that you usually do in order to cope with your tripwire emotions. Write down 2-3 coping behaviors that you tend to have in these situations.

Do you repeat yourself? Do you get sarcastic? Do you become threatening (to yourself or others)? Maybe you become defensive? Manipulative? Or do you cope by drinking? Or shopping? You could possibly even become enraged? Or depressed?

When you’re able to identify your own patterns in your tripwire emotions and faulty wiring, as well as what your coping mechanisms tend to be, you can begin to choose new behaviors!

The Good News

If you’re feeling down after identifying all the negative emotions you tend to feel and all the negative reactions you have to those emotions, don’t worry… there’s good news!

You are NOT your emotions! Your true self is made up of things like love and blood and guts… and it’s marvelous! You want to access this marvelous you, and here’s how:

On that same piece of paper you used to write down your negative emotions and negative responses, write down 2-3 descriptors that you know to be true about yourself, regardless of how you might feel sometimes and regardless of your negative coping mechanisms.

Maybe you feel treasured? Loved? Worthy? Known? Safe? Valued? Appreciated? Or understood?

Give yourself a good bit of time to truly think deeply about these positive truths. Write down every positive truth that comes to your mind.

When you know your truth, you can act in your truest self and take healthy actions to live up to it! See, I told you there was good news!

Finally, you want to write down 2-3 actions that you can start doing instead of the coping mechanisms and faulty wiring. These can be things like standing in peace, being joyful, honest, kind, faithful, forgiving, accepting, and not taking things personally.

What’s Next?

Remember, when you identify your emotion cycle, you can honor your true and most authentic self, rather than your scared false self!

The truest parts of who you are will shine through by standing in your own light!

If you enjoyed these tips and want to learn more positive tips to unlock the best version of yourself, check out my book Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secrets. Then you can learn to unlock a new you with my 10 secret-breaking stages!

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