Hair Trigger Temper

Cinergy Coaching by Cinnie Noble

You may have heard the phrase hair trigger temper referring to someone who reacts strongly when angry. As an adjective hair trigger has been described to mean “easily activated or set off; reacting immediately to the slightest provocation or cause”.

As a noun hair trigger refers to “a trigger that allows the firing mechanism of a firearm to be operated by very slight pressure”. According to www.dictionary.com the origin dates back to 1830 and a reference to a secondary trigger in a firearm which sprung free a mechanism which, when set, allowed the main trigger to be released by very slight force. The figurative term reportedly began to be used by 1841.

This topic, as it relates to conflict, reminds me of a recent ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog on Walking on Eggshells, as I think we tend to proceed cautiously and carefully around people who we fear have a hair trigger temper. As in the discussion on the previous blog, we tend to give a lot of power to the person who demonstrates anger dramatically. What is more, the apparent lack of impulse control and ability to regulate emotions demonstrated by hair trigger responses are off-putting and fear-provoking for many of us.

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog explores the expression hair trigger temper and if you have been known as having this, or react to someone who does, see if these questions work for you.

If you have been known to have a hair trigger temper, under what circumstances does that occur?

What is it about those circumstances that leads to your strong reaction?

How do you describe your reaction?

How does your reaction affect others?

How does being reactive in this way work for you? How does it not work for you?

When others demonstrate a hair trigger temper how does that affect you?

What power do you think you give people who react that way?

Thinking about a situation when the other person had a hair trigger temper, what did you want to say that you did not?

What compassion, if any, did you feel for the other person? What did you feel for yourself?

In general, how would you prefer to respond when you are around people with hair trigger tempers?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

                        author

Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You. MORE >

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