Leave Emotion Out – Negotiate Around Emotional Triggers

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Leave Emotion Out – Negotiate Around Emotional Triggers. Sounds simple enough to negotiate while leaving emotion our right? It sounds like something we can do in principle, until you are confronted with a response, comment or action that triggers an emotional response.


A trigger is a response to some unpleasant experience we’ve had in the past and it jabs at that memory and causes an emotional response. For instance, my mother was an alcoholic who never said anything positive to me. In fact she said things like “you’re no good, a spoiled brat, a hellion, I’m sending you away to boarding school, get out of my site.” Those are the only things I remember her saying to me over and over again until she died when I was 12.

The imprint period of our lives is from 0 to 7 years old. What we are imprinted with during those times is carried into our adult lives as our belief system. So I carried low self-esteem and the belief that I was a loser into my adult life based on what I was told as a child. My mother imprinted it on me day after day after day. My father sat by and watched it happen so that reinforced that it must be true. I went through most of my life believing that I was a loser, no good, unworthy. I made a lot of choices in life based on that belief that got me abused, beat up and harassed.

Those beliefs were with me most of my life until I started to do the work to change my way of thinking, feeling and believing. I worked hard to change the belief about the person I saw looking back at me in the mirror and increase my confidence. I’ve done it, but there are times when the “I’m not good enough” or “I’m less than” thoughts come back, especially when I get insulting emails or comments.


Recently I sent out an out of the box marketing idea to have people make an offer for my Think Like A Negotiator Live Training. It was part of my normal newsletter that I send out. One of the people on my list who was on the list by choice and had even come to one of the events sent me not one but two insulting emails meant to get a response and start a battle (had it happen with them on Facebook and didn’t think about them also being on my email list). I made the mistake of engaging with them on Facebook and they hurled horrible insults and false accusations based on their misunderstanding of a communication. They would not talk about it or work it out in a calm manner. I didn’t use my own advice then because those type of comments trigger the response where I have to speak my truth because nobody listens to me and I have to prove I’m worthy because I’ve been told all my life I’m not.

I managed to turn and diffuse that conversation by realizing I had to change my response. I apologized for my part in the misunderstanding and that stopped the attack. I could have prevented it altogether if I would have left emotion out and also remembered that you can’t negotiate with crazy.

crazy imoticon

When I received the first email response asking me to remove them from their list (note, there is an unsubscribe option on the email) and had a few insults, I felt that trigger starting to rise up and took a moment to walk away from the computer. Then a few minutes later, a second email came with another insulting comment. I was livid and really wanted to fire off an email right back at them saying a few not so nice things about their insults. I used the “phone a friend” strategy to vent and release that stuff and was able to choose the appropriate response. What was the response? I removed them from my list and didn’t respond to the email as I figured any response would start some chaos. This person lives for that.

We all get triggered by things. I’m guilty of not handling it well on some occasions. It’s progress, not perfection and this time I was able to diffuse it quickly. I’m not advocating to stuff it. You have to have somewhere to go with it, even if it’s just letting off steam in your house. I suggest having a buddy you can talk to about it and process it to get the emotion out and take the power out of it for you. Do that and you will be the bigger person. No one likes to be insulted, but it’s much better to walk away then to swat the wasps nest and get stung. The power is in the work!


Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at www.EldonnaLewisFernandez.com

1 Comment

  1. Dee Schader says:

    HI Eldonna, You and I have more in common then I knew. The imprints left by those who raise us is powerful. It seems once you realize and work through the stuff it becomes one of your strengths.
    Wise words my friend to step back. I love the “you can’t negotiate with crazy”because it is oh so true. I agree “venting” is important to the process and finding someone you trust and knows your venting is an important key. They can help you after with the “what now” and confirm your “not crazy”. Hugs to you

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