Dr Gabor Mate – You decide how to feel

How can you remain in charge of your emotions and reactions whenever someone or something triggers you? Gabor Mate tells us how we can decide how to react and feel when a challenge arises.

Dr Gabor Maté is a renowned speaker and bestselling author highly sought after for his expertise on various topics, including addiction, stress and childhood development. He weaves scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their healing and those around them.


Whenever you get triggered, somebody pulled that trigger perhaps. But who is the one carrying the ammunition? How you handle people who trigger you, that is your call. But at least know that you are the one with all the explosive inside you, and you gain so much liberation if you find out what that ammunition is and how you got it by getting to know yourself.”

As a human being who gets easily triggered, it is easy to assume that this is how you have always been. However, the truth is that any event or comment that triggers feelings of anger or sadness stems from a deep-rooted cause that is most often associated with trauma.

In the video, Dr Gabor refers to this trauma as ammunition and says that one can find liberation from the triggers by taking a deep dive into themselves to find out what exactly caused them. This deep dive is commonly referred to as compassion inquiry.

Once you decide to work on your trauma, you take back your power since nothing and no one can trigger your feelings of sadness, loneliness or anger.

Compassionate inquiry

This is a psychotherapeutic method developed by Dr Gabor Maté meant to reveal what lies beneath the appearance people present to the world.

Using Compassionate Inquiry, a therapist can unveil the level of mental climate, implicit memories consciousness, hidden assumptions, and body states that form the real message that words express and conceal. Through this method, individuals can recognize the unconscious dynamics that run their lives and how to liberate themselves from them.

This method is used to gently uncover and release childhood trauma, which profoundly impacts how easily human emotions can be triggered.

Dr Gabor-you-decide-how-you-feel

“The purpose of compassion inquiry is precisely to drill down to those core stories that people tell themselves. It is to actually get them to see what story they are telling themselves unconsciously, what those beliefs are and where they came from. it guides them to the possibility letting go of those stories or the hold these stories have on them.” 

Managing your emotions when you get triggered

First, it is essential to understand that triggers will occur at different points in your life, which is fine. The key to overcoming your negative responses to triggers is not by avoiding triggers but rather by learning how to manage your response.

“When someone pulls the trigger, who is the one with the explosive materials inside them? Where do you want to out your attention? On the trigger purely or are you curious about what ammunition/explosive material you are carrying inside?

Triggers are excellent tools for anyone who wants to get to know themselves. If you do not take the time to get to know yourself and uncover your trauma, you will end up resenting the people who trigger you.

“How you handle people that trigger you, that is your call.”

The best way to better manage your emotions is to get to know yourself. This way, you can address traumas that hold your emotions captive. Doing this permits you to heal from these traumas, ultimately putting you in control of your feelings and emotions. This can be achieved through different methods, including compassionate inquiry.


If you are a man interested in leading a happier, less triggered life, Mensgroup is an online men-only support group for men interested in improving their mental health, addressing their childhood traumas, and taking back control of their emotional responses. In Mensgroup, you can learn how to take back control of your emotions.