Trigger behaviors are verbal or non-verbal behaviors that usually precede and precipitate a violent outburst. The following is a list of 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..."
- 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 notices 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 drive."
- Accusations "You went out with my girl didn't you?"
- Guilt "You should know better than..."
- Ultimatums "This is your last to leave!"
- Clucking sound
- "Tsk, tsk"
Voice Quality, Tone, and Volume
- Whining (trying to irritate)
- Flatness (suggesting "I'm not here.")
- Cold, frosty tone (suggesting "I'm here, but you'll never be able to reach me.")
- Throaty, constricted (suggesting controlled fury)
- Loud, harsh quality (attempting to intimidate)
- Mocking, contemptuous tone (trying to get your goat)
- Mumbling under your breath (making him guess what you said)
- Snickering (demeaning, putting down)
- Snarling ("Back off!")
Gestures Using Hands and Arms
- Pointing a finger (accusation)
- Shaking a fist (intimidation)
- "Flipping the bird" (obscenity)
- Folded arms ("You can't get to me.")
- Waving away (dismissal)
- Chopping motion (cutting off)
- Looking away, looking at the floor (abandonment)
- Rolling eyes ("Not that again.")
- Narrowing eyes (threatening)
- Eyes wide (incredulous disbelief)
- Grimacing ("I don't like that.")
- Sneering (disparaging)
- Frowning (disapproving)
- Tightening lips (suppressed anger)
- Raising an eyebrow ("Watch it, buster.")
- Scowling (annoyance)
- Shaking head ("No, no, no!")
- Shrugging shoulders ("I give up.")
- Tapping a foot or a finger (annoyance)
- Moving or leaning toward (intimidating)
- 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)