Identifying your physical reflex is not something you can figure out by thinking about the way you have reacted to triggers. Probably nine out of ten of my clients cannot come close to identifying their physical reflex from their own life experiences with triggers. The emotional upheaval from triggers is too great and there are too many physical responses that occur because of the extreme emotions and the fight–or–flight responses. If you think your initial physical reflex consists of all of your muscles tightening, then I respectfully suggest that you are probably incorrect. Your reflex will be one or several specific muscles or sensations in your body.
To determine this initial physical reflex, do a science experiment. Get very relaxed and then listen to a very weak trigger. To make it a weak trigger, typically it needs to be short and quiet. If it is a visual trigger, then you would probably have to do that with a video recording or close your eyes as soon as you are triggered. For a visual trigger, it can help if the person is purposefully making the trigger a moderate distance away from you and makes as mild of a trigger as they can. With a sound trigger you might be able to have someone make a single trigger sound from another room. You can also use an audio or video recording and limit the length of time of the trigger and the volume. The Misophonia Reflex Finder app (purple icon) is free and is very good for doing this. You want the trigger to be very short (less than a half second) and barely audible. Then you slowly increase the volume until you start to trigger. At the point where you first feel the trigger, you will probably be able to determine where in your body you feel the reflex. Sometimes the reflex can’t be described clearly. One person said their heart bumped. She didn’t have an increased heart rate, just a single bump. She also had another muscle jerk as her misophonia reflex.
Another person said, “It’s like something is growing in my chest. I can’t describe it better than that.” Another person I worked with, who didn’t think she had a physical reflex, tested her body using electromyography (EMG) system which measures muscle contraction, and she could not find any physical reflex. But when she used the Misophonia Trigger Tamer, she felt the muscles behind her ears jerk. Using the EMG system, she tested herself and verified that when she heard a little trigger, the muscles behind her ears did indeed contract. That was her physical reflex, and it was barely noticeable. When she eliminated her physical reflex with the Trigger Tamer, her misophonia was completely gone (no miso– symptoms at all).
I had another person who didn’t think she had a physical reflex, but she went to a doctor whom I work with, and he saw the reflex. During the treatment process the doctor had to trigger her, and he could see a jerk in a muscle around her eye.
There was another person who couldn’t identify her physical reflex for months. One day it was pointed out to her that she was frowning. But she wasn’t mad. She then realized that it was simply her misophonia reflex – a frown. Some people cannot identify a physical reflex, even though they physically feel the trigger. If you feel that a trigger jars your body, then you have a physical reflex, even if you cannot identify the specific muscle that moves when you are triggered.