Talking About The Things That Hurt You.
Some tips to use when you're triggered.
*take what feels right and toss the rest*
You know those times when something triggers you and you feel scared to speak up and say you're feeling unsafe or uncomfortable? Start pushing yourself to speak up anyway.
When you're in a space that you know is inherently safe and not the same as spaces of trauma (and this boils down to self-trust which can get eroded during periods of trauma I'll talk more about this later this week.) Those people WANT to protect you and they WANT to make you feel comfortable.
Now granted you have to remember that they may not understand completely what's happening but if you give them a little heads up BEFORE something happens chances are during a flare you all can work together to find common ground.
It is not helpful for a person who has been traumatized by any type of emotional or physical violence to hear : " I know that's what they did but that's not me". That statement in and of itself can be re-traumatizing because it puts you back in this place of questioning your own story, questioning your reality and what happened to you. You can start to feel silly and stupid all in the same breath because your self-advocacy feels unearthed.
When people who want to protect you say that above statement know that it is almost always coming from a place of genuine love and also them being disheartened. They may get defensive because now they feel like they are associated with a memory from your past and not who they are to you right now. This is why it's helpful to have these conversations before a flare up happens so you can work to take Care of each other.
What you can try to communicate with them during a pleasant and relaxed moment for you both is that triggers (unless it's an active emergency) are not about the person or experience being the *same* as what's happening in front of your eyes at that moment but something within the sensory experience is taking your body back to a place where you experienced trauma.
This is part of the reason guilt creeps in and we don't want to speak up. Our eyes can see one thing and our body can be experiencing something else. And that's okay. We just have to discipline ourselves to trust that the flare is a sign that we need to spend more time injecting ourselves with goodness and taking care of the body really well. (I'll talk more about this later)
What's helpful is to tell your people close to you that in the moments of being triggered to just ask what you need to be supported.
But we have to be willing to also say in the moment at some point : I need you to know that something is triggering me and I need your support to pull through this.
Sometimes we can cope on our own and sometimes we cannot.
It may be helpful to make a list of things that calm you down or bring you back into the present so your body can relax. Maybe it's a walk, listening to a certain playlist, taking a bath or listening to something inspirational, dark chocolate or fruit. Just make a list of all of the things that make you feel good and re grounded.
To be triggered is like having a spike in your blood pressure. Your body stops operating like normal. And that's because trauma is trauma because it sinks into the muscle memory of the body. So in a moment of being triggered the body literally alters it's state from relaxed to fight/flight mode.
Speaking up about your triggers does not make you insecure. Having triggers is not you making an excuse to not do the work. Having triggers is not you being negative or a downer. Having triggers from past pain does not make you insecure of less than or not enough. Having triggers does not take away from you being confident. owning your triggers is part of reclaiming your sexy, your whole self.
Love you all. Happy Sunday!