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Trigger warning: recent trauma

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Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby fireheart » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:58 am

Some days ago something bad happened. I don't see it as a trauma (yet), but I think it is often traumatizing to people.

How do you deal with it when something kind of *bad* happens? Something that proves your belief that the world is unsafe and you cannot protect yourself. That people are ultimately selfish and will hurt you. I keep having flashbacks to some particular moments.

And also, I feel so much like it is my fault that it happened in the first place. I should have protected myself better.

Would labeling the experience with a word make it worse? Because then it seems worse.

I guess I would say to someone else that they should do self-care. I don't know. I felt nothing about it, and now that I do feel something about it, I feel frozen.
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Re: Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby LadySlippers » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:52 am

Self care is always important.
I think labeling something for what it is can help even if it makes situation feel more painful.
Maybe that’s part of letting go of denial and minimization.

Sharing and getting support seems to be the way to go. It’s always easier to look back and think what we could have done to stay safe but that’s only helpful moving forward.
Just keep learning ways to stay safe. Shaming ourselves never ever helps

Glad you could post this and hope you’re ok
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Re: Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby birdsong87 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:49 pm

I am sorry something happened to you. Guilt is a natural feeling to come up, but it usually masks other feelings, like helplessness or fear.

If it's only been a few days you are showing the normal acute stress reaction. It only turns into lasting trauma if it isn't processed within the next month. Which means that it would be good to get help.
One way to avoid that is is becoming a bigger problem is good self-care, being around trusted people and not dissociating it, at least as best you can. be mindful.
new trauma often activates old trauma. Often the ANP is not aware of that, feels distant or frozen, but EPs are struggling. It could help to see how your others are doing and if they need help with orientation and grounding.
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Re: Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:15 pm

I'm sorry for whatever happened, fireheart.

birdsong and LadySlippers have good advice--self-care, reaching out for support, doing whatever grounds and soothes you.

Sending peace and positive energy.
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Re: Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby fireheart » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:03 am

Thank you, LadySlippers, birdsong, and TheGangsAllHere.

These are honestly the most helpful responses.

LadySlippers wrote:Just keep learning ways to stay safe.

This is really good advice. I think it's so helpful because it keeps the focus on the future, what I could do next... what I could learn from what happened. Instead of the shame of what I "could have done".

birdsong87 wrote:One way to avoid that is is becoming a bigger problem is good self-care, being around trusted people and not dissociating it, at least as best you can. be mindful.

My T told me to avoid thinking about it. I'm choosing to interpret her advice as "Try to contain it", as I don't think avoidance is ultimately very different from dissociation. I drew a picture about it and then drew another picture of a fantasy situation in which we are safe.

And, yes. I think it brings up other trauma. I know I can't reach it, but sometimes I feel hints of that happening. Thanks for reminding me to focus on the others as well.

Thanks for your empathy and care, Gang.

It was awful when I reached out for support to a friend. She thought that I wanted this to happen. That I enjoyed it happening. And when I told her that I didn't, she told me that I should *do this and that and that*, like a new set of rules to follow, otherwise something even worse would certainly happen to me. I tried to interpret it as her being protective, but she said she wasn't and was being very respectful. The whole conversation made me 'take another step back', so to speak. I'm not sure how to explain it, I guess I mean that I dissociated more from it and from the situation. It makes me feel like when I was a child - like I am Alone.

So, I'm grateful you guys seem to be more understanding.
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Re: Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby birdsong87 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:17 am

trauma makes people feel helpless. they often can't stay with that feeling and try to make it go away.
usually that shows in 2 main ways. one is trying to make the experience small, that could include telling you that it wasn't that bad or your fault. the other is trying to make it go away by giving advice. Advice doesn't need empathy, what is in the heart of staying with your helplessness by staying with their own helplessness. hope that makes sense.... It helps us not to have hard feelings when people do it. they just can't bear it. Good Ts are those who can be helpless with you and not feel a personal need to make it go away.

I don't know why avoidance would be a good idea. All the PTSD research we read shows that being able to share what happened and receive relational support is one of the key elements to keep it from sticking. don't meditate on it. seek safe experiences today for counterbalance.
I think you are doing great considering the circumstances.

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Re: Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby fireheart » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:36 am

Thank you, birdsong. It really means a lot.

Last week I was still able to function (partially because I just had to), but now I have a bit more time to myself and it's not looking good. I guess you could say I'm in 'crisis'. Every small thing is hard, and feelings of fear take the overhand. Basic self-care is almost impossible.

Most of my pain is tied in with the theme of 'trust'. The person who hurt me was someone I trusted a lot, and so it has led me to doubt whether I am capable of recognizing whether someone is trustworthy/safe or not.

This week the person who hurt me asked me to trust them more. My therapist asked me to trust her more.
And I feel like they expect me to do something that is impossible. I think that my lack of trust hurts me more than anyone else, but I can see that it does hurt other people too. They seem to feel insulted that I cannot trust. That I need reassurance, and will probably always need reassurance that, no, they won't hurt me this time either.
But that person DID hurt me. On purpose and with enjoyment.

I wrote down: living = hurting, people = hurt. I think that might be based on my earliest experiences. This 'crisis' has turned out to be about wanting to seek connection while being very afraid of connection. It is a very emotionally arousing conflict.
Probably exactly like the past.

I see all this from a distance. I'm not the part who experiences and feels this way. I know we have the strength to keep going, but she does not. She is in a state of hurt that is only comparable to a wounded animal, stuck in a well.

I am still afraid that it is all my fault, and that I simply cannot make connections, and that I will never feel safe in this world. Maybe so. Maybe not.
I live to fight another day...
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Re: Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby NyxX » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:48 am

Alot of the times we have been hurt by others in adulthood it has been related to trust. As soon as we perceive an inability to trust someone and it can sometimes be over a small incident sometimes I start believing the person will intentionally hurt me in the future.

I end up severing all contact with the person to protect myself from future threat and the pain I feel about that future threat. And the preceding incident becomes almost irrelevant to the pain I feel and exists mearly as a warning to us that we will be hurt because every part of us believes normal people enjoy hurting others.

I think your T should understand more that it takes time to establish trust and that sometimes it can never be and shouldn't be putting pressure on you to trust them when you don't feel able.
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Re: Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:56 pm

fireheart wrote:The person who hurt me was someone I trusted a lot, and so it has led me to doubt whether I am capable of recognizing whether someone is trustworthy/safe or not.

This week the person who hurt me asked me to trust them more. My therapist asked me to trust her more....

...But that person DID hurt me. On purpose and with enjoyment.

...I am still afraid that it is all my fault, and that I simply cannot make connections, and that I will never feel safe in this world.


I juxtaposed these lines because to me they point out that it's other people's actions and expectations that seem completely unreasonable/hurtful here.

The person AND your therapist asked you to trust the person MORE-- to trust the person who had just hurt you ON PURPOSE?? Did that person accept full responsibility, explain their actions, and apologize sincerely? Because if not, I don't see how it's somehow your fault that you still feel mistrustful. If they DID apologize and explain why they hurt you like that (and enjoyed it??), I think I would still need a long period of time where I was wary and they were kind of on probation with me.

Am I missing something here??
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Re: Trigger warning: recent trauma

Postby fireheart » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:44 pm

Thanks, NyxX and TheGangsAllHere.

NyxX wrote:Alot of the times we have been hurt by others in adulthood it has been related to trust. As soon as we perceive an inability to trust someone and it can sometimes be over a small incident sometimes I start believing the person will intentionally hurt me in the future.

I end up severing all contact with the person to protect myself from future threat and the pain I feel about that future threat. And the preceding incident becomes almost irrelevant to the pain I feel and exists mearly as a warning to us that we will be hurt because every part of us believes normal people enjoy hurting others.


Yeah, in that way an event can combine past hurt with current hurt. It is very easy for me to "adapt" to the new situation of this person is hurtful/dangerous. And then it is also easy for me to ascribe past abusers' characteristics to them. It is not always a just observation - often things aren't meant the way they came across, and people are taken aback when I can't just recover and see them as I saw them before, at least not right away.

TheGangsAllHere wrote:I juxtaposed these lines because to me they point out that it's other people's actions and expectations that seem completely unreasonable/hurtful here.

The person AND your therapist asked you to trust the person MORE-- to trust the person who had just hurt you ON PURPOSE?? Did that person accept full responsibility, explain their actions, and apologize sincerely? Because if not, I don't see how it's somehow your fault that you still feel mistrustful. If they DID apologize and explain why they hurt you like that (and enjoyed it??), I think I would still need a long period of time where I was wary and they were kind of on probation with me.

Am I missing something here??


Thankfully, it is less bad than you gathered. The person asked me to trust them more, and on a separate occasion, my therapist asked me to trust her more. Both things happened within the span of days, so it made me wonder even more about trust.

My therapist told me that I should consider reporting what happened to the police. So, I guess what happened is now "officially" a bad thing. I won't do that. But I am considering breaking off contact.

Still, it surprised me that you pointed out that the situation seems unreasonable/hurtful - I suppose on an emotional level I know this, but I hadn't put the words to it... I guess I do not expect situations to be reasonable and not hurtful anymore, but I think I did feel that something was wrong. Certainly some of us carry that hurt.

The hardest thing is the littles. They still want to connect to the "safe" person, or at least to the side of that person who shared a lot of safe moments with us. It mirrors the childhood dillemmas perfectly.
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