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Having a flash back or being triggered?

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Having a flash back or being triggered?

Postby Floralie » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:54 pm

What's the difference between those two, being triggered and having a flash back?

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Re: Having a flash back or being triggered?

Postby birdsong87 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:27 pm

if you go for the strict definition of being triggered they are the same.
but people usually use 'being triggered' when they speak about an emotional flashback or unspecific hyperarousal while most people still think of a flashback as a full memory including pictures flooding the mind.
I think it can help to consider them the same. because then we search for reasons in the past and not in the current situation.
people who use the word triggered when they are offended are using it wrong.
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Re: Having a flash back or being triggered?

Postby VioletFlux » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:27 pm

Hi Lucas,

My understanding of the terms is like this:

Being triggered can lead to a flashback, but it can also lead to a switch, or probably other things too. There can be positive triggers, i.e. they cause good things to occur, but it seems like mostly people talk about triggers as being negative.

In general I guess a 'trigger' is some sort of stimulus (sight, sound, etc) which causes a strong and involuntary response in the mind and/or body. So 'being triggered' is experiencing that strong involuntary response to some sort of stimulus.

Flashbacks are when you, or one of your alters, is suddenly reliving a past event. That can include audio/visual information, detailed experiential memory, or it can be limited to only emotions or physical sensations. It can be a mix of these things. Eg. in our system, emotional flashbacks are most common, where there are sudden / overwhelming emotions without any 'context'.

The two terms do tend to come close together, i.e. something can trigger a flashback, but they are different things.

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Re: Having a flash back or being triggered?

Postby Johnny-Jack » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:27 am

I don't know how it is for other systems, but when we get triggered, what happens is that one of us gets activated and their emotions, presence and influence, good or bad, break through into the awareness of whoever's fronting. We get negative triggers but we now identify what appear to be positive things as triggers too. Seeing bunnies activates two of our littles powerfully. Seeing loosely monitored small children with danger nearby triggers a couple adults adults and probably some kids. Triggers can cause a switch or just a mixing.

External things certainly trigger us but we can get just as triggered by our own thinking or behavior. Since we're multiple, we can trigger each other. Triggers used to be quite disturbing because it all felt foreign, not "me." Now I know it's all me.

For us flashbacks are parts of memories jutting into the present -- body sensations, emotions, thoughts, sounds, anything that can make up an experience. In a way these are the same as triggers. Both ultimately are attached to, belong to one of us. But we don't always know which one. In the right place and time, we're okay with flashbacks. They're part of how we learn.

We tend to get lost momentarily in a flashback as it's more of a replay. The longest we ever had was like a half hour and it was awful. More often we have flashes of things. That's our word for snippets of a memory or knowledge that come to us hosts but which feel "new" (to us at least at that moment).
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