When Places Or Items Trigger Traumatic Memories

This post is going to sound a bit odd to many of you, I’m sure, but I hope you’ll read it anyway as I believe it can be beneficial to those in similar situations.

I saw a quote on Facebook that got me to thinking.  It was long, so I’ll summarize.  It suggested that you talk to nature.  Before cutting a tree or plant, tell it what you have in mind to do, & talk to animals with respect.  That sort of thing.

Having some Native American Indian heritage in me, I tend to do this.  It just seems to be in my blood.  I never thought much about it though until reading the quote.

I’ve always talked to my pets as if they were people, & treated them with love & respect.  Many people including many at their vet’s office have commented how well behaved, smart & loving they are.

After my mother died, I took over some of her house plants.  I’ve never been particularly good with plants, but decided to try with some of them anyway.  I started talking to them when I decided to bring them home.  I told them I was taking them home soon & I’ll do my best to take good care of them.  They’re doing surprisingly well!

Before reading this Facebook post though, I began doing this more, & that even includes talking to inanimate objects.  Reading the post only confirmed to me that I was onto something.

When my mother died, & I learned I was to be her personal representative, I was less than thrilled to put it mildly.  I hated going into her house for years, I even hated the house itself, because of all the awful memories it held.  It seemed every room had some bad memories attached.  Knowing I’d have to spend a great deal of time there triggered horrible anxiety & even anger in me.  I had no idea how to deal with this, so I asked God for help.  He told me, “Talk to the house.”  I thought I must be imagining things… then my very logical husband said the same unusual thing a day or two later, even though I told him nothing about God saying that.

One day when I went to my parents’ house, I started talking to it.  Obviously, I felt strange, talking to this inanimate object, but I did it anyway.  I told the house I realized I was wrong for being upset with it for things that people who lived in it did to me. It wasn’t fair to blame the house for the actions of people, & I was sorry.  Let’s get to know each other better.  Suddenly I began to feel a lot more comfortable in the house.  I’m not angry at the house & I don’t cringe every time I see a location in it where something bad happened anymore.

I also did this with my mother’s car, which is now mine.  There were a lot of pretty bad memories of times with her in that car, so I dreaded dealing with the car.  The first couple of times I got behind the wheel, I talked to the car much like I did with the house.  And you know something?  I don’t mind driving that car now.  I’m comfortable with the car now.

Like many of us in our family, my mother named her car.  Her name is Peaches, so when I take her out I often say things like, “Hey, Peaches.. ready to go for a drive?”  I also told her she was getting new tires recently.  I do the same for the house, saying hi & good bye, or telling the house what I’ll be doing today in what room.

I firmly believe a lot of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse have similar feelings.  Some things & places can offer reminders of awful situations, or even trigger flashbacks.  I suggest talking to the item in question.  It really can help you!  I know it sounds crazy, but isn’t it worth a try?  Whatever helps you to remove some pain is a good thing.  So please, give it a try.. what do you have to lose?


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

16 responses to “When Places Or Items Trigger Traumatic Memories

  1. I have thought inanimate objects had spirits of their own, in their own way, since I was was a child, so I’ve always talked to them and I agree, you do feel more in tune. ( think of the opposite such as when you yell at say your sewing machine and then the thread tangles). I like how your attitude made the situations more comfortable. It makes sense to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for this. I felt really strange about sharing this post. It felt like something God wanted me to do though so I did.

      It does seem that inanimate objects have their own spirits in a way. My husband & I even have noticed when working on my car, it goes better when we talk nicely to her. Strange, but true.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You might be interested in reading about animism. This goes all over the place, into religion, spirituality, social behaviors, etc. etc. I find it interesting, that this way of seeing the world has been around for eons, but since I’ve felt this way as long as I remember, I don’t attribute it to anything – to me it is just the way the world is. I do feel that it leads to respecting the resources we have (cars, food, etc.) and being grateful for them and what they are or do. And I also feel it makes the universe friendlier – all things being connected. And I also wonder about the thing you said about your car – (because I think the same thing) – is it my perception of the situation is calmer and cooperative, or…is the car actually working better? I’ve decided to let that question be and continue as I have been. As I said, what you mentioned about talking to your mother’s house really struck me. It felt peaceful and healing. I want to remember this. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • IBikeNYC mentioned animism too. It sounds interesting from the little I’ve read so far! It makes sense to me in a lot of ways.

          I think you’re right too, it does lead to respecting our resources & being grateful for them. It also makes everything feel connected & friendlier!

          Well, with my car, it’s her working better. Last year, my husband went to replace a fuse behind the dash. I went outside to see how he was doing.
          He stopped & as he sat there in the driver’s seat, was telling me he was struggling with trying to remove this one vent for several minutes. He said, “I really wish Christina (my car) would help me here..” It literally popped out of it’s place & landed on the floor by his feet. LOL It’s happened with other repairs on her, too. I have noticed these situations aren’t as obvious with our other cars or anything else we repair.. my car is just strange. lol With other situations though it could be perception as you mentioned. As long as things go better, that’s all that matters.

          You’re welcome & thank you for sharing that. 🙂 Peaceful & healing are the perfect words to describe this situation. In fact, last Sunday, my best friend came over to my parents’ house to keep me company while I worked. A couple of times, she said, “The energy feels so different now than the last time I was here! It feels so peaceful now where it didn’t before.” Pretty cool, if I do say so myself!

          Liked by 2 people

  2. ibikenyc

    I, too, have felt this way since I was very young.

    Thank you for your post: I hadn’t thought about talking to stuff, though, especially so consciously and deliberately.

    There’s a belief system called “Animism” that might interest you(se).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this. I do talk to my pets and plants. I started talking to my house and appliances yesterday after reading this. I’d been having problems with my cell phone, So this morning when I got the black screen I thanked it for it’s service and set it down. When I came back, it started right up! I think you’re onto something!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I think this is actually a great way to show gratitude for the amazing blessings God has provided us. Too many want to move onto the next shiny toy or appliance, rather than properly caring for what they already have. Perhaps as I thank my cell phone for it’s service, I’ll also shoot up a thank you to God for blessing me with the cell phone. And, I’ll be accepting when it finally goes it’s own way.

      As this relates to narcissism, I’ve heard too many times that narcissists view us as appliances that provide narcissistic supply. Perhaps as we acknowledge and validate our homes, cars and appliances, we are also acknowledging our own value.

      Your mother’s home and car provided great value to her, but I’m guessing as a narcissist, she didn’t really value them and more likely was jealous of others’ seemingly better homes and cars. You were also part of that home. I’m guessing her same attitude applied to you. This is how it is with my mother anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I love that thought, it’s a great way to show gratitude for God’s blessings & to thank God for them too. You actually reminded me of something I’d totally forgotten about til now! Years ago, I was watching Jesse Duplantis preaching on tv. He said he prays over everything. He prayed over his hvac system in his home years ago & it lasted some ridiculously long time, like 20+ years. The installer of the replacement couldn’t believe how long it lasted, & he told the guy what he did.

        That also makes a lot of sense, how as we’re validating our possessions we acknowledge our value. 🙂

        My mother never showed jealousy for those with better homes or cars, but she probably felt it. Her thing was normalcy- she wanted so desperately to be normal, if someone had a more “normal” home or car, I would guess she was very jealous. (Her mother always made sure she knew she was abnormal, & I think that’s why the normal thing with her). Thinking just now I wonder if the normal thing was another problem she had with me. I find normal boring & have no desire to fit in. I’d rather just be me, yanno? My word, I drive a ’69 Plymouth Fury for pity’s sake.. clearly others’ opinions mean nothing to me! lol I wonder though knowing her if it bothered her I didn’t care about other’s opinions or being normal. That could’ve been a big source of envy for her.

        Liked by 2 people

      • ibikenyc

        “Perhaps as we acknowledge and validate our homes, cars and appliances, we are also acknowledging our own value.”

        This is wonderful 🙂 What a perfect place to keep one’s focus.

        Thank you! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • Oh wow! That is amazing! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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