Tag Archives: triggers
Anyone who has suffered trauma knows about triggers. They are something that reminds you of past trauma & can leave you feeling very shaken up.
Triggers can be such a miserable thing to experience! They feel like there is no reason for them when you’re going through them, but I believe they actually have a purpose.
When you are healed in a specific area, you can experience a trigger, & although it certainly isn’t pleasant, it isn’t devastating either. It reminds me of what it feels like when you remember a nightmare. Unpleasant but not terribly upsetting.
When you aren’t healed in some area however, that is when triggers can be helpful. They show you the areas where you need some healing. Paying attention to exactly what emotions you feel can be an excellent start to heal in this area.
When you’re triggered, I firmly believe it’s wise to consider exactly what you felt & why you felt it in order to heal. For example, were you angered because you felt invalidated, powerless, ignored, or disrespected? Did you feel shame because you felt judged, unimportant, or mocked? Were you hurting because you felt excluded, unloved or as if no one cared at all about you?
Once you realize the root of your feelings, you can heal. What helps me if I’m unsure why I feel what I do is to ask God to show me the root of this feeling. Where did this start? Usually then I remember some incident from a long time ago that shows me where the problem began. Once I remember that, I try to remember everything possible about that incident, even seemingly unimportant details like what clothes I was wearing. I also try to feel all the feelings associated with it, as difficult as that may be. The more thoroughly an incident can be remembered, I believe the more healing takes place. The more healing that happens, the less you will experience triggers like this in the future.
One important thing to remember is when you do this, take breaks. Emotional healing is very difficult & painful work. It also doesn’t happen quickly. Because of these factors, it can get to be too much sometimes, especially when the trauma is extremely bad. When those times happen, it’s best to take a break. Stop focusing on your healing & focus on something else that has absolutely nothing to do with the trauma for a little while. You need to put your emotions in a box on a shelf for a time, & take some time to do something fun. Watch a movie, read, work on a craft, snuggle your furkids, spend time with a good friend sharing some laughs… whatever you do, make sure it is lighthearted & fun. If it can make you laugh, all the better. After you have relaxed & feel less overwhelmed, when you get back to working on your healing, you will be in a better frame of mind to do so.
Triggers can be difficult to deal with, I know. Frankly, they just stink. However, they can be a very helpful tool in your mental & emotional healing. Why not use them that way & make the pain they cause count for something?
When you grow up with narcissistic parents, it affects you deeply & in ways you aren’t even aware of. The chaos, abuse & manipulations are simply normal to you. Thank God He teaches us about Narcissistic Personality Disorder so we can get away from that dysfunction!
As you learn about narcissistic abuse & heal from it, naturally you change a great deal. While becoming healthier, you see things differently. You finally understand just how wrong so many things your parents taught you were. It’s empowering, this learning & growing, but something comes along with it that can be difficult. Constant reminders.
Some time ago, I realized that it seemed like everything reminded me of something awful about my relationship with my parents. For example, after becoming deathly sick in 2015, seeing families rallying around a sick family member can bring me to tears. I never told my parents what happened, because I know they would turn the situation back to them rather than care how I was, & it hurts! Reminders that others have loving parents brings that awful thought back to the forefront of my mind, & depresses me. Other times, I’ve seen reports on TV about a murdered person, & their grieving loved ones talk tearfully about what a wonderful person he or she was. I know if I died, my parents wouldn’t miss me in the least, but instead would enjoy the narcissistic supply they could get by portraying themselves as the grieving parents.
These things began to happen after I got sick in 2015. I chalked it up to the head injury & carbon monoxide poisoning I received at the time since both are known for changing a person’s personality. Somehow that didn’t feel right though. I prayed & God showed me what was happening.
The more a person heals from parental narcissistic abuse, the less they see things through the fog of gaslighting thrust on them. The clarity means they understand how things should be, not as their narcissistic parents say they are. Seeing healthy, normal situations is simply a reminder of how things were not when they were growing up. Unfortunately the reminders can hurt a great deal.
Realizing your parents are narcissists is a painful experience, partly because of the grief that is involved. You grieve the fact your parents never loved you, weren’t & will never be there for you, & even can’t be the kind of parents you would like them to be. (I personally believe this is a lifelong grief, although it gets easier over time.) It’s much like when someone you love dies- the initial grief can be debilitating, but in time it mellows to something more tolerable, only occasionally bringing you to tears when something reminds you of your loved one. I remember right after my granddad died.. one day my husband & I ended up following a car that looked identical to his. I cried because seeing that car made me miss him. Almost 14 years later, I still shed some tears if I see a car like his last one or even vaguely like it. Seeing something that reminds you of what your parents did or didn’t do for you can be like that- a sad & painful reminder.
If you are experiencing something like this, then Dear Reader, know you aren’t alone & you aren’t broken. I know it’s frustrating & painful, but I firmly believe it’s completely normal under the circumstances. All you can do is understand these things happen, be gentle with yourself when they do & pray, pray, pray! God will help you to get through! Let Him do that for you! xoxo
Anyone with PTSD or C-PTSD knows about triggers. Triggers are those things that send us rocketing into a flashback or emotional flashback, or at the very least, remind us of some painful trauma we’d just as soon forget about. They also can trigger a panic attack or dissociation.
As painful as triggers can be, they also can serve a good purpose. They can show us the areas in which we need healing.
I have a very hard time going into the neighboring town where my parents live. It is full of awful memories for me, so I avoid the town as much as possible. Going past the library is the worst though. That was where my first job was, & where my mother did some very abusive & hurtful things to me. She once screamed at the top of her lungs at me in the parking lot in front of my now ex husband, the patrons & my coworkers. She humiliated, belittled, shamed & degraded me there too. Repeatedly. When I see the library building, even just driving past it, I either get a panic attack, flashback or dissociate. I’ve done them all. The one time I went inside that library a few years ago, I had to leave immediately because of having a panic attack & flashback at the same time. Naturally, I haven’t gone back to that library since.
One good thing about this is I realize that I need further healing in the area of the things my mother did to me at that library. I have dealt with so many things my mother did to me, but not the events that took place at that library. I know I have repressed some of them, but not all. I need to deal with what I do remember.
Have you ever thought about triggers this way, Dear Reader? As painful as it can be, it is a good thing when you learn about some area where you need further healing. You can’t heal from what you don’t acknowledge, so you need to know what areas you need to work on. Every event you heal from brings you one step closer to wholeness, one step further from the trauma you have endured & fills you with more joy & peace than you had previously. If you can look at triggers as a sign that you need healing in a certain area, they truly can help you.