Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘unexpected triggers’

This blog entry continues from yesterday.

One reason I have so much trouble feeling safe and protected is because I have had abuse lie dormant and then resurface. My mother went 10 years without abusing me and then attacked me again after my father died, so a part of myself is always on alert for when the other shoe is going to drop. No matter how much time has passed without being abused, a part of me lives in fear of it happening again.

For the most part, I do a good job knowing what my triggers are and how to diffuse them. However, getting blindsided by the theme park has rocked my confidence in my ability to keep myself safe, which leads to my feeling the need to take more control, which is what prompted my focus on control this week.

The thing is that I was objectively safe at Legoland. Nobody hurt me there. Nobody was even rude to me despite my terrible attitude in my triggered state. However, being immersed in a “land” of something that is clearly a trigger for severe trauma (based upon my severe reaction) has caused the traumatized child in me to feel extremely unsafe.

I have always loved to travel because I can let go of control and feel safe because I am physically far away from the threat. Now that part of myself fears leaving home because who knows what terrible trigger is lurking out there? I am working hard to dismantle this pattern. I don’t want to spend my life looking backward and navigating the landmines of potential triggers.

I am sick to death of my life being controlled by my childhood. I lived in the trauma for ~ 20 years. I have lived longer without the trauma, so why do the bad years get dibs? The war is behind me – I am so tired of living in a foxhole now that the war has ended.

I really want to move forward. I did not invest all of that hard work and money into healing and therapy so I can still feel unsafe most of the time. The little girl inside is screaming that the “safe” part of the world just got much, much smaller, but I am fighting back – I am not giving up something I love (traveling) because of one big trigger.

The other thing is that I am not going to put a bunch of work into trying to recover the memory this time. I remember enough to have a pretty good idea of the level of trauma associated with the Legos. I don’t have to relive it to heal this. I am sick to death of reliving past trauma – I haven’t really gotten “new” information in years, just more of the same. My abusers were sadistic bastards who tried to break my will, but they didn’t succeed. I want to move forward, not continue focusing on the past. I think it is enough to acknowledge that Legos are a trigger, accept that the trauma was really, really bad, and compassionately move myself forward. I never need to put myself around Legos (and certainly not Legoland) again, but I also don’t need to live in fear of them. They are just Legos.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Traveling to new places has been a wonderful way for me to let go of control and enjoy the moment. I loved visiting Los Angeles last year. I felt so free and safe … so far away from home and not responsible for doing anything but having fun at Disneyland.

This year did not go that way. I did not know that Legos trigger me until I walked into Legoland and had a complete meltdown. In retrospect, the signs were there. I had been very excited about our trip. Then, when we added that theme park to our agenda (my friend’s younger son is very into Legos), I kept procrastinating scheduling the trip and really was not looking forward to it any longer. Hindsight is 20/20 – I just thought this was spillover for all of the other stuff I was dealing with at the beginning of the summer.

I had no idea that I was triggered, but I felt the intense need for a Xanax as soon as we entered the gate. I thought it was the crowds at first. I was slammed with intense hatred – I hated every single thing about the place and kept visualizing blowing up all of the Lego statues.

Outwardly, I kept b@#$%ing about how juvenile the place was. (Our boys are nine and ten – it looked more appealing to the kindergarten crowd in my fully biased opinion.) Inwardly, my skin was crawling, and I wanted to use my fingernails to peel it off my body. I got angrier when I learned that it is a “dry” theme park (most theme parks do serve alcohol) because I wanted to stay inebriated the entire day. I kept counting down the hours until we could leave. I was lightheaded and immersed in anger and shame.

I was so incredibly triggered afterward – so much so that my friend kept bringing me rum punches. (I haven’t had that much to drink in years.) She had no idea why I was being so intense about the place. I told her that I simply could not go back. I would do anything she wanted – lie, cheat, steal – but I would not go back. (We had two-day passes.) I wound up spending the next day seeing the new “Harry Potter” movie while my friend took the kids back. For the next few days, I struggled with very strong suicidal and self-injury urges.

That experience really shook me, and I have been prone to triggering and panic attacks ever since, which is why I am putting so much focus on staying in the moment, reminding myself that I am safe at this very moment, etc. Being slammed by that intense of a trigger without having any idea it was coming has really rocked me. More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

Read Full Post »