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OddPilot

232d

Does anyone else struggle with self-triggering? For example: I’ll seek out material that disturbs me or causes me to re-live my trauma. My therapist suggested it may be a maladaptive way of trying to integrate painful memories, or that my nervous system is so used to experiencing fight, flight, freeze or fawn that it has become my “comfort zone”. Thoughts?

Top reply
    • fire_rose

      168d

      I have a memory box (more like a large tub) with things from my past that have caused me pain or trauma. Like ex partner notes, things from vacations, etc. I'll dive into it occasionally for no reason and always upset myself. Maybe this is why I do it too.

    • fire_rose

      168d

      I have a memory box (more like a large tub) with things from my past that have caused me pain or trauma. Like ex partner notes, things from vacations, etc. I'll dive into it occasionally for no reason and always upset myself. Maybe this is why I do it too.

    • EliteLexy

      216d

      I have definitely self harmed in this way in the past, but for the last year, if I continue seeing a powerful flashback, I will begin to welcome it (only if I feel safe and in control) to find what is at the root of this trigger? What is it possibly trying to show me? I don't know if it is okay or healthy, but I have lost flashbacks in doing such.

    • KitKat1450

      230d

      I can relate to this. I try to figure out my intention behind it or why for each circumstance. For me it’s usually if I feel this chronic anxiety unease, getting more info and understand helps me to de-escalate my triggers in general. So it helps my anxiety but I have to be careful to make sure it doesn’t switch into overdrive and I can’t get out of fight-flight-freeze-fawn. I usually need to find a distraction after to get my mind to slow and regulate and the can relax. If I’m not able to do that it’s a red flag for me to reach out to someone safe to process because clearly I can’t see the issue or the solution to get out at that point and then Im just a mess. For me it’s maladaptive if I don’t check in and adjust with that in mind or if I completely avoid it. There are other times where it’s like I want to relive something so I can re-write my response. Like emotionally overcoming it or getting better at responding. I tend to freeze & fawn a lot. So visualizing or consuming triggering things helps give me a scenario to play out at my own pace. I feel more ready for how I would like to respond if it happens again to keep myself safe. At the time it feels scary but after, I feel more confident and trusting in myself that I can handle whatever happens… which drastically reduces my anxiety. I think of it like isolation for me… sometimes it’s really beneficial for me and other times it’s not; but overall a lot of people don’t see or understand the benefit and will have their own ideas of what’s good or bad for me but at the end of the day I have to deal with me and have to determine what’s best in the situation. Some days I’m not up for it or need help to be up for it. I would encourage you to focus on what benefit you get from it and what the downsides are and how to create safety do that if you want and adjust. There’s usually a time & place for things. You can set it up to do it safely if it’s serving you. And if not, it may lead you to something else that serves you better.

    • Zebrapotato37659

      231d

      Thanks for asking this question! Prayers! It’s hard to not self harm emotionally I try to distract my self or set a timer for how long I can fall into the self harm (which isn’t the best) God is with you!

    • Alyss

      232d

      I agree that it can sometimes be emotional self harm, though I think there's a line somewhere in there because I will delve into obsessive thoughts about what hurts me and who I am, etc, but I eventually find that puzzle piece I'm looking for that lets me move on. So I think it depends on how you do it, and no one but you will know the answer to that. Yes, obsessive rumination can fuck you up, but so can avoiding anything related to your triggers. Finding the balance that works for you is important, even if not all of your choices seem healthy from the outside. I think for some people, they run from their pain so much that they don't ever deal with it and work through it, while others get mired in it and never escape. I, personally, haven't had luck journaling, but I write poetry as a way of turning those experiences over in my head and coming to the conclusion I need that will help me move on, even if that takes forever for it to happen. I guess what I'm saying is that running from your fear or pain can be just as maladaptive as embracing it, so it's all about finding a delicate balance based on what works for you, specifically. Unfortunately, as much as we might want it, no one else is going to be able to lead us through the pain. I am very analytical and autistic, so I've made psychology into a special interest and will listen to several audiobooks at once to try to understand my past and the people around me. If you want specific recommendations, lmk, but I hope this wasn't too much and that you found any of it helpful.

      • Zebrapotato37659

        231d

        @Alyss Great comment! Great take on it too!

      • OddPilot

        232d

        @Alyss Thank you for commenting! I totally agree.

    • minime273

      232d

      Sometimes it can be a type of emotional self-harm. One thing that sort of helped me was writing stories with similar themes to what happened with me, which, while it hurt sometimes, helped me process it. Another approach that some friends suggested and I’ve since tried is journaling; I write about the emotions I have trouble dealing with and sometimes it hurts for a day or two but then I feel better. I definitely think I’ve processed some stuff now that I hadn’t before, and I’m making sense of my trauma. It sounds cliché, but it might help!

      • OddPilot

        232d

        @minime273 i super appreciate you sharing your experience! 🙌

☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision

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