Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Setrain

Why Do I Seek Out Triggers?

29 posts in this topic

Right so this is probably triggering itself.

I finally decided to come here to ask this question because there are so many people here somebody has to understand.

I'm PTSD. I'm hypervigilant and have flashbacks. But I don't avoid reminders I seek them hard, in art in news places people...

I kept coming back over and over to the place I was molested. I look at pictures of myself at that age and look in vain for pictures of the babysitter who abused me. I stay up all night reading about kids getting hurt. I can't stop talking about it; I'm never done. Its like the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.

I guess I feel the world doesn't believe me or thinks it doesn't matter. Not even really the people, just the world the audience, God or something. God thinks I'm a whiner and should get over it. So I can never let myself forget or like it won't even be true anymore and I'll just be broken for no reason.

How do I make God listen. How do I make my dad listen? How do I give up on making my dad listen? When will I feel done? When is this going to stop being the most topical thing in the world, the most important thing to be thinking about no matter what?

Does anyone else here feel like this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes I feel like this. But it usually is a passing phase. I can become really obsessed for a while. Almost like I want to suffer. Has it been like this your whole life?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:hug::hug::hug::hug:

I used to do just that.

It really does get easier.

You are not alone.

Thank you for sharing.

Found

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Setrain,

I totally understand what you are saying. I'm glad that you shared this with us. AS is amazing in that there are so many people - someone is bound to understand.

I used to be like this all of the time. I still am sometimes, but much less often. I wanted to feel less alone. I wanted to know that I was 'normal', despite these very abnormal experiences. I wanted to grab any random stranger on the street and tell them all of it - the truth that I'd been hiding.

The memories, thoughts, and emotions run so strong and deep. Imagine a beach ball that you are holding underwater. It takes a lot of energy to keep that ball held down. But it will eventually resurface. This is just your way of expending the energy of holding it down. It may also be your way of trying to resist the denial of what happened.

I tried many ways of dealing with this - healthy and unhealthy ways. Finally I decided that I needed to go to a therapist and talk through things. It has been the best decision. Difficult but worth it. I couldn't hold down the ball anymore, I had been down the unhealthy paths and wasn't willing to go there again.

Just my two-cents, for what it's worth. Welcome to AS.

safe hugs, if ok.

Jane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found myself seeking out triggers as well. Many things that trigger me, I have no choice but to face to live a normal life. I seek them out and face them to make my triggers less triggering for me. It has helped a lot. I am now not easily triggered at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The past couple years I had wanted to read my mom and grandma's journal they kept from when stuff was happening and I had finally mentioned. And a home video my dad left here when I had been seeing him. I guess I wanted to see if there was anything I didn't remember or if the things I did know matched up. The one thing I still can't bring myself to do is watch the movie Annie.

But for the past year or so I've been avoiding matters more or less not wanting anything to do with it. Then things started coming back without warning and my friends are worried and I just want it to be over. So I'm working to the point of facing my fears and flashbacks and nightmares and hopefully getting over them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to minute: not my whole life, but for the last 10 years.

to JaneSays: I have a therapist and we get useful stuff done, but telling him stuff doesn't feel like telling. He's so professional; there's no emotional response. I don't know the emotional response I want, but like... the guy is just doing his job. He'd have to listen no matter what it was saying. It doesn't make me feel like what I'm saying matters, when there are so many others who have ignored me or failed to understand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe TW

I've done this and it comes in waves. I get completely engrossed in watching stories about csa and r* victims. I'll watch Law and Order: Special Victims Unit knowing that I'll be triggered. I'll sit and obsess in thoughts of the csa...in the extreme details of every aspect from remembering the feel of the sheets to the feel of the clothes hamper in the bathroom. I'll take a bath and stare at the bathroom imagining occurances in the past in detail.

I have highs and lows and it will usually happen when I'm starting to dip towards depression.

Thank you for sharing this... lol ...I wasn't aware that there were other people who did this. I guess it's all part of the healing proces.

Callie

Edited by calliehere

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Calliehere: Yes that's exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. Why do you think we do that? It doesn't feel unhealthy to me, it feels necessary. But I don't know what it accomplishes.

Do you think its because people didn't listen to or believe me. Am I trying to prove its real? You don't have to answer but I'm curious whether you had the same problem of not being listened to or believed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

since coming to AS, i've found that i want to trigger myself more and more until i stop triggering. for me it is an issue of finally getting things more under control then they have been my whole life. i just want to go through life untriggered and normal.

to me, it sounds like the fact that you have not been believed/heard before means there is still a part of you that needs/craves validation for what you have been through. i have found that inner child work has been very helpful in this department.

as i understand it, often parts of us get "stuck" when abuse happens. to unstick ourselves, we have to allow ourselves to regress back to those ages/times and work through the issues that are holding us back.

i don't know if this would be helpful or not in your situation, but it could be worth a try.

safe hugs if ok.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OMG I am so glad this here. I felt like such a freak for this.I think for me I do it because I have such doubts. I rationalize what I went through and try to excuse him a lot. Triggering put myself right back there and I am reassured.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey hun, I see a lot of people have already told you that you are not alone in doing this, but I thought I would tell you again. I seek out triggers as well. I feel the need to talk about it and talk about it some more (only to safe people though). I think it is just a way of dealing. Of trying to understand what happened. Like if we trigger ourselves enough or talk about it enough maybe we will understand why they did what they did to us. Just know it is normal, and if you feel it nessecary, and it is not hurting you, keep doing what you are doing. But. even though sometimes it hurts, I still trigger myself on purpose. :hug: :hug:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OMG! I am so happy to hear this.

(I heard that in my head and I know it isn't right)

My husband doesn't understand my new found obsession with "Law & Order: SVU"!

I try my hardest not to watch all the "Forensic Files" and "Dateline on ID", but I can NOT stop watching them.

It's like a magnet drawing me to them. I thought I was messed up. I thought my way of thinking was screwed up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i do that too

all the time sometimes

i watch suv criminal minds wire in the blood etc also, read torey haydens and similar books etc, horror films, books about serial killers, heaps and heaps of research on csa.

partly because these things are my normal, and too me doing these things is a normalising behaviour. when my adhd gets out of control, and the dissociation kicks in and ptsd is uncopable with the things that bring me back down, that settle me, that balance me and ground me are these triggery things.

i have spent most of my life only remembering parts of memories. the reality of my abuse is in a way permenantly hidden, imersing myself in these things is like facing my reality in a way my brain will allow me too safely. these are my truth, and sadly i feel more like myself when triggered by these things.

i think also, part of it for me is i hate blindness terribley. i am so enraged at the blindness that surronds csa (especially the utter lack of recognition of ra and mdsa, both of which i went through) i am so so so angry that the blindness of the world allowed my abusers to steel my life and ruin me, hide so much of my life in shame and darkness, that i utterly refuse to be yet another ignorant person. so compulsively i read and learn all i can. i duno what good it actually does me, but i feel driven because i dont want the shame of being another blind person looking the other way because its easier, because they can not bear the reality. i wanna make them see too, i wanna smash heads of walls until people open their eyes, but i feel so small and powerless and insignificant in comparrison to this wave of not seeing that all i feel i can do is maintain my own hyper awareness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Right so this is probably triggering itself.

I finally decided to come here to ask this question because there are so many people here somebody has to understand.

I'm PTSD. I'm hypervigilant and have flashbacks. But I don't avoid reminders I seek them hard, in art in news places people...

I kept coming back over and over to the place I was molested. I look at pictures of myself at that age and look in vain for pictures of the babysitter who abused me. I stay up all night reading about kids getting hurt. I can't stop talking about it; I'm never done. Its like the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.

I guess I feel the world doesn't believe me or thinks it doesn't matter. Not even really the people, just the world the audience, God or something. God thinks I'm a whiner and should get over it. So I can never let myself forget or like it won't even be true anymore and I'll just be broken for no reason.

How do I make God listen. How do I make my dad listen? How do I give up on making my dad listen? When will I feel done? When is this going to stop being the most topical thing in the world, the most important thing to be thinking about no matter what?

Does anyone else here feel like this?

I used to drive 10 minutes out of my way to avoid the woods where I was raped. I did a lot of things to avoid triggers for many years. Now, I too search for them. It's a way to unblock memories that I've buried and need to confront in order to heal. I call it "facing the demons". To me its a way of getting some control. I say when and where the triggers will bring everything back instead of living in fear of them and avoiding everything.

I don't think you're trying to make yourself not forget. I'm sure in your heart you know you will never forget, none of us will. I think you're trying to understand everything in order to deal with it and it's not weird or wrong. I was also not believed the first time I told someone so I understand how you feel. I sometimes think that it caused almost as much damage as the rape itself did. There are many people that would rather choose to not believe you or pretend that it doesn't matter than face reality and realize that these things do happen and they do matter. You are stronger than them and they wouldn't have been able to help you anyways, so you just have to keep talking until you find the right people to listen.

God does not think you're a whiner and that you should get over it. I think He is sickened by the things that people do and by what was done to you. I also think he is amazed and proud of survivors like you, me and so many people here on AS that are working to overcome the trauma and refuse to give up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Calliehere: Yes that's exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. Why do you think we do that? It doesn't feel unhealthy to me, it feels necessary. But I don't know what it accomplishes.

Do you think its because people didn't listen to or believe me. Am I trying to prove its real? You don't have to answer but I'm curious whether you had the same problem of not being listened to or believed.

The only time I ever told anyone about the csa was when it happened 34 years ago. I told my best friend and she didn't believe me. We were 9 so I guess she couldn't understand. Anyways, I shut my mouth about it after that. As far as the r* and domestic violence goes, I pretty much kept my mouth shut about those too. My parents knew about the r* and just never wanted to talk about it after paying the hospital bill.

I think for me, it brings more of a level of reality to it. Like the past events were really my imagination and it validates all of the other cr@ppy feelings I guess. I don't know. There probably is some technical psychobabble term for it but who knows. Maybe its a healthy thing to do so that we don't bury the issues deeper into ourselves. It's part of bringing it to the surface and making our brains understand that it really happened. Sorry I can't come up with anything better, but all of this healing stuff is still pretty new to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, lots of response. Y'all are awesome. Thanks.

Calliehere: no need to apologize. You've already helped me a lot.

Briarrosa: tell me more about the inner child stuff please. Also safe hugs accepted and appreciated. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this topic. I am about 8 weeks into the ptsd although the trauma was years ago and it wasn't triggered until the anniversary of daddy's death. Now, it's like what the heck happened to me? So when I discover a new trigger, I try to experience it again and see what images pop in my head. Like everyone has said, it is a way of bringing the memories to the surface and one day let them all go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally do this too. Not all of the time, but a big part of it. I watch TV, movies and read books that I think will have it in it. That's how I found this site. I was looking for others stories.

I think I do it partially because I want to play out some what ifs.

Good thread!

Aqua

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we all seek out triggers at some point. We do it, like you said, by looking through old photos, jogging someone else's memory, etc. I used to drink or get high to try to jog my memory. Anything to try to make the past make sense and to shed light on it. The more I uncovered, however, the more distressed I became. I find, as someone else said, I go through phases where I kind of obsess over it, then times when I don't think about it at all. I think when we obsess, we are just trying to make sense of things, or get other people to understand us. We all want to be understood. We want to feel that others have gone through similar things and are able to empathize with us. Maybe they can give us answers to why it happened to us. It does get easier. Every day is gets just a little easier. Age helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is so crazy I was just thinking about this yesterday. I'm obsessed with triggers too. I find myself thinking about my CSA at least 20 -30 times a day, all types of different scenarios, what could have been changed. I spent years obsessed with SVU as well, I think primarily because it focuses on victims and compassion. The later being something a lot of us have NOT experienced through our journeys.

I also am obsessed with all types of real life dramas, and swear I became obsessed with the film "Precious" for far too long. It's all so painful to watch, but I can't stop.

I too have been recently diagnosed with PTSD. I think for me I have become obsessed with triggering material because:

1. I've never been able to talk to many people about it so I needed a way to try and work through the trauma without being completely in my head all of the time.

2. I have trouble feeling anything at all sometimes. Triggers hurt and hurt is feeling. Sometimes I need it to remind me of where I came from. I'm not proud of what has happened to me in my life but I am proud of how I've survived it all. It's important to remember.

Nobody believed me either and I think your right, that's also a reason why I am obsessed as well. It somehow validates it all.

But honey you never have to validate it to anyone but yourself. I know it is easier said than done. You know what you had to live through and what it has taken for you to come out the other side. Be proud of who you are and what you have been able to accomplish. I know how important it is for people (especially people who were directly involved) to believe you and admit to their parts. Sometimes this just isn't a reality. You must know though that whatever happens, what you are doing right now seems very normal to the healing process and that you are strong and amazing!

Don't forget that. (Sorry for the long rant I didn't know I had that in me)

Great thread!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can join the list - I've actually been beating myself up, kind of scolding myself, for what felt like an obsession coming over me to read stories in this website and keep reliving the shock and strange mix of emotions and I felt that night. I've also tried to really remember physical sensations - what I felt - but it's so hard. As it was happening I was disconnecting from myself, telling myself that whatever was happening would be over soon, I could get home, and never have to think about it again or admit anything happened. I didn't even know what was happening. But because of that initial denial I felt, and all the self-blame, it's like I have to make myself re-live it, trigger the fear that was beneath my shock, in order to convince myself that it happened the way I described it to other people, the police, my university, and mostly, myself. I remember feeling like I just needed to throw up, and I have tried to recreate that feeling too - that initial disgust.

I am glad that I'm not completely sick - doing this has someway made me think that I just want to make myself suffer and that I am a drama queen or something. I've gone through such a whirlwind of confusion since this happened...it's starting to feel far away, the triggering myself to that degree has lessened, but I worry that it will come back, especially since I still need to do a hearing with the university which will confront this person, although I will be able to do this over the phone.

In any case, I hope that it is true that doing this actually will help me heal in the long run. Nice to read the other responses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive found myself doing this as well. I put myself in the places where I felt most vulnerable. For me it is about power....control. When I was being abused, I was trapped, not able to leave at my own will. I go to the places that used to terrify to prove to myself that I am strong...but inside I AM STILL THE SCARIED CHILD....wanting to run. Does confronting the places make me stronger?? Some days I wonder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Briarrosa: tell me more about the inner child stuff please. Also safe hugs accepted and appreciated. :)

Setrain,

I am so sorry that I never saw this thread again after I posted so long ago. I'm not sure if you have found more information about inner child stuff since then. I honestly don't know much about it from a technical standpoint. All of my own work has pretty much been done intuitively. I have just tried very hard to understand myself with a great deal of compassion for what I went through as a child, etc.

I spent years in a disassociated state, not remembering what really happened to me. When I finally did remember, all my behaviors made so much more sense. It was such a sad and terrible day, but also relieving to know that I wasn't crazy. I had believed that there was something innately wrong, even poisonous, about me for a very long time, so to finally be able to have compassion for myself in this way was a huge relief.

My inner child process has been a re-learning of myself, separate from other people's ideas of who I am and who I am expected to be. It has taken a long time for me to come to terms with all of that and what that means. I get frustrated with myself still sometimes, but I also try to see myself as I would see anyone else and to understand that put into such terrible circumstances, it is understandable, almost unavoidable, that I would react in those ways.

By understanding and learning compassion for my inner child, I have freed my adult self from self harming behaviors and so much unnecessary pain, particularly by just believing in myself, being able to validate my truths for myself, and having a great deal of compassion for myself about what happened to me.

If you'd like more information about any of this, I'd be happy to share anything I have learned.

More safe hugs

:hug: :hug: :hug:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been there, and realized I was punishing myself. It's hard to let go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0