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Why Do I Seek Out Triggers?

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28 replies to this topic

#16 calliehere

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 07:29 PM

QUOTE (Setrain @ Jun 18 2010, 05:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

#17 Setrain

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 08:07 PM

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. smile.gif

#18 crushedflower

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 09:00 PM

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.

#19 Aqua

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 09:36 PM

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!


#20 Ermin24

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 09:55 PM

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.

#21 gablecat

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 10:02 PM

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!

#22 resi25

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 10:22 PM

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.

#23 moonstream



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Posted 17 February 2011 - 04:13 PM

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.

#24 briarrosa

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:12 PM

QUOTE (Setrain @ Jun 20 2010, 05:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Briarrosa: tell me more about the inner child stuff please. Also safe hugs accepted and appreciated. smile.gif

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.gif hug.gif hug.gif

#25 QuietEmily

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:21 PM

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

#26 Tess20

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 10:20 PM

Omg! I am so relieved to hear that You and others do this as well! I really thought there was something really wrong with me for doing that!
I wish I could understand why we do that...
Maybe it's because triggering makes us cry (does for me anyway) and sometimes thats exactly what we need, just to cry and scream and remember and get it off our chests!
And sometimes it just feels like you need to tell people everything just to get it out, and to here someone say they care and it's going to be ok (even though I often get mad when people say that because I feel like they don't understand what it feels like to be sooo hurt...)
I think triggering ourselves on purpose must be just a way of getting all that built up pain and tears out when we start to feel overwhelmed or even when we start to feel numb... thats another reason I do it. I feel so numb sometimes it seems like I need to feel something, anything, even if its the most painful thing, just to know I still feel something....

"Pain- Id rather pain than nothing at all..."

#27 crushedflower

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 08:32 PM

one year later....
i don't seek out triggers any more.....

#28 LovesHerald

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 02:04 AM

Honestly, so much stuff triggers..ha..hard to avoid it. I try to avoid something triggering. After time has passed, I revisit that trigger to see if it is still potent. I found out the other day black snake moan actually bored me. Trigger free now. I dont think I can ever watch book of eli. Couldnt finish it the first time. Crash I really hate but I can watch it...crying of course. I've not decided if seeking it healthy or tortorous.

#29 321

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:41 PM

I felt an awful lot like you describe right after my rape. It lasted for a while. I think I thought that if I could see triggering things or things that should be triggering, and finally DIDN'T react, that I would be healed. I really wanted verification about being ok, because I desperately wanted to be ok but never felt ok.


I also never got the reaction I was looking for in people. I was guarded in who I told, and was really annoyed that nobody offered the response that would make me say, "Ah, finally, some clarity! Now I understand! Now I'm ok. Now I'm healed and can move on."


I know I prayed for the day that I would FORGET any of this had happened. I wondered if I'd ever forget. Initially, I had severely intruding thoughts, that seemed to be there, every day, all the time, and got in the way of me getting anything done, because nothing else could enter my head. The thoughts were 100% intrusive, and I found I had to fully IMMERSE myself in whatever it was that I was doing, to concentrate SUPER hard, and TRY to push the thoughts out. Sometimes the thoughts were so intrusive that I could not read a word. I distinctly remember I was in a hallway, and told to go to the hallway labeled NORTH. I entered. I saw 2 signs: one read NORTH, and the other read SOUTH. I could see the letters but I didn't know what the words meant and didn't know which way to go. So, I just waited and hoped to find someone I recognized, and follow which ever way they went.


It got WAAAAAAAAAAY better with time. LOTS of time. Nowadays I don't expect to ever forget, but the intrusive thoughts have gone. I guess I've accepted I'll have some triggers sometimes, but I tell myself I'm human, and 90% of the time, I'm really ok. But during those initial days, I was really NOT ok and NOT doing well, and it was about 100% or 99.9% of the time.


And I must say, I'm so glad you posted this, because this very issue has been bothering me, and just when I think I'm the only whose actively sought out a trigger, I realize, why I might have, and I realize that others have done the same thing. It's very healing to hear that others have experienced similar things.


I hope you find your answer. Things do get better with time.  I know "better" isn't a definitive or measurable word. I used to want to know exactly to what degree or quantity would things get better, and HOW MUCH time would it take. I wanted an algorithm that said, "S.A. occures + X amount of time passes = 100% normal. There is no such equation. It all seems to happen on a bell curve with a lot of gray areas.


I wish you the best and hope you have some peace.