Flashbacks-Triggering

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Flashbacks-Triggering
11
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 10:53pm
I am having just a day full of flashbacks. The scary thing is I am alone having to deal with these. I am out at my parent's house spending the night after a day of taking care of my great niece who is 4 1/2. I was living in this house and this town when I was abused by the counselor from age 11 until 14. Some days I have been able to cope and get along ok but today has just been a trigger memory day and I don't know why. It's like I went to the library and all of a sudden I am swamped with there is the junior high where I first met him. There is the place where his office was that he raped me. There is his grandfather's house where he took me and raped me. There are the houses where his friends lived that participated in gang raping me. There is the beach where he tried to get me to touch him and I finally had it and took my chance and told. There is the courthouse where the judge said not guilty. There is the house he lives in today that I would love to burn down to the ground with him in it.There is the house he used to live in that he also raped me and held a lighter to me until I complied.I am just so overwhelmed and to top it off it has been a week of fighting my depression and suicidal feelings and I am just so overwhelmed with all these triggers and thoughts of what he did, how he did it, what he smelled like, that it is just to much for me to handle right now. Can someone please try to get through this. I don't think I will be able to sleep tonight.Andrea

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Fri, 05-30-2003 - 3:24am
Is there a crisis line you can call? Those lines are a great tool for times like this. They are staffed 24 hours a day, and a voice on the other end of the phone can really help. I can hear the pain in your post, and you sound so overwhelmed. One thing I do when I am overwhelmed by feelings from the past is to do what my OA sponsor calls a "reality check." I ground myself in the present moment. I look around the room and say, there is my table. It is brown. It is a good solid table. Or whatever--you get the idea. Pay attention to the details of the things around you and once you're "in the room" focus on the fact that you are safe right now. Tell yourself, over and over, "I am safe right now."

Another thing I do is to watch the comedy channel or stand up comedians on TV. They help me get out of my own head.

And you can post here as often as you need to. (((hugs)))

Avatar for opal45
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Fri, 05-30-2003 - 9:22am
I'm sorry this is so traumatic for you. It sounds horrible. CL-Free_Girl gave you a great suggestion regarding the reality check. A flashback means we've lost sight of the present so it's best to try to anchor yourself to the here and now as much as possible. No one else can take a flashback away so it's up to you, sorry to say, to force yourself to get grounded. I know in those most painful moments though it's so natural to seek out a rescuer. Unfortunately, no one rescued you then. That's very, very sad and led to unbelievable pain. But now it's your time to rescue yourself. That sucks, doesn't it? I know but it's the only way to regain control.

I'm wondering, what has your therapist suggested you do for these horrible flashbacks? How have those suggestions worked for you? It's nice to know what you've tried already and what trouble you had with them before I can offer too much advice.

And one more question, again, why did you have to subject yourself to this place? Sometimes when we're so extremely vulnerable, and being suicidal certainly puts you most at risk, it's best to avoid those places as much as possible until you can regain control.

See, I wonder if there might not be a different reason for all these flashbacks. It almost feels as though you're lost for a language that describes your deep pain. So, on an unconscious level, you're falling into flashbacks b/c that's a way of projecting your pain. A way that gets heard and believed. That is so very typical for victims of abuse, to not be able to find appropriate ways of conveying our needs and pains. What if you thought really hard and searched within, what do you need? Aside from flashback relief, what is at the core of what you need right now? Perhaps getting clear with this might help you find a better way of articulating this and hopefully get those needs met.

I'm just shooting from the hip on this one. There's something about your posts that raises this in my mind but I may be way off base. So, with anything said on the boards, take what you want and pitch the rest.

Good luck. I hope you feel relief soon.

**gentle hugs**

Avatar for opal45
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Fri, 05-30-2003 - 11:15am
Oh, and one other thought. Outside of this being a loss of language to convey your needs, I was also thinking it might be that you have a part within you that minimizes these past experiences. See, we don't have just one inner child. Most of us have several inner child parts, each with something they hold, like a memory, or something they protect. You could very well have a part within who has tried to protect you through the years by minimizing these horrible experiences. Now that you are in therapy this part keeps trying to protect you unconsciously. But these other parts, the ones who know the true pain, are trying to show the minimizing part the truth through intense flashbacks. Make sense? I have this internal battle all the time. My step-grandfather abused me from the age of 5 til 15. I still have a part who wants to remember it as loving and kind. Yet, I have more than enough memories of vicious rapes that would lead me to believe otherwise. My minimizer part shows up many times so I frequently have to dialogue with this part to let it know it's safe to know the truth now.

Well, it might help you greatly if you try to communicate with that part of you who may want to continue minimizing. Let her know that you thank her for helping protect you all these years but now it's time to acknowledge the truth so no one has to hold this much agony any longer.

Okay, that's it for me. I just wanted to throw out that one last idea.

**gentle hugs**

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Fri, 05-30-2003 - 1:38pm
Hey, Sweetie--

I hope you're feeling better today. Flashbacks are awful, and get you so out of the moment. I was going to suggest a crisis line, and saw that Freegirl already recommended that. Since you're at especially high-risk right now with being suicidal, it would be a good idea to keep that number at close hand.

Opal has a lot of experience with Inner Child work, and her suggestions have helped me on more than one occasion. She offered some great insights that I wouldn't have thought of. I believe strongly in getting in touch with our Inner Child(ren). As I've done Inner Child work, I have been amazed at the peace and feeling of resolution I've had as I've worked through individual issues. First the intense emotions are there, but as those emotions are acknowledged and worked through you're better off for having done the work. I'm still on the road to recovery, as there are many layers to this, but I can say that as that child is reassured that it is okay to be upset over what happened and finds security in not needing to hold onto it anymore, there is a level of peace that comes.

I'm glad that you feel comfortable coming here for support--please continue to do so. We care and are here for you.

Love, Heidi

HeidiRose

co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 11:27am
I don't know crisis lines for rape but I do have ones for suicide. I did watch funny movies and that helped. I am trying so hard not to give up because then that jerk would win. Andrea
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 12:05pm
I think you're taking great care of yourself. I watched a lot of funny movies, too, when I was going through my "crisis stage," as The Courage to Heal puts it. I used to drive to the video store every day and pick out another one. I think having to go to the video store each day was good for me--almost as good as the comic relief in the movies.

Which ones have you been watching? :o} I love to talk about movies and books! I also posted a question to you way down below about what kinds of books you like to read, but you probably missed that post. What are you reading lately? What are your favorite books?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 10:53pm
I have tried to use distraction before and that kinda works but sometimes I just go into a suicidal tailspin and then nothing works.I have to subject myself to the place where these memories come from because this is the twon where my parents live and so when I see them I come to the town. Most times I do ok but these week has been so many other things going on that I was more vunerable to being triggered. Thanks for support. Andrea
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 10:59pm
I have been trying to do inner child work on my own. There is part of it in the book the courage to heal and I have been reading books about it and I know that is what I need to do too. I got through it. It wasn't easy but I got through it. I am thankful for all the support I have found here and I found it helps me a lot. Andrea
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 11:09pm
I am sorry that I didn't respond to your post earlier about what books I read. I watched The Cable Guy, Coyote Ugly and Clueless the other night. I have over 500 movies in my collection so I don't go the video store plus I don't have money so it makes it hard but I have a great collection. All different sorts. I am right now reading Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen. I also read books by Jonathon Kellerman and his wife Faye Kellerman writes some good ones too. I like mysteries and true crime books. I believe that comes from my dad being a cop when I was a kid. The human mind amazes me. I also like reading about aliens and other mystical stuff. I just browse the library and if something even remotely interests me I pick it up. I don't get to much into romance unless there is a baby involved in the story. I also like reading biographies on people I like. I also like music. I also enjoy being online. I don't have a computer at home this one I am on right now is my mom's. I came out to be with Lexxy she is 4 1/2 and my great niece. To play with and distract me. I also go the library and get on there and answer posts from there and just get myself through day by day. Thanks for all the support and encouragement.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 12:16pm
I loved Black and Blue! I think that was Quindlen's best novel so far. She also has written some terrific essays--my favorite of which is the one she wrote about the 9-11 first anniversary, "Strong as the Gusting Wind." (It's online, if anyone's interested. Just Google the title.) If you like true crime, have you ever read Mind Hunter? It's the true story of the first FBI profiler. It's a very interesting book, if you can get past the author's ego. :o} It has made me distrust all security guards and people who drive cop-style cars. (My father/abuser drives a cop-style car!) Most serial killers (at least at the time this book was written) were wanna-be cops who didn't make the grade.

My book club meets today--we're talking about the Fourth Hand by John Irving. I can't wait!

How cool to have such a large video collection! I've been buying DVDs and videos on ebay for awhile, and I've been taping movies off of pay per view, but I'm nowhere near 500! :o}

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