Boyfriend and triggers - Tell me your experience, how you deal with it, what helps and what doesn't.

Roland

Confident
I was abused by my dad for 17 years, and I'm only 20. I'm able to keep my shit really compartmentalized, so in my mind I block out the trauma, so it doesn't control my present. I'm sure most of us know on here if you don't deal with something it'll begin to leak out anyways. It's like a soda bottle, shaking a little more each time, eventually it'll explode.

My boyfriend is really understanding and respectful, I'm just worried about triggers and how I react. We don't currently have a sexual relationship, we're just very affectionate, (hugs, cuddling, holding hands, etc).

The stupidest shit triggers me, because my dad touched and harassed me so much growing up. I really enjoy touch with my boyfriend, but some things are problematic. For example, rubbing my arm, and sitting on his lap.

How it is now, is we have a "traffic light system" in place, but I only want to use it if I absolutely have to, I prefer to communicate clear and direct in full sentences if I get triggered, but sometimes that's not possible depending on the severity. I haven't used it yet.

So I just go ahead and do things that are somewhat problematic, and know that if I can't handle it, I can speak up and say I don't want to do something.

I'm just really scared of my triggers getting worse, and making him feel bad, or responsible for it.

I'm sure a lot of us deal with this, and I feel like on one hand I'm handling it well with him, and on the other hand, I feel like it can rapidly get out of control, so I'm just like really anxious about it.

Tell me your experience, how you deal with it, what helps and what doesn't. There aren't many resources about this.

I think there's a place for "avoid your triggers" because you aren't in a place you can deal with them, but there's also a place for "work through your triggers" and knowing when is very important.
 

triptych

Learning
Thanks so much for your post. I think what you’re struggling is really common & I would also like advice on this.

The only advice I have is potentially grounding through sounds/textures when you want to be intimate which I sometimes find helpful.
 

Roland

Confident
Thanks so much for your post. I think what you’re struggling is really common & I would also like advice on this.

The only advice I have is potentially grounding through sounds/textures when you want to be intimate which I sometimes find helpful.
I know a lot of people do, it's really frustrating, years of abuse just steal your body, present, and everything 😭😭😭😭

Thanks for the tip
 

Lilac98

Policy Enforcement
I would think that dealing with triggers is like dealing with anxiety, probably one of the best ways to overcome it is very slow exposure. Honestly I haven't got any more advice than that. I've found going out and being around people easier than I used to and I've been trying to do social exposure for the past three years. I had to start by just staying in the room with my autism support worker whilstshe spoke to my mum and I hid behind the sofa under a blanket. Though I'm not sure if I can continue working with her now cause of a recent bad day with her, I don't trust her.
I have to write about a trigger to show my autism worker on Monday to explain a specific thing that upset me on the day and I haven't finished writing it cause it was triggering me and making me feel icky but I need to do it so I guess I'll just have to trigger myself.
 

Roland

Confident
I would think that dealing with triggers is like dealing with anxiety, probably one of the best ways to overcome it is very slow exposure. Honestly I haven't got any more advice than that. I've found going out and being around people easier than I used to and I've been trying to do social exposure for the past three years. I had to start by just staying in the room with my autism support worker whilstshe spoke to my mum and I hid behind the sofa under a blanket. Though I'm not sure if I can continue working with her now cause of a recent bad day with her, I don't trust her.
I have to write about a trigger to show my autism worker on Monday to explain a specific thing that upset me on the day and I haven't finished writing it cause it was triggering me and making me feel icky but I need to do it so I guess I'll just have to trigger myself.
I've worked through a lot of triggers, I'm just not sure how to deal with it when there's another person involved. My first instinct is to withdraw and deal with it on my own and while I know this isn't healthy, I don't know how to bring someone else in without bringing them down in the trenches.
 
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