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

Roland

MyPTSD Pro
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

MyPTSD Pro
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

MyPTSD Pro
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.
 

SemperFiTRex

New Here
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’m so sorry this has been your experience. It’s so difficult when dealing with disabilities and/or mental health issues - and if you speak up you’re “difficult“ or “don’t understand what’s best for you.” I know this is 6 months too late but I hope you’re doing well and finding a new more comfortable environment.
 

Friday

Moderator
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.
Touching base to see how things have been going?
 

Roland

MyPTSD Pro
Touching base to see how things have been going?
Things are going great in general. He and I still have the “traffic light system” in place even though I haven’t used it. We’ve had a few incidents that triggered me and I later like the next day explained that it triggered me and that it wasn’t his fault but that that’s something I have to deal with. Once such incident, I was tired of him touching me and I looked scared and he asked if I was okay and I said I thought I was just tired. The next day, I explained that I deal with things internally a lot and won’t necessarily be able to communicate in the moment what’s going on (because I don’t usually know until after I think about it a while) but I explained that when I’m tired I can disassociate and shut down and that that had happened and something that is usually fine (a specific touch may suddenly not be fine). Generally though he doesn’t trigger me very badly, I’m super compartmentalized. When I do get triggered it’s like a fleeting moment and I’m able to be like “no this is safe” but it’s not without the initial panic/flashback. Things like sitting in his lap don’t bother me anymore. So yeah always a work in progress. Oh another thing, we’re engaged now (he’s a holy christian virgin so no sex until after marriage) he was talking about shower sex and I explained that that was probably a no go for a good while. I explained that I was molested in March in a shower when I was 3, so no shower sex until I feel ready, please respect closed or locked bathroom door, and no getting married in March (because historically I’ve had a lot of flashbacks that have led to self harm spirals). So without being incredibly detailed and “bringing him down with me” I was able to inform him on some details, and also drop boundaries and explain the importance of following “my rules” because then I’ll feel safe and eventually invite him into “my space” like bathroom-wise. I’m down for something like shower sex in the future but it has to come from a place of power and me to feel ready and in control not just happen. He understood all that and respects all of that. So yeah things are going well, I still isolate a lot, I get lonely, but we’ve had some great communication.
 

Roland

MyPTSD Pro
Things are going great in general. He and I still have the “traffic light system” in place even though I haven’t used it. We’ve had a few incidents that triggered me and I later like the next day explained that it triggered me and that it wasn’t his fault but that that’s something I have to deal with. Once such incident, I was tired of him touching me and I looked scared and he asked if I was okay and I said I thought I was just tired. The next day, I explained that I deal with things internally a lot and won’t necessarily be able to communicate in the moment what’s going on (because I don’t usually know until after I think about it a while) but I explained that when I’m tired I can disassociate and shut down and that that had happened and something that is usually fine (a specific touch may suddenly not be fine). Generally though he doesn’t trigger me very badly, I’m super compartmentalized. When I do get triggered it’s like a fleeting moment and I’m able to be like “no this is safe” but it’s not without the initial panic/flashback. Things like sitting in his lap don’t bother me anymore. So yeah always a work in progress. Oh another thing, we’re engaged now (he’s a holy christian virgin so no sex until after marriage) he was talking about shower sex and I explained that that was probably a no go for a good while. I explained that I was molested in March in a shower when I was 3, so no shower sex until I feel ready, please respect closed or locked bathroom door, and no getting married in March (because historically I’ve had a lot of flashbacks that have led to self harm spirals). So without being incredibly detailed and “bringing him down with me” I was able to inform him on some details, and also drop boundaries and explain the importance of following “my rules” because then I’ll feel safe and eventually invite him into “my space” like bathroom-wise. I’m down for something like shower sex in the future but it has to come from a place of power and me to feel ready and in control not just happen. He understood all that and respects all of that. So yeah things are going well, I still isolate a lot, I get lonely, but we’ve had some great communication.
Thank you so much for checking in, it really means a lot to me.
 

Friday

Moderator
<grin> That’s fantastic news! Congratulations on your engagement.

Very much agreed. Every real partnership I’ve ever been in we develop our own shorthand, and rhythm that works for us. It’s part what I know works for me, (and they them), and then overlaying those pieces of music together / creating whole new ways unique to us.

I’m down for something like shower sex in the future but it has to come from a place of power and me to feel ready and in control not just happen
And it’s exactly that combo of flexibility, understanding, & strength…

(March Wedding = never gonna happen // bad idea // full stop)
(Future Marches = need to be handled with care, and planned around; until they don’t!)
(Showers & Bathrooms = DMZ now, but rubix’ing possibilities for the future)

^^^ Always looking for the win & not making hard things harder, creates space for the amazing.

1+1= 3 ✨ synergy ✨ …instead… of the PTSD 1+1=64 💥 kaboom💥

<wry grin> Not that 1+1=64 doesn’t ALSO happen, but figuring out ways to roll with it, recognize sooner, recover faster? Better Stronger Faster = what happens when you apply that synergy & looking for the win as a baseline.

Good on.


PS At a future date, you might consider waterfalls.
 

Roland

MyPTSD Pro
<grin> That’s fantastic news! Congratulations on your engagement.

Very much agreed. Every real partnership I’ve ever been in we develop our own shorthand, and rhythm that works for us. It’s part what I know works for me, (and they them), and then overlaying those pieces of music together / creating whole new ways unique to us.


And it’s exactly that combo of flexibility, understanding, & strength…

(March Wedding = never gonna happen // bad idea // full stop)
(Future Marches = need to be handled with care, and planned around; until they don’t!)
(Showers & Bathrooms = DMZ now, but rubix’ing possibilities for the future)

^^^ Always looking for the win & not making hard things harder, creates space for the amazing.

1+1= 3 ✨ synergy ✨ …instead… of the PTSD 1+1=64 💥 kaboom💥

<wry grin> Not that 1+1=64 doesn’t ALSO happen, but figuring out ways to roll with it, recognize sooner, recover faster? Better Stronger Faster = what happens when you apply that synergy & looking for the win as a baseline.

Good on.


PS At a future date, you might consider waterfalls.
Thank you ❤️ I’m glad I spent all that time 14-20 or so really working on my shit, like ptsd and trauma/memory work, I’m able to recognize what I really can’t deal with right now, what times of year/situations are “handle with caution” and “aw hell nah”. So that really sets me up in this relationship, it’s still hard for me to “bring someone else into all that” but I think he and I are both doing well with that.

What do you mean waterfalls xD like for sex? Where can I find a waterfall xD
 
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