Complex Trauma And Emotional Flashbacks

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Jimmy- Joe. I hope yu are in therapy and speaking about this. Apparently it is possible to invent an imaginary friend that acts out in ways that are inaapropriote for you. That it is not dissociative as such and can be problematic. Take care.

Admittedly I am pretty behind the times on this, and in the post that this one refers to I was talking like an idiot, I feel obliged to point out(out of embarrassment and the fact that my family has been misinterpreting me for years now, so im anal about it), you didn't seem to catch what I was describing.

I've been doing more "netsearch" (hope I just coined that), and talking to my therapist, and so I'm pretty certain I have been creating alter egos to deal with my PTSD, and I and every medical professional (22 months of residential treatment over 3 longterm units and 2 short term units) are certain of me having PTSD.

So what I'm saying is I'm actually rather dissociative, as is my brother, due to my dad being, well he disciplined by beating the tar out of us, I.E. the easiest thing to remember (almost all of my childhood is repressed, I started learning to forget things when my dad asked me about the bruises he gave me the night before, and i learned real quick to say "I don't remember", granted I've spent the past year digging into my mind because I'm tired of the pressure that builds up in my head(adrenaline apparently)_I know this is a gigantic runon sentence)
is that my dad was a major grammar nazi, so he would find something wrong with how i was talking
(I would get excited about something and end my statements inhaling, which apparently makes it a question, or i would mispronounce a word or use a word wrong) and start punching me in the face and chest and throwing me down, jerking me around by my ear or hair, picking me up by ear or hair, squeezing my nose(amazingly painful), kicking me if i stayed down too long (I was supposed to stand up and take my punishment like a man) and all the while demanding that I correct what I had done wrong, which of course he wouldn't tell me, so while I'm getting beat longer and with more power as i continued to mess up I'm reviewing my sentences to fix them because I know he wont move past that until I get it right, and I can't say it a different way, I have to say it how I originally said it and fix it. And I know it's only going to get worse because he's screaming how much of a selfish-rebellious-spoiled putz I am. So I figure it out by not feeling him hit me, and right now I'm pretty much describing a particular instance from the eyes of me as a little kid. And then after I fix it I start getting asked why I wasn't thinking about what I'm saying, which of course leads to more hitting until I come to the right answer which is invariably going to be that I'm a selfish-spoiled little brat, except I can't skip to that answer because then I would be lying since I was just trying to tell him what he wanted to hear. Once we get through that phase I then begin the getting hit for crying, and if I don't stop it's only going to get worse because real men don't cry. (Keep in mind that almost every punishment was like this, every day, every time he could get me alone, he would punish me for something. I even proved him wrong at times and I would get in trouble for being rebellious because he's dad and he's always right) HE would raise his hand and I would shut up.

I seriously hate him. I hate him with no room for any other emotion. He disgusts me, he's ruined my life and I hate him. I would honestly enjoy watching him die.

Oh yes and because I'm pretty overwhelmed by the fact that he denies ever having hurt us, I learned to keep my mouth separate from my mind so that I could say things quick enough (he would hit me for taking too long to answer, for stuttering, for answering without thinking
(LOL so I had to try and time my answers so they weren't too quick or two slow, when most of the time I think in chunks, it's like there is an image playing in my mind's eye that I'm reading out loud, so I would often have the answer to the question before the question was finished. In fact that still happens a lot lol, now that I think about it.
That's the curse of our family, we come to the conclusion before the story is finished, and are preparing our answers while the other person is still talking).

But I digress, it isn't an imaginary friend, even when I was 5 I knew that was retarded, I mean my parents are both genius level IQ, they wouldn't let me get away with such nonsense. It's an alter ego, or more, I haven't delved far enough yet, created to handle that pain and anger. (I stopped getting angry when I was young because I got in trouble for that.) Getting in trouble in my household wasn't getting spanked, grounded, put in the corner. I mean that's what it was when other people were around, but you KNEW you were gonna get it later. Lol grounding was nothing, I was grounded from 7th-10th grade (I got sent to treatment the summer after tenth).

Digressed again. I have a few "alters" running continuously, and the one I referred to as Dace, which I usually refer to as IT, is pretty obviously the one that feels anger.

I no longer remember what I wanted to say, or maybe I already said it, oh well.

And yes, I'm in therapy, we are looking into anti-anxiety meds for me since I'm pretty much going insane lol.


I tried to split that up a little bit for easier reading. :( sorry for the wall, I don't pretend to be a good talker lol.


Wow- yeah, jimmy-joe, I can see where having to control your memory and what you were saying under such stress would cause you to split. I'm only surprised you don't have straight up Multiple Personalities if that kind of thing was happening every day.
(feeling grief and pain for you :cry:)


This is a great article. Explains so much, but I will have to read at least a couple more times. I did not realize how I have recreated that neglect. At age 27, I married a man with no emotion that was incapable of affection, attention, compassion, empathy etc. But he wasn't abusive so that was good. I came to expect nothing but after 17 years, had to get out. Just before the seperation, he put a sticky note on the frig that said-kiss my wife. That was it for me.

A few months after our seperation, I began dating a charming sociopath. My therapist has described me at that time as being "ripe" for the abuser. I had been so neglected and invalidated for so long that the attention and validation that I received was wonderful-until I wised up. He was very nurturing. My calm reasonable personality deteriorated following this relationship little by little (not that he caused it-but rather as other things happened and I always feel alone and it has hardened me). I know the answers are within myself and I must be my own nurturer, but I have to say that I long for that kind of relationship with a non sociopath.


Wow thank you for this article, it explains so much.. I too, will have to read in multiple times I think. Never has my behavior been so accurately explained before me.
Thank you thank you for posting this!! I never knew about "emotional flashbacks". Now that I think back to all those times I wondered why I was feeling "icky" I realize those really were flashbacks, even though there was no visual imagery or smells.

#18 seems to be the one I have the hardest time with. I found out I have PTSD about 3 months ago, and every single day I push myself as hard as I can to get better, I do as much research as possible and try anything that I think will help. I'm not sure if it's my personality, or if the PTSD makes me impatient, but I keep trying to throw myself into recovery and sometimes my brain can't keep up. In this past week I've triggered myself into an episode 6 times because I keep trying to confront my past and my issues head on. I'm not sure it's healthy to keep triggering myself so much, but I desperately want to be better and I want to fit in with normal people again.

Abstract- Nice post on flashbacks, but I'm a bit confused. I didn't he just mention emotional flashbacks in this thread? Also, if flashbacks are not triggered, why is it if I look through a box of old stuff (such as letters from my abusive ex boyfriend, I was throwing them away) then as soon I see his writing I freeze up, my whole body gets hot, I breathe fast, and I feel like I'm being shuttled into another dimension but really I'm just sitting on my floor and I know nothing is really happening, but I start crying because I can "feel" him in my environment and that scares me. Isn't that an emotional flashback triggered by seeing the letters? Or when I was with my boyfriend last night, we were being intimate with each other, and after about half an hour I got hot, started breathing fast, and I felt my mind completely shut down. I didn't want him there, I didn't want to be there. I didn't want him touching me, I didn't want to exist. I wondered if I was having a flashback because I FELT like I was being raped again but I knew that logically, no one was hurting me, the last time I was raped was over 3 years ago, so why did it feel like it was happening right now? Isn't this an emotional flashback as well triggered maybe? I'm no psychologist if I were I would probably have this PTSD handled already lol.
This was very enlightening - Having PTSD throughout my life since age 4, I see how I had 'emotionally neglected' my own children. For which I am trying to repair everyday- they need it as much as I do.
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Amazing article - uncanny description of me! Linda LB-K, I am in the same boat as you, and trying so hard to make up for it with my kids...


Thank you for posting this article! I started a thread about how to feel feelings... well reading this helped me feel a heapin' helping and I'm grateful for that. I love a good cry.

(Kudos to me for honoring emotion, and reinforcing my own emotional expression, after years of being taught not to feel.)


If this is the full and proper explanation of emotional flashbacks which I can see it clearly is then I'm shocked. I'm shocked because this happens to me literally all the time. Many many times a week. I'm shocked because I understood what emotional flashbacks were. But apparently I only understood them to a point. Now I see and understand them more fully. And I'm shocked at how many I'm having. Amazing that I could be in therapy since this past November and it's just now that I'm realizing I have so many emotional flashbacks. It honestly scares me a little. I'm so glad I have a new therapist who I feel more in sync with.
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