How do I handle triggers and unexpected emotions?



First time here, I don't even know if I'm in the right section.

I've been through a phase of being heavy bullied because I'm a lesbian from 13yo to 17. I thought I got over a lot of things that happened, but I still have triggers. When I find out people are talking behind my back (even if it's compliments) I immediately freak out and shut down and get super angry or incredibly sad, and it's just one example of many. I've just recently learned to identify these things that happen as triggers (at least I think they are, it's like I'm not reacting to the present situation as it is but I'm acting as if I was in that shitty situation again), but I can't afford a therapist for the time being and I don't know how to deal with these things.

I don't want to hurt my friends or in general people by overreacting to a situation that doesn't need that kind of reaction, but I don't know how to emotionally separate the present from the past.


I don't want to hurt my friends or in general people by overreacting to a situation that doesn't need that kind of reaction, but I don't know how to emotionally separate the present from the past.
I don't know that I have a direct answer for that but pretty much everyone with PTSD deals with that. The biggest part is usually how information is processed by your PTSD brain.
Instead of reasoning out what emotions to assign - your brain says "how much panic and anger do I assign to this?"

You need to gain space to reason out what is being said and what it means. Best place to start is here:

Learning how to gain space and reason out how you should really feel is a hard thing. There's lots to it. There are also more helpful articles here if you look under ARTICLES on the big blue title bar.


i had similar bullying mixed with me shutting down at bullying or going anger unleashed at perceved slights or untruths. I appeared flinchingly uncertain of my heteronstatus so that was super fun Among athletes. And any group of males. The effects lasted a lifetime but with cbt and the right medical doctor plus therapy etc, I’ve mostly taken Down the worst symptoms but I still struggke with touch and sharung an apartment would be my version of hell….

so The good news is you will overcome what you need to overcome from thus .. the only question is how Long it takes . my body can’t separate present from past for everything yet but it can be done. 4 years for me. start Therapy now! By journaling. Speak to your video on your phone. Listen to you tube meditation On bullying. Those helped me a decent bit. Speak your hurt alone out loud if isn’t too triggering of course. Never quit. keep posting …


hello mar. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

i share your confusion with the word, "trigger." when i first started using the word back in the 70's, it spoke to the automated speed with which an event transpired. walking past an ice cream parlor could trigger a craving for ice cream. yum. i'm not quite certain, but i think it has come to mean something different since ptsd became a household acronym. i share your confusion on the current meaning, especially in psychobabble circles.

anyhoo. . .

my own flashbacks ALWAYS daisy chain until i resolve --or at least address-- the underlying psychosis. for my psycho nickel, the emotions attached are the biggest diff between a flashback and nostalgia. one reminder typically leads to another. pleasant memories are better behaved than traumatic ones, but the mechanisms are the same.

but that is me and every case is unique.

steadying support while you sort your own case. welcome aboard.


I like to use tools from DBT. "My stuff/their stuff." If they are talking behind my back, that is their stuff. If they want a real resolution to the problems they have with me, they will address me like an adult. Otherwise, it has nothing to do with me.