Childhood Traumas, Stressors, vs. Triggers?

Roland

MyPTSD Pro
So, I have been abused in a variety of different ways, sexually, physically, verbally, and psychologically, to varying levels, for my whole childhood. I was also raised in a very religious household, and religion was weaponized and used in psychological abuse. My first dating relationship was psychologically abusive, as was a boss I had. So anyways, the other day my boyfriend was saying something about how he didn't know if "God approved of the relationship" or like if "I was the best God had for him". Which anyone would take as offensive, I think. But for me, it sent me in a cascade of anxiety, like he's going to break up with me, this is religious bullshit/God doesn't tell people who to marry, and all of it just seemed like volatility like with my ex. In that conversation, I just told him that I couldn't tell him what "God" is saying to him, or whether it is right for him to marry me, but that he had to come to his own conclusions and figure that out himself. Later, I texted him and said that it sounded like he was saying he was settling for me, or that he thought there was a better partner out there than me. Then of course, after being like "Wow, that didn't come out how I meant it", he was like going on a monologue about how he doesn't know what God wants him to do in any area of his life, and I make sense in his life but he wishes God would give clear signs like a burning bush so he would know and all this stuff. Later when I saw him in person, we were able to talk it out and clear the misunderstanding. I explained that he didn't hurt me or anything but that I got like triggered by my own bullshit.

Anywaysssss, what is my question? It's like uh, this was a 'light' trigger reaction. But like maybe more called a stressor? Like I wonder about the ptsd mind, the majority of my trauma came from age 0-17. My relationship with my ex was at age 19. The job with that boss was age 19-20. I'm 21 now. Like my current boyfriend is not volatile or abusive like my ex or my dad, or anything like that. On the contrary, he's shown consistent interest, love, and respect for me, but that conversation made me be like he's gonna leave meee/religious bullshit/volatility, so I was able to sort that out, but idk, my question is did my ex really just trigger me, or did he traumatize me, what's the difference? Did he retraumatize me by triggering me? I don't even know if this post makes sense, but I'm just wondering like do I have new triggers from my ex, or the same triggers I've always had, and is it even a trigger, vs. a stressor.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
to my theraputed mind, the difference between a trigger and a stressor is a) speed of onset and b) the length of its presence. a trigger event happens at the speed of the mechanical trigger for which the psychosis is named. it happens fast and typically passes quickly. stressors are part of the day i am in. they don't set me off directly, but they sure do weaken my resistance.

in my personal understanding, bf's ill-advised words were a trigger. the agonizing over what he meant, etc., was a stressor. triggers and stressors are not the same, but they often travel together.
 

Roland

MyPTSD Pro
to my theraputed mind, the difference between a trigger and a stressor is a) speed of onset and b) the length of its presence. a trigger event happens at the speed of the mechanical trigger for which the psychosis is named. it happens fast and typically passes quickly. stressors are part of the day i am in. they don't set me off directly, but they sure do weaken my resistance.

in my personal understanding, bf's ill-advised words were a trigger. the agonizing over what he meant, etc., was a stressor. triggers and stressors are not the same, but they often travel together.
That makes sense
 

Friday

Moderator

This ^^^ is the best distinction I’ve come across.
 

Roland

MyPTSD Pro

This ^^^ is the best distinction I’ve come across.
That description makes sense, yes. I guess my lingering question is, I have ptsd from childhood, then had a toxic relationship (psychological abuse only) did what happened in that relationship traumatize me, retraumatize me, or trigger me from childhood abuse? What happened with my current boyfriend felt like a mixtape of abandonment fear (thinking he’d break up with me), thinking he would act volatile like my ex (and psychologically abusive), and religious bullshit (using religion to control others or back up one’s agenda)
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
My understanding is that stressors are rooted in your reality while trigger responses are rooted in your psyche. Like, your boyfriend saying that to you was a stressor, and in reaction to it, you became triggered.
 

caroline_13

MyPTSD Pro
So, I have been abused in a variety of different ways, sexually, physically, verbally, and psychologically, to varying levels, for my whole childhood. I was also raised in a very religious household, and religion was weaponized and used in psychological abuse. My first dating relationship was psychologically abusive, as was a boss I had. So anyways, the other day my boyfriend was saying something about how he didn't know if "God approved of the relationship" or like if "I was the best God had for him". Which anyone would take as offensive, I think. But for me, it sent me in a cascade of anxiety, like he's going to break up with me, this is religious bullshit/God doesn't tell people who to marry, and all of it just seemed like volatility like with my ex. In that conversation, I just told him that I couldn't tell him what "God" is saying to him, or whether it is right for him to marry me, but that he had to come to his own conclusions and figure that out himself. Later, I texted him and said that it sounded like he was saying he was settling for me, or that he thought there was a better partner out there than me. Then of course, after being like "Wow, that didn't come out how I meant it", he was like going on a monologue about how he doesn't know what God wants him to do in any area of his life, and I make sense in his life but he wishes God would give clear signs like a burning bush so he would know and all this stuff. Later when I saw him in person, we were able to talk it out and clear the misunderstanding. I explained that he didn't hurt me or anything but that I got like triggered by my own bullshit.

Anywaysssss, what is my question? It's like uh, this was a 'light' trigger reaction. But like maybe more called a stressor? Like I wonder about the ptsd mind, the majority of my trauma came from age 0-17. My relationship with my ex was at age 19. The job with that boss was age 19-20. I'm 21 now. Like my current boyfriend is not volatile or abusive like my ex or my dad, or anything like that. On the contrary, he's shown consistent interest, love, and respect for me, but that conversation made me be like he's gonna leave meee/religious bullshit/volatility, so I was able to sort that out, but idk, my question is did my ex really just trigger me, or did he traumatize me, what's the difference? Did he retraumatize me by triggering me? I don't even know if this post makes sense, but I'm just wondering like do I have new triggers from my ex, or the same triggers I've always had, and is it even a trigger, vs. a stressor.
I don't like you with this guy. I would not be with someone saying those things to me, for whatever reason.

And your trauma history is not an excuse for you to take on more burdens.
 
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