Triggered by a attempted car-jacking

Ubergirl

New Here
Hi, this is my first post.
I have complex PTSD and a brilliant counsellor/psychologist who (along with my faith in God) helped me to become a functional person again.

Everything in my life isn't perfect but I was coping and feeling hopeful.. then I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and as I opened my car door to get out and pump petrol, a man appeared, grabbed my wrist and told me to get out.
I immediately started yelling for help/trying to pull the door closed and it was attracting too much attention so he let go and ran away.

This wasn't violent and I didn't even have bruises on my wrist, the police were great and helpful and I kept thanking God for helping me endure it. All week since I've been telling concerned friends the good things that have come out of it.

But I felt a sense of dread a few days later when it sank in, then I started staying up all night and going to sleep at 5am (in the past I've been a night owl) old memories from my childhood of experiences that make me feel worthless/helpless come up randomly. And I'm having nightmares again about my horrible ex who used to drug and rape me to punish me.

I didn't think a non violent situation would bring all this up.

I'm sorry for the novel but I've not joined a message board before in this topic.

How can I stop this
 
It wasn't non violent as he grabbed your wrist and was being forceful. When personal safety is threatened that can trigger a bunch of memories and responses. Glad you have a great T and just work with your mental health professional and God to get through this, but don't minimize it.
 
It’s annoying as f*ck dealing with triggers, and stressors, and increased stress.

But I felt a sense of dread a few days later when it sank in, then I started staying up all night and going to sleep at 5am (in the past I've been a night owl) old memories from my childhood of experiences that make me feel worthless/helpless come up randomly. And I'm having nightmares again about my horrible ex who used to drug and rape me to punish me.
All my DV stuff comes up whenever something in my life prompts me to start playing the WHAT IF?!? (game / not game).

(One night as I lay lying here, a ‘what if’ crawled into my ear, it danced and partied all night long, and sang its little what if song… Shel Silverstein).

In DV I was CONSTANTLY projecting the possible futures in my head, so I could attempt to deal with the present. f*ck chess & thinking 3 steps ahead, I had to be 19 possible SERIES of 50 steps ahead. If this? Then this, this, this, that, this, this, this. Etc. Et Cetera. It’s how I kept life good… most of the time. I’m also ADHD, so it’s a natural inclination, kaBOOMed by trauma.

I’ve learned to play the “What If? Game” …on purpose… as opposed to the WHAT IF?!? (NOT Game)

The “What If? Game” is where I DELIBERATELY chase down all the possibilities /both likely & ridiculous) so I have a good plan of attack. It. Closes. The. Anxiety. Loop. No matter what possible eventuality? I have a plan. I know what to do. WHAT IF I HAVE CANCER? I’ll either get treated, or I won’t if I choose A? Then A-Z. If I choose B? Then A-Z. Choose your own adventure. HERE are all the possibilities. Both good & bad. It ends up looking like an insane weeping willow tree, with hundreds/thousands of different if this, then that.

The WHAT IF?!? (Not Game) is where I get stuck in an anxiety loop… playing out the same damn things sixteen different ways. WHAT IF I HAVE CANCER?!? Omg. What if I have cancer? Or I have cancer? Or I have cancer? What if I have cancer? Or I have cancer? Or have cancer? … you get the point. There is no …or very little… divergence.

Focused on my FEARS.. rather than… my SOLUTIONS.

Fear? Let’s us know something is a possibility. Emotions are great at that. But? Our minds rate those possibilities. Like being killed by a toilet falling out of an airplane? LOW probability. Don’t need to walk around all skeered of that. Even if we’re scared for a third of a second.

You just had someone attempt to carjack you. It’s NORMAL to play out the “what if” versions of what DID NOT happen. To search for solutions both likely & unlikely. PTSD will oomph normal into the stratosphere… waaaaaay beyond normal… except? If you have PTSD. So? Account for that.

PTSD means I get stuck in my fears, my anxiety spinning up & out… Rather than in reality & solutions… waaaaay too often. Trigger, stressor, stress, and BOOM! I’m locked into survival mode. Which doesn’t have room for 19 variations with 50 different courses of action. So? I get stuck. Playing and replaying, playing and replaying, playing and replaying.

Which means? I’ve learned to play the “What If?” game, and break the loop. If this? Then that. If that? Then this.
 
It’s annoying as f*ck dealing with triggers, and stressors, and increased stress.


All my DV stuff comes up whenever something in my life prompts me to start playing the WHAT IF?!? (game / not game).

(One night as I lay lying here, a ‘what if’ crawled into my ear, it danced and partied all night long, and sang its little what if song… Shel Silverstein).

In DV I was CONSTANTLY projecting the possible futures in my head, so I could attempt to deal with the present. f*ck chess & thinking 3 steps ahead, I had to be 19 possible SERIES of 50 steps ahead. If this? Then this, this, this, that, this, this, this. Etc. Et Cetera. It’s how I kept life good… most of the time. I’m also ADHD, so it’s a natural inclination, kaBOOMed by trauma.

I’ve learned to play the “What If? Game” …on purpose… as opposed to the WHAT IF?!? (NOT Game)

The “What If? Game” is where I DELIBERATELY chase down all the possibilities /both likely & ridiculous) so I have a good plan of attack. It. Closes. The. Anxiety. Loop. No matter what possible eventuality? I have a plan. I know what to do. WHAT IF I HAVE CANCER? I’ll either get treated, or I won’t if I choose A? Then A-Z. If I choose B? Then A-Z. Choose your own adventure. HERE are all the possibilities. Both good & bad. It ends up looking like an insane weeping willow tree, with hundreds/thousands of different if this, then that.

The WHAT IF?!? (Not Game) is where I get stuck in an anxiety loop… playing out the same damn things sixteen different ways. WHAT IF I HAVE CANCER?!? Omg. What if I have cancer? Or I have cancer? Or I have cancer? What if I have cancer? Or I have cancer? Or have cancer? … you get the point. There is no …or very little… divergence.

Focused on my FEARS.. rather than… my SOLUTIONS.

Fear? Let’s us know something is a possibility. Emotions are great at that. But? Our minds rate those possibilities. Like being killed by a toilet falling out of an airplane? LOW probability. Don’t need to walk around all skeered of that. Even if we’re scared for a third of a second.

You just had someone attempt to carjack you. It’s NORMAL to play out the “what if” versions of what DID NOT happen. To search for solutions both likely & unlikely. PTSD will oomph normal into the stratosphere… waaaaaay beyond normal… except? If you have PTSD. So? Account for that.

PTSD means I get stuck in my fears, my anxiety spinning up & out… Rather than in reality & solutions… waaaaay too often. Trigger, stressor, stress, and BOOM! I’m locked into survival mode. Which doesn’t have room for 19 variations with 50 different courses of action. So? I get stuck. Playing and replaying, playing and replaying, playing and replaying.

Which means? I’ve learned to play the “What If?” game, and break the loop. If this? Then that. If that? Then this.

Thankyou, I don't have ADHD but I definitely know what you're talking about with the "game" and "not game"
One I control, and the other controls me. I'm just so mad because i was making such GREAT progress with everything and working through so much past trauma.

Then this happens and my brain kicks into YOU ARE NOT SAFE mode on repeat. Constant shitty (some weirdly obscure) trauma memories distracting me, I'm off on these confused little tangents. Cannot sleep during the night and nightmares feat. my daughter 💗 when I do sleep from 5am onwards.

I don't want to deal with this again, I'm busy lol. But yes, logic and solutions to these intrusive thoughts. I'm safe and my daughter is safe, she loves me and I love her. I don't have bad people in my life anymore, and I don't have to see that jailbird ever again in all likelihood. Even if I do it will likely only be in a courtroom

Thankyou Rose White🌹 Into the light✨ and Friday💗 you guys are so smart
 
Hi there. Welcome. Firstly, this was a violent act. That lack of bruises doesn't mean this wasn't violent. When you look at this crime as being "non violent" you are "Minimizing" it. This is a step to keep PTSD in place. Minimizing may be helpful in some ways, however, in the long term it keeps emotional stress in loop over and over. Someone trying to physically remove you from your own vehicle in order to steal it is a violent act.

Second, though it my be helpful to look at the good that comes out of something bad, and be thankful a situation wasn't worse--it is most important to acknowledge the truth that you experienced an extremely frightening experience. Especially in the context of the current world we live in, where there multiple murders on a weekly basis, mass shootings, and other horrific experiences shared on all forms of media, the fear you were experiencing in that moment due to all the oh my god, what is happening to me! That is normal. What I mean by that, is the "fear" you were in at the time of this person assaulting you pulls from all the possibilities of what can happen. Anyone would be completely stirred up emotionally from this.

I'm thankful you weren't "physically" hurt. I'm thankful you have support. However, this experience is enough to send anyone into the realization that we put trust into our fellow man whenever we step outside and engage with life. "Safety" is a big area of PTSD recovery. It's enough to make one hyper vigilant and worried about the future. It doesn't mean that the work you did on the past traumas wasn't healing. Of course it is likely to stir up all those feelings of shock, safety, trust, self blame again. I'm trying to say that "minimizing" what happened tends to keep it in an PTSD emotional loop. With time, you will naturally begin to calm down, and you're doing all the things to help yourself. Please give yourself some time to work through the experience. Remind yourself it was, indeed, a frightening experience. If you question God's role in it, I'd advise don't dismiss the questions or feelings. Work through them, experience them, and be extremely kind to yourself.
 
Last edited:
Hi there. Welcome. Firstly, this was a violent act. That lack of bruises doesn't mean this wasn't violent. When you look at this crime as being "non violent" you are "Minimizing" it. This is a step to keep PTSD in place. Minimizing may be helpful in some ways, however, in the long term it keeps emotional stress in loop over and over. Someone trying to physically remove you from your own vehicle in order to steal it is a violent act.

Second, though it my be helpful to look at the good that comes out of something bad, and be thankful a situation wasn't worse--it is most important to acknowledge the truth that you experienced an extremely frightening experience. Especially in the context of the current world we live in, where there multiple murders on a weekly basis, mass shootings, and other horrific experiences shared on all forms of media, the fear you were experiencing in that moment due to all the oh my god, what is happening to me! That is normal. What I mean by that, is the "fear" you were in at the time of this person assaulting you pulls from all the possibilities of what can happen. Anyone would be completely stirred up emotionally from this.

I'm thankful you weren't "physically" hurt. I'm thankful you have support. However, this experience is enough to send anyone into the realization that we put trust into our fellow man whenever we step outside and engage with life. "Safety" is a big area of PTSD recovery. It's enough to make one hyper vigilant and worried about the future. It doesn't mean that the work you did on the past traumas wasn't healing. Of course it is likely to stir up all those feelings of shock, safety, trust, self blame again. I'm trying to say that "minimizing" what happened tends to keep it in an PTSD emotional loop. With time, you will naturally begin to calm down, and you're doing all the things to help yourself. Please give yourself some time to work through the experience. Remind yourself it was, indeed, a frightening experience. If you question God's role in it, I'd advise don't dismiss the questions or feelings. Work through them, experience them, and be extremely kind to yourself.
Thankyou, I can see now this is a coping method. Even the police called it a non violent crime but with the things they see everyday I guess it was.
They did strongly suggest me to seek assault charges against him but I haven't as yet.
I was pushing the triggers and realisations down from the start, looking back. The brain is such a amazing supercomputer, I kind of look at it like it went into 'autocorrect' fight or flight, showing me the times I've felt unsafe before and what helped or didn't.

I'm trying to see my brain and the PTSD as trying to help me and not this thing that can destroy me lol I think it helps to work through.
If it isn't obvious I'm a bit of an ostrich, I learned from my mother that you don't face hard feelings you just ignore or run from them.
It helps so much to be able to process these truths that it was really scary, it freaked me out, I don't feel safe anywhere I go now and it sucks to have these horrid memories thrown at me.
I love Friday's elegant Shel Silverstein quote above about the thought crawling in the ear and dancing all night long, because I feel like my brain is like a evil monkey throwing poop (awful memories and worries) at me 😅🙈

But no, my brain is trying to keep me safe. I think I try and use humour to minimise things too. Thankyou for your wise post.

I can't see my psychologist till next week so you guys are amazing 💗
 
Regardless of what type of crime it was, the fact of the matter is that your brain has interpreted this as a severe threat to your physical safety. And given how many different ways that situation could have played out (which is undoubtedly a source of your increased symptoms), it is reasonable that this would happen. If it was truly a non-violent crime, then the crux is that it could have turned into a violent offense, if it didn't play out the way it did. It was luck that you got out of the situation unharmed, so of course you're going to experience more hypervigilance. This is a pretty big stressor, and you have a stress disorder. So it makes sense that everything is now heightened.
 
Back
Top