Why do I purposely trigger myself?

Sometimes I find myself purposely watching or listening to things that trigger me. I was physically abused by my ex boyfriend but I never realized it or acknowledged that it actually happened until after we broke up. I remember that he would hit me but tell me I was crazy or didn't know what I was talking about when I would bring it up. So much so every time he would abuse me I just kept quiet because if I talked back to him or tried to defend myself it made the abuse much worse. He left bruises on my neck multiple times and when I showed him that he did that he denied it and called me delusional. I have so many vivid memories of him abusing me but then after he would deny it or play it down or make it seem like nothing happened. Now I find myself watching shows or movies that have triggering scenes on purpose to trigger my memories. I also wrote down all the memories I have of the abuse and I often reread them. I already have PTSD from being abused as a child and I NEVER want to trigger those memories because I know how much they hurt. I feel like I am doing this for validation because my brain is confused from suppressing so much. I don't know what to do. I'm tired of thinking about him and what he did to me but at the same time I feel so attached to it. I get such a big urge to cry when I get memories but the tears never come out. I never was able to get closure either, up until the very end of our breakup he put all the blame on me and told me everything that happened between us was my fault. Its been months and I still cannot get over this. I hate the power he has over me and I hate that he is doing fine and probably not even thinking about how much what he did impacted me. I feel like something in my brain still hasn't fully processed how much he actually physically hurt me because when I was in the relationship I would just suppress everything from my feelings to who I was as a person. I want to move on but I feel so stuck. Anyone got any advice?
 

Changing4Best

MyPTSD Pro
I don't own a TV for this reason. I do have a radio, but rarely listen to it. I like Christian radio stations only.

I like to read novels that are clean. I usually get them from our church's library.

I do have subscriptions from magazines like AARP and the Sierra Club. They have beautiful photos in them or info I need.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I sometimes purposefully trigger myself because it's part of who I am and my brain feels ready to process it and determine in a new way how I feel about it. It sounds like you've been through hell. You are not at fault for what happened to you and I'm sorry for that. I hope that you find support and healing in this forum. Best wishes S3 ?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I sometimes trigger myself too. My T and I have spoken about it and she says I need to remind myself that I don't need to do it when I get the urge. That I also need to remind myself that I'm here now, and I'm safe. And that I also need to remind myself that the trauma happened, I didn't make it up, and it wasn't my fault.
I'm still learning to do those things. But maybe they might help you?

I totally understand the sense of validation from it. And I suppose it is building the trust in yourself that you know what you experienced. And he tried to programme you in to not believing it.

I hope you realise that he has no power over you now.
And whilst you might have thoughts he is happy living his life - it seems to me that someone who behaves like that can't be happy. But you can.
 

Friday

Moderator
I trigger myself on purpose for a lot of different reasons. The 3 most common are:

- I have a thing about repeating things, over and over, until I can get them “right”. AKA just a function of my personality :sneaky:
- Exposure Therapy / Chipping away at the trigger or stressor until it no longer evokes any kind of response. Physiological or mental/emotional.
- Consciously triggering myself because unconsciously I’m trying to work myself up/spin out/lose control. Not really any different from picking a fight, getting wasted, or any other unhealthy coping mechanism. WHY I’m tying to spin myself up? Also varies. A lot of the time it’s the whole rage trumps despair, thing. Other times I just want to feel justified in treating the people around me like shit, or blowing off something I really dont want to do, but don’t have the balls to just call it. Sometimes it’s for the distraction. Very often it’s because I need a break from my emotions, and ramping up high enough & hard enough is an easy way to have them just shut off. Sometimes I’m just avoiding sleep, or the opposite, needing desperately TO sleep, and banking on the adrenaline crash. As well as a not short list of other things.

Parsing out what benefits I’m reaping (cui bono?) from what I’m doing will let me both reverse engineer that shit... as well as give me a whoooole lot of better options, if I’m doing it as a f*cked up coping mechanism, rather than as a function of personality, or as a way to gain more control over my life.
I feel like I am doing this for validation because my brain is confused from suppressing so much.
Then, in my experience, that’s probably why... or at least a large part of why.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I sometimes trigger myself too. My T and I have spoken about it and she says I need to remind myself that I don't need to do it when I get the urge. That I also need to remind myself that I'm here now, and I'm safe. And that I also need to remind myself that the trauma happened, I didn't make it up, and it wasn't my fault.
I'm still learning to do those things. But maybe they might help you?

I totally understand the sense of validation from it. And I suppose it is building the trust in yourself that you know what you experienced. And he tried to programme you in to not believing it.

I hope you realise that he has no power over you now.
And whilst you might have thoughts he is happy living his life - it seems to me that someone who behaves like that can't be happy. But you can.
there's something about the word 'validation' that I nearly wrote myself. It's seems that by revisiting past traumas we try to validate certain stuff. I can't explain it properly. There's something about juxtaposing what happened then to how we are and feel now.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
there's something about the word 'validation' that I nearly wrote myself. It's seems that by revisiting past traumas we try to validate certain stuff. I can't explain it properly. There's something about juxtaposing what happened then to how we are and feel now.
Yeah I agree. And I think that can be done in different ways. For me I do, or have done it, in different ways. Either to validate my feelings that it didn't happen, or that it did but it didn't impact me, or to validate the feelings it left me with by acting the trauma out. I think.
It's complicated to explain. Or I'm no good at explaining or understanding it properly.
But, therapy helps!
Are you in therapy @bluedreamdaydream ?
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
I found the house where it happened to me on Zillow. Because I searched up the address, it comes up on my email once a month with all 32 pictures. I take a tour, I look for more clues, proof that I have the memory right. Yup... I end up writing my T about it. In session she either says “I really wish you would stop doing that“ or asks if it’s “helping or hurting“—our mantra.” She knows I won’t stop, maybe the day I do is the day I know longer need therapy? I also, research scientific articles on memory, therapy, csa, rape... All of these trigger me, but I’m a huge “why?” person. I need to understand why. I’m starting to realize that there is no black and white answer here, but I keep trying.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I found the house where it happened to me on Zillow. Because I searched up the address, it comes up on my email once a month with all 32 pictures. I take a tour, I look for more clues, proof that I have the memory right. Yup... I end up writing my T about it. In session she either says “I really wish you would stop doing that“ or asks if it’s “helping or hurting“—our mantra.” She knows I won’t stop, maybe the day I do is the day I know longer need therapy? I also, research scientific articles on memory, therapy, csa, rape... All of these trigger me, but I’m a huge “why?” person. I need to understand why. I’m starting to realize that there is no black and white answer here, but I keep trying.
Haven't you got to the point whereby your just sick of it and want to leave it behind?
 
Yeah I agree. And I think that can be done in different ways. For me I do, or have done it, in different ways. Either to validate my feelings that it didn't happen, or that it did but it didn't impact me, or to validate the feelings it left me with by acting the trauma out. I think.
It's complicated to explain. Or I'm no good at explaining or understanding it properly.
But, therapy helps!
Are you in therapy @bluedreamdaydream ?


I was in therapy when I met my ex but I never had the guts to tell her what was going on. She asked me if he was ever physically abusive and I said lied. He eventually forced me to stop meeting with her because he didn't like her. I really liked her as a therapist but I have be scared to reach out to her.
 
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