Why do I purposely trigger myself?

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.

I know exactly what you mean and Im so glad you could put it into words. I thought I was the only one.

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.

I do the same thing with looking up articles. Its like I can't process that this happened to me without having a concrete answer as to why.

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.

Then, in my experience, that’s probably why... or at least a large part of why.


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.


I wasn't expecting so many people to have the same experience as me... I feel so alone as I don't know anyone else who has experienced anything like this and I don't have a therapist at the moment. But what your therapist said sounds like it could help me too. I have never thought of that when I get the urge. Im still learning little by little too.

I know realistically he has no power over me but I still feel so much fear because when I was with him I was constantly afraid.

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 ?

thank you so much for your reply and your wishes. you have no idea how much it helps to hear other people do this too.

It's very normal to do things that trigger you - especially if you know they will trigger you.

I still do it sometimes when I'm dysregulated. I don't really have a good idea why I do it. But you're not alone by a long shot.

Hearing that makes me feel so much better about it, I thought there was something wrong with me. Thank you for that :)
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I wasn't expecting so many people to have the same experience as me... I feel so alone as I don't know anyone else who has experienced anything like this and I don't have a therapist at the moment. But what your therapist said sounds like it could help me too. I have never thought of that when I get the urge. Im still learning little by little too.
I think that is the beauty of this forum. Shared experiences and shared understanding.

Do you think you would want to go back in to therapy?
 
I think that is the beauty of this forum. Shared experiences and shared understanding.

Do you think you would want to go back in to therapy?


I think I need to go back to therapy but its hard finding a new one because of the state of things right now and my mom has not been any help she has ignored my pleas to go back to therapy. I had a really good one who I loved and she was a big help with my PTSD but my ex forced me to stop meeting with her because he didn't like her and that I was spending too much time with her. Even though she was my therapist. I would like to reach out to her because I feel comfortable talking to her already and she knows my situation but I am hesitant because it has been so long.
 
I think therapists expect people to come back to them at other points in their lives, so however long it has been, that is ok? What's important is that she is someone you trust and feel you can work through these issues with her.

Hi a little update for you

I finally decided to contact my therapist today. Thank you so much for your advice, it gave me the motivation to contact her. :))
 
A

Alp

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.
I do literally the exact same thing. R rated movies trigger me, anything the bible calls ungodly triggers me. I'm on here because I just subjected myself to an ungodly entertainment source because I knew it would hurt and I knew I would be ashamed.
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
One of the houses I was terrorized in had an alarm. They used it to scare the shit out of me over and over again. I always knew something bad was going to happen when that alarm went off. I knew someone was in the house, I just didn't know where. Or what they were going to do to me. It was a big house.

It took me a long time to figure out that that alarm was why I used to pass out whenever a fire truck, ambulance, any type of siren was active. It was crippling because I was in a big enough city that the unexpectedness of the sirens screwed hugely with my quality of life.

Finally, one day, I decided I would sit down and figure it out. In order to do that I had to retrigger myself. Over and over again. What I came to was that the vehicles sirens' were triggering me because it sounded EXACTLY like the alarm. I didn't know that until then. Then, it all made a whole pile of sense to me.

I triggered myself to try to get my power back in a controlled way. It worked for me in this instance although it was a brutal process to go through. Never passed out again over the sound. I also realized that day that I blamed myself for putting in that alarm and giving them the tool to terrorize me. But then again, I thought, that alarm warned me. What would have happened if the alarm wasn't in the house? Shit.....I wouldn't have known they were in the house....and I felt like that would have been SO much worse.

So all of that stuff that I criticized about myself for putting the alarm in? I was wrong. There was great power in it, i just wasn't looking at it properly. I had convinced myself I was a f*cking victim who was an idiot. I think my brain kept at me because I was thinking about it wrongly.

Maybe that trigger is something you are feeling shame about that is not deserved. Maybe there is room there to convert the experience into your own personal power and your perspective is just some skewed. Idk, just a thought.
 

River_Witch

New Here
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.

THIS. ^^^

Triggering myself on purpose is a strategy I use to get my needs met. I tend to be self-critical about it (“Really, RiverWitch? This is how you want to proceed? Ffs...”), which is not helpful.

Right now I am practicing the art of noticing when I’m doing it and checking in on what I need emotionally.
 
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