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 :)