I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

Managing Our Triggers (Part 4 of 8)

(This post comes from Gary Roe.)

"Once I know my triggers, how do I deal with them?"

When we're triggered, our reactions are automatic. We can’t stop reflex reactions, but we can learn to manage what happens next.

For example, I walk into a room filled with people I haven't met. I become self-conscious, because I feel as if everyone is staring at me.

What am I feeling and what just happened? I’m feeling nervous. I walked into a room where I didn’t know anyone. When have I felt this way before? When I entered a new environment. When was the first time I felt that way? I was about four years old at a department store with a female perpetrator. What happened the first time I felt that way? She knelt down beside me and said, "The world isn't a safe place. Stay close to me. I’ll protect you."

What was the trigger? Entering a place where I don’t know anyone. When I am triggered that way, I still hear my perpetrator’s message again. If I realize that, I can learn to see things from a different perspective. Being able to identify the trigger can derail the emotion train.

I don’t have to let my triggers rule and force me to relive my abuse. 
I can learn to unplug the "trigger train."

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