Triggers. For me, it starts with a knot in my stomach, followed by a blast of adrenaline, and then I can’t speak or move. It’s so weird when I have no clue what set it off. My boyfriend today is so patient. He can tell when I’ve shut down and uses encouraging words like ‘it’s safe now’ or ‘there’s no wrong answer to this question.’
Some of the things I went through are pretty traumatic and can come up at the WORST time. You know, totally killing the mood. But most of the time it’s easy normal things that I struggle with. My ex used to make me make decisions about what to eat for dinner, even though everything I would suggest was wrong and he’d put me down relentlessly. It was this twisted game where I would have to become a mind reader. Of the times I’ve been physically or sexually assaulted, it’s those mind games that trigger me most.
Today, I practice going through those triggers in a safe place with people I trust. When asked what I want to eat now, I’m slowly learning how to give my input without freezing. My boyfriend and I take turns making suggestions until we both agree. It’s still hard, but it’s getting better.
I’ve come to learn that the old saying about sticks and stones is wrong. For me, the physical and sexual abuse I’ve had in my life was almost easier to start healing from because it was so much clearer to spot, the psychological and emotional abuse is sometimes really hard to figure out, and only when I freeze do I realize how much names really do hurt me.