Triggers

Triggers

Just for the sake of clarity, triggers are responses caused by a particular action or situation, like the war in Afghanistan.  Symptoms can include, panic attacks, abject fear, even feeling as though we are right back there in the situation.
​For survivors of child sexual abuse, they can be extreme and debilitating as we start to re-experience the unwanted feelings and fear we have worked so hard to overcome.

Last month, I was unexpectedly triggered and the timing could not have been worse.
I was live on air, confidently sharing my trauma with Ed, the host. The interview was going well I thought, until…. IT happened.
He asked if he could read from my book, and as he did, I begin feeling anxious, vulnerable and a bit shaky. My heart started racing, and I wanted to be anywhere but there. My breathing became shallow, and I almost wondered if my panic was obvious to the viewers. (My usual pattern with triggers is to dissociate or deflect with humour).
Every part of me was screaming ‘Stop it it’s horrible’ and ‘Get out of here’. But as I was live on air, I could not run away and the only option available to me, was to somehow pull it together, ignore that voice and stay with the interview.

Normally ignoring my inner voice is damaging, as it equates to ignoring the truth of who I am. As a child I had to repeatedly do that as I couldn’t escape traumatic situations. As an adult to knowingly do it felt damaging, considering I had spent years trying to reclaim the true self, the real me. However, I needed to stay doing that interview and chose an option that would work, or at least get me through to the end.
I carried on as though everything was fine!

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, it is virtually impossible to believe you have the power or autonomy to remove yourself from the situation, let alone allow yourself to feel what you need to. This in part emerges through the sense of powerlessness and unworthiness experiences of childhood abuse brings.
What I now know, as an adult is that I DO have the power, I do have the autonomy and I can remove myself from any situation where I feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
As a child I never did.

I have varying thoughts about being triggered, but now have another one to throw into the mix : Perhaps its also a gift, because it shows us what we went through, how wrong it was and simply put, we Aways knew it.
Be grateful fellow survivors, your true self never lets you down. Every single time you feel triggered is every single time you are vindicated, validated and believed. It is a sign to you from your Angels that you weren’t imagining what you went through – it happened and it happened to you.
You are brave and amazing and I am proud to stand alongside you.

What can help when you are being triggered:

  • Acknowledge it’s there
  • Do the 10/5/15 Breathing: In for 10, hold for 5, out for 15 seconds (3 times)
  • Get up and move, even if you need to leave the room (make an excuse)
  • Talk to yourself lovingly – acknowledge one thing you love about you: eg; compassionate
  • Talk to yourself as if you were your best friend (notice how easy it is to be loving)
  • Tell yourself you have this, the past is over, you are reclaiming the present
  • Do the 10/5/15 Breathing: In for 10, hold for 5, out for 15 seconds (3 times)

Trust yourself, believe in yourself, talk to people and just know you are never ever alone. There are many of us out there who understand exactly what being triggered feels like.

Love and light to all of you
Enjoy your week

Gloria Masters
Gloria Masters
[email protected]
2 Comments
  • Avatar
    Prue
    Posted at 11:44h, 01 December Reply

    Very insightful Gloria xx

  • Avatar
    Gail Bennett
    Posted at 07:13h, 02 December Reply

    Thank you Gloria, very true. Sending lots of love & sunshine.🥰

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