The aftermath of being in a relationship with a narcissist is riddled with revisiting the trauma and retraumatization. You may be well aware you are experiencing these things or you may not know why you are feeling and reacting in the ways that you are.
You may react to things in a way that does not seem consistent with what is actually going on. This may be a reaction out of a traumatized brain to stimuli that is threatening to you, even if you don’t really know why.
Revisiting / reliving the traumatic events can be different for different people. Some people will be triggered by watching movies, seeing news articles or reading books about similar things that happened to them.
Someone who was traumatized by being constantly screamed at, belittled and called names may be triggered into a state of post traumatic stress by a tv show that shows a character screaming at and criticizing someone.
This kind of trigger is an obvious connection to the traumatic situation that the person endured. Watching the character being treated in the same way you were treated, brings up the past feelings of helplessness, shame and confusion. Your brain may flashback to a time when you were treated in a similar manner.
Flashbacks may include vivid, detailed memories of what happened or instead bring up the feelings without a clear picture. Sometimes the brain goes into a kind of shock that creates an amnesia effect.
You may have events or entire periods of time blacked out from your memory. They may come back over time, but I would never suggest pushing yourself to force the memory.
Anything that is an association to your trauma, can trigger a severe anxiety state, called post traumatic stress. It could be a song, a noise, an object, or a location. It can even be a type of situation. If you were repeatedly embarrassed and humiliated in a diner, then being in a diner at all (any diner) may bring feelings of extreme fear and discomfort.
You may never be able to eat in a diner again. That’s ok. There are plenty of other places to eat. You have to respond to your trauma with compassion and kindness.
Living with a traumatized brain requires mindfulness and compassion towards yourself. Be mindful of the things that trigger you, Be aware and allow your feelings to be. You may be able to do things, when you are further along in the healing process that you cannot do now. There is no need to retraumatize yourself by subjecting yourself to disturbing or anxiety provoking things.
Be kind to yourself. You deserve some kindness and acceptance.
Just Another Lovely Wounded Lady