Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about triggers once again - this time we differentiate between two different kind of triggers and how to identify them and how they can be helpful.
This is an important topic, which was overlooked for FAR too long. So let us talk about it.
Last time - quite a long time ago - I only explained how we use triggers to find where our trauma cores are, but left out that there are different kind of triggers and you should handle them differently. They are from very different origins.
I recently realized that this was a blind spot I had failed to cover. When we talk about triggers, I would like to separate them by triggers of the open wound and triggers of the trauma core. Or emotions trigger and trauma trigger for short.
Though one could argue, that the trauma trigger is also an emotional one, but that is quite a bit of nitpicking. To repeat the basics so we are on the same page: A trigger is a reaction to something. As simple as that.
You smelling a burger might trigger your hunger for burgers. In the context of psychology, it means usually you have a reaction to something that you shouldn’t have. For example running away from a small spider. Not the usual reaction one would have.
Triggers usually refer to something that causes a strong emotional reaction from you. Maybe even going so far for you to disassociate, see things, relive memories or the like. This reaction is involuntarily.
Therefor many try to avoid them, which is generally not wise. We first get into the emotions trigger and then into the trauma trigger.
Emotions Trigger - Triggers of the open wound - how to identify and react
With the emotions trigger avoiding is honestly not the worst thing one can do. But how do we identify one? Well an emotions trigger is when your triggered response comes from an still open wound. You surely had a similar situation before.
When you lost and see the other team getting congratulated? It stings a bit, doesn’t it? Or seeing your ex after you broke up? There is this emotional hurt. I think everyone of you encountered it in one way or another.
And it also appears during your healing journey. Just in this case - after a new revelation. A PAINFUL, new revelation. Often about someone we trusted or held dear being responsible for something bad. That is a VERY hard pill to swallow.
If we want to go with the normal situation example than it is the realization of the betrayal of our partner via cheating. The realization of this new revelation leaves an open wound, which is really sensitive to touch and will cause an emotional response.
For it properly to heal you have to leave it alone - as in avoiding the topic for a bit - because if you keep poking it, it won’t heal. At least for a while. It IS important to regularly check in and see if the wounds has closed or is healing.
And if not one should investigate WHY. So to summarize: With an emotions trigger, it is wise to avoid if for a bit to give it time to heal and after a while see how things are now.
Trauma Trigger - Triggers of the trauma core - how to identify and react
Maybe it has turned into the second trigger, the trauma trigger. This is the trigger I originally referred to. This is the trigger most people associate with PTSD. The soldier hears a bang and he is back in the war zone.
The abuse victim hears a sentence the abuser always said and is getting a panic attack or the like. These are what most people associate with this trigger. While this is true, these examples are more on the extreme end of the spectrum.
A trauma trigger is an unusual response to anything in relation to the trigger core. That includes you getting stressed out because you are doing something - when that is something that REALLY shouldn’t stress you out the least.
Or you HAVE to do something in a specific way. Or you avoid something and never do it and you just don’t know why? Those are all trigger responses. Pretty far away what many associate with it. Of course there is also the known flashback and the like.
And all these trigger responses are extremely useful. They are a trail. This is the point where you - if you are stable enough - go after that trail by keep asking why. Why do I respond like this? Why did I just do that? Why is that such a loaded topic?
It can lead you to both an known AND unknown trigger core. You can also remove the trigger by following the trail with why questions. Remember: Facts don’t matter. Just emotions and feelings are relevant in this scenario.
But that is a topic we will pick up another time. For now that covers these two triggers.
That was it for todays episode, I hope you found it helpful. Hope you are safe and well. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at email@example.com.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/Podcast, information regarding therapy you can find under johannadraconis.com/Therapy and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.