A SIA WSC Literature Committee
Working with Triggers & Emotional Relationship PTSD Issues:
How to Become Your Best Friend When Panic Overwhelms
(A Part of Chapter 1 “Of Victimage & Protection; The Many Traits & Coping Mechanisms Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors in Hope Heals: The SIA Gold Book)
To create text for the SIA Big Book, Hope Heals
The SIA WSC Literature Committee & Big Book Subcommittee is seeking your assistance in making our dream of an SIA Big Book come to life. To help with the creation of this text, we are conducting a series of discussions by experienced SIA members about various chapters in the book. You may listen in and participate in these discussions. Each discussion will be 2 ½ hours in length and non-speaker panel members are encouraged to participate during the last portion of the meeting. Additionally, all SIA members are encouraged to share their experience, strength and hope in written form with the committee.*
Date: Sunday, 3/03/13
4:00 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Eastern Time
1:00- 3:30 P.M. Pacific Time
To Participate: Dial 1-218-936-4700; then press 673296
* If you’d like to participate in a future WSC SIA Roundtable Discussion as a Speaker Panel Member, feel free to contact Becky (firstname.lastname@example.org)or John+ (email@example.com)
Topic Background & Questions
Panelists Will Address
Co-dependency & the Incest Survivor; Issues with Setting Safe Boundaries, Why Boundaries are Important & How to go About Setting Them
Emotional relationship PTSD or trauma responses come in many forms. An authority figure or boss looks at us the wrong way at work and suddenly we’re certain we’re about to be fired because we know that authority figures will always hurt and betray us. A person asks us out on a date and though we are attracted to the individual and long to have an intimate other to share our lives with, the thought of saying yes creates a sudden inner storm of panic because anyone we’ve ever allowed ourselves to get close to has always betrayed and abandoned us. After going to bed, we awaken in the middle of the night, sweating, certain that the room we are in is unsafe, once again a becoming a lost and terrified child as we do so many nights. These are but a few of the many forms emotional PTSD trauma triggers can take. We’re not hallucinating, as can happen with some forms of PTSD response. Rather, suppressed emotional responses from the past have become attached to our present tenses. Suddenly we’re responding like a terrified, grieving or shame-filled child. Adult awareness has disappeared. In the flash of a second, irritation can escalate into rage, mild sadness can become profound grief, or anxiety can suddenly shift into terror. Responses seem entirely out of proportion to present tense stimuli and as a consequence, at least at an emotional level, the present has become the past.
When survivors of childhood sexual abuse enter into recovery, the vast majority of us experience profound trauma triggers and emotional responses that seem completely out of proportion to current situations. Some of us experience profound shame at these responses. Some of us continually turn people, places and situations in the present into our abusers from the past. Others of us wonder if this means that recovery is not for us because we seem to be feeling worse, rather than better. In actuality, what is occurring is that we’re experiencing the triggered emotions that have always been a part of our response systemsundefinedit’s just that we’re finally allowing ourselves to feel what we were never allowed to feel when we were growing up. At first, it can quite difficult to experience the intense feelings associated with emotional PTSD trauma triggers, but in time and with the help of step work and the guidance of those who’ve come before us, we can learn to bring acceptance, understanding and compassion to these types of inevitable emotional responses. Patience and perseverance are required, but with time we can win free of letting these responses control our lives and experience a quality of life that we never dreamed could be possible.
Question List the Speaker’s Panel Will Address
Working with Triggers & Emotional Relationship PTSD
Issues: How to Become Your Best Friend When Panic
1. What is a PTSD trigger and what forms can PTSD trigger responses take?
2. How does doing survivor healing work open up triggers and suppressed emotions from the past?
3. What are one or two of the common PTSD triggers you experience and how do they affect you (shape your responses, decisions, actions, emotions/thoughts)?
4. What have the consequences of ignoring the PTSD trigger responses you experience?
5. How do you work with PTSD triggers/what are helpful methods for coping with trigger responses?
6. Why do trigger responses tend to attach to present tense situations and people and why is returning feelings and memories to their source an important part of working with trigger responses?
7. How do you work with triggered inner kids and/or other parts of self that are triggered?
8. How do you integrate PTSD trauma trigger work with your 12-step work? For instance, how do you apply 12 step concepts of powerlessness, admitting the effects of childhood abuse and unmanageability from step one, or treating yourself with respect, compassion and acceptance from step 6 to your recovery process with emotional trauma triggers?
Join Us In April for Our Next Gold Book Roundtable!
Sunday, April 7: Of Body & BrainundefinedHealing the Mind-Body Split:
Challenges & Solutions
Sunday, May 5: Anger: The Role of Owning & Expressing Anger in
Empowering the Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Sunday, June 2: WoundedundefinedAn Exploration of Two Issues: Covert Incest
& Problems for the Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivor
Created by Family Members that Were Not Sexual