When I came about a term called Betrayal Trauma, and oh man are things coming together now. Im trying to grieve through normal memories mixed in with flashbacks...yes flashbacks...that can either cause fight (intense anger) or flight ( anxiety and the need to run)...
The good news is that you are no longer trauma blocking, which are "efforts to numb, block out, and overwhelm residual feelings due to trauma." There is a pattern here and you can get help with it- but first you have to recognize how trauma is re-worked as a compulsion. Once you familiarize yourself with these 8 compartmentalized stages, you'll understand yourself and find relief and subsequently, freedom from pain without getting to #9 which is finding a new person to traumatize you all over again.1. Trauma reaction-
Physiological and/or psychological alarm reactions from unresolved trauma experience. (Generally found in the aftermath of a BPD relationship once NC is established.)2. Trauma arousal-
Seeking/finding pleasure in the presence of extreme danger, violence, risk or shame. (Breaking no contact and reading emails or taking phone calls, etc.)3. Trauma pleasure-
seeking or finding pleasure and stimulation in the presence of extreme danger, violence, risk, or shame. It is a frequent outcome of trauma. (Allowing yourself to feel the intense "up" of passionate reconciliations, of breaking no contract only to crash and burn later. Associating with people who are dangerous to you.)4. Trauma blocking-
Efforts to numb, block out, and overwhelm residual feelings due to trauma. (Compulsive overeating; excessive sleeping; alcoholism;depressant drugs; satiation addictive responses. Numbing. Comforting.Relaxing. Anesthetizing. Anything to escape the uncomfortable feelings. High arousal? Something to calm the nerves. Slow down. Bad memories? Anything to obliterate the interior world. An analgesic fix to make it bearable.Some use alcohol. Some use drugs. Some do both. Compulsive eating creates comfort and drowsiness. Watching mind numbing TV wastes time but avoids reality. Excessive sleeping becomes like a butterfly in a cocoon, only there is no intention of coming out.)5. Trauma splitting-
Ignoring traumatic realities by â€śsplitting offâ€ť experience and not integrating into personality or daily life. (Avoiding reality through excessive daydreaming;compartmentalizing parts of self to reduce tension; fantasy addictive responses such as romance addiction or artistic or mystical preoccupation; living double life; extreme procrastination) 6. Trauma abstinence-
Compulsive deprivation which occurs especially around moments of success, high stress, shame or anxiety. (Success avoidance; self-neglect; underachieving.)7. Trauma shame-
Profound sense of unworthiness and self hatred rooted in traumatic experience. (Self hatred through suicidal ideation) 8. Trauma repetition-
Repeating behaviors and/or seeking situations or persons who recreate the trauma experience (Re-enactment; efforts to resolve unresolvable; obsessive compulsive disorder; repetition compulsions. Behaviors done instead of no contact.)9. A new Trauma bond-
Dysfunctional attachments that occur in the presence of danger, shame or exploitation.
The repetition to re-work these creates more trauma, so emotionally, the only way through (at first) is down in a shame spiral. Once you hit rock bottom- there is chrysalis and re-birth. Sorry to sound so self-help, but you're on your way, whether you feel like you making progress or not. You are- as long as you don't create a new trauma bond with another person #9 or try to block it out #4 or any of the rest of the list of maladaptive coping mechanisms that continue to traumatize.
As painful as it sounds, you are in the first stage of trauma reaction. This is good. Normally, you would swallow this up and hide it. You can't do that anymore. Now is the time to work through it.1. Trauma Reaction. Definition: Physiological and/or psychological alarm reactions from unresolved trauma experience.
Clinical Patterns: Flashbacks; intrusive thoughts; insomnia; triggered associations; troubling dreams; physical symptoms; hyper vigilance; living in extremes. Coping mechanisms would become overwhelmed to the extent that they do not function but the brain, body, and nervous system will adjust. They will acclimatize. So for survival they continue by burying the horrifying experiences into compartments in the brain. Later, sometimes many years later, the compartments start to leak.
You may re-experience the terror and at times with the same realism of the original experience. Therapists call this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. The stress of the trauma continues long after the actual traumatic event. Living in such reactivity takes a toll on the body. Some researchers make a strong case that the impact of trauma is encoded right down to a cellular level.
According to Patrick Carnes, the Clinical Strategies for Trauma Reactions are as follows:
â€˘Cognitive reframing of trauma experiences
â€˘Teach PTSD concepts
â€˘Implement relapse prevention and other skills
â€˘Stress management techniques
â€˘Developing meaning from victimization
â€˘Re-experiencing the trauma in a safe environment
â€˘Deep muscle relaxation
â€˘Thought stopping strategies
â€˘Diaries and self-monitoring