For those who have seen the dark side of life just the mere hint at a previous dark time can throw them over the edge. We know our limits and what edge’s we must avoid through pure trial and error. From my experience simple things can set off a flashback attack, or a period where I just withdraw from the whole conversation and disappear into my own world.
Getting to know those limits though and those edge’s where we tend to fall off temporarily is not an easy journey, it is often a scary and dangerous one. Often people don’t venture there, they avoid dealing with it or accepting that they are there. One can not blame those that can’t though for it is a tormenting process.
For me, I didn’t even realise that I had limits or edges. I would withdraw from conversations and disappear into my own world not knowing that I was doing it, I would just disappear from the living world for a couple of minutes and be none the wiser. It was only after a while that people would comment with the fact that I would be all bubbly, my normal self, only to go suddenly deathly silent as if there was a vacant space situated between my two ears. These distances as I call them would happen when disciplining children, abuse, hitting or fighting came up, those were my triggers.
But it is not only the conversations that can bring it all back to one but rather also other peoples actions. One goes through a period of healing, when we relive all the bad stuff in the past in order to deal with it, accept it and move one but one never fully realises that it will be with you for the rest of your life. Those survival instincts learnt all those years ago never really die, they become apart of you and make you act with out thinking in the situations that I call triggers. This said, once recognised we can learn copying mechanisms to deal with it, we learn what our limits are and what edges that we can fall off to avoid.
I have spent many years working through my colourful past, dealing with the demons that lurked there and the damage ensued, I thought that I had gotten to a place where I had “moved on”. I found out today that this is in fact not the case, that I still have much to work on before it could be fully put to rest. This said, I must admit it is easier for me now that I know those limits, I now know how to deal with it, what I can’t handle and I move out of that zone physically rather than mentally.
I am currently staying with a couple during my transition phase before I move overseas and the male in the relationship is a very aggressive one both verbally and physically. He has never hit anyone in front of me but rather throws things against walls when they don’t work, swears like you wouldn’t believe and shouts like there’s no tomorrow. He swears, shouts and threatens the child in the house using words I have heard so many times. All the triggers went off today, little sparks of rememberence and the fear I once felt. For those who have had the taste of a flashback it can take over the whole living body, smells, tasts, touch and feelings become full techni-colour. For 4 days now I have held out, held strong and not reacted, closed myself off in a sense from his abusive nature. For a while it worked and I was so proud of myself but today I crumbled and yet not as badly as I thought I would! As he started shouting and telling the child that he was going to fuck him up and that he was a cunt I could feel the shakes start to flow throughout my body like a river with increasing force. For once I managed to slow it down, to have clarity and to get my arse up and out of the house. As I started to feel it hit me I grabbed my mp3 and made a run for it.
To me it is strange how we can sit here and feel that we have made no progress in our lives, that the dark moments will haunt us for the rest of our lives. This in fact is not the case, we do assess the situation, the past and how we felt, what was done to us and what we really did deserve (nothing). I never thought for one minute I would be able to get to a place where I could recognise the triggers before they took shape fully, before I had a flash back attack or zoned out and yet here I am 4 days later surviving, I managed to see it before it happened and reacted.
So the facts remain that no matter what has happened in your life, the damage done on the soul or the survival mechanisms that we have learnt – if we recognise it and accept it we can grow stronger than ever before. We learn what we can handle and what we can’t and we decide what is good for us and what is not, we are the ones with the power to decide now, we are the ones that look after ourselves. There is always hope within the darkness, the light comes from within us. Never give up!
… yet another ramble by a fried wondering soul…