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#462491 - 03/13/14 07:01 AM Unexpectantly Triggered
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
I spent alot of time with my T this week talking about a bad experience I had at my job, as a nurse in a mental health practice. Twice a week we have staff meetings to discuss cases. A female therapist sitting next to me began talking about a female client who has a history of make poor choices in male partners. Currently this client is living with a convicted sex offender, and having her child in the home with them. Because therapists are mandated reporters for situations putting minors at risk, she was preparing to make a report to the state. I was mildly uncomfortable with the general subject, but okay. Then she began describing some of the grooming behavior she has observed going on with them, and the mother's apparent unwillingness to see what was happening. I felt my body tense, fists clench, face flush, and began to tremble. I should have gotten out of there but I was afraid that would make a scene. At the same time I worried that the others in the rioom would notice the state I was in and guess what was going on inside me, and why. I felt vulnerable and trapped.

My T helped me understand that I was being triggered by the case story, but the bulk of my anxiety was out of the fear of being exposed to my co-workers. It was that old standard that what happened to me at 13 must be kept a secret at all costs. To be exposed is to be shamed, humiliated, even hated. To know people are thinking, "He didn't fight it, didn't tell, he must've wanted it... what a dirty boy". And to have a room full of therapists know, and have them thinking that I am unstable, and not able to do my job because of my past.

I made it through the meeting, went back to my office, locked the door, put my head down on my desk, and cried. Cried that after all these years, this boy inside me is still trying to hide it. Still afraid of being exposed as the "dirty boy", the dirty boy no one would ever want or love. Soiled, contaminated, ruined for life.

I get it now. I am not ashamed. Not afraid. I may even disclose to my coworkers. What the hell do I care what anybody thinks anyways? I carry that boy inside a safe place. No one will hurt him again.
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#462492 - 03/13/14 07:10 AM Re: Unexpectantly Triggered [Re: Jude]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Hi Jude,

I have also found myself in severely triggering situations in the past, situations where I have been forced to walk through my own personal terrors. I would have never willingly made those choices, but the effects were always walking through old trauma and releasing it. Doesn't mean the events weren't traumatic for me though. Sounds like this WAS scary, but a growth opportunity.

Sending you love and good will.

Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#462504 - 03/13/14 12:58 PM Re: Unexpectantly Triggered [Re: Jude]
genedebs Offline

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 321
Loc: MO
Dear Jude,

I am glad you gained perspective. It is not often that I am triggered anymore. However, in a variety of settings, working with consumers of mental health services I was triggered for months, on a weekly basis.

I am now disabled and no longer face work situations.

While it easy to say who cares what other people think, there are those who are judgemental and some of them have power. Blind trust is dangerous.

May the Lord Bless you and Keep you and grant you peace.

#462509 - 03/13/14 01:45 PM Re: Unexpectantly Triggered [Re: Jude]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4181
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
Jude - how i understand this post!

it was such a scenario as you described that first caused my memories to erupt out of darkness into murky twilight and finally into unequivocal daylight. but as a teacher, i was attending mandatory group seminars on child protection and safety, bullying, and abuse prevention, detection and intervention. it was agony - but also what drove me eventually to seek help and start recovery. like don says - sort of the "no pain, no gain" cliche cone true.

the best part of your post - that you should carve in stone on your wall is this:

Originally Posted By: Jude
I get it now. I am not ashamed. Not afraid. I may even disclose to my coworkers. What the hell do I care what anybody thinks anyways? I carry that boy inside a safe place. No one will hurt him again.

that, my friend, is true growth!!!
you are a hero.

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, ā€œViolence!ā€ but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#462515 - 03/13/14 02:27 PM Re: Unexpectantly Triggered [Re: Jude]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3712

I understand what you are saying. Hiding the past becomes tiring and overwhelming. It is the shame we carry because we have kept it a secret for a lifetime. Your therapist has good insights. I find since I have gone public with the abuse, I am not triggered when discussions arise relating to CSA or sex offenders. I know longer am looking over my shoulder, do they know, will they find out I am damaged because of what happened decades ago. So my mind does not start spinning as it used to do. I have triggers but they do not overwhelm me.

I am glad you are having thoughts of telling your story. In you line of work, hearing or witnessing the effects of abuse are greater than most in their daily lives. And I have to admit, I have met some wonderful nurses. One time when I was hospitalized for dissociative fugue and when I came out of the fugue I spoke with a young nurse, who graduated from my university about the same time as one of my children. She had such a wonderful understanding of fugues, dissociation and trauma. I was proud a young nurse had such compassion and understanding. She told me her studies covered these situations and working in the emergency room she needed to learn about trauma. I remember her well. I also have heard some nurses and doctors, but they are the minority but can wreak havoc and damages to survivors and others trying to cope with CSA, speak who do not have a clue and were downright ignorant about CSA but cannot accept they know little about it--but then like the priest these nurses do not represent the good and kind people of the profession--who are there to help and not destroy. I sense you are in a good environment with people who understand abuse and the effects of abuse. I hope if you do tell, you feel safe and the response is what I received from the young nurse in the hospital and many other medical professionals in the neurology and psychiatry departments.

I wish you well, and I hope if you share you begin to experience fewer triggers because you have nothing to hide.



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