Choose In Podcast with Roxanne Kennedy Granata
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November 22, 2021

Episode 63: Tips to Navigate Trauma Response and Triggers (part 3 mini series)

Life changes when we suffer from trauma and triggers. It’s hard to go places we used to go, do things we once loved, and participate in activities that we once didn’t think twice about. We want our life back. As we are healing, those triggers show up and can take over. Being prepared ahead of time can help us stay clear and grounded and begin the process of taking back our life. There is hope to be able to be free again and live life to the fullest. It takes time and effort but it is possible. Tips for navigating holiday travel in this episode.


Welcome back to the Choose in Podcast. I'm your host, Roxanne Granada and we are doing our part three of our mini episodes. And today's subject is going to be on navigating the triggers that come that don't seem to go away or that come up every once in a while we don't know what to do with them. When we are at the beginning of trauma, probably our for sure first year, and maybe even longer if we haven't found the right healing up until that point.

But it can rob us of so much of our life, I have gone through so many different things where I'm at the store, and I have to leave and I'm crying in my car, I have to leave my cart in the grocery store, I have to leave the gym. At times, I've had to even driving down the street and seeing people I've had a panic attack based on triggers. And as time goes on, and as healing happens, this rarely happens anymore. But in the moments in the middle of it when we are in that severe, anxious place. It is devastating. And it feels paralyzing.

And it feels like we're never going to get our life back. First, I just want to say if you keep doing your healing, you are going to be okay. And the triggers are going to lessen. And they're going to happen like barely ever. And when they do, they will shock you, but you'll be able to get through them. And you're going to be fine. There really is hope that you can live a normal life again, I felt like I was robbed of going to the pool to the beach, to the gym, to the store anywhere in public where there's going to be a lot of people anywhere in the summertime when nobody was going to be wearing any clothes.

Because I truly believed that that was the threat. I believed that the less clothes there were, the more threatening it was. But with dealing with someone who struggles with addiction, or pornography or infidelity, what we have learned about sex addiction is it is not a about the sex, it's about connection. And that doesn't mean that your partner can't connect with you because you don't know how to do it, you don't know how to connect, right?

That's not it. It's a connection disorder in a different type of way, where at some point in their life, they turn to a drug of choice. It happened to be pornography possibly could be alcohol, or drugs or gaming. But whatever it was, it took it away from you. And now you have these traumas and triggers. If your partner ended up cheating, or using pornography or anything like that you have these triggers surrounding these public places.

Now with alcohol and drugs and other things, it's going to be different. But today we're going to be talking about more of the triggers and trauma that come because of pornography addiction. First, I want you to know there is nothing wrong with you. You have been severely harmed, and you're just doing the best you can to make sense of it. Yes, it's terrible. And it's hard because anywhere you go, you feel like okay, I can't stay here, I gotta I gotta get out of here, I gotta go home. You want to be in your safe cocoon of your your own space where nothing harmful can happen to you. That is totally common and understandable.

Because why would we want to be somewhere where there's a threat where we feel like we can't do this, I just want to help you remember that even though the threat feels real. A lot of times in those moments, it's not it's that our bodies remembering that we were so shocked and hurt that we are not going to allow that to happen anymore. It also when we're in a place like that, that's kind of a public place. And we have these external triggers. We will our mind our nervous system will want to take it to the extreme.

Because again, the fear and the panic that we may be hurt like we were the last time and so our body is trying to protect us, even though it doesn't feel like it. It is it's trying to in our on our nervous system can't handle everything that's happening. And so we end up with a trigger or a trauma response that can look different for many people. The way mine looked was my entire body would start shaking. My legs were uncontrollably shaking. I could not. I couldn't get them to hold still.

And I would have to just let them run its course my voice would shake when I would try to talk everything thing was just on edge and I couldn't really function. When this happens to you just remember to offer yourself love and empathy. You don't need to worry that you shouldn't be feeling that way. You don't need to judge yourself and shame yourself like, oh my goodness, I need to stop this and try to pressure yourself into stopping, just relax, lay down, get your blanket, try to talk things out. If you can, if you have a supportive spouse, you can try to talk things out.

Otherwise, you can just say to yourself, Okay, I'm having a trauma response, I understand what this is, I need to take care of myself, I am deserving of feeling this pain. It's okay that I am, I don't need to be any different. Sometimes we think we need to be different. When we have a supportive spouse, someone who's choosing recovery, they will be doing their healing work too. And they can talk to their counselor about these things. And they can learn how to support you and help you and show you that you are loved in this moment. Because the reason you're going through that is because of what they've done. They cause this pain, they cause this accident to happen to you.

If you had been in an accident, and been really severely hurt, they would not tell you to get over it and nobody would expect you to the hardest part about the triggers that come with something like this is usually people around you don't know that it happened to you. Where if you were in an accident, most people would. And so sometimes the shame can be big, and we want to act functional, we want to go to the family party and be functional and be happy and be happy to be around everybody. But we can hardly stand it. That is normal. And you are okay.

And you have to remember that it's going to take you time. And as your spouse or partner decides to choose recovery, they can be supportive to you and say things like I am so sorry, absolutely, we'll leave right now, of course, we don't want to go to that thing. I understand that that is triggering. Let's go I'm here for you. I'm so sorry, I hurt you. If you do not have a partner that does that you need to continue your healing so that you create a clear mind and patterns in your brain so that you will know how to make healthy decisions.

So that you'll recognize what you need in your life. In a partnership in a relationship, someone that is healthy, that treats you right that cares for you that loves you, you are deserving of that. And you are not deserving of being treated badly. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time, if both of you are choosing recovery and healing, it might take time to undo old patterns. But as long as both of you are working, and there is no abuse in the relationship. And I know that that is like very broad, because abuse is name calling, and gaslighting and blame shifting and all those things.

It's important that if you have gone through trauma like this, that you do have a counselor and that your spouse does as well. That way you guys can both be healing and you can kind of be on that road together. And you can see together if you guys are both going to choose it or not. But as you do, you're going to get better, you're going to heal. And so these triggers and trauma responses will get less and less the more you heal. But what I want to do is give you a couple of tools and tips that we have talked about before, but we're gonna bring them down into this mini episode so that you can go back and find them if you need to, so that you can remember.

So when we're in all of that trauma, and the trauma response happens, don't try to do anything in the moment, just let it ride out. You can't stop it once it goes fully in there. So you might as well just love yourself through it. And then they'll start getting less and less. If you catch it before, if you start feeling triggered that you have to go somewhere. This is where you can, you can do some of these tools, you can write out phrases like I'm going to be going to this place I feel triggered by it because of the story that I'm telling myself in my head.

The story is that I'm fearing that there's going to be somebody there that triggers my husband into thinking sexual thoughts about that person that makes me feel scared. This is what I'm going to do when I go to that place, I am going to concentrate on what it is I'm there for I am there because and whatever the situation is, whether it's grocery shopping, whether it's taking your kids to an event, you're going to consciously concentrate on what it is you are there for. So when you pre plan, I'm going to be here to do this.

It helps your mind stay focused, and not get distracted by what's around you to then spin off in stories that aren't necessarily even true. So you're going to state to yourself, I'm going to go there and be completely present and this is what I'm going there for. And as soon as I'm done with that I'm going to come home. You're also going to tell yourself if at any time time I feel overly triggered, or feeling like I cannot do this, I am going to remove myself, I'm going to tell my family, I'm so sorry, I am not feeling very well, I'm not doing very well, I need to go home.

You can take care of you in these situations, it's totally okay. And again, when that happens, just know you've been in a severe accident and you are allowed to go home, you are allowed to not be in that situation that causes you trauma, and triggers. The other thing that you can do is plan ahead with how you're going to react and respond, if you have to do something The holidays are coming up. And that is a stressful time when we've gone through trauma.

And sometimes even if we haven't, our family members sometimes don't have boundaries, it is stressful to go different places or be at other people's houses or be out of town for a long period of time. And so make sure you kind of have your toolbox. And that if you are in a healthy relationship that they do as well. So if you are married to somebody who struggles with addiction, they can have their own toolbox that has the things in it that it's going to keep their mind present and doing the things they're

supposed to do, they can work on that with their counselor, your toolbox would be something like making sure you have space to go to if you need to make sure that you have a specific room that yours if you're with a whole bunch of family members in a house together that you can leave to it, make sure that if you are not going to stay at a house that you have a car with you so that you can leave at any time to go back to your hotel, hey, you know what, I'm just going to leave, I'm going to go take care of myself, I need to go now, make sure you you do the things that would feel good to you. If you need to go out and step out and go for a walk if you need to miss one of the activities for that holiday time.

Totally okay, because you're gonna do what you need to do. Now again, remember, if it was an accident, and you had a headache, or your limbs hurt because they had been broken. In this accident, nobody would say anything or care if you did not go to the movies or you didn't go with the family ice skating or whatever it is. Because they don't know probably what you're going through, it's trickier because they're looking at you like something's wrong with you.

Your job is to worry about you and take care of you. Nobody else is going to because they don't know. And even if they did if they're not healthy, or if they're fearful that Oh, no, now these two are going to get divorced. If they have any fear like that, they're not going to give you good advice anyway. And so you're going to stand strong in your own space of knowing what you need. Because when you take care of you, the whole thing works out better. These ways to help you manage and navigate through stressful situations.

It's just a couple tips and tools that will at least get you from one place to the other during times where you don't think you can, if you need to go to the grocery store, you can practice what we talked about before, if you're going out of town, practice this thing that we just said, these are good things for you to remember because you are valuable, and you're important, and you deserve to feel okay, and not be so full of anxiety that you can't function. Trauma does that to you. And I promise you, as you keep doing your healing work, the trauma will get less and less, the triggers will be less and less you will get your life back.

As you do your healing, you can take back the things that you can't do anymore. I took back, going to the pool and the gym, and to the grocery store and to target and to anywhere really I took it back every once in a while I'll get a trigger from it. And I will have to do my tools again. But for the majority of the time, I own my life again and I want you to be able to own yours too. I don't want you to be robbed of anything more. This happened but it doesn't have to stay like this forever. So keep choosing into you keep doing your healing work. Reach out if you need to, and use these tools that I've mentioned today. So glad you were here. I will see you next time.

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