The following is not meant in any way to diminish anyone else or their experience. It is to validate mine. I wrote this to try to figure out the pain and anguish behind a constant trigger and emotional flashback that I experience.
Triggers and emotional flashbacks are complicated. They are often not about anyone in the present being deliberately unkind. They can occur from what we perceive on an emotional level… something that triggers a past experience. The following is my internal turmoil and emotions from this particular ongoing trigger. I use “you” not necessarily in the present tense. These deep feelings come from others in my past that harmed me psychologically and physically that create these feelings now in the present. These are my internal emotions and struggle. If I had cried out for help in my life, I would have been laughed at. I felt very alone and trapped in my life with my trauma. And still do today.
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Whenever I feel as though my trauma is being minimized or compared to someone else, I get triggered and experience an emotional flashback. Unfortunately, this happens often. Whenever it does, I become filled with shame and frustration with myself over the emotional anguish and pain that I feel inside.
I don’t know if some of what causes me so much pain is that many women have evidence of what happened to them, the anguish they suffer. My sister had evidence of what happened to her. Women who are alcoholics, or drug addicts, or prostitutes, or tried to commit suicide have evidence of what happened to them.
The abortion my sister had, the baby she had, were both evidence that what happened to her was real. There are interventions, and clinics, and help for alcoholics and drug addicts for the pain they suffer. Their addictions are evidence of what happened to them.
I get that the logical conclusion for someone looking in from the outside is that somehow their suffering was greater. I don’t diminish any of it. They numbed the pain I live with in a way that allows others to validate them, to view the tragedy of what happened to them as severe.
They have the evidence others need to understand the severity of their trauma, something I don’t have. The fact that they do all of these things to numb the pain is not an indication of them suffering more. In many ways what they did was a cry out for help. Something I could not do. No one would have noticed anyway.
I am not saying they got to escape the pain, they really only prolonged the time until they would be forced to face it. I get that.
There are many ways to numb the pain. One way is to dissociate. I lived years of my life doing that. I still do it today. I put it off too until I couldn’t any longer, until it finally had me. I get that the prolonging of our pain doesn’t make it better. I get that it actually makes it worse. I get it. I am living it. But this too has no evidence for me that you can see.
I lived my life feeling invisible. These feelings make me feel invisible now.
There are many ways to not be present in your own life. Not all of them are visible. There are many we hide.
There is something in me that feels so misunderstood and alone. I feel as though I have fought with a bear and got shredded… as though I have lived inside of a lion’s den and was tortured every day. I went into captivity to hide my wounds… and no one sees or knows… I have no outward scars… they all remained inside of me…
So maybe I did all of this to myself. I don’t know. But I had nowhere that I felt safe. I lost everything and everyone. I couldn’t ask for help. I couldn’t tell anyone. Hell, I didn’t even know what was wrong with me.
There were no interventions, no clinics, no place to get clean, to find help. I had no outward evidence that would have even made someone notice enough to intervene and help me.
I get that this was not my fault in my head, but not in my heart.
I suffered, I am facing the pain that is too great to face. It has been a living hell. I get it, I get them. But I don’t get that no one seems to be able to see or feel or hear that I have not suffered any less. My life has been a nightmare.
I believed this pain was going to kill me, that I was going to die without connection or love in my life, without any help at all, without any outward evidence of the pain I suffer. I knew that what I went through was not real to anyone. And this has made it excruciatingly hard for it to be real to me. These triggers and flashbacks only reinforce these feelings that I am still invisible.
So whenever I feel minimized, whether deliberate or unintentionally, it hurts like hell. My soul feels crushed. My soul feels as though it is in a vise. The pain is excruciating. My pain feels denied.
Just because no one can see my scars, just because I wear them well, doesn’t mean I haven’t suffered beyond measure. You can call it strength, you can call it courage, you can call it whatever you want, whatever you see or feel inside of me. But I will tell you one thing, nothing that you conclude even begins to compare to the level of suffering I have experienced… the feelings of abandonment, of loss, of exile, of not belonging, of being unloved.
I felt everything every one of them felt and numbed themselves from. I stayed behind, I stayed and felt every last ounce of anguish… I felt it… I felt it all. I didn’t have an escape other than to dissociate for many reasons. Reasons you will never know.
I don’t have the evidence you need, but make no mistake about it… I do have the scars. I am sorry you can’t see them or feel them. But please don’t dismiss them just because I was forced to stay in ways that have no visible evidence for you to see.
Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe suicide or addiction were not an option for me. Contemplate that one!
Even prisoners and those held captive and those beaten have evidence for you of their pain and anguish that no one questions. Evidence everyone else will tell me how awful it was for them. I GET IT! I do!
But just because I don’t have the evidence you need to relate to my pain, does not make it less. I have lived in despair and with a sense of being soul-crushingly alone that no human being should ever have to live with. I am sure all of those people who have suffered that have the evidence you need have felt this too. But you can believe them, support them, even defend them to ME!
I feel shame for the fact that these things cause me so many triggers and emotional flashbacks. I hate that they make me feel such tremendous pain and anguish. I hate that rage rises up inside of me. That I feel guilt for feeling my own pain. I don’t minimize anyone’s pain. I just don’t get why, why in God’s name does anyone not get my pain.
My trauma has never been validated. It has been spit on and laughed at. I don’t have the evidence all of you are looking for. It seems not even my words or my poetry are taken seriously at times. None of this is just words for me. Poetry is all that I have had… all the evidence I will ever have… and it seems even that is not enough!
I am sorry I don’t have more horror to tell you than the horror of the trauma itself, that that is not enough. Maybe that is what triggers me… the fact that the horror of the trauma I have suffered is not enough! Maybe my soul is crying out inside, “My God, it is not enough… it is not enough… it will never be enough!
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And I don’t think I am alone in these feelings.