27th March 2016 at 9:28 pm #12371
Hi I’m new to the forum,
I was having a great time at a party and someone told me that I reminded them of a girl who turned out to be my abusers new girl friend straight away I felt sick and walked away crying almost having some sort of panic attack, I left him ages ago even though it was difficult I know it’s the right thing I don’t love or miss him but now i still can’t move forward with these feelings that just come out of nowhere and last for ages, anyone experienced anything like this or have any tips on how to help yourself? It’s difficult taking to friends because they don’t fully understand xx
27th March 2016 at 9:35 pm #12372KIP.Participant
Hello there, did you manage to have councelling? I think your brain doesn’t know how to process these feelings so it’s confused and you panic. You need to talk it through with a councellor or even your local women’s aid. I’m not at all surprised this is a trigger. Even though Im out of the abusive relationship, anything to do with my abuser causes some sort of trigger. Some worse than other. I’ve cut almost everyone from my life that’s involved in his life. No real loss to me but keeps my sanity.
27th March 2016 at 9:53 pm #12374
thanks for the reply
I’ve already had one lot of counselling for 18 sessions, and taking anti depressants and I’m now doing cbt but not really sure if it’s going to work. As soon as this happens I can’t even talk about it until a few days afterwards as I feel so panicked that I get a sort of block, I will see how the cbt works I’ve only had a few sessions so far so hopefully it will work xx
27th March 2016 at 10:24 pm #12376LilycatParticipant
Welcome to the forum:). I’m Lilycat and I’m a newbie, too.
My empathies. I have this situation quite a lot- things trigger anxiety and panic attacks. I have ‘known’ triggers and surprise ones appearing monthly; the latter just come up and bite me in the bum! Ouch!
I haven’t got things sorted by any means, but I will share some ideas that help me, hoping that they might help and support you in some way…
New Treats and New Routines
Since walking out of a very abusive situation, I have explored new places and interests, finding things that make me feel happy and calm, and which are a complete departure form my old life. These help me to build a new life for myself.
I now have a few restaurants that my ex and his (also abusive) adult child would never visit, so these have become safe spaces in which to relax. I have also taken up skateboarding, which is far too dangerous and too ‘street’ for either to touch with a bargepole, so they won’t come near me (…well, if they do I can accelerate and wheel myself away!).
Sounds and Sights
If you have an iPod or smartphone, try to collect sounds, pictures and music that make you feel happy. When I am triggered, I reach for my iPod and put on music that I liked before I met my abusers or that I discovered after I left them. I have photos of my family and best friends on my device, too. ‘Friendly’ sounds and sights help me to reduce my anxiety.
Look back on scents that have made you feel happy and/ or reassured and if they are fragrances, keep them in your handbag or backpack to sniff.
Alternatively, if you are having an especially confident and happy day, buy a hand cream or perfume and take a good breath inwards savouring the smell. Smells are very evocative. For a long time (removed by moderator) made me nervous and dissociative, because it was the incense scent that my abusive stepchild burned. Sandalwood, coco bean and green tea, on the other hand, make me feel reassured, because these remind me of my best friends.
Permission to Feel Scared
I am still trying to get this one sorted in my own mind and I am getting better at it, with positive effects. But I have discovered the healing effect in allowing myself to feel vulnerable and scared, and I now understand that fear an panic are ‘a natural response to the unnatural and inhumane situation of abuse’ as my therapist calls it.
As tough and upsetting as a panic attack may be, think of it as your mind’s way of squeezing out bad stuff, bit by bit. Every event of panic and anxiety is just one more bit of darkness squeezed out of your system. Every day that progresses is one day onwards with less of the hurt of abuse.
‘Calling Time’ on Conversations
If conversations or situations are especially triggering, remember that it is okay to excuse yourself from them. Even if people do not understand exactly how you feel, I don’t think it would be unreasonable for them to understand that it is not right to talk about your ex. ‘Calling time’ may sound unreasonable, but it is not, especially in the context of what happened to you. You don’t have to apologise for your anxiety or give people a detailed summary of the abuse. I polite but firm: ‘Please, this is not a good topic- may we move on?’ should do it.
I guess these things won’t help everyone, but I hope that they help a little.
Look after yourself and be well… You have this lovely community of wonderful ladies here, in the forum, who have all experienced fear and self-doubt, but are all gaining in strength day by day- just like you. You’re not alone.
27th March 2016 at 10:28 pm #12378LilycatParticipant
Sorry about the typos in the text above. I am pretty tired and wanted to visit the forum before drifting off into zzzz!
28th March 2016 at 12:39 am #12384
Thank you for your detailed message it has definitely given me things to think about and try and help me to move forward, I think one of the hardest things it’s just having the energy to actually do something that makes you feel happy or in a safer place because once you get into the place of panic it’s so hard to move get out.
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