Complex Trauma Is A Tricky Thing

I hate the word triggered. I think it mostly has to do with rolling my eyes at most of the people and articles who use that word. There’s a preciousness that is implied. There’s a tone of victimizing. There’s a mandatory level of sensitivity because to them, they’re entitled to it. I think that’s what bugs me. The entitlement. Instead of caring, I find myself thinking, sit down. Sometimes shut up. Then I question my level of compassion.

But what happens when it is the definition of what’s been happening to me? Is the joke on me? My body remembers trauma better than my mind can place it. I get paralyzed from speaking rather than stronger for trying to. Sometimes it feels like something about me has been so damaged but it’s not visible. I only suspect this because I’ve been known to punish myself physically in the past for standing by my own convictions. Whether it was through self-harm or binge-eating until it showed and I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. My body understands punishment better than it does self-care.

It’s easy to internalize. To just keep sweeping and compacting everything inside. You can just pretend until you can’t pretend anymore. Because you don’t want to tell people the truth. You can barely tell it to yourself because you think it’s dumb. You’re dismissive of your own reaction to triggers.

Let’s get honest. You’re ashamed. You’re ashamed that you stood up for your own convictions and that has landed in you a shitty spot. Instead of being right back from it, you shut down as a person for almost two weeks. You’re anxious. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe. It gets harder every day to leave your house because there’s a fear in you. Sometimes, multiple times, you’ll wake up suddenly from your sleep. Like you would from a nightmare. Except you can’t remember what it is about. You hate yourself for these things. You don’t really want to talk to anyone about this so you ignore most of your phone calls and texts. Shit, you don’t even look at your phone because if you don’t see, you can’t answer.

Complex trauma is a tricky thing though.

There’s not one thing to pinpoint it to. You don’t even know how to express your own feelings about it. You’re fucking delicate when you don’t want to be. Sometimes it feels like you’re walking around with your hands tied behind your back and you’re walking around blindfolded. Eventually, the blindfold falls off and fuck me, you now see that you’ve been wandering around in a thick fog. Your hands are still tied but at least you can see. Maybe you can find something to try to cut them off against. You’re scared but you’re trying to be brave. You have resilience but you fight with the fact that you let yourself get in this position in the first place. Could you have helped it?

I’m starting to understand that thinking this way is not normal. It makes me feel like an outcast. Maybe it’s because of my underlining fear of rejection. Or my experiences with betrayal and abandonment. The shame gets real. The shame gets even more real when my body feels it before my mind can catch up with it. I can admit this freely through typing on a laptop. I’m in hiding. But to say these words to someone, in person, would result in a lump in my throat and if I can get past even that, a waterfall of tears. Years of gaslighting from those close to me have resulted in a broken trust in myself. I often question the validity of my own thoughts and feelings. I’m getting better at recognizing this though.

I don’t have the nerves to call a friend over to let me curl on their lap and have them stroke my hair. It’s another day in the dark but I’m getting better at talking about it.