Notes From Kristen

I’m Triggered and Here’s What I Will Do About It

I hope everyone is well.  If you are in the United States, I hope you are having a great holiday today.

I write a lot about leaving your partner, why it’s so hard, and how it’s possible to overcome the relationship.  I also write about why narcissists and sociopaths do what they do because I think the two go hand-in-hand.  Understanding the latter helps bring about the former.  The more I’ve been able to understand that, the more I have been able to heal and the more I hope to be able to help others understand how and why I was finally able to break away.

Today, I want to write a special article because this is a “special” time for me.

There was a time when I thought my ex-boyfriend might kill me. I was isolated with him. He did all kinds of horrible things to me, things I didn’t know someone could do to another person. For reasons that I couldn’t explain in just a couple of sentences then and I can’t now, no one could help me. I know if you’re reading this and you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist or a psychopath, you probably understand what I’m talking about.

The best way to say it is that he waited until we were alone and then he made it so I had to endure his torture or have to endure worse if I didn’t. He punished me for finding out the truth about who he was and telling him I knew.

For a narcissist, that’s a hostile act and what it means is reflecting back a reality of ugliness and worthlessness–a less-than-perfect self.  And so he held up his own mirror and deflected all of that ugliness onto me so he didn’t have to feel it. He morphed into the person he had been behind my back right in front of my face, the unempathetic one who didn’t care about me and did whatever he wanted.

I had no idea anymore who he was anymore or what he might do. I was his prisoner, completely under his control and at the whims of his moods, which fluctuated greatly.

Because of there seemed to be no limits, because his hatred and hostility was so great, because he told me he was going to do everything he could to hurt me, because physical harm was not off-limits, I thought he might kill me. I felt a darkness from a person I have never felt before.

Some part of me left my body in order to survive. Things happened that I can still barely talk about, although I am starting to find words to explain. I thought he must want me alive, but also felt that he would not hesitate to kill me under the right circumstances. I sent my passwords and safe code to a couple of people from my phone. All I really told them was “just in case.”

If you’ve read my articles before, you’re probably aware that I’ve written about this in various places. I described a little about what it was like when the mask came off.  To highlight the cruelty of narcissists, I provided a text conversation we had during this time. In my last article, I wrote about the end of the time period where this was happening and the immediate aftermath where I tried to come to terms with what had happened and end things, and why it didn’t work.

This is a special time because it’s the “anniversary” of when this all of this happened.  The time period encompasses Memorial Day weekend followed by the week of my birthday soon after.  I was isolated with and tortured by him on my birthday.  In the survivor community, we know they have a way of ruining special days, don’t they?

It’s been three years and a lot has happened. I thought I was doing okay, but I saw an article that triggered me. It was about a woman whose boyfriend kept her a prisoner with a gun for two days until she convinced him to let them take her dog to the vet and gave them a note asking for help. I’m not sure it would have triggered me if this time period hadn’t been a sensitive one, but the combination of the two is giving me some issues.

In the spirit of being transparent, which is what I’ve always tried to do, I wanted to be open about the fact that sometimes I’m may not be as strong as I appear, but I’m going to try to take some action. I’ve learned a lot about self-care and therapeutic ways to stay grounded.

Also, in the spirit of transparency, I want to share what I’m going to try to do to take care of my self and keep a perspective on my thoughts and emotions right now.

1. I will remind myself that healing is not always linear. 

It’s okay to have a bad day or a couple of bad days.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not making progress. In fact, from what I have learned, this is normal. It will pass, just as it has before.

2. I will not suppress my emotions. 

I will not tell myself my emotions are wrong or bad, whatever they are, or pretend everything is okay. Whatever I feel at the moment, I’ll let it come and deal with it. Also, I won’t let anyone else tell me what I should be feeling about it or how strongly.

3. I will not let myself drown in the emotions. 

Although I will let myself feel the emotions, I will do my best not to let them overwhelm me. I will remind myself that I’m not a prisoner anymore, that it was in the past and can never happen again. I will use mindfulness and grounding exercises, when necessary.

4. I will not be silent about it.
For years, he either explicitly told me I couldn’t talk about it or conditioned me with his actions not to mention it. I will not pretend it didn’t happen. This is my life, forever part of me and I have a right to talk about it. That’s what this blog is for and I can also use journaling exercises. Also, if someone close to me asks me what’s going on, although I may use discretion in whether and how much to tell for other reasons, protection of him will not factor in.

5. I will not blame myself or let anyone else blame me either.  
There was nothing I could have done to make this relationship turn out any differently, and it isn’t productive to think so. Yet because I am letting all emotions come, I will not suppress the emotion and judge myself for it. Instead, I will consider why I keep wanting to blame myself and how it factors into the relationship. I will also stay away from anyone who makes victim-blaming statements during this time especially when I am vulnerable and struggling.

I’m still here. And I always will be.

 

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Kristen Milstead

Instagram: fairytaleshadows

4 thoughts on “I’m Triggered and Here’s What I Will Do About It

  1. I’m sorry you have had to go through this. Pleased to see you have done the hard work and made the hard decisions and that you have the courage to share with others. Thank you.

  2. Hi Kristen, because you mentioned allowing your emotions, I picked up something that may be there (or may not be there, but I project?). I want to share a really simple method that has helped me deal with my emotions for the past few years. It’s from The Sedona Method, and without getting really deep into it, the basis of it is to just get yourself grounded/focused. You think about the issue that is troubling you (allowing the upsetting emotions to just ‘be’), and you rate how intense it feels on a scale of 1-10. This helps in measuring changes in intensity after the exercise. Then breathing deeply, you ask yourself “Could I release my need to experience this issue? (as well all the feelings that go with it), I usually drop my resistance and say ‘Yes’. Then you ask yourself ‘Would I release my need to experience this issue?”, then “Yes”. Lastly you ask “When?”, I usually say “Now”. Of course, we can always answer ‘no’ if we are not ready, that’s our choice. But when I say Yes, I find the intensity diminishes. I then go thru it 2 more times. Many times after I’ve done it twice, I nearly forget what the issue was… until I remind myself ;D (I think this may be happening due to using this method for so long.) Anyway, I hope this can help you whenever you feel triggered. I applaud your continued healing and your courage and am forever thankful for you and your website.

    1. Hi Suzanne:

      I hope you are doing well. Thank you for sharing that. I have never heard of this particular method, but it’s a little similar to other things I have tried and like– sort of a combination, which makes it seem as if it might be really effective. I will definitely try it and thank you for taking the time to post it. -Kristen

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