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    flashbacks and present situations

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    sara44

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    flashbacks and present situations

    Post by sara44 on Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:00 am

    have been trying to discover the answer to a question i have had for quite some time...
    I understand quite a great deal about my flashbacks and what is going on within the brain during these times, however i find i stumble in my understanding of the following...

    I've read that a present situation can trigger the memory of past trauma and thoughts and feelings from that past come forward.

    an example: a medical situation that occurred in the present triggered memories of past trauma (ie. fear, helplessness, bad's going to happen thoughts and worst case scenarios ran in my mind.)

    I've read that grounding is important to do - to realize that what has happened is a trauma memory has been called up,

    ok, so i did this grounding, but then when i needed to deal with the medical issue i found that my thoughts and feelings were similar to the flashback thoughts and feelings (listed above).

    My difficulty lies in deciding whether a thought or feeling applies to the present situation or is simply part of the flashback.
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    wepnode

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by wepnode on Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:58 pm

    We are lucky to have a medical provider sensitive to these issues: https://womansafehealth.com/

    Scholarly Work:

    https://scholarworks.smith.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=2096&context=theses

    https://womansafehealthherstory.com/

    I'm not getting another colonoscopy without this level of support - if ever.




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    sara44

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    flashbacks and present situations

    Post by sara44 on Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:46 am

    your reply is sensitive and likely well intended, but i think my goal is to understand how to distinguish thoughts and feelings that are coming from the flashback from the present situation. For example - i was dealing with a bus company about some issues and i had expressed anger. After the meeting i was concerned that the bus company may respond by finding it simpler to quit providing service to my area than deal with the issue i brought up to them. My friend pointed out that she thought this was a flashback to my ex who wasn't a responsible individual. It did not occur to me that the thought i was having didn't apply to the present situation. It did not occur to me that the thought may be part of a flashbacks thoughts and feelings coming forward. It is difficult to distinguish which thoughts and feelings are from flashbacks and which are from present situations. See what I mean? So difficult to navigate - arrrghhh!!

    JamieB

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by JamieB on Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:16 am

    It’s a great question, massive grey area. Have you heard of ‘emotional reasoning’? Look it up it may help.

    To give my thoughts, I can detect a flashback by the tone of my mood. It’s not always easy and doesn’t occur immediately but if I notice my mood has become pervasively negative or my view is disproportionate in response to what’s going on I’m in a flashback. Check out Pete Walkers work, he talks a lot about it. If you know your trauma mode (4Fs) it may give clues as to what behaviours emerge whilst you’re in a flashback.

    Jamie

    JamieB

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by JamieB on Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:19 am

    From his website....


    Self-Assessment. Readers may find it informative to self-assess their own hierarchical use of the 4F responses. They can try to determine their dominant type and hybrid, and think about what percentage of their time is spent in each type of 4F activity. Finally, all 4Fs progressively recover from the multidimensional wounding of complex ptsd as mindfulness of learned trauma dynamics increases, as the critic shrinks, as dissociation decreases, as childhood losses are effectively grieved, as the healthy ego matures into a user-friendly manager of the psyche, as the life narrative becomes more egosyntonic, as emotional vulnerability creates authentic experiences of intimacy, and as "good enough" safe attachments are attained. Furthermore, it is also important to emphasize that recovery is not an all-or-none phenomenon, but rather a gradual one marked by decreasing frequency, intensity and duration of flashbacks.
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    sara44

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    flashbacks and present situations

    Post by sara44 on Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:40 am

    interesting contribution JamieB - regarding emotional reasoning... Emotional reasoning is a cognitive process by which a person concludes that his/her emotional reaction proves something is true, regardless of the observed evidence. I think i get stuck though when it's difficult to obtain "evidence" - ie. i'm not sure what the bus company actually has in mind - although after a time i may be able to determine it by their actions - in the meantime i'm stuck with these thoughts, unable to determine if they are from a flashback or "fit" the present situation. So very frustrating. If i could determine it was from a flashback then i could process it as such. (i will keep emotional reasoning in my toolbox however and thank you for that addition!)

    regarding the tone of ones mood as an indicator of a flashback: i agree that a flashback does have a particular "feel" to it - although there again i am aware that the thoughts and feelings could also fit the present situation. crazy making to be sure.


    JamieB

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by JamieB on Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:57 am

    I don’t know the details of the bus ordeal, but I just read over your post. It made me think about mindreading (pathological type) where (I may not nail this) a person attempts to determine why another party is acting a certain way and or what they will do and why. I am familiar enough with this, having done much of it in the past. It’s the type of behaviour where a person gets caught up speculating and usually catastrophizing (psych term) about what may be going on, a form of rampant pathological speculation.

    From my experience, the one doing it may be unassertive, and won’t outright ask so just speculates instead. Or, is so hypervigilant about the world , has to go into such depth of speculation in order to ensure they have thought of everything in order to prepare for the worst (get the upper hand). This is generally true if the person has a suspicion of everyone (generalises) or has a victim mindset. The suggestion the bus service may be cut off needs to be calibrated against other relevant worldly factors, things like will other people be affected and their reputation etc.

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    sara44

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    flashbacks and present situations

    Post by sara44 on Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:35 am

    yes, i tend to speculate worse case scenarios, and yes, hypervigilance is definitely at work. I agree I'm attempting to identify danger ahead of time in order to prevent it. I am assertive, but it's not something i'd like to put into the bus companies mind - ie. I was angry with you bus company, are you going to cut off providing rides to my area.

    I appreciate you offering the hypervigilant/mindreading/catastrophizing concept - it is a good perspective, it's an old coping device from living with my ex for many years who was very abusive.

    How did you overcome the hypervigilance, mindreading, catastrophizing?


    JamieB

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by JamieB on Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:40 am

    I spent years learning about it practicing my way out of it. I’m by no means free of any of it but much better. I highly recommend reading Pete walkers books.


    The problem is generally that these things have become habit. Because they are habit, they occur before conscious decision and therefore become the default. First you need to know what it is you’re looking for, then observe it. Only then can you consciously change it.

    For Example, he talks about armouring. It’s when the muscles particulalry in your upper torso , contract. You have to recognise your shoulders are around your ears before you can lower them. When you lower them, you can dissipate some of the tension.
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    sara44

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by sara44 on Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:47 am

    i am reading Pete's thriving cptsd book as we speak! Smile
    yes, they are definitely a long standing habit for me.
    it's super encouraging that you said it's before conscious decision, because i was thinking the thoughts i was having were possibly true about a present situation or maybe a flashback, but it rings true that they are automatic and consistently there so very very likely to be a subconscious line of activity.

    this is a good light to have on my confusing predicament. I'm simply running an age old script that gets triggered to run at the hint of danger. I've been keeping a trigger sheet so i watch my thoughts and feelings and therefore believe this sounds right.

    I'd be very interested to know of any things you've tried to change it.

    most appreciative for your writing here - you've really helped me get some good perspectives!

    JamieB

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by JamieB on Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:05 am

    Glad to help. In my experience, tracking and monitoring amplifies, sometimes with negative effect. What’s important though , crucial, is being able to detect when you’ve shifted (flashback, etc) once you are able to do this, the next most important thing to do is nothing.. yes nothing (pause, breathe, sit) .


    Often, knowing what triggers you isn’t that important as there’ll be a myriad of things and it’s not helpful. Knowing what to do when triggered is more important than knowing what caused the triggering (sometimes). I’m not saying cause isn’t important, I’m just saying focus on the what to do bit more.


    If you want the ultimate guide on how to tolerate anything uncomfortable read Michael singers untethered soul.

    The way out is through. For once you go through, you see the ‘thing’ isn’t what you thought it was. If you go around or away from, you never see the ‘thing’ for what it is... and it’s generally not what you thought it was... so going around or away from robs you of the insight.

    Think of it like this, what if every time you had anticipatory anxiety you avoided the thing anticipated. After a while, there is no worldly evidence the thing feared is anything but terrible.. that’s because there’s no counter evidence. The brains circutary is set up now to takes its own avoidance as the only evidence that the thing avoided surely is that trerrible. You need the alternate view to see otherwise, therefore, the only way out is ‘through’.


    When you go ‘through’, you observe and in doing so have to turn off all the mindreading, hypervigilance and speculating shit whilst you’re at it. Why? Because to observe properly and go through, you have to be in it and witness what’s ‘actually happening’ not what the flashback and or broken internal programming thinks is happening. That is all, it’s that simple, you just sit in the thing until it’s not really a thing anymore.

    Now, off to take some of my own advice lol.
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    sara44

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by sara44 on Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:32 am

    Wow! Thank you so much!! i will definitely check out "Untethered Soul".
    i agree the trigger sheet retriggers as i review it - it is, like you say, good for identification purposes, but after that, i do realize i avoid it - likely realize on some level it's retriggering.

    I've been doing some work with Carl Benedicts Mindfulness - detaching to observe the drama - and your statement....have to turn off all the mindreading, hypervigilance and speculating shit whilst you’re at it.....is my challenge for sure. HOW does one turn it off? detach from it? especially when it has been my protection from danger? I'd love to hear your thoughts on that when you have time.

    Here are some of Carls links...
    mindfulness: http://serenityonlinetherapy.com/mindfulness.htm

    his Mindfulness playlist: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynrcF44LEgA&list=PL_wjG-62KkusrRNsHeH_E0x9dux8c6eBp).

    Anxious thinking: (i love the reference on this page to the "knee jerk reactions of a wounded mind playing horrible terrifying movies in the mind" http://serenityonlinetherapy.com/pollyanna_depressive_anxious_realistic_thinking.htm





    JamieB

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by JamieB on Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:59 am

    Thank you for those links. I will check them out. In short, my answer to your Q how do you detach, read the untethered soul, it is literally the manual on it. You make a good point though, if it has protected you for some time it has a purposes so it shouldn’t be seen as needing to be demonised. It’s like that for a reason.

    Long answer, on how to detach. Detach is not the word I’ll use. I prefer “centred” when you are centred, you are in the one place that can maintain permanence with no effort. There is no doing anything, you just sit in witness consciousness and observe. You are not your thoughts or feelings. You are the one who experiences them. You are also the one who notices them. If this is true, then all that is required is to sit and notice.
    Whilst doing this, let go, relax. You need to observe relaxed because the idea is to let it pass. If it passes it is gone, it can only pass when you stay centred on “watching it” (it being the rampant dialogue of thoughts and feelings).

    There is an ancient concept of trapped and blocked energy repressed within the body , a repressed memory or pain arises and attempts to pass when it is triggered. This is the flashback, it’s not you going crazy it’s the energy trying to unblock. It is refered to in Sanskrit as a Samskara (you’ll have to check this- I’m going off the top of my head here). The resulting feeling is unease, fear, anxiety, depression etc, it’s a trauma anchor. When it arises, one clenches up to prepare what is thought to be needed based upon the pain response. OR one gets lost in the dialogue of shit thoughts. The irony though, in this process you block it further, it never gets out. You will need to read untethered soul to get this concept fully. One needs to watch it like it’s a movie, not be it or do it, but watch it.


    An example. You walk into a meeting room or room where others are gathered. You look down and hold a belief - I’m being judged - whatever it is. At that point, you have isolated the world (external) and gone full echo chamber (internal). You’ve lost the opportunity to release. You’re echo chamber (internal dialogue) feeds you a steady diet of bullshit the world cannot validate as true or false. So you walk away the same.

    Now , replay it, this time though, walk into the room. Stop, look around , look at everyone individually if you must. You have received extenal real world feedback that contradicts your echo chamber. The result? You’ll realise no one was looking at you, in this instant, you get calibrated and the samskara is gone.


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    sara44

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    flashbacks and present situations

    Post by sara44 on Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:49 am

    your descriptions of "how to detach" will be studied for sure - thank you for your loyalty in describing it to me.

    As i read i realized that I am the one who is not allowing the catastrophizing thoughts to pass, they stay strong - a defense against the threat (perceived or real).

    I know thoughts of worse case scenarioing are always triggered, but i feel uneasy just letting them go in case they are true about a present situation (like you mentioned - wanting to do what i can to get the upper hand.

    Since sometimes i can't know the outcome of a present situation it's not possible for me to say it's not a worse case scenario that will occur.

    this reasoning keeps me doing it.

    i wish i could relax into what Carl Benedict was saying - to just tell myself the catastrophizing thoughts are not true, but simply the knee jerk reactions of a wounded mind.

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    wepnode

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by wepnode on Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:48 am

    Having dark humor as a coping skill i used as a child - not Ghettos in Europe level, but when trying to make a decision, particularly between two people - Worst case can be freeing, and fun, if you go way out there, where it's not outside the box - It's, there IS NO BOX.   Exaggerating the consequences.   One can have a good laugh, and bring it back down to reality.  What's the worst case? Catastrophizing helps me.

    unhealed_heartsss

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by unhealed_heartsss on Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:17 pm

    I've found that mine have changed due to the sudden present stresser I'm under. I'll be in a hearing with ex over our child in a couple days. My primary refex as fawning to avoid the rage, but fight would mix in there occasionally, due to from past trauma. Now, that that this is all happening, I have the freeze. My cptsd hadn't manivested in that type of emotional flashback, but I don't believe any of the subconscious reflexes are exclusive from the other.
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    gray rock

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by gray rock on Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:47 am

    Great question!!! I asked Richard the same thing during an Instagram livestream. The only thing I could take from his answer was that a flashback a. It feels differently somatically & b. It’s cyclical, it has a pattern.
    I’m not sure if it’s intellectualizing on my part, but I don’t want to allow the feelings of a flashback to take me down their road, I’d rather recognize it for what it is & save my energy for current, property placed emotions. Maybe I’m doing it wrong? I’ve had a lot of practice with critically thinking about what I feel & why & how it’s trying to help, but I too have trouble differentiating a flashback from a warranted emotion. I’m hoping the longer I do the emo lit part of SIC the better I’ll be able to tell the difference. Thanks for your question!

    Sent from Topic'it App
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    sara44

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by sara44 on Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:47 am

    Thank you gray rock!
    Q1: is it possible to listen to that session with Richard?
    So pleased to find someone on the same page as I with this... present situation occurs, worse case scenario thoughts, terror ensuing, where do these thoughts source from? a flashback or the present situation?
    If it belongs to a flashback then i'd like to know so i can treat it as such. I agree with what you said... "I’d rather recognize it for what it is & save my energy for current, property placed emotions."
    there's gotta be literature out there on this (one would think) but i'm having trouble finding much
    Q2: what is the emo lit part of SIC?
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    gray rock

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by gray rock on Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:05 pm

    Pretty sure he doesn’t save his instagram lives, so there’s probably no record of him answering my question. If you’re catastophizing, that sounds more like a flashback to me. Unless you are in mortal danger, if you’re reacting as if you are, it’s not connected to the current situation. Does that sound right?
    For me it’s more about degrees. If I get super pissed about something, it’s hard to tell if the situation warrants it or if I’m misplacing my anger. Sometimes I can tell, like if my kid doesn’t do what he knows he’s supposed to do & I get mad, it’s a flashback if I’m feeling disrespected bc he’s not doing what I told him. Otherwise I can get frustrated while knowing he’s just a kid in the world learning how to be & he learns with me. I hope that makes sense ;p Emo lit= emotional literacy part of Richard’s Silence the Inner Critic course.
    Have you rest Pete Walker’s Complex PTSD From Surviving to Thriving? There are probably pointers in there about determining flashbacks from regular responses that I have forgotten.

    Sent from Topic'it App
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    sara44

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    Re: flashbacks and present situations

    Post by sara44 on Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:30 am

    thank you Gray Rock! i have found that a particular collection of thoughts will sometimes indicate i am flashing back - like you mentioned the disrespect feeling with your son.

    i have Pete Walker book but haven't gotten through it yet. I wonder if anyone knows if he has pointers about determining flashbacks from regular responses.


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