When you suffer from betrayal trauma and/or PTSD it can be very overwhelming to be in public places. There could be a million different things that can cause triggers that send you into a downward spiral that is hard to get out of. For a better description of what it is like click here. Below is another tool I use when I am at home or in a public place.
When I am out in a public place I can and will get triggered by lots of things. There are over a million things that can trigger me I learned to be a “Passenger on a Train”. I visualize my train down to every little detail. It is good to get a good visualization of your train before you are in a public place. Make sure your train has a window you can open so you can hear the noises too. It is also important to smell the smells as you travel on this train. When you are getting triggered you can put yourself as a “Passenger on a Train”. Watch the trigger go by from right to left or left to right. Smell the smells, hear the noises and feel them go by as you travel on your train. The idea is to train your brain to take your triggers and process them in a way where you acknowledge them but do not let the feelings send you into that dreadful downward spiral.
The hardest part about this tool and other tools is to
remember you have them available. Make sure you keep a list of different tools
and exercises that work for you. This list should always be handy.
“You will never be the same, but you can be better.” -Lauren
One of the most difficult symptoms of betrayal P.T.S.D. and trauma are the triggers. Triggers can be physical or mental and can wreck havoc on your health. For a long time I had difficulty explaining what it was like having triggers day-in and day-out. Below is the best way I could describe it.
You can start by imagining yourself as a small lake, the beautiful sandy shores are the barrier you built to protect yourself. You have existed for a long time with nothing disturbing your waters and the shores, but the occasional wind and rain (kids, family, work, etc.) until the unexpected happened. A rare category 4 hurricane named Betrayal barreled through your waters and damaged your shoreline. Not only did Hurricane Betrayal spend a good amount of time breaking down your shores, it also broke down a rocky ledge 1000 ft above you. Within a day this ledge starts to crumble. The very first piece to fall from the ledge is a boulder the size of a Semi-Truck. This boulder disturbs your peace and safety over a period of a few days reminding you of the hurricane. The next boulder that falls into your water is the size of a pick-up truck. This boulder disturbs you for a day. The next boulder is the size of a compact car, you are disturbed a little less than the previous boulders but dislike how it reminds you of Hurricane Betrayal. You have these boulders sporadically crashing down for a few months. They vary in size. Every day you are unsure what type of rock is going to be falling into your water and what memories it will stir up. It could be any size at any given moment. This makes you worried, edgy, panicked, and nervous every minute of every single day. Every single pebble that comes down from that ledge reminds you of Hurricane Betrayal.
After 6 months of large boulders, rocks and pebbles disturbing your waters, you no longer identify as a lake, you are unsure what you are. You become highly sensitive to anything that touches your water or shoreline. The wind and rain (children, family, friends, finances, work) pick away at your shores little by little even if just a minuscule amount. Everything that touches your water leaves its mark on you. You are in constant fear of no longer being a lake, of a boulder completely crashing down into your water destroying all the shoreline you have left after Betrayal hit.
Years goes by, you are exposed to the wind and rain. The ledge letting boulders, rocks and pebbles go is something you accept being there. You are still a lake, like before. You have weathered through it all. You even made it through another hurricane. Some days you would have a boulder and tiny rocks land in your water. On other days the ledge would drop pebbles all day long. Gradually over time the ledge stopped dropping the boulders and only dropped pebbles and an occasional stone. Sometimes the stones would be significant and sometimes not. There was a week where you didn’t have anything fall into your water. The ledge you kept constant eye on no longer looks like a ledge. You can barely see where it was. You will always remember what that ledge looked like right after Hurricane Betrayal hit. You will not forget the damage Betrayal and that ledge did to you, but you might appreciate what it made you become.