Do you know your triggers? Do you know how to control them? Do you recognize when your actions are based on a past trauma?
Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives.
The four trauma responses most commonly recognized are fight, flight, freeze, fawn, sometimes called the 4 Fs of trauma. Today we will talk about fight.
Fight - it's an active self-preservation function where one moves reactively toward conflict with anger and aggression. It's the "I'm going to get you before you get me" attitude.
Take a moment and answer these questions. Put up 5 fingers.
Put a finger down if more often than not you feel like you're about to explode.
Put a finger down if more often than not you feel like you're right and everybody else is wrong.
Put a finger down if you find it hard to control your anger.
Put a finger down if you've ever broken something because you were mad (your stuff or someone else's stuff).
Put a finger down if you use your silence as a punishment?
If you have more than 2 fingers down, you might be experiencing a fight trauma response.
A fight trauma response is when we believe that if we are able to maintain power over a perceived threat, we will gain control. This can look like physical fights, yelling, throwing things, and property destruction.
I say perceived threats because our brain has muscle memory. Our perception is molded by our experiences. We have to recognize, process and retrain our thought patterns to find a better way to respond. A perceived threat can look like someone questioning your opinion or authority. Someone can be giving constructive criticism, but you perceive it as a threat and/or being in a situation where you feel overwhelmed.
Do you know what triggers you? In order to heal you must first recognize your triggers.
One of the most common and harmful coping skills we use is avoiding our feelings and emotions when it comes to being triggered. This may have worked well when in survival mode, but this is not a path we need to take if we want healing. We must learn how to sit in our feelings until we are able to recognize exactly what we are feeling.
In order to sit in your feelings, you may need to exit stage left and find a safe place. Some people may feel safe with their pastor, a friend, with a therapist, or just sitting in the car by yourself. Whatever works best for you just make sure it's in a place where you are forced to face your pain.
It's important to have a support system because we need each other to survive. It's important for us to be able to process and release the hurt without feeling judged or being concerned that our trauma will be preached across the pulpit. It's normal for people who have trauma to have trust issues as well, but we must take a leap of faith, dip our toe in the water and trust God to send us who we need to help us heal.
If you don't have a support system, I encourage you to reach out to me by using the contact form on my website or sending me an email to email@example.com.