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Flashbacks and triggers

JRI's picture

I'm wondering why some things cause us flashbacks and triggers.  I am assembling a scrapbook of Mom's pictures for her 100th bday party.  So, I've been going through my many family pictures and can hardly stand it.  Her pictures and our family pictures are all mixed together and I can only take about 15 minutes at a time.

It's similar to the feeling when I get home from visiting someone in the hospital.  I'm wiped out, start drinking wine and feel exhausted.  I ask myself, what's so tiring, all I did was sit in a chair for half an hour.

The pictures of DH, me and the 5 kids look happy and normal but evoke such strong feelings, I can't even describe them.  It seems like regret and sorrow.  Its not just the SKs, its my bios, too.  Is it steplife, or just life?


Aniki-Moderator's picture

Could be a combination of both. I have some awful family experiences - some that occurred during family gatherings (birthday dinner, Christmas...). Even if pics are of an event with zero drama/trauma, I still feel anxious and triggered because of the times it was bad.

Some people and some experiences are very draining. There are those I've known for decades, but severely limit time spent with them as they are damn near soul-sucking with their neediness, intrusiveness, or demands. 

When I was heavily into therapy following the psycho exh almost succeed in killing me, I did a lot of soul searching and picked apart all aspects of my past: love relationships, family, work, friendships... everything. It was eye-opening to finally understand why something was a trigger and why I reacted in a certain way.

I did many, many hours of journaling and free writing therapy. And lists. Oh, the things I discovered with lists. 


Noway2b1's picture

Will ask me if I have xyz picture or pics of them at xyz age. Two things usually happen. I can look for them and have no problem with emotions being stirred up or it prompts the same feelings you describe. Bitter sweet memories and wondering about what I could have differently. Even on good days the longer I look through them the more likely I'm going to be triggered. I think it's normal. Partly a yearning for the innocence of both ourselves and the children involved.