Trauma Talks Series: Emotional Flashbacks

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Do you or a loved one experience flashbacks?

Most of us understand flashbacks as being a memory w/images & pictures. It is important to understand that flashbacks are any one, or up to all, of the following emotional content coming up in a distressing way.

Body Memories (body sensations)

Sudden emotions or feelings

Racing, paranoid, or obsessive thinking

Images, pictures, or symbols

Nightmares or dream like states

Sudden somatic experiences: pain, loss of sight, paralysis, fainting, seizures, etc

Inner Avoidance w/ Flashbacks

What inner phobia (avoidance) looks & feels like

Many people who have endured multiple and prolonged trauma, and/or attachment disruption develop a phobia to their inner experience

Dissociation maintains the phobia and, vice versa, the phobia maintains the dissociation

There is a serious avoidance of inner experiences that hinders living fully

Phobia is geared toward avoiding intense feelings such as: terror, shame, grief, despair, rage, loneliness and/or disgust

Some examples include:

Shame of rage or “being bad”; Intense fear of expressing rage

Disgust for having these emotions or experiences

Fear of being too needy, weak or dependent

Fear and shame of inner voices & inner experiences

Avoidance can be conscious or unconscious

Phobia pushes the need to escape, which strengthens the inability to tolerate

This process severely hinders healing & flashbacks persist

“What we resist, persists” Carl Jung

Overcoming Inner Experience Phobia

Yes, it is possible! And it is healing!

Gently build tolerance to distressing feelings, thoughts, and sensations

Learn to set healthy boundaries in relationships

Develop self-compassion towards self and all parts

Learn to work and collaborate with your parts

Slowly take in understanding and awareness of where inner experiences came from

Learn to own, in a helpful way, your life experiences and life story

Practice non judgment toward your inner experience