How do I cope with posttraumatic stress disorder and its triggers?

I am a survivor of multiple sexual abuse/rape experiences. Triggers are having an effect on my daily life and my sexual relationship with my partner. I'm trying to learn to cope with them.

Sonya Wilson
Sonya Wilson
Licensed Professional Counselor

Have you tried counseling?  Having PTSD from multiple abusive sexual experiences is very overwhelming for one to handle alone.  You may need the guidance, experience and support of a professional to identify all the triggers that effect you and obtain the best coping skills that would work for you.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

When anyone has experienced a traumatic event, triggers can be a normal result.  Your brain is wired for survival.  When a traumatic event takes place, it can cause your brain to go into a hypervigilant state, thinking that it needs to constantly protect itself.  This is not an indication that something is wrong with you.  It just means that your brain is doing a really great job of protecting you!  Therapy can help you find your "off" switch.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Emily LaFave
Emily LaFave
You're probably wondering how I can help you?

Even if the triggers are having a negative impact on your life, it is really insightful of you to be able to identify your triggers. The effects of trauma often impact us, our functioning, and our relationships with other people. It is possible to learn ways to cope with your trauma. Coping skills are not a one size fits all, it is important to find what skill works for what trigger. Therapy will help you process your trauma, identify your thoughts and feelings, teach you coping skills, and help you enhance your personal safety.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Linda Mullin
Linda Mullin
Kicking anxiety and depression to the curb!

Talking about it stops it from being a secret.  It takes courage to have posted your question and that is the first step. Here is an article I wrote a few years back.  http://abuseisnotasecret.com/why-abuse-is-not-your-fault/

One day at a time.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

I'm glad you're willing to keep optimistic about life improving and offering better relationships than some of the ones in which you greatly suffered.

One suggestion is to develop patience with yourself and the process of regaining your willingness to trust other people.

Sexual intimacy engages all of who we truly are.   Being cautious as to who and how much you allow someone into your life, is natural for anyone recovering from trauma.

Allow yourself to withdraw when situations feel dangerous.   Your sense of danger is most likely on higher alert than had you not been victimized.

Be attentive and cooperate with your own sense of readiness to engage in conversation, discussions and sex with your partner.

Explain all this to your partner so the person can develop their own patience with your recuperation process.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sarah McIntyre
Sarah McIntyre
Sarah McIntyre, M.Ed., LPC

I encourage you to seek out and work with a therapist who specializes in treating complex trauma.  Somatic Experiencing, Brainspotting, and Internal Family Systems Therapy are all highly effective treatments for people dealing with complex trauma.  If you are interested in reading a book that is supportive and compassionate, Bessel van der Kolk's The Body Keeps the Score is a wonderful book that discusses treatment options in depth.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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