Self soothing techniques are ways we can calm ourselves down when we feel overwhelmed by negative emotions. Survivors of abuse and childhood trauma often struggle to self-soothe, partly because of the physiological differences between their brain and that of a neurotypical person- we lack integration between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, meaning that when we become emotional our rational side tends to go “offline”.
Although many people with complex PTSD experience emotional flashbacks, the often fail to recognise when they are happening. It is hard to realise when you are in the middle of an emotional flashback because they can be overwhelming and terrifying, and often involve regression to a childlike state- just because the adult ‘you’ knows what they are does not mean the child ‘you’ knows. The good news is that even though it is not easy, it is possible to both understand that you are having one, and find your way out of it.
In this article, I will explain what emotional flashbacks are, what they feel like from the inside, and how we can both recognise and manage them effectively.