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.
Those of us who had a traumatic childhood or who have been in abusive relationships in adulthood often experience trauma bonding- forming strong emotional attachments to abusive partners. These trauma bonds can be extraordinarily strong and pervasive, and hard for the neurotypical person to understand. “Why does she keep going back to him if he beats her?” they wonder. “Why does he take her back every time she cheats on him?”. Or “why are those two even together when they clearly hate each other?”.
You are made of those stars you crave.
And it’s so hard sometimes, and you can’t sleep for crying and the room closes in. You feel you have no control, but that’s the illusion. If only you’d remember, the whole world is yours. You create all that you see.
Here are five more ways that have helped me to heal trauma and find my way to inner peace.