Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sexual Abuse & Triggers

Sexual abuse is a general term for any type of sexual activity inflicted on a child by someone with whom the child is acquainted. It is considered an especially heinous crime because the abuser occupies a position of trust. Experts on the subject estimate that more than 130,000 children a year are sexually abused in the United States. With that being said, most victims of sexual abuse have long-lasting effects called Triggers.

Trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma. Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. Triggers can be something as simple as a candle, an odor, a place, a noise etc., and the emotions associated are buried deep within your subconscious mind. When the pain is not processed, these triggers will always be a big part of your life. 

The Subconscious Mind – Reactive Mind
The subconscious mind stores all of your emotions, patterns, learned conditions and behaviors. It also takes up a large amount of space in our mind (80-90%) as compared to our conscious mind (2-10%). The subconscious mind is beneath our true self as it prevents us from moving forward, making great decisions, seeing the truth and succeeding in every area of our lives. Too many of us “live” or dwell in our subconscious and is controlled by it. You will no longer live in your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is also directly connected to our physical and emotional well-being, and our ability to make conscious choices or decisions. Once we face and remove these learned conditions, emotions, patterns and behaviors, we can then see things clearly, thereby becoming conscious, making better decisions, and living our lives on purpose, and with passion. We can also prevent further manifestation in our physical as well as our emotional being. This is what I call self-reflection and correction, or removing the clutter; living with a free mind, and cleansed heart.

Triggers send you to the past experience and the emotions associated with the trigger are what makes the subconscious mind react and show up in your behavior as irrational. When pain and emotional experiences are not processed, managed and controlled it is the subconscious mind we react from as the subconscious mind is reactive and not conscious. How does this relate to triggers?

Your boyfriend has a history of child abuse. You had a disagreement; he disrespected you by calling you out of your name. After he stormed out of the house, you locked the door and put the latch on. He then kicked the door in and broke the latch. You discover later that his abuser locked him in a closet after she raped him.

His behavior of kicking the door in was based on his child molester locking him in a closet after she raped him. The locking of the closet door was the trigger and he reacted. He reacted from stored emotions surrounding his past abuse as he did not react from a simple disagreement in the current situation. Can you see this?

This is why it is so important to process, manage and control your emotions as the only way to conquer triggers is to go back and understand exactly what happened. You do not want to be controlled by your subconscious mind or unprocessed past emotions. With that being said, I will discuss one my past triggers after I was molested. 

Nipple pinching- My abuser pinched my nipples while he molested me and it wasn't pleasing, I never understood the purpose then, but today I do. During sex, if my nipples were pinched, I cringed and was displeased. Nipple pinching literally took me back to when I was being molested. Today, nipple pinching is no longer a trigger.  I am healed. 

If you haven't healed from your abuse, you will come face to face with triggers and your decisions will be based on yesterday. Once you have defeated your past pain and experiences, triggers are obsolete as they no longer are considered “triggers” since there is no reaction. A trigger is only a trigger if the mind reacts and causes a behavioral reaction based on the emotions surrounding the trigger. If you were a victim of sexual abuse and are experiencing triggers, I urge you to avoid anything that may cause you to have these flash backs. Also, if the act of sex is a trigger; stop, get help and forgive your abusers. As time moves forward you may forget some and others you may not and that is okay. The goal is to forgive your abusers, become victorious and move forward. If you are experiencing any triggers and seeking assistance to move forward, please visit my website. 

I am not only a Certified Life Coach, Author and Speaker; I have conquered thirty years of abuse; including incest, rape, sexual, physical, emotional, verbal abuse, and two domestic violence relationships. Today, my vision is to empower you to reach emotional freedom while gaining clarity and discovering your infinite possibilities.

“What happened; didn't happen to me, it happened FOR me and today my mission is to guide you to design a healthy, meaningful life through knowledge, consciousness, self-reflection, accountability, self-love and forgiveness.”
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  1. “The goal is to Forgive your Abusers, become a Survivor and Move Forward.” - I agree with you. Though this is a hard thing to do, it could be the only way for victims of sexual abuse to accept the past and be able to live “normal” lives. If the abuser already received his/her sentence and is already in jail, the victim should try to be at ease with that. It’s quite an insurmountable mountain of a task, but the victim’s anger will only be released or totally extinguished if he/she forgives the abuser.

    >Vesta Duvall

  2. Vesta, yes it can be difficult, but all things are possible. In order to reach forgiveness, one has to go back to understand and move forward to live. Sometimes it is difficult to go back because people attach to the negative. When you go back, you have to consciously find something positive and that is how you move forward in forgiveness. Also, forgiveness is a conscious choice to remove all anger and pain. If you haven't read my books, please visit my website.