Prime Suspect 3 (triggers)

Greybeard

Registrant
It's just after 3 am. I cannot sleep.

Last night I watched the third season of Prime Suspect, a BBC series from the 90s, with Helen Mirren. I enjoyed the first two seasons, though the series was dark and pretty heavy. But I was not prepared at all when I started watching the third, which centred on the murder of a teenage boy prostitute.

I was lured into that world when I was 12. When I remember those days, though, I seem to think of myself in adult terms. In the tv show, the boys playing the kids, 14, 15, and around that age, looked so terribly young. Did I look that young? I must have.

I probably should have turned it off, but I couldn't look away. It was devastating, largely because it was so well done. There was the emptiness and desperation of the kids, the substance abuse, the cocky attitudes, the deaths that no one cared about. There were the dreams of getting out of that life, which lead to even more degrading acts to try to achieve that. There were the sick, evil men who used the boys, preyed on them, manipulated them and threw them away.

Of course many things were different from my own experiences, since it was set in England, but there was more than enough to relate to anyway. And now I am so immersed in memories, crying, shaking, sick to my stomach. How I ever survived and escaped that world is beyond me. Well, not completely. I survived and escaped mostly due to luck, and to discotiating from myself, adopting other names and identities. Burrowing away inside myself so that i remained untouched by what was actually happening to me.

When I lie down, I am back in that world. When I close my eyes, I am there. I feel their hands all over me. I feel them entering me. It seems more real right now than it did at the time, or perhaps it's all just been so deeply buried that I have forgotten what it was actually like for me back then.

If I do manage to fall asleep tonight there will be nightmares. I am sure of that. Which also isn't helping me fall asleep at all. I am so tired, so upset, so stressed.

Will it help, having written this? Probably not. I don't feel any better now than I did at the start of the post.
 

Iv0_An

Registrant
I can feel the pain in every word here... And I can't even imagine the horrid of this experience. It has happened to me to be reminded of certain events in my life by scene in a movie or TV series and I know how shocking this can be. So I am sorry you felt like this tonight. Maybe it helped you see better how young you were when that happened, no matter how it looked in your mind back at these times. And I definitely think it's better to express how you feel and what upsets you here than to just keep it inside yourself, even if it looks like it doesn't make difference. I think it does make difference to be heard.
 
Yes, Greybeard, I agree with Iv0_An. I think it does make a difference to be heard. I'm sorry you were so badly triggered by this show, and that you are enduring a night of fear, pain, and possibly nightmares if and when you do succumb to sleep. Hang in there! This too shall pass, even tho that's no help when you're in the middle of it.

Prime Suspect was/is an excellent series, and was well ahead of it's time. Brilliant writing, acting, and the production values, for it's time, were all new. And what's not to love about the talent of Helen Mirren. I've always found it riveting to watch her perform her craft.
I remember watching this series, on PBS I believe, when it came out in the 90's. And I recently re-watched it all again on Prime or Netflix, in the last 5 years. And yes, that 3rd season is brutal to watch; heartbreaking and devastating. I remember the impact when I first saw it in the 90's before I began working on my CSA, and the triggers it caused me. Haunted me for weeks afterwards. And this most recent time, many years into my healing, and how much it could still trigger, but gratefully less so.

I cannot relate to the years of sheer hell you went through, being on the streets, trying to survive like that, but I can certainly empathize with the hell you are reliving now. I hope the light of day this morning will help push away some of those dark shadows. I'm sorry it hasn't made you feel any better sharing this on here, but I am very glad you at least made the attempt to do so.

Please let us know how you are doing on this new day.
 

Greybeard

Registrant
Thanks for your kind words and support, Ivo and Tango. I finally did fall asleep, though not for very long. And of course I did have nightmares, but I probably brought that on myself, through my certainty that I would. Still shaky, but pushing through it.
 

ODAT

Registrant
Greybeard-I am so sorry you had to go through that. The little boy, you, did the best he could under adversity. He (and you)
are survivors. Love that little boy and make him know he is loved and heard. I am reading an excellent book now about our inner child called: “Going Deeper: How The Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction.”
It is helping me to learn to understand the little boy in me that was abused and what he needs from me. Again I’m sorry you are struggling now. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Be well…
 

AlexBoyd

Registrant
@Greybeard Triggers can hit us unexpectedly and even when they are not a complete surprise, it can be very difficult to turn away from them or tune them out (like seeing a car accident and not being able to stop looking). Something you mentioned about this experience is so important for us to keep in mind...we tend to remember ourselves as adults, but we were not. Recognizing that we were in fact very, very young can be a startling thing. It makes the horrors much more real. I hope you are able to get some rest today.
 

Greybeard

Registrant
@Greybeard Triggers can hit us unexpectedly and even when they are not a complete surprise, it can be very difficult to turn away from them or tune them out (like seeing a car accident and not being able to stop looking). Something you mentioned about this experience is so important for us to keep in mind...we tend to remember ourselves as adults, but we were not. Recognizing that we were in fact very, very young can be a startling thing. It makes the horrors much more real. I hope you are able to get some rest today.
Thanks for your kind words and support. I did manage to sleep for a few hours.
 

Bornfree

Registrant
In some ways, I'm surprised I did not end up on the streets Greybeard, prostituting myself. I thought about it, fancied the thought about doing it --I was going through a year of utter HELL as I knew something was wrong with me, but I had no clue, and whenever I asked for help, I was given the answer, when your work shows improvement, I will come and help. Escaping to the streets of that west coast city would have meant an end to my physical life, but I was always so exhausted that I could barely move somedays. It's too bad Greybeard, that kids like us were not able to connect with each other and help each other out, but perhaps that is fancy dreaming, perhaps we would have killed each other? What misery we lived in all the time, double lives, made for impossible lives to live. Try and get some rest today Greybeard! Peace!
 

Greybeard

Registrant
In some ways, I'm surprised I did not end up on the streets Greybeard, prostituting myself. I thought about it, fancied the thought about doing it --I was going through a year of utter HELL as I knew something was wrong with me, but I had no clue, and whenever I asked for help, I was given the answer, when your work shows improvement, I will come and help. Escaping to the streets of that west coast city would have meant an end to my physical life, but I was always so exhausted that I could barely move somedays. It's too bad Greybeard, that kids like us were not able to connect with each other and help each other out, but perhaps that is fancy dreaming, perhaps we would have killed each other? What misery we lived in all the time, double lives, made for impossible lives to live. Try and get some rest today Greybeard! Peace!
I doubt we would have killed each other! The streets created a comeraderie among us, but were not a source for long lasting friendships. most of the guys i knew from those days are dead or in prison now.
 
You mention that you survived that world by dissociating... something most of us know well. But you've clearly done some healing work since then, which tells me that remembering these events and as Alex noted, especially realizing who you were when they happened, will be very healing. We necessarily come to these events with our adult experience and the learning we've done about trauma. In a way, it is easier to look at it all one step removed and through a long distance lens. But then we allow ourselves to recognize who were were... boys who would have never chosen that world, those events. When we see that crying is about the only thing we can do. We feel the horror of it all, the terror and confusion. It breaks our hearts and yet this is where self-compassion is born. All we were able to do was survive. We did everything and anything we could to do that. There is no place for shame here regardless of what happened. With self-compassion we can begin to mobilize self-care. It is hard to care for ourselves when we feel worthless. But we aren't worthless, we were traumatized and fought to survive. We did and right here, right now we have the opportunity to heal. Thanks for telling us about being triggered. Yes, it happens to all of us in different ways. Each time it happens we're given the opportunity to respond in a life-affirming way. We may not be able to do that every time because the roots of trauma go deep. But we are given the opportunity over and over again to find our way back to ourselves. MS is a great place to do that. You are not alone with any of this. I'm sure you know that.
 

ODAT

Registrant
You mention that you survived that world by dissociating... something most of us know well. But you've clearly done some healing work since then, which tells me that remembering these events and as Alex noted, especially realizing who you were when they happened, will be very healing. We necessarily come to these events with our adult experience and the learning we've done about trauma. In a way, it is easier to look at it all one step removed and through a long distance lens. But then we allow ourselves to recognize who were were... boys who would have never chosen that world, those events. When we see that crying is about the only thing we can do. We feel the horror of it all, the terror and confusion. It breaks our hearts and yet this is where self-compassion is born. All we were able to do was survive. We did everything and anything we could to do that. There is no place for shame here regardless of what happened. With self-compassion we can begin to mobilize self-care. It is hard to care for ourselves when we feel worthless. But we aren't worthless, we were traumatized and fought to survive. We did and right here, right now we have the opportunity to heal. Thanks for telling us about being triggered. Yes, it happens to all of us in different ways. Each time it happens we're given the opportunity to respond in a life-affirming way. We may not be able to do that every time because the roots of trauma go deep. But we are given the opportunity over and over again to find our way back to ourselves. MS is a great place to do that. You are not alone with any of this. I'm sure you know that.

Hi Visitor.
So well said! For me it is helpful to see a
photo of just how small that 8 year old boy, me, was. He didn’t ask for any of that. He was frightened and intimidated and could tell no one. He did what he was told (or forced) to do. And he did it again and again. I am amazed at his courage and strength. I think he was stronger than I am now. I love that little boy but have to keep letting him know that…Hope you are well!
 

Greybeard

Registrant
You mention that you survived that world by dissociating... something most of us know well. But you've clearly done some healing work since then, which tells me that remembering these events and as Alex noted, especially realizing who you were when they happened, will be very healing. We necessarily come to these events with our adult experience and the learning we've done about trauma. In a way, it is easier to look at it all one step removed and through a long distance lens. But then we allow ourselves to recognize who were were... boys who would have never chosen that world, those events. When we see that crying is about the only thing we can do. We feel the horror of it all, the terror and confusion. It breaks our hearts and yet this is where self-compassion is born. All we were able to do was survive. We did everything and anything we could to do that. There is no place for shame here regardless of what happened. With self-compassion we can begin to mobilize self-care. It is hard to care for ourselves when we feel worthless. But we aren't worthless, we were traumatized and fought to survive. We did and right here, right now we have the opportunity to heal. Thanks for telling us about being triggered. Yes, it happens to all of us in different ways. Each time it happens we're given the opportunity to respond in a life-affirming way. We may not be able to do that every time because the roots of trauma go deep. But we are given the opportunity over and over again to find our way back to ourselves. MS is a great place to do that. You are not alone with any of this. I'm sure you know that.
Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I have been working on my issues with a T for the past couple of years. The pandemic has also forced me into a lot of introspection, as I am more or less trapped at home, with little to do other than think. I doubt I would have found the episodes quite so triggering had I not been reflecting and dealing with things. I guess that's a plus and a minus to the whole thing, isn't it? Instead of separating from myself, burying inside, hiding from everything, I am trying to face things, even though that makes it all so much more painful.
 

Bornfree

Registrant
I doubt we would have killed each other! The streets created a comeraderie among us, but were not a source for long lasting friendships. most of the guys i knew from those days are dead or in prison now.
That's what scares me when I think of in some ways how close I was to prostituting myself. I know it would have killed me, either from disease, or by someone "knifing" me or whatever. Thinking of those times how close I came to crossing the lines still scares me, and I've never really told anyone of these thoughts. There are many thoughts I would never bring up with a T because of the lack of trust that they would not report me, for having so many savage thoughts. I think we here need to look up to each other for some inner strength!
 
...The pandemic has also forced me into a lot of introspection, as I am more or less trapped at home, with little to do other than think. I doubt I would have found the episodes quite so triggering had I not been reflecting and dealing with things. I guess that's a plus and a minus to the whole thing, isn't it? Instead of separating from myself, burying inside, hiding from everything, I am trying to face things, even though that makes it all so much more painful.
This has been my experience as well though I began seriously exploring this material about a year before the pandemic hit. That means I have almost three years of immersion in what consumed my entire life. I'm sitting across from the three teddy bears I bought near the beginning who represent the inner selves (parts) who were with me on my journey. I haven't engaged with them much over the last year, perhaps because we've become friends and I no longer need the comfort or reassurance that I'll be okay. I will. Self-compassion, which I learned with them, is making a difference. I can take a deep breath now because I no longer lose myself in shame. I can simply be me, which is pretty important given how much time I spend with myself.

Yes, we're building inner strength... one kind action, one kind word for ourselves. We build strength by practicing self-care. We're doing the hard work of healing. It is possible to have our aliveness and even joy. What a blessing that is.
 

Traveling Man

New Registrant
I too was triggered by an episode from this show. My CSA was spread o
It's just after 3 am. I cannot sleep.

Last night I watched the third season of Prime Suspect, a BBC series from the 90s, with Helen Mirren. I enjoyed the first two seasons, though the series was dark and pretty heavy. But I was not prepared at all when I started watching the third, which centred on the murder of a teenage boy prostitute.

I was lured into that world when I was 12. When I remember those days, though, I seem to think of myself in adult terms. In the tv show, the boys playing the kids, 14, 15, and around that age, looked so terribly young. Did I look that young? I must have.

I probably should have turned it off, but I couldn't look away. It was devastating, largely because it was so well done. There was the emptiness and desperation of the kids, the substance abuse, the cocky attitudes, the deaths that no one cared about. There were the dreams of getting out of that life, which lead to even more degrading acts to try to achieve that. There were the sick, evil men who used the boys, preyed on them, manipulated them and threw them away.

Of course many things were different from my own experiences, since it was set in England, but there was more than enough to relate to anyway. And now I am so immersed in memories, crying, shaking, sick to my stomach. How I ever survived and escaped that world is beyond me. Well, not completely. I survived and escaped mostly due to luck, and to discotiating from myself, adopting other names and identities. Burrowing away inside myself so that i remained untouched by what was actually happening to me.

When I lie down, I am back in that world. When I close my eyes, I am there. I feel their hands all over me. I feel them entering me. It seems more real right now than it did at the time, or perhaps it's all just been so deeply buried that I have forgotten what it was actually like for me back then.

If I do manage to fall asleep tonight there will be nightmares. I am sure of that. Which also isn't helping me fall asleep at all. I am so tired, so upset, so stressed.

Will it help, having written this? Probably not. I don't feel any better now than I did at the start of the post.
 

Traveling Man

New Registrant
It's just after 3 am. I cannot sleep.

Last night I watched the third season of Prime Suspect, a BBC series from the 90s, with Helen Mirren. I enjoyed the first two seasons, though the series was dark and pretty heavy. But I was not prepared at all when I started watching the third, which centred on the murder of a teenage boy prostitute.

I was lured into that world when I was 12. When I remember those days, though, I seem to think of myself in adult terms. In the tv show, the boys playing the kids, 14, 15, and around that age, looked so terribly young. Did I look that young? I must have.

I probably should have turned it off, but I couldn't look away. It was devastating, largely because it was so well done. There was the emptiness and desperation of the kids, the substance abuse, the cocky attitudes, the deaths that no one cared about. There were the dreams of getting out of that life, which lead to even more degrading acts to try to achieve that. There were the sick, evil men who used the boys, preyed on them, manipulated them and threw them away.

Of course many things were different from my own experiences, since it was set in England, but there was more than enough to relate to anyway. And now I am so immersed in memories, crying, shaking, sick to my stomach. How I ever survived and escaped that world is beyond me. Well, not completely. I survived and escaped mostly due to luck, and to discotiating from myself, adopting other names and identities. Burrowing away inside myself so that i remained untouched by what was actually happening to me.

When I lie down, I am back in that world. When I close my eyes, I am there. I feel their hands all over me. I feel them entering me. It seems more real right now than it did at the time, or perhaps it's all just been so deeply buried that I have forgotten what it was actually like for me back then.

If I do manage to fall asleep tonight there will be nightmares. I am sure of that. Which also isn't helping me fall asleep at all. I am so tired, so upset, so stressed.

Will it help, having written this? Probably not. I don't feel any better now than I did at the start of the post.
Sorry about that, I hit the wrong button.

Start again. I too was triggered by an episode. My CSA was spread across 8 yrs 8 to 16 and involved different predators & different situations. I thought that by 60 I had dealt with all the shame guilt etc. But in one episode the detective Sergeant had decided that a known sex offender had abused again. He beat the suspect up in a rage. The scene later, was that he then hid in the cells, Helen Mirren finds him, huddled in the corner & begins tearing strip's off him. Suddenly he cries out "I am disgusting, I am filth".
Without any warning I burst into tears, bolted up, and ran out of the house taking my border collie with me. I felt all that same emotion that had been bottled up, placed in a locked box somewhere deep inside of me, forgotten, until now. It burst from me like a dam bursting. All the self disgust, the shame that I had let people abuse me. Like I, an 8 yr old kid could do anything against a grown man. But U see that's not the point is it!
The point is, the emotions, the grief, the deep deep shame. The Perp goes on to either hurt other kids, or b caught, but we R left with a bag of emotions that no one else other than another survivor can truly understand.
Today I came here. To maybe start healing. I hope that this small part of my story can help others as well. TV can b a massive unexpected trigger.
All the best to everyone here.
 

ODAT

Registrant
Sorry about that, I hit the wrong button.

Start again. I too was triggered by an episode. My CSA was spread across 8 yrs 8 to 16 and involved different predators & different situations. I thought that by 60 I had dealt with all the shame guilt etc. But in one episode the detective Sergeant had decided that a known sex offender had abused again. He beat the suspect up in a rage. The scene later, was that he then hid in the cells, Helen Mirren finds him, huddled in the corner & begins tearing strip's off him. Suddenly he cries out "I am disgusting, I am filth".
Without any warning I burst into tears, bolted up, and ran out of the house taking my border collie with me. I felt all that same emotion that had been bottled up, placed in a locked box somewhere deep inside of me, forgotten, until now. It burst from me like a dam bursting. All the self disgust, the shame that I had let people abuse me. Like I, an 8 yr old kid could do anything against a grown man. But U see that's not the point is it!
The point is, the emotions, the grief, the deep deep shame. The Perp goes on to either hurt other kids, or b caught, but we R left with a bag of emotions that no one else other than another survivor can truly understand.
Today I came here. To maybe start healing. I hope that this small part of my story can help others as well. TV can b a massive unexpected trigger.
All the best to everyone here.

Traveling Man,
I was 8 too when I was raped. I’ll never forget the shame and guilt. I live it…
Take care and tell the little boy, you, each day that you love him. He did the best he could and he needs to hear that from you…
 

Traveling Man

New Registrant
Traveling Man,
I was 8 too when I was raped. I’ll never forget the shame and guilt. I live it…
Take care and tell the little boy, you, each day that you love him. He did the best he could and he needs to hear that from you…
Thanks Odat. That is what I am currently trying to do, to dig deep, to release all that shit. On an intellectual level, it is easy. On an emotional level much harder. Thanks.
 

Greybeard

Registrant
Sorry about that, I hit the wrong button.

Start again. I too was triggered by an episode. My CSA was spread across 8 yrs 8 to 16 and involved different predators & different situations. I thought that by 60 I had dealt with all the shame guilt etc. But in one episode the detective Sergeant had decided that a known sex offender had abused again. He beat the suspect up in a rage. The scene later, was that he then hid in the cells, Helen Mirren finds him, huddled in the corner & begins tearing strip's off him. Suddenly he cries out "I am disgusting, I am filth".
Without any warning I burst into tears, bolted up, and ran out of the house taking my border collie with me. I felt all that same emotion that had been bottled up, placed in a locked box somewhere deep inside of me, forgotten, until now. It burst from me like a dam bursting. All the self disgust, the shame that I had let people abuse me. Like I, an 8 yr old kid could do anything against a grown man. But U see that's not the point is it!
The point is, the emotions, the grief, the deep deep shame. The Perp goes on to either hurt other kids, or b caught, but we R left with a bag of emotions that no one else other than another survivor can truly understand.
Today I came here. To maybe start healing. I hope that this small part of my story can help others as well. TV can b a massive unexpected trigger.
All the best to everyone here.
Sorry that I brought all that up for you again. Yeah, TV can be such an unexpected trigger. Bringing back things in such a nightmarish way. I'm still sort of getting over the effects of watching the episode, and it's been almost a week.
 
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