What's an emotional or physical trigger for you that feels really challenging to explain?

beanbean

Registrant
Triggers can be songs, a smell, and holiday, they can be anything sensory or created that is a part of your life. Sometimes what launches us is difficult to explain to anybody who hasn't lived in your body, who hasn't had your exact experiences or norms.
 

manipulated

Moderator
Staff member
For about three years it was wood smoke (campfire smoke). This was after I finally told about the abuse - most of which occurred camping on BSA outings. It stopped triggering when I made the connection between the smell and the camping past.

More recently it was the innocent professional light touch on the outside of my thigh when I was looking elsewhere by a physical therapist I worked with after knee replacement - It was the exact spot the perp first touched my skin at... She never again touched without warning after THAT reaction.
 
Having my hair touched, brushing it is well and truly out. No one touches my head. Penguin / Bourbon biscuits don’t know why and probably don’t want to. People appearing around me unexpectedly and the smell of some medical creams, the smells are the worse, the smell of old sweat, of pipe smoke, just the thought make me cringe.
 
I used to get horny after using cologne for my wife, but in a weird way. And I'd end up frustrated and easily upset, etc.
I only recently put two and two together and realized that I'd been dissociating.

I had a flash of memory that completed the equation - memory of the smell of cologne in my abuser's bathroom.

It stopped triggering when I made the connection between the smell and the camping past.

I wonder if the same will hold true for me.

But not worth the risk to find out at this point.
 

GarryDex

Registrant
Hey Sid, great topic I'll get what I can out. If I start to feel triggered then I'll probably step back and repost.

The real common one that I share with a lot of CSA and SA survivors is being touched or approached from behind. I've talked in groups online about this seems real common. I am last experience with this was in my church about a month ago. It didn't help that she sounded a lot like my abuser. It just made me want to scream and run.

The smell of organ meat for example kidneys liver etc. I'm not going to explain why it just does, very strongly.

Badly done fake nails, my abuser had a tendency to sink hers into very tender flesh. I also had cases where they would come off inside me.

Sharp blow to center of forehead, found this one out when I bent over and caught the corner of the bathroom sink right dead center in my forehead. I sometimes had my head bounced off walls if I wasn't responding correctly, by my abuser.

The sight and/or sound of a Polaroid camera I don't think I have to explain this one.

Sweat getting into my eyes, feeling the salty burn. I'm not going to get into this one either.

I'm very particular about how clothes feel on me. May not be related to CSA. But I do react about it.

The sensation of fingertips on my face. Especially near my mouth.

Certain scents usually associated with bathroom soaps and or shampoos.

Thanks for the topic.
Love and respect.
 
The smell of Ivory hand soap, brut aftershave.
I still can’t do a message to this day, I can’t relax if someone is rubbing on me. Weird stuff! Interesting post, Thanks!
 

Iv0_An

Registrant
Soccer game on TV. Or football as it would be called in Europe.

Having to go in a taxi by myself and the driver only inside.
 

Bornfree

Registrant
My triggers are all over the place, almost literally. I feel triggers especially when I see boys around the age of 12 - 14, some very difficult years for me. Encephalitis, being raped by my doc, nurses ignoring me( even to this day I hate being in a ward room even if there are only 3 others present!) not knowing what was "wrong" with me, when I should have been asking "What Happened To ME"(Name of a book by Dr. Bruce Perry and Ophra Whinfrey(sp). In one way, I was very primed for dropping out of highschool in grade 9, running away, either suicide, or prostituting myself. I couldn't cope and no one would help me, I literally felt abandoned, alone, even when so many people were crowded around me. I read some of your stories, and they trigger me big time, but I continue to read them, for the simple reason that in some ways I was so close to ending up like some of you did, but under different circumstances. When I was down at a nude beach when I was 14, a man came up to me and my friend and asked us if he could take some pics of us for 5 bucks. Man, was I so tempted, but my friend said no, because then he would have to explain to his parents how he got $5. I was all pumped up to do it, but declined too. This was back in the mid '70's. Somehow, in the deep recesses of my mind, I remember reading about these magazines that portrayed nude boys, not sure if I actually saw some of those stands in my city or not. One thing today, is that I absolutely hate being described as a "man"! It just does not sound right for me, don't know why. When I was in my older teens, there was a serial child predator on the loose, he would drug the kids, have sex with them, and then kill them, in some remote spot usually. One time he got a 9 year old boy, so "cute", had a full life ahead of him, and this killer got him, drugged him and did some extremely horrible things to his body not sure exactly what killed the boy, the police would never say, but he dropped the boys body off on the other side of the river from where I was working at that time. It sent chills up my spine. That poor boy, had no chance to fight back or escape. Still brings tears to my eyes.

Ok, now I'm just rambling on, so I better stop here!
 

ODAT

Registrant
When I was young, I used to get nauseous at the smell of a particular ethnic food. I never understood why but now think I was smelling those foods being cooked while he was taking me up the stairs of his 5 story apartment building to the rooftop where I was abused. I’m still trying to get some of those memories back. It took me over 50 years to make that connection…
 

Bornfree

Registrant
When I was young, I used to get nauseous at the smell of a particular ethnic food. I never understood why but now think I was smelling those foods being cooked while he was taking me up the stairs of his 5 story apartment building to the rooftop where I was abused. I’m still trying to get some of those memories back. It took me over 50 years to make that connection…
Why would you want those memories back? Personally, if I could permanently forget my past I would love to. But, unfortunately, I can vividly recall things that occurred when I was 2 1/2 - 3, my brother can remember an incident back to when he was 6 months old! (not bad thing, just dad taking picture of him on the kitchen table in his car seat, and I remember that too!)
 

GarryDex

Registrant
Why would you want those memories back? Personally, if I could permanently forget my past I would love to. But, unfortunately, I can vividly recall things that occurred when I was 2 1/2 - 3, my brother can remember an incident back to when he was 6 months old! (not bad thing, just dad taking picture of him on the kitchen table in his car seat, and I remember that too!)
Believe me each one of my triggers I would gladly scorch out of my head with a soldering iron if I could. The memories associated with them are so disturbing that I don't know if I can ever tell the whole thing.
 

Bornfree

Registrant
Having my hair touched, brushing it is well and truly out. No one touches my head. Penguin / Bourbon biscuits don’t know why and probably don’t want to. People appearing around me unexpectedly and the smell of some medical creams, the smells are the worse, the smell of old sweat, of pipe smoke, just the thought make me cringe.
You look like at that point in your life , you were going to a boys private school? Where did your problems come from? school, or home life?
 

Bornfree

Registrant
One of my triggers is thinking about boys and private schools. The principal of my school for that first year was a man whom looked like you did not want to mess with in any way shape or form! I found out many years later, this "priest", man of cloth, went to a catholic run orphanage a long way away from where I was. He was sexually assaulting boys left right and center! Just looking at him when he was my principal, sent shivers up my back. Now I know why!
 

Toad

Registrant
The smell of cheap whiskey and cigarettes.
Really intense bright lights.
Animal print fabric.
The memories associated with them are so disturbing that I don't know if I can ever tell the whole thing.
I felt the same way for a long time.
But I eventually realized that it isn't my shame or my secret. It was the perps they are the ones to be ashamed of what they did.
So I wrote it out and posted a very long survivor story. I needed to get it all out.
 

GarryDex

Registrant
The smell of cheap whiskey and cigarettes.
Really intense bright lights.
Animal print fabric.

I felt the same way for a long time.
But I eventually realized that it isn't my shame or my secret. It was the perps they are the ones to be ashamed of what they did.
So I wrote it out and posted a very long survivor story. I needed to get it all out.
There is a substantial percentage of my assaults that I am open about, yet learning to accept. These maybe difficult but I'm working on them. There are others though that I've alluded to with my therapist, I believe that in time I can also be forthright and talk to her about them.

The things at this time I'm not open about I will learn new tools to process these memories in order to accept them without having physiological responses (etc nausea, vomiting, sweating). Then I might be resilient; accepting these disturbing behaviors of my abuser that I was her living puppet (by that stage a young teen that had been broken to the point that I became compliant) to torment.

When I get to that stage I will post in a more expanded story of myself and my abuse. But until then I think it's best to not open or dwell on the subjects.

I'm grateful for all my brothers here at Male Survivor but some things take time.
 

ODAT

Registrant
There is a substantial percentage of my assaults that I am open about, yet learning to accept. These maybe difficult but I'm working on them. There are others though that I've alluded to with my therapist, I believe that in time I can also be forthright and talk to her about them.

The things at this time I'm not open about I will learn new tools to process these memories in order to accept them without having physiological responses (etc nausea, vomiting, sweating). Then I might be resilient; accepting these disturbing behaviors of my abuser that I was her living puppet (by that stage a young teen that had been broken to the point that I became compliant) to torment.

When I get to that stage I will post in a more expanded story of myself and my abuse. But until then I think it's best to not open or dwell on the subjects.

I'm grateful for all my brothers here at Male Survivor but some things take time.

GarryDex,
Be gentle to the boy, you, who was abused. It was not his fault. He did the best he could under excruciating circumstances. Take care of yourself. Just take things one day at a time…
 
For about three years it was wood smoke (campfire smoke). This was after I finally told about the abuse - most of which occurred camping on BSA outings. It stopped triggering when I made the connection between the smell and the camping past.

More recently it was the innocent professional light touch on the outside of my thigh when I was looking elsewhere by a physical therapist I worked with after knee replacement - It was the exact spot the perp first touched my skin at... She never again touched without warning after THAT reaction.
Mine is similar. Sleeping bags and tents, the older kind, brings back a flood of memories when I see them, or photos of them.
 
Hey Sid, great topic I'll get what I can out. If I start to feel triggered then I'll probably step back and repost.

The real common one that I share with a lot of CSA and SA survivors is being touched or approached from behind. I've talked in groups online about this seems real common. I am last experience with this was in my church about a month ago. It didn't help that she sounded a lot like my abuser. It just made me want to scream and run.

The smell of organ meat for example kidneys liver etc. I'm not going to explain why it just does, very strongly.

Badly done fake nails, my abuser had a tendency to sink hers into very tender flesh. I also had cases where they would come off inside me.

Sharp blow to center of forehead, found this one out when I bent over and caught the corner of the bathroom sink right dead center in my forehead. I sometimes had my head bounced off walls if I wasn't responding correctly, by my abuser.

The sight and/or sound of a Polaroid camera I don't think I have to explain this one.

Sweat getting into my eyes, feeling the salty burn. I'm not going to get into this one either.

I'm very particular about how clothes feel on me. May not be related to CSA. But I do react about it.

The sensation of fingertips on my face. Especially near my mouth.

Certain scents usually associated with bathroom soaps and or shampoos.

Thanks for the topic.
Love and respect.
The sight and sound and SMELL of a Polaroid camera...there is a certain odor when they are developing before your eyes that takes me back. Although, luckily, haven't seen a Polaroid in years! Do they even still make film for them, I wonder?
 

GarryDex

Registrant
The sight and sound and SMELL of a Polaroid camera...there is a certain odor when they are developing before your eyes that takes me back. Although, luckily, haven't seen a Polaroid in years! Do they even still make film for them, I wonder?
Yes I saw new versions of the cameras. Still have that angular profile from 70's-80's.still sound the same as well. I was triggered by one that was a present for an adult child of a friend. I managed to dip out and be ill outside. Took 20 min to talk myself down enough to step inside again. Also saw a few at a local Walmart, just a heads up if you get triggered. BTW the packing has that multi colored stripes on it as well.
 
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