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#431390 - 04/16/13 01:54 AM 13 steps to use during an emotional flashback
pbert53 Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/26/09
Posts: 576
Loc: Washington, USA
Hey Guys,

i don't post a lot cuz i find putting words to my thoughts is difficult for me still, sometimes, and so they get jumbled sometimes. i suffer from Complex PTSD and this was very helpful to me, so i wanted to share it with you.



Managing Emotional Flashbacks: A Handout for Clients
1. Say to yourself: "I am having a flashback." Flashbacks take us into a timeless part of the psyche that feels as helpless, hopeless and surrounded by danger as we were in childhood. The feelings and sensations you are experiencing are past memories that cannot hurt you now.

2. Remind yourself: "I feel afraid but I am not in danger! I am safe now, here in the present." Remember you are now in the safety of the present, far from the danger of the past.

3. Own your right/need to have boundaries. Remind yourself that you do not have to allow anyone to mistreat you; you are free to leave dangerous situations and protest unfair behavior.

4. Speak reassuringly to your Inner Child. The child needs to know that you love her unconditionally—that she can come to you for comfort and protection when she feels lost and scared.

5. Deconstruct eternity thinking. In childhood, fear and abandonment felt endless—a safer future was unimaginable. Remember the flashback will pass as it has many times before.

6. Remind yourself that you are in an adult body with allies, skills and resources to protect you that you never had as a child. (Feeling small and little is a sure sign of a flashback.)

7. Ease back into your body. Fear launches us into "heady" worrying, or numbing and spacing out.

Gently ask your body to relax. Feel each of your major muscle groups and softly encourage them to relax. (Tightened musculature sends unnecessary danger signals to the brain.)
Breathe deeply and slowly. (Holding the breath also signals danger.)
Slow down. Rushing presses the psyche's panic button.
Find a safe place to unwind and soothe yourself: wrap yourself in a blanket, hold a stuffed animal, lie down in a closet or a bath, take a nap.
Feel the fear in your body without reacting to it. Fear is just an energy in your body that cannot hurt you if you do not run from it or react self-destructively to it.

8. Resist the Inner Critic's catastrophizing.

(a) Use thought-stopping to halt its exaggeration of danger and need to control the uncontrollable. Refuse to shame, hate or abandon yourself. Channel the anger of self-attack into saying no to unfair self-criticism.
(b) Use thought-substitution to replace negative thinking with a memorized list of your qualities and accomplishments.

9. Allow yourself to grieve. Flashbacks are opportunities to release old, unexpressed feelings of fear, hurt, and abandonment, and to validate—and then soothe—the child's past experience of helplessness and hopelessness. Healthy grieving can turn our tears into self-compassion and our anger into self-protection.

10. Cultivate safe relationships and seek support. Take time alone when you need it, but don't let shame isolate you. Feeling shame doesn't mean you are shameful. Educate those close to you about flashbacks and ask them to help you talk and feel your way through them.

11. Learn to identify the types of triggers that lead to flashbacks. Avoid unsafe people, places, activities and triggering mental processes. Practice preventive maintenance with these steps when triggering situations are unavoidable.

12. Figure out what you are flashing back to. Flashbacks are opportunities to discover, validate and heal our wounds from past abuse and abandonment. They also point to our still-unmet developmental needs and can provide motivation to get them met.

13. Be patient with a slow recovery process. It takes time in the present to become un-adrenalized, and considerable time in the future to gradually decrease the intensity, duration and frequency of flashbacks. Real recovery is a gradual process—often two steps forward, one step back. Don't beat yourself up for having a flashback.

Copyright © 2009 Psychotherapy.net. All rights reserved. Published September, 2009.

take care and i hope it will help you

peace

paul smile
_________________________
If you cannot control what happens to you, you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

~ adapted from: Sri Ram

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#431394 - 04/16/13 02:33 AM Re: 13 steps to use during an emotional flashback [Re: pbert53]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3600
Loc: South-East Europe
Hey Paul, good to see you posting on boards wink
This is very helpful and good article, I'm thinking to print it out for detailed studying, lol.
Thanks for sharing it with us!

Pero
_________________________
My story

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#431395 - 04/16/13 02:46 AM Re: 13 steps to use during an emotional flashback [Re: pbert53]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3320
Loc: back in the USA
EXCELLENT - i can use this.
thank you, Paul.
Lee
_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#431401 - 04/16/13 04:32 AM Re: 13 steps to use during an emotional flashback [Re: pbert53]
crazy gecko Offline


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 309
Awesome. I can really use this too...
_________________________
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin'
Living is the best revenge
You can play
-- Def Leppard

My Story, Part 2

My blog

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#431427 - 04/16/13 10:47 AM Re: 13 steps to use during an emotional flashback [Re: pbert53]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Good stuff. Thank you, sir.
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#431436 - 04/16/13 12:01 PM Re: 13 steps to use during an emotional flashback [Re: pbert53]
Choi Choi Offline


Registered: 04/13/13
Posts: 10
Hi Paul,

Thank you for this post.

This is very helpful smile

Cheers!

Choi Choi
_________________________
Remind yourself: "I feel afraid but I am not in danger! I am safe now, here in the present." Remember you are now in the safety of the present, far from the danger of the past.

Choi Choi

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#431440 - 04/16/13 01:58 PM Re: 13 steps to use during an emotional flashback [Re: pbert53]
DRA Offline


Registered: 02/07/13
Posts: 47
Thanks.
_________________________
Strength in power is a false victory rooted in vapid grandiosity. Strength in character and integrity is the freedom to act righteously irrespective of the surrounding pressure. True power is the presence of mind to live with character and integrity.

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#431485 - 04/16/13 08:15 PM Re: 13 steps to use during an emotional flashback [Re: pbert53]
Jwmcd2 Online   content
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 62
actually really good (minus the "she" statement-- works well for me)

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#431511 - 04/16/13 11:43 PM Re: 13 steps to use during an emotional flashback [Re: pbert53]
pbert53 Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/26/09
Posts: 576
Loc: Washington, USA
Thanks guys for the positive feedback. It means a lot to me.

Glad you can use it to help you!

i too was a bit thrown by the "she", but realized that this T works with both male and female.

take care

peace

paul smile
_________________________
If you cannot control what happens to you, you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

~ adapted from: Sri Ram

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