Dating physical abuse
Rachel, a 26-year-old survivor of interpersonal relationship violence, said that for a while, she didn’t have any triggers at all because she had repressed everything.“I started sweating and my head started spinning so I left the room,” she says of the first time she experienced a trigger.One 22-year-old woman, who chose to remain anonymous and is a survivor of parental abuse, says that the most important thing her fiancé has been able to do to help her feel safe and loved is give her personal space.She says he’s been so supportive in her recovery, and that he always asks permission to hold her hand, give her a hug or even touch her gently in a small way.Be careful about asking too many questions, or trying to give hugs, or touches, which could cause the survivor to feel afraid and be counter-productive, according to Dr.Doug Miller, Ph D, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Forensic Trauma Expert. Nearly every single survivor who talked with Teen Vogue expressed feeling alone, trapped, or isolated, which are typical responses to abuse, according to Dr. Ben, a 26-year-old survivor of parental abuse says the people who have been most helpful to them are the ones who “truly listen with the intent to hear and center you and your experience rather than trying to wall themselves off from it by throwing out platitudes or trying to find what you must have done or what it is about you that ‘made’ this happen to you.”Others, like Samantha, who is 18 and whose best friend is a survivor of emotional and sexual abuse, explained that listening to a survivor is key.“These small acts of physical touch could be so triggering, and that level of control that he allows me to have is beyond helpful.”Some survivors may know and ask for those specific things you can do to help them.
Many survivors may have triggers due to anxiety, depression, PTSD, or trauma in general, but not everything that upsets someone is a trigger.
Some survivors may have repressed the trauma and may be triggered by something but not know that what they’re experiencing is a traumatic trigger.