Tag Archive | trauma triggers

How to Help?

I am struggling in my relationship with my son. I am very aware that he triggers my past trauma with his Dad. Unfortunately, what was modeled for him regarding managing emotions, expressing emotions, and handling conflict was not healthy. In his attempt to set boundaries, he ends up saying controlling and harsh things. When he tries to express how he feels,  it comes out aggressively and blaming. Before I know it, my fight or flight response kicks in and my brain is in high alert. I end up physically shaking,  feeling completely invalidated and disrespected. I shut down and feel that old familiar sense of despair and hopelessness that was my constant companion in my marriage.  It’s been so long since I have felt that so it shocked me when it overwhelmed me last night.

So, the question is how I handle it from here.  I know that my son’s behavior comes from his own suffering.  That is not an excuse,  it is simply a truth. I do believe he needs help. But, he refuses to seek it. So, how can I help him? I know that he needs me to shift out of my trauma response and be able to respond to him rationally….with loving firmness. It has taken most of yesterday and still through today to shift that.  It is such a huge trigger for me. But, I am getting there. 

How else can I help him? I know that allowing him to talk to me and treat me that way does not help him. But, I also know that I need time to shift out of my trauma response and find the strength I need. I know that it will be healtheir for both of us for him to move out. He is an adult, and he needs to find his way in the world. But, he is also extremely sensitive to rejection. I need to find the words to lovingly and firmly push him put of the nest. I need to make sure he knows I am always here with unconditional love….but, that it’s also not okay to treat me the way he has. 

In the meantime, while my trauma response has been triggered, I need to be kind to myself and take care of myself.  I need to watch my thoughts so they don’t go to the old familiar places of self blame and fear.  

As hard as this is, I know I can do it.