My fears and anxieties started to be used against me just creating more fears and anxieties.
Some of my triggers I was already aware of. Through therapy I was taught; what a trigger was, what it does to the mind and body, how to get grounded to control the side effects it causes.
“The brain attaches details, like sights or smells, to that memory. These become triggers. They act like buttons that turn on your body’s alarm system. When one of them is pushed, your brain switches to danger mode. This may cause you to become frightened and your heart to start racing. The sights, sounds, and feelings of the trauma may come rushing back. This is called a flashback.” – see attached link below for more information on triggers.
I have had a fear of dying in a horrific car accident and have had this image in my head since I was a freshman in high school. I have written about it many times in my diaries. That is actually one of the reasons I prefer to be the one that drives places. I am very aware of things around me and I have avoided a crazy number of what could have been terrible accidents.
- One time I kept me and my son from getting T-boned by a truck. We were just feet away from this truck slamming into the passenger side, where my son was sitting. I stopped the car and turned in the right direction in the middle of the intersection as the truck ran it’s red light. I constantly scan my peripherals and mirrors so I can know what is around me an what is headed my way. I saw the truck at just the right time. My son didn’t see it. He just felt me stop and turn abruptly and as he watched the truck keep going past the intersection he said “whoa, did that truck almost hit us?”…. It was insanely close to hitting us but we were good. 🙂
- Just recently, I had to make an emergency road trip to Minneapolis during a blizzard warning. I had to drive there and back in one day to get a replacement passport b/c the next day I had to leave for the Philippines. I had realized my NArcEx still had my passport and asked a mutual friend to reach out to try to get it back. He agreed to it at first, if I gave him the two boxes of stuff I have, that is his. I agreed and loaded it up in my car to take to the mutual friend to do the exchange. This meant I would give him his things back in return for JUST the passport. I could forget about getting anything else back… on the way out to meet her, she texted me to tell me that he changed his mind. He said he needed a nap and didn’t feel good, and he didn’t want to make anything easy on me b/c I have made this SO hard on him… ?? I left the next morning during a snow storm and headed up the most dangerous stretch of highway. What should have been a 5 1/2 hour trip was 9 hours. I was in four wheel drive the whole way up and back. 70% of the trip was zero visibility. The snow blows across the empty fields and not only makes it impossible to see, it catches under your tires mixed with the already ice roads – it’s a dangerous mix. At one point I was sliding sideways down the interstate right in the middle of two lanes. With the drivers side on the side of the incoming traffic, I watched two lanes of cars coming at me with multiple cars behind them. If they hit me, it would have been a huge pile up. I somehow, without ever stopping, turned the car back around and kept going in the right direction with just 5 feet between me and the cars sliding straight for me. I swear I locked eyes with one of the guys driving. I can’t tell you the look on my face, but his face showed that he was terrified.
- I have tons of weird driving stories that include near misses, and not just little fender benders. They would have been head on collisions going above 50mph.
I was so convinced I would die in a car accident as a teenage I never wore my seatbelt, b/c I thought ‘what was the point?’. If it’s meant to be it will be. It wasn’t until I got pregnant with my son that I put on a seat belt and NEVER ride without one now. He is my something to live for.
Before I lived in Germany, my sister would make fun of me for driving 5 under the speed limit all the time. I do drive a little bit faster now, but it is only b/c I trust my abilities. And I don’t push limits or take chances about stupid stuff..
My NarcEx knew this was a fear of mine and would use it to draw fear out of me. It would take tight corners and curves going well over 70mph. He’d do it when it was raining and the roads were slick, he’d do it right after winter when all the gravel is still on the roads, and when our tires weren’t the best. He’d speed up to 90+ going around the lake This one was always a doozy for me b/c drowning is my second biggest fear and I HATE being cold. A couple times he did it during winter, where people have slid off on before and lost their lives. He’d floor it, at night, going down a long stretch by our house that is known for having loads of deer. All I could picture is a deer flying through the windshield.
The worst part. I couldn’t ask or even beg him to stop – b/c then he’d just go faster. Sometimes he would catch me off guard and he’d see me stretch my legs out to push my feet against the floor boards or grab the handle on the door and he’d laugh and push it a little harder. I had to be ready for it when ever he was driving and when he did it I had to try to sit there and act like nothing was happening…. But even then, He would be mad he didn’t get a reaction out of me and would try to push it or do something else to get the reaction.
It was like living with someone who wanted to push your buttons to get the reaction. When you get him the reaction, you were in trouble for reacting. When you didn’t react, you possibly just opened a new book of worms to deal with.
A couple things he did, I didn’t know how much it effected me until after I left.
I bruise easily. My mom was the same way. It’s better when I take vitamins, but sometimes I am lazy about it sometimes. I hate having a body full of bruises in the winter. The dark blue, brown, purple colors don’t look good against my pasty skin, but luckily I am mostly covered in the winters. In the summers I try to be a little more careful. I get so many bruises, I’ve had people ask me if I get beat before. Most of them are from doing things around the house. I bang my legs with the vacuuming a lot and the way I rest the laundry basket on my hip, sometimes causes bruises. And My arms constantly have mystery bruises. My ex used to love to poke my bruises.. He would point at it and say “What is this from?” And then poke or squeeze them. I hated it. He had huge sausage fingers. I swear his hands had muscles on them. Not only did it hurt, but it made the bruises stick around longer. I would beg him to stop, but again, it just made things worse. It either made him do it again harder, or taunt me, saying that is was not a big deal, or say things like – “fine! I wont touch you then”. I sort of just got used to it and tried to be better about taking vitamins.
It wasn’t after we stopped dating, a months later, while I was remodeling my new house – that I realized how bad it was. My good friend was over helping me do some things and I had a huge bruise on my bicep. As he was asking about it he went to point at my bruise and I flinched, hunched over, and yelled “NOOOOO!”. I think I might have even scared him a bit. It was the first time someone had done that to me since my NarcEx and I just immediately went back there. My friend had to promise he wasn’t going to touch my bruises. – and that’s when I realized that was one of my triggers……
Another I didn’t realize was a trigger of his bullying was unfolding laundry. I always have folded laundry on the bed. I can separate and fold it all in good piles. My ex used to think it was funny to unfold piles of laundry that I already folder. He would pick up a pile and just sort of put it down so it all unfolds… Again, something I had asked him on more than one occasion to stop. He hadn’t done more than two loads of his own laundry since we started dating. And I was fine with that. But the last thing I needed was someone come in and purposely make more work for me. If I said anything to him about it he would tell me that I was “making a bid deal out of nothing” and “fine, I guess I can’t joke around with you anymore”. I learned to live with it. Most of the time I just sighed and kept folding.
Recently, I was folding laundry and a friend stopped by. He was hanging out and talking with me and as we were talking he picked up a pile and gave me a joking around look like he was going to let it all unfold and I lost it. And then I realized – There was another trigger.
One trigger that I already had before I met my NarcEx is someone in the house why I am sleeping.
While living in Germany, I lived through a home invasion. There were an unknown number of guys in my house while, My ex husband, my son, and myself were all sleeping, I am normally a light sleeper, but at this time, I was a little sleep deprived….. They where in our house for hours! They cleaned out our two bottom levels of our house of anything valuable and able to be carried by one or two people. We were were asleep on the third floor. I woke up to my son falling out of his bed and as I was going to check on him, I see flashlights moving around downstairs. There was one guy standing guard at the bottom of the stairs going up to the bedrooms with a machete. I quietly woke up my husband (at the time) and we chased two guys out of our house (more supposedly left out the basement window when they heard the commotion, as footsteps led out the open window and none leading in) with nothing more than a small pole used to pull the attic door down.
I was diagnosed with PTSD two years later, in therapy, and came back to the states to recover. I never finished therapy and thought I was fine just being somewhere that I knew again. Not knowing much about PTSD other than what I had learned being a military wife, I didn’t think what I had been through was bad enough that I needed to continue. But I still suffer from nightmares where I wake up in my dream to someone in my house.
My NarcEx worked weird hours and more times than not, he came home in the middle of the night. I have woken up to doors open and went for my gun b/c I wasn’t expecting him home. A couple times I woke up to him walking in to the bedroom with only seeing his shadow. As the lights he had turned on lit up his silhouette, I gasp and my heart drops.. Then when I realized it was just him. But now b/c my heart was beating out of my chest, I am wide awake. I asked him that if he was coming home in the middle of the night at an unplanned time to text me or call me. It did that about 20% of the time. The rest of the times he used to try to sneak in. His goal was go get to me and wake me up by ripping the covers off of me. When he got that far, the look of accomplishment on his face was priceless. It was one of the biggest smiles that I ever saw him smile. And again, another thing I begged him to stop doing. But like usual, I was making something out of nothing.
That is, no doubt, the WORST way to wake up (with someone who uses the snooze button as a close second). At the beginning of our relationship, while we were sharing things we liked and didn’t like. This was one of them. Now it was being used against me.