I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me that things can get pretty out of control fairly quickly when your trauma is triggered.
It is really hard to get the help and support you need when you are triggered out of your mind.
And while all of this is true, there are some actions you can take in the heat of the moment to keep things a bit calmer and more in control.
Action 1. Learn These Inner Wisdom Phrases
When sharing your thoughts add these sentences alongside them:
This is my first thought and it may be misguided.
I’m speaking strongly because I am starting to feel unsafe.
I think you’re hearing something I am not saying.
I love you, and I want us both to feel safe.
I am just asking questions here.
These phrases help us speak “on behalf” of our parts that are activated by trauma and not “from” them. Just that little bit of mindful separation can keep your partner from dropping into their own protective parts.
Action 2. Try Being More Vulnerable
This one builds on Action 2.
Try speaking on behalf of the part of you that is activated.
This can sound like
“I feel like I am back in my 11 year-old body and no one is taking what just happened seriously.”
“My protective part is telling me to withhold information from you because you might use it against me.”
“My dark part is telling me that because you won’t do what I say, I am better off without you.”
This requires a level of trust in your relationship, and I would say go slow with these kinds of open-hearted authentic shares, but if your partner is ready to deepen intimacy, these are pure gold.
Action 3. Step Away
This seems the most obvious but can be the hardest to do.
Practice regular body scans so that you know how you feel in a relaxed state.
This way, you’ll be more likely to notice when your survival physiology has been activated.
With practice, partners can externally regulate each other down from a trauma trigger, but that takes A LOT of intentional practice.
Relational healing in real time is hard, no question about it
But your partner is essential to your Relational Healing Journey, whether you think they are up for the challenge or not.
And, this is a survivor-to-survivor straight talk moment: you need to learn whether they are as soon as you can.
Which action are you going to try first?